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Highlights from eBay CEO Devin Wenig’s Letter to Shareholders

eBay CEO Devin Wenig

eBay CEO Devin WenigThe CEO of eBay began his letter to shareholders with some dire warnings, advising them of increased scrutiny and regulation of tech companies and warning of a pending battle between robots and humans. He also promised eBay would speak out on issues around trade, taxes, and immigration.

“As I write this, a global debate about the role and responsibility of technology companies is playing out around the world. Facebook is under intense scrutiny for its handling of customer data; the President of the United States is tweeting about Amazon; and authorities in almost every jurisdiction globally are looking to impose punitive and novel new taxes on tech companies or the business they enable.”

He warned of a pending battle “with algorithms and robots pitted against a more humanistic vision of the future.”

In light of those challenges, he said eBay would defend the role and benefits of technology, and the necessity of innovation and competition.

“In particular, we will continue to take public positions in support of free and fair trade, tax structures that do not penalize small businesses, and responsible immigration that allows us to foster innovation by attracting the best and brightest talent from around the world.”

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eBay Will Continue to Innovate
Wenig said he spends the majority of his time on product and customer experience. “We are restless and love to experiment,” he said. “At any given time, we have thousands of tests underway, and we are always looking for ways to increase our capacity to test and learn.”

eBay Ad Campaign Focuses on Company rather than Products
He also addressed eBay’s latest marketing initiatives and promised to continue them through the rest of the year. “Historically, we focused on marketing the products that customers purchase on eBay. In 2017, we began marketing eBay itself – through digital, outdoor and TV channels. This campaign differentiates eBay, addresses consumer misperceptions and brings to life the eBay we are building for the future. We will sustain this brand campaign through 2018.”

eBay Marketplace Listings on Classifieds Platform
Wenig said eBay would continue to integrate inventory between its Marketplace and Classifieds platforms, a practice with which sellers may be unfamiliar. “By sharing the broad selection of eBay Marketplace inventory with our Classifieds sites, our Classifieds buyers have access to more selection, and our Marketplace sellers have access to more buyers, thereby increasing sales velocity. I was encouraged to see our Classifieds and core eBay platforms adding significant value by working closely together in 2017.”

eBay Will Survive Retail Consolidation
Even though he ended his letter with another warning – he predicts retail consolidation – Wenig said eBay would be one of the survivors.

“As technology platforms like AI, augmented and virtual reality and blockchain rapidly advance, they will continue to upend the way commerce is conducted across the globe. I believe there will be further consolidation across the retail landscape, and what will emerge are a few large shopping destinations that are customer-centric, technology-forward and global in nature. eBay will be one of those destinations as we continue to embrace disruptive technology, innovate on behalf of our customers and drive the growth of our business around the world.”

You can read Devin Wenig’s full letter to shareholders on the eBay corporate 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

5 thoughts on “Highlights from eBay CEO Devin Wenig’s Letter to Shareholders”

  1. Blah, Blah, Blah…….More typical Wenig corporate doublespeak.

    In early trading today, PayPal, Amazon, and Etsy (Etsy??) are all up over 3%, while eBay is just up one percent, and falling. And no one except eCommerceBytes has mentioned about the loss of Target- if this was publicized at all, the stock would be tumbling.

    Here’s an article, published today by an investor who refuses to drink the eBay Kool-Aid:

    Millennials are ignoring the marketplace. Enterprise sellers are building their own sites and setting their own rules and policies.

    This is a final wake-up call for this company to go back to its roots and embrace all sellers, both small and large. Or they will soon be no more than a footnote in history books, along with Enron, MySpace, and CompuServe.

  2. Regarding the battle between robots and humans… I can imagine a fight between one of the Rock’em Sock’em Robots and Devin. I’ll be rooting for the Robot.

  3. Any time an executive talks about innovation, I immediately stop paying attention. It’s all lies and meaningless buzzwords. WTF does blockchain have to do with anything? Look, the fact is, eBay runs a platform where a page with five tabs shows five different UI themes. Duhvelopers that can’t keep something so simple straight have absolutelyno business using pretend intelligence to manipulate search results/visibility. I don’t know what’s sadder, that this fool buys his own hype or that nobody in Silicon Valley (stuffed with those oh so brilliant visa holders) has the wherewithal to do better.

  4. getting back to it’s roots? don’t believe they could even find the path that brought them so much success. They could start with throwing out all the chinese sellers that exist on ebay – laundering money and cheating the buyers all the while they have hundreds of negative feedbacks. So start there will ya? bring back some real trust and integrity and see if that helps.

  5. Maybe Ebay is loaning Wenig to GM for the use of their private jet plane, thus saving them money.

    After the financials are announced this coming week, Ebay may need all the help they can get.

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