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Fri Sept 25 2009 11:39:49

eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

By: Ina Steiner

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I  videotaped a few parts of eBay CEO John Donahoe's keynote address at the Shop.org Summit, which wrapped up on Wednesday afternoon and was chock-full of news and information relating to ecommerce. John's keynote address covered a lot of ground - auctions, PayPal, Skype, China, eBay's core values, along with his message to attendees that they should not fear that eBay is a retailer.

Of special interest to AuctionBytes readers is this clip in which John discusses eBay's core values and thoughts about auctions. eBay exists to create an opportunity for others, so they and eBay can have an impact on the world, and he said that he cares that users depend on eBay.



I thought it was interesting when he said, "We thought auctions was a religion. Auctions are nothing more than a format." This is a rather amazing statement for the head of eBay to say, given that auctions are such an important differentiator from other ecommerce players in a hyper-competitive arena.

There's another video clip in one of today's AuctionBytes Newsflash articles in which John did not explain why if Skype is such a great communications tool, it was unsuccessful on eBay as a communications tool. But of course, he failed to say that eBay did not allow sellers to fully use Skype on eBay. It was only open to a few categories, likely because eBay feared sellers would take transactions off-site to avoid fees.

There's one more video clip, you can view it on YouTube - it shows John taking his own video of himself during his presentation at Shop.org.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: Jo

Sun Sep 27 16:42:00 2009

Since Tula doesn't like hearing the whining, I am sure she/he can find a site the has nothing but praise about eBay to comment on. It would be a breath of fresh air for her. I did a little checking and found a site called "everybodylovesebay.com"....You can find it under the expired and deleted web domains. Oops, I guess it didn't get a lot of attention.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Sep 27 17:53:49 2009

We are deeply indebted to the omniscient Tula for sharing her/his unique and heretofore unknown business model with us of the clueless masses.

I don't think any of us ever thought of selling across multiple platforms before.

Thank you for the enlightenment and civility you bring to all of us e commerce peasants.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: tula

Sun Sep 27 18:14:35 2009

@summer in the city

Yup, this is why I haven't visited these forums much lately. I'm just kind of amazed that the same people who have nothing good to say about eBay and claim to no longer sell there are still posting continuous vitriol here every day. Why? If you hate eBay, then go elsewhere.  

I agree that eBay has been repeatedly shooting itself in the foot for years now. I don't think JD had done a very good job in running the company. Yet, I just don't see the value in name-calling and comparing the guy to true evil like Charles Manson or Hitler. It's a bit over the top.

I know the effect this has had on people's lives. I myself was on food stamps and Medicaid after losing my day job and not being able to get sales on *any* of my venues for most of this year, so I do get it. eBay's policies certainly didn't help, but I don't take them as a personal slight. I do think eBay made some huge errors in dealing with the smaller sellers, but I decided to focus my energies on finding better alternatives. I did find, though, that none of the alternate platforms has near the traffic that eBay has. I'm not selling on the River yet, despite working there, since my selling categories don't work so well on that platform, but none of the other alternatives has brought in as many sales as eBay.

In short, I don't "love" eBay, but I don't fly off the handle and throw a tantrum every time they make a policy change.  I guess I'm just not built that way. I prefer to find ways around the roadblocks erected by any of the platforms I use. I would love to see a return of the "old eBay" traffic and sales that I used to see, but it ain't gonna happen, so there's no use pondering the what-ifs and whining over things I can't change. I'd rather spend my time focusing on what I can do rather than what I can't. It's a lesson I learned early on after developing a physical disability that makes life difficult at times. You learn to cope when things don't go your way and find alternative ways of doing things. I guess I just see all this whining as counterproductive. There's so much of it that eBay management probably just tunes it all out and misses the really important stuff.  It's easy for them to dismiss childish rants as noise, but such noise can drown out the more rational, constructive voices that might have a chance at making a real impact.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: Jo

Sun Sep 27 19:07:03 2009

john donahoe through his ludicrous policy changes effectively put us out of business on eBay. Could I have  assimilated to their policy changes and continue selling....yes....Did I....NO!!!....We sell elsewhere now. I will not compromise my beliefs on how I should run my business with my customers to accommodate a larger profit for eBay at a cost of a reduced profit for myself. If you wish to do this then by all means do it, and stop whining about others who whine about eBay.

I intend to voice my opinion and complain whenever I feel the need to do so. Those who usually complain the loudest are the ones that are heard the most. I don't equate john donahoe with hitler or manson with the exception of considering them all in the lower cursive.

I do believe that john donahoe has to deal with the fact that he effected the lives of millions of honest hard working people in a bad way, and that if he has any conscience at all then he needs to make restitution. However when I look at his eyes I think otherwise because I see no soul in them.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: buck efay

Sun Sep 27 19:34:08 2009

Isn't Tula the name of one of Mexico's dead cities? Oddly appropriate for an Ebay defender.Ebay is fast becoming Tula, a empty city abandoned for no apparent reason.Perhaps the King of Tula was called Xochidonahotli, and his constituents were being unfairly treated.

Tula, if you truly are a seller wait til you get a glowing, positive feedback with all 1 DSRS attached, knocking your sales in the toilet for a month. Or when you get an unjustified return, or worse yet, nothing back but a rock in a box. Then we'll see how you run to defend your buddy greedbay. Maybe next April will be the end for you with the next racheting of the feebay noose. Maybe it will be your turn next for the rolling 10% reserve, or a complete fund freeze by Paypal.Maybe it will be your month to not have your items appear ever in search. Maybe it's your turn for double billing. As long as these criminal actions by Ebay continue, the noise will not die ever.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: Ooops I'm Naru'd Again

Sun Sep 27 20:47:57 2009

@Tula

''It's just business.  Maybe eBay's business model stinks for you, but the platform does work for some sellers. Ecommerce is not a one-size-fits-all kind of environment.  You need to find the marketplace platform that suits your own business model.''

You are 100%.

It probably works for a company that

A) sells new mass produced items at fixed prices.

B) has enough sales volume to not     worry about negative feedback

C) has such a low cost of purchase that if there is a problem they an easily send out another item without worrying about it

D) Doesn't care about e-mail communication because ''everything we know about this product is listed on this page, otherwise contact the manufacture directly''

E)Preferably can offer free shipping  for example items are small like CDs or stamps), unbreakable (like clothing) or have enough mark up that they can absorb the shipping (like laptops)

If you can do the above you'll be very successful in the new ebay model.  

Thank goodness that's not me.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: scareofgriff

Sun Sep 27 21:18:55 2009

Wow, Tula gives a very even handed (some good, some bad) view of ebay, and she gets ripped for not towing the 'Death to ebay' line.

How does this make you better human beings than say.....John Donahoe. Just a thought.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: Buck Efay

Sun Sep 27 22:22:35 2009

I don't think Tula got bashed too bad, considering. All I know is, I've never set out to disenfranchise anyone thru cheating them with a biased badly explained system, never sold anyone a bill of goods, or lied to them. So therefore, I'm not John Donaho. Never said I was better than anyone, but maybe I am a better businessman then him, or at least treat my customers in an honest, aboveboard manner. Any of my customers can reach me, and get a real answer based on an actual human reading their email, and I'm my own worst critic. I actually carefully examine every side of an issue before making a decision that may hurt someone. Can Donaho honestly state these same things?

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Mon Sep 28 02:13:47 2009

If anyone is interested, eBay "feedback" available at $0.01 per increment (Free P&H):
http://completed.shop.ebay.com.au/i.html?LH_FS=1&LH_PrefLoc=2
&LH_Complete=1&_nkw=free&_fln=1&_mPrRngCbx=1&_sc=1&_sop=1&_ssov=1&_trksid=p3286.c0.m282&_udlo=0.01&_udhi=0.1

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: Jack Webb

Mon Sep 28 10:29:49 2009

''Ooops I'm Naru'd Again'' is right-EBay has become a great forum for the undifferentiated crap that you can buy (and sell) anywhere. The cool stuff that people looked for on EBay has been decimated, because EBay has run the sellers away.

I used to be an EBay seller, but I also used to be an EBay BUYER. No longer!

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: Scott

Mon Sep 28 13:18:44 2009

Auctions weren't/aren't my religion, but they were/are my biggest earner, as far as eBay is concerned.  It is a SHAME, what Donohoe has done to the auction format.  I don't worship money.  I simply need it to survive.  Donohoe worships money and he will sink my life-boat with a smirk, in order to keep his yacht afloat.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: summer in the city

Mon Sep 28 14:40:29 2009


@ Buck:

Xochidonahotli - LOL - we fell off our chairs!

Our all-time favorite is Vlad the Impalerahoe, from somebody on Ebay's  Seller Central board, before the Donahoe critics were rounded up and ''disappeared'' during the Great Massacre of '09.

What a piece of work. Maybe the guy will find himself a pair someday...on Ebay!

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Sep 28 15:17:36 2009

No one ever said ebafia would die overnight.

It's being dismantled one division at a time :-)

I agree that a lot of what Tula has to say makes sense. What gets him/her and the others who come her to lecture into trouble is her/his annoying  condescension and paternalism.

DEATH to ebay corp. in 2009.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: SO SO SAD

Mon Sep 28 17:00:14 2009

Perhaps John Donahoe will do a magic act somewhere after his ebay CEO career, ffter all he is a Magician in my view. His most famous magic;
1. He made sellers right to leave bad buyers fair feedback disappear
2. He made time ending soonest disappear
3. He made many small sellers disappear from wanting to continue and to be able to afford to sell on eBay
4. He made Checks and Money Orders disappear
5. He made optional insurance option disappear
6. And FINALLY he made my normal average  annual profits disappear ( even with raised search standing) and countless others disappear since he took over in 2008

Gotta hand it to you John you multi talented person you, you did a real ABRACADABRA with ebay core, and now are doing some real HOCUS POCUS to the Board of Directors and investors -

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: Ron

Mon Sep 28 21:24:51 2009

@tula

IMO, people are right to be complaining about eBay.  eBay had critical mass because it was the first model of its kind on the internet.  It was known back at the beginning of the internet that any site that could gain critical mass in its category, like Amazon, had first mover advantage due to lack of competition and would be very difficult to displace by new entrants. eBay was a very efficient auction marketplace, because all of the sellers and buyers were in one place, which provided maximum opportunity for both buyers and sellers to get a good deal.  The problem now, is that because Donahoe and crew thought that they could grow eBay's valuation by chucking eBay's original model and going after new commodity type fixed price business, they've actually allowed new competitive entrants and fragmented what was once a very protected position in e-commerce.  The result has been that I and many others who made a very good living transacting within that auction environment, have had their livelihoods ruined.  And unfortunately, there is no other similar model that can ever build itself to the same critical mass that was possible at the genesis of the internet.  I've read it here - even a lame eBay yields more sales in the collectibles, antiques and unique used item category than any other site.  I can tell you from experience that I will never to able to do the volume of business selling antiques and collectibles on fixed priced sites that I did on eBay for the 8 or 9 years that it stayed true to its original model.  So, people are complaining simply because they want to rid eBay of the present management in the hopes that some of the original features of eBay can be restored and it can go back to being what it was originally conceived to be.  I know some people think that this is impossible, but I really think that with the right team in place that really understands the site, this can be done - one only has to look at how Apple lost their way and was re-directed by Steve Jobs

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: The Shrink

Tue Sep 29 07:00:58 2009

Dear John,

I see all those changes you implemented are not working.  

You may present videos and spin your Kool Aid any which way you want.  Blame it on economy, glorify yourself, but the hard numbers tell the real story.

Net transaction revenues(1)

Dec 31 2008
EBAY Marketplaces Declined over same quarter year ago by ( -18% )
EBAY Overall Revenues Declined over same quarter year ago ( -7%)
AMZN overall Net sales INCREASED over the same quarter year ago by +18%

March 31 2009
EBAY Marketplaces Declined over same quarter year ago by ( -18% )
EBAY Overall Revenues Declined over same quarter year ago ( -8%)
AMZN Overall Net sales INCREASED over the same quarter year ago by +18%


June 30, 2009
EBAY Marketplaces Declined over same quarter year ago by ( -14% )
EBAY Overall Revenues Declined over same quarter year ago ( -4%)
AMZN Overall Net sales INCREASED over the same quarter year ago by +14%

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: J

Tue Sep 29 11:49:45 2009

Donahoe continues to show how woefully out of touch with the average eBay user he is. Whether it is arrogance, greed, a bloated sense of self importance or a combination does not matter.

The fact remains that he does not care about the average eBay user and still to this day has refused to communicate with them due to what I can only guess is prejudice and fear.

His stubborn absence of any dialog with the very customers he says are important is proof of a flawed character. We are tired of his lies.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: JoeS

Tue Sep 29 15:19:43 2009

Creating opportunities for small sellers? I had a good laugh at that one. eBay used to be a great opportunity for small sellers but it no longer is. How can he say that with a straight face? It's because he's delusional about his selfish vision for ebay, damn the small sellers, they are just peons.

High fees, poor search, horrible DSR system, unfair feedback, chaotic and ever changing rules make the selling experience very, very poor. He has no clue as to what damage he's done. All because he didn't want to enhance and improve the seller experience and wanted to force sellers to his own vision of what he thought the ebay marketplace should be. Huge mistake and they will be paying for that for years.

To those who complain about the complainers, they have every right to complain, even after the fact if they've left. I left a year and a half ago because the great opportunity was just not there anymore and was evolving into a huge hassle. I left thousands of feedback behind with no negatives. I returned to what I used to do before ebay and use a few hassle free online selling sites. Sellers and former sellers have every right to complain because management not only disrupted a great opportunity but they did many small sellers very, very wrong. I don't blame anyone who wants to speak out about that.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion   eBay CEO Talks about Core Values: Auctions Are Not a Religion

by: fruity

Tue Sep 29 23:54:47 2009

I was thinking about why John Donahoe looks so familiar to me. Not in a I know him kinda way, but a that face looks so familiar. And i thought about it for a few days and I figured it all out. He reminds me of what that kind from Village of the Damned would of looked like all grown up. Really strange in a freaky mind controlling dont look into the eyes kind of way.

Go look it up in wikipedia. you'll know exactly what i mean after seeing it.

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by: ozgood

Wed Sep 30 07:43:55 2009

The Creator of Ebay, Pierre Omidyar, was DUPED. Donahoe and the others LIED to Pierre.
Pierre is very nurturing, especially to people who need the money to survive.
Pierre has suffered the Same Bait and Switch that has been perpetrated against Us.
Hopefully, Ebay Auctions will return to normal one day.
And his Greatest Contribution will not have been in vain.

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