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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 302 - January 08, 2012 - ISSN 1528-6703     1 of 7

From the Editor

By Ina Steiner

January 08, 2012

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It's time for our annual Sellers Choice awards, and nominations are now open! Marketplaces let buyers rate you, and this is your opportunity as a seller to rate the marketplaces on which you sell. Not only can you rate marketplaces on a number of criteria, you can also leave your comments about what each one is dong right and wrong. And as we've seen in the first two years of publishing the Sellers Choice results, ecommerce marketplaces pay attention to these awards!

So let us know which marketplace we should include in this year's Sellers Choice survey - nominate your favorite marketplaces now so you can vote for them when the polls open in 2 weeks!

It's also time to start getting your records in order for tax time, and soon sellers will begin receiving the new IRS Form 1099-K from PayPal, Amazon, Google payments, credit card merchant account providers, etc. Not sure what to do when you get the forms? Barbara Weltman explain in this article from last week's Newsflash newsletter - be sure to check it out! (Iif you don't yet receive EcommerceBytes Newsflash by email, you can manage your newsletter subscriptions via Constant Contact "SafeSubscribe" by signing in with your email address on this page.)

Last week's big news was Scott Thompson's announcement that he was leaving PayPal to head Yahoo, becoming the company's fourth permanent CEO in 5 years. Pundits have opined the choice was surprising or even "industry-mystifying," but it makes sense if you look at the skill set Scott Thompson accrued while heading PayPal.

Scott successfully forged a new path for PayPal, which started as a "peer to peer" payment service for eBay sellers, and grew PayPal's merchant services business for off-eBay retailers. An example of his success in making inroads with large merchants is convincing Home Depot and other large retail chains to participate in a Point-of-Sale trial to bring PayPal into the brick-and-mortar environment. In other words, Scott can look beyond the current business model of a company and see much larger opportunities, and more importantly, he can execute.

Scott has experience dealing with regulatory and security issues, as well as PayPal's share of lawsuits. He also has the Asia experience essential for Yahoo - it may surprise some to learn that PayPal has been building a significant presence in Asia. And while the Chinese government will not allow a non-Chinese firms to operate in its domestic market, PayPal has built a major cross-border business with Chinese exporters.

Scott also understands mobile, digital goods, and has experience evaluating new business models and acquiring new businesses (Magento, WHERE, Zong).

Just as important as his business skill set is his ability to engage with employees and customers worldwide (no company has customers as demanding as eBay and PayPal sellers). The morale among Yahoos must be at a low point, an environment that makes it difficult to retain employees and attract top talent. It's a good bet that Scott will be able to identify Yahoo's opportunities and lay out a vision and then sell it internally as well as to Wall Street. (Let's call it a $26-million bet.)

Perhaps Scott's biggest accomplishment was being able to maintain a separate culture at PayPal than that of its parent eBay, creating a culture of innovation that enabled PayPal to open its platform to third-party developers. As a result, companies such as Payvment have launched new business models that integrate with PayPal - the online payments provider benefits from their successes but bears none of the risks.

After opening its own platform, PayPal was key in merging the developers programs of eBay Inc.'s various properties into X.commerce, a "commerce operating system" that pulls together the assets of PayPal, Magento, eBay and GSI Commerce to encourage third-party developers to use all of these tools in their ecommerce offerings.

Thompson won't be afraid to enter into strategic partnerships and to leverage outside developers, allowing Yahoo to focus on what it does best.

One thing is certain - Thompson's departure leaves a leadership vacuum at PayPal. eBay CEO John Donahoe is acting as interim president of PayPal until a replacement can be found. Donahoe actually admitted publicly that he was shocked when Thompson informed him Tuesday of his decision to leave, only hours before the news broke in Kara Swisher's blog.

eBay's CEO had said that PayPal would grow to become larger than eBay in as early as 2 years, so what is really "industry-mystifying" is how he and eBay's Board of Directors let Scott slip through their fingers. Let me know what you think by commenting on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

And don't for to submit your nominations for the Sellers Choice Awards!

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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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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