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eBay Polls Sellers on Postal Reform, Patent Trolls, Legislative Issues

Like most large tech firms, eBay has a Government Relations team to represent its interests, but what makes eBay different from many other firms is its millions of small-business customers who are impacted by policies and regulations. This week, the GR team sent a survey to users to learn more about the challenges they face and how they feel about legislative issues.

The survey covered a range of topics, starting with postal reform. “Do you currently use the United States Postal Service (USPS) as one of your primary carriers,” eBay asked. It then asked which proposed reform to the USPS was most important to them: Postal Pricing – Guard against rate increases; Six Day Delivery – Maintain Saturday delivery; Facility Closures – Require the USPS to consider other options first; or Other.

eBay then asked about international and cross-border trade. “If you own or operate a small business, are any of your sales made to customers located outside of the United States,” it asked, then asking sellers approximately what percentage of their sales were made to international customers.

The next topic was patents, with eBay asking recipients if they held or had ever held any patents, and then asking, “Have you ever been contacted by a person or company asserting that you are infringing a patent in an attempt to collect licensing fees (i.e. patent assertion entity)? If yes, please describe the incident and outcome.”

eBay asked survey recipients about their mobile shopping behavior and asked, “Over the last five years, sales occurring over mobile devices have skyrocketed. If you are a small business owner, do you think that your business has benefited from the rise in mobile commerce?”

eBay ended the survey by asking about a major issue facing online sellers, asking, “Have you ever been contractually obligated NOT to sell certain products on certain online marketplaces? If yes, what brands blocked you from selling their products on certain online marketplaces?”

eBay said the questions would help it understand what legislative issues most affect sellers and their online business. “Your answers will help the eBay Inc. Government Relations team focus its efforts in the U.S.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.