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eBay and PayPal Users Speak Out at Shareholder Meeting

An eBay shareholder who is also a hobby seller spoke out against its feedback system at the company’s annual meeting on Friday. In response, the president of eBay Marketplaces Devin Wenig said the company could do better and revealed it would be rolling out a new feedback system.

eBay’s May 1st shareholder meeting was most likely its last before the breakup later this year, when John Donahoe will step down as CEO to be replaced by Wenig. During the formal part of the meeting, shareholders voted on some routine matters, executive compensation, as well as three shareholder proposals that the eBay board opposed, including one on gender pay, which did not pass.

Shareholders did go against the board’s recommendations by passing one proposal, a rare occurrence, on shareholder proxy access. As EcommerceBytes reported in April , the move by proponents raised the question of whether eBay executives have too much control over its board of directors, which is set up to act in the interest of shareholders.

The Wall Street Journal provided more details about the proxy access proposal, presented by the Comptroller of the City of New York. “Proponents of so-called proxy access say it makes corporations more accountable to shareholders who can potentially shake up a board if dissatisfied with a company’s strategic direction or annual returns,” the newspaper wrote.

After the voting concluded, Donahoe gave a presentation in which he called 2014 “another strong year” for the company. He spoke about the eBay-PayPal breakup, which he said was expected to occur in the third quarter (which would mean by the end of September at the latest, before the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear).

Donahoe then opened the floor to questions from those shareholders who had made the trek to eBay headquarters in San Jose, California.

One shareholder asked why PayPal was not a payment option on the Republican campaign fundraising requests he receives. He also made some rather remarkable comments in reference to the issue of eBay’s gender pay inequity – the concern that female workers receive less compensation than their male counterparts. “Remember Meg Whitman. She got paid well,” he said. And remember, he said, many women make a good living by working at home selling on the eBay marketplace.

The eBay seller with complaints about feedback referenced above said two buyers had given him negative Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) that were “factually incorrect,” and as a result, eBay pushes his listings down in search, resulting in fewer sales for his listings.

We provided more detail about his question and Devin Wenig’s response about changes to the feedback system – including an acknowledgement of the problem of buyer abuse – on EcommerceBytes Blog on Friday.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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.