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End of an Era: eBay Training Program Shuts Down

Some eBay sellers found they could supplement their income by training others on how to sell on eBay. But as of June 30, 2016, there will be no such thing as an eBay Education Specialist. Not only is eBay is closing down the program, but instructors will no longer be able to use the special designation.

eBay had launched the Education Specialist program in 2004 to train users to teach a course in how to use the site. It outsourced the training to a third-party company called InScope International on the PowerU website and it revamped the US program in 2013.

eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore told EcommerceBytes the decision to retire the program was made after much consideration. “We are forever grateful for the passion, dedication and expertise exhibited by all of our Education Specialists over the last 12 years of the program’s life,” he said.

As far as future plans, Moore had this to say: “eBay is evolving the Community experience for sellers, buyers and employees. As part of this effort, we are exploring new ways to bring education resources and programs to our Community – both online and offline. We look forward to sharing more about this in the coming months.”

Stephanie Inge had already been teaching college eBay classes for two years before eBay launched the Education Specialist program in 2004, at which point she became certified as an eBay instructor. She says she won’t be impacted by the program’s closure since she continued to use her own curriculum. “I truly wish eBay could have kept it afloat, but regardless, I’ll keep teaching others how to sell on eBay. It’s what I do.” Inge also teaches classes in other areas, including Amazon and social media training.

eBay set up a page on its website where users could learn more about becoming an Education Specialist and to help people find classes run by the specialists. Visitors who click through find the following message:

Hello Instructors,
It is with deep regret that we announce the termination of the eBay Education Specialist Program as of June 30, 2016. After this date you will no longer be able to use the term “eBay Education Specialist”, schedule classes, or purchase training materials. If you have entered a class in the system prior to June 30th that begins or extends beyond July 1st, you may use the materials in your possession for those classes only, up to Dec 31, 2016. Otherwise; you will no longer be able to use the PowerU materials to teach classes. The site at www.poweru.net/ebay will be removed as of July 1, 2016. We have enjoyed working with all Instructors and wish you well in your future endeavors. If you have questions regarding recent renewals and registrations, please contact support@poweru.net. If you have any questions with the program relating to eBay, please contact Griff at griff@ebay.com.
Sincerely, PowerU

Those who paid to take the course will be prohibited from using the PowerU materials to teach classes after the program is terminated. Fees for taking the eBay Education Specialist Training Course are as follows:

The Basics of Selling on eBay: $169.00
Beyond the Basics $129.00
eBay Stores: $89.00
Business Consultant Program: $249.00

eBay launched a mentoring program last year, but it was somewhat controversial since eBay was not offering to compensate users for their time, and users said they were already voluntarily helping each other on the eBay boards and Answer Center.

eBay had closed the Education Specialist program in in Australia in 2009, and in the UK and in Southeast Asia in 2010.

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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.