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Bonanza Cofounder Quietly Departs

Mark Dorsey
Bonanza's Mark Dorsey

Bonanza co-founder Mark Dorsey quietly left the company 2 weeks ago and is selling his shares in the company. He declined to provide details about the circumstances surrounding his departure, and Bonanza founder and CEO Bill Harding did not respond to our inquiries on Tuesday. (See update below.)

The lack of response combined with the fact there was no formal announcement of Dorsey’s departure points to a contentious parting of the ways.

Harding began building the Bonanza marketplace in 2007 and launched it in 2008 when many disgruntled eBay sellers were looking for an alternative. Dorsey joined Bonanza in 2008 and was the face of customer service and community. The company’s About Us page lists his title as “Director of Happiness and Co-founder.” His LinkedIn profile shows his title changed to “VP Business Development & Co-founder” in 2010.

While it’s not uncommon for cofounders to part ways, sometimes acrimoniously, what makes this case unusual is the fact that, from the outside at least, the pair seemed to get along for the past 11 years.

Dorsey is selling his shares in the company, announcing the sale on his personal blog. He says the 100,000 shares he’s selling represents 2.3% of the company’s outstanding stock.

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Update 1/23/19: Bonanza CEO Bill Harding responded today to our inquiry, telling us Mark Dorsey had done great work for Bonanza during his 10-year tenure. Harding had glowing things to say about his co-founder and indicated the departure stemmed from the evolution of the company.

“As we recently discussed, Bonanza is continuing to evolve, as we pursue our new products like Spark Lister and hone in on differentiating the marketplace from Amazon et. al. Part of our evolution is that we need to reshape our team so that we have the right pieces to continue to execute effectively through the next 10 years.

“Mark wore many hats in ushering us from a tiny marketplace to what we’ve become today. His knack for helping a small business grow into a big one was essential to our early growth, but less essential as we became a mature company. I’m a big believer that everyone on our team should have the opportunity to come to work and do what they do best every day, and in the current version of our company, Mark didn’t have that opportunity. Thus, we decided to part ways and let him pursue a new opportunity better able to cater to his many strengths.”

Harding also said he was very bullish about Bonanza’s prospects for 2019 and said he is projecting Bonanza to have significantly improved profitability compared to prior years.

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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.

6 thoughts on “Bonanza Cofounder Quietly Departs”

  1. Director of Happiness: Mark was upsetting more users of that site.

    Mark always responded to sellers problems with canned and uniformed responses.
    Mark didn’t know about eCommerce but knew how to look the other way and BS the users.

    I remember Mark talking about his PX90 workouts a lot, even on the blog.

    Maybe the site might improve and the glitches will be attended to.
    One Big Glitch is now gone.
    GOOD BYE.

  2. Or maybe Mark sees the writing on the wall. Ebay might just be interested in buying the site and combining it with Greedbay. Hey its one way of increasing listings and sellers. Bonanza will be permanently deleted when they do just like the UP4SALE site 15 years ago.

    Like the old saying HERE TODAY GONE TOMORROW.

  3. An interesting thing about Bonanza. When I joined, way back when it was still Bonanza, I had more sales than I do now – and, perhaps, more importantly, made a lot more money. A lot more.

    They billed themselves as “Everything but the ordinary.” Only thing is, most of what’s on the site nowadays is mass-produced junk from third-world countries. Those sellers are “dumping” thousands of items on the site – and they never come back to tend to buyers, even when the buyers have paid, and sent numerous communications.

    The site has deteriorated greatly in terms of buyers.

    Oh, sure, they have zillions more items listed – but the real question is, how many of those items sell? Not very many at all.

    The continual cutesy comments about all the fun things the employees do in company time doen’t set well for the sellers trying to eke out a living, with really no help from Bonanza.

  4. What Lois says is soooo true. I have been with Bonanza for over 10 years but am now leaving the site because of problems. Can’t search due to a Captcha and support won’t do anything about it. I can no longer post in the Ask the Community cause I was trying to find help with this problem and they kept deleting my questions, can’t send B-mails or respond to buyers questions, can’t use the comment bar on my page and no telling what else is not working or what else I have been barred from. I have sent several notices to Bonanza Support but they do NOT reply – don’t even send me the standard canned reply. After I decided to move I discovered most of my over 300 listings have never been put on Google (and I pay 9% fees for Google listings that sell) due to errors in the listing and they never notified me (the site I’m moving to notifies me). Plus many of the listings that did make to Google have errors – pictures do not match title. So that would explain why so few customers and so few sales. So long Bonanza – you drove me away and I’m sure many others have or will be moving on.

  5. I “bumped into” bonanza off their advertising on youtube.co and tried to sell on their site looking for something better than the sewer trash at Ebay and Amazon. The site really looks like a knock off of Ebay. I listed several items same things I was selling well on Ebay and next to nothing sold. I contacted them and told them nohtnig on your site sells but they do on Ebay. Bonanza replied and said they do not have the operating cash to advertise on google as Ebay does. So over a period of time I just let the listings crumble and after a few years bonanza contacted me to say they were closing my account do to no activity I let them. What a shame its is a nice site.
    As the sellers know Elliot Management jut bought 4% of Ebay for $1.5 billion. They will never clean up that snake pit. Too many problems – Ebay has a nasty reputation for stealing and scamming the buyers and sellers. They steal and scam the sellers. They make the rules up as they go and break every rule they list in the process. Paypal scams the sellers alone with Ebay – sewer trash too. Elliott Management would have been better off to invest in bonanza.com. and left the snake pit fold. Best if they went ahead and did it before some smart investor beats them to the punch.

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