EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1743 - March 07, 2008     2 of 2

eBay Hires Blogger to Improve Communications

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Fortune Small Business is reporting that eBay has hired Richard Brewer-Hay to write a blog "that aims to give eBay's users a direct, unfiltered communications link with the company." The blog, called "eBay Ink," will launch in April. FSB published its interviewed with Brewer-Hay, who said he will respond to comments left on the blog.

eBay has an existing blog called "The Chatter" (users post comments to a related discussion board rather than under the blog posts). It also hosts a call-in radio show with longtime employee Jim "Griff" Griffith, and it holds monthly Town Hall meetings where executives answer phone and email questions from users and is broadcast over the Internet.

Microsoft was first to break ground with "spokesblogging" when employee Robert Scoble began posting on his Scobleizer blog. According to his biographical entry on Wikipedia, "He was unusual in the level of access he offered to his users, which included publishing his cell phone number on his blog and urging people to contact him directly with issues, as well as accepting comments on his blog. His support for Microsoft in his blog, however, drew controversy and in February 2005, he became the first person to earn the newly coined moniker of "spokesblogger.""

Brewer-Hay said he has met with editors of industry blogs, which he has been reading since he was hired in January. (Note that Brewer-Hay has not reached out to the Editor of AuctionBytes, publisher of this newsletter.) He also told FSB that he has never sold anything on eBay. He envisions interviewing a great variety of eBay insiders, from John Donahoe to eBay's corporate chef. When asked, he told FSB he would be willing to write about events such as the recent seller boycott of eBay.

eBay users - and sellers in particular - are a vocal group, and many have accused the site of censorship of its online discussion boards. eBay's recent communications gaffes are well documented, including a recent report published by PC Magazine (,2817,2273210,00.asp). Brewer-Hay will clearly have his work cut out for him.

Post a comment on the AuctionBytes Blog and let us know what you think of eBay's new blog (

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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