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Tue Sept 30 2014 09:00:49

How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

By: David Steiner

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In baseball, there's a saying after a team has a bad season: You can't fire the team, you fire the manager. 

John Donahoe's team at eBay has had a bad season, with growth that didn't keep pace with its competitors, a public confrontation with investor Carl Icahn, security breaches, site outages,.. you could say that eBay has had a very bad season.

Today, eBay announced that it will be splitting eBay and PayPal into two separate companies. Devin Wenig will head eBay, while American Express executive Dan Schulman was named as president and CEO-designee of PayPal. John Donahoe and CFO Bob Swan will have no executive position in the new companies.

No matter how John Donahoe's departure will be spun in San Jose, this was not a decision by Donahoe to "spend more time with family." It's not difficult to understand why eBay is going in another direction with its leadership. The question is why the board stuck with him so long in the first place.

Donahoe's lack of vision for the marketplace was severely out of place in an innovation-driven industry. His disregard for eBay's most valuable asset - its small sellers - was evident in his inability to communicate changes in policy to users in a timely fashion. Unannounced changes to the site sent merchants scurrying to catch up, causing them to change workflow (or stop altogether) and revise listings.  

While many sellers, prior to Donahoe's tenure, were able to resolve issues by reaching out to category managers within eBay, reports were rampant of staying on hold with outsourced customer service, often leading to no resolution of the issues.

Donahoe's legacy will be a dysfunctional search engine, a major security breach that compromised customers' sensitive information, and preferential treatment of large-box retailers, both domestic and Chinese, that took the eBay experience from one of being about Discovery, and made it mundane.

The bottom line is that Donahoe was the wrong man for the job.

Former CEO Meg Whitman professed that "a monkey could drive this train" when asked about leading eBay.  Despite her own shortcomings, Whitman seemed to have an understanding that eBay was a self-sustaining (and for the most part, a self-governing) entity. Even though eBay is comprised of hundreds of thousands of disparate merchants, they all have once thing in common: Profitability. The vast majority of sellers know that to sustain their businesses, they have to maintain good service and give customers a good experience. Nothing is as strong a motivator as acting in one's own best interest.

This is not to say that eBay did not have problems prior to Donahoe's tenure. Fraud was a constant problem, fee circumvention by sellers was an issue, technical problems were frequent due to the site's ancient platform. But six years later, are any of those issues any better?

Donahoe will reach back to his Bain roots and oversee the split of eBay and PayPal, then will likely remain on the board of one or both companies. And while it remains to be seen how eBay's merchants will fare under Devin Wenig, one thing is inarguable. The Donahoe Era was a disaster for small sellers.

David Steiner is cofounder and President of EcommerceBytes.com

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Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

by: Enough Is Enough! This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 13:42:21 2014

He and ebay will be remembered when our grandkids learn in business classes at school how a once proud and revolutionary company took many steps backward. And eventually failed.

Just like milk delivered to your doorstep, 8-track tapes, full-service gas stations, MySpace, etc., etc., ebay will be a dinosaur soon enough.

And JohnnyHo's legacy will be that he and his management team were responsible. Wenig is on record as stating the ebay doesn't want or need small sellers anymore, so he will finish the job.

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by: mastoyshop This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 13:43:37 2014

I believe a lot of the NAD stuff is from the way ebay keeps us from communicating with each other. Only people who are abusive and hateful should be curbed from communicating. customers want to ask a question after purchase, like when do you think my package will arrive or have you shipped because I like that one too.. and they are given boxes to check to get to the message center and none are the right choice. How do we tell them to click OTHER instead of About an Item?

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

by: mastoyshop This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 13:46:40 2014

sorry if I was redundant in the convo, you are all talking so fast I cant keep up lol. Well lets just hope and pray it is a good thing. On with the holiday build up..  

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

by: Sylvia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 13:51:53 2014

Great news and fair assessment of his reign.  Thanks goodness, it's over!  Perhaps there is hope for small sellers after all.

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Sep 30 13:59:40 2014


@shabbyChick

They have already announced his replacement.  It is Devin Wenig.

So what does anyone know about Devin Wenig?  Does he have the same opinions as JD or does he differ?  How does he differ?  Is it worse or is it better?

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

by: Painter This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 14:01:39 2014

It certainly won't be remembered by fondness. Personally, I think he was the worst thing to ever happen to eBay.  

I've been selling there since 1998 and used to think well of eBay.  My store historically had done well with very modest but steady sales, enough to make me feel having the store was well worth it.  

As things have spiraled downward during Donohue's tenure, my sales diminished to the point where I'm covering my costs and not much more. For the past year I have been on the brink of closing my store, but as long as it was bringing in at least a little profit I kept it going.  

But the egregious changes that have been forced upon sellers, such as the despicable defect rate, push me ever closer to closing my store.  

I should mention I have 100% perfect feedback and thousands of sales, and am a top rated plus seller.  So I  know I'm doing things that keep my buyer happy.  

The main reason I'm still there right now is simply for the exposure.  I'm doing a whole lot better with my Etsy store and have been focusing my time and efforts there.  

I pretty much have seen eBay as a dying venue and was anticipating that by the time they get to mandatory managed returns next year that would be the end of my tenure on eBay.  

Now with these major changes, I'm willing to stay on and see if they will be beneficial and useful for sellers.  I feel a little optimistic with Donohue being removed as CEO, but then again I wonder if eBay is so far gone anyone can save it.  

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

by: BB2 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 14:04:46 2014

I'll make a prediction... assuming eBay isn't sold... If eBay fails to execute a complete turnaround within the next 3-5 years, no one will remember them a decade from now. What will remain are a few old timers who remember and a couples of lines in books written about other companies.

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

by: semper fi This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 14:06:46 2014

Carl Icahn's footprint can be seen on JD's butt. And CI made $180,000,000 to boot (pun intended) in just a few hours today because of the split.

Before we all rejoice too loudly, let's remember the ''NEW'' CEO has been on board with eBay for some time and has done nothing to help improve the site or our sales. He also will inherit JD's set of ear plugs and blinders. So the clone may not be an improvement. We can hope, but that will only get you a ''Defect'' in eBay's eyes.  

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by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 14:10:32 2014

Super hack manager.....the
new maximum poster boy for failure.

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

This user has validated their user name. by: shabbychick

Tue Sep 30 14:13:25 2014

@Tiffee Jasso you say:I have always liked Paypal, but if you take a look at the user's agreement, you see that one of the big credit card companies are really running Paypal's policies right now.

Thats interesting.

Could it be that Paypal came up with this 180 day return policy to get the Credit Card companies off the hook for charge backs and put it on the shoulders of the Ebay seller?

I am wondering why Ebay stock has risen 7% so far today. Don't know if its true but I have heard that
sometimes large funds artificially drive up a loser stock so they can dump it at a profit before it dives.  I''m not sure how they do that. Maybe buying with fund holders money who have not heard the bad new yet?

Interesting article about the split at NYT (many comments from Ebay sellers and buyers)

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/30/ebay-to-spin-off
-paypal-adopting-strategy-backed-by-icahn/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

One
guy said   “Don't you love these CEO types? ''I know that this is our milk cow, but the shareholders want a steak today.'' And by the time poor ole Betsy dies, the CEO has moved on to other pastures.”

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

by: rjrkea This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 14:40:02 2014

I want to point out the Wenig is currently the President of eBay Global Marketplaces which is the position Donohoe held prior to succeeding Meg. And just as the problems in the Marketplace started when he came on board in 2006 in the Marketplaces, it's under Wenig that the "defect" system has been introduced [as well as that sassy change in the ebay logo] so we may be out of the frying pan and into the fire as sellers.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Justbecauseitscute
Web Site

Tue Sep 30 14:40:57 2014

FINALLY!! The worst CEO in eBay's history is now gone!! Byebye and good riddance. This guy was so out of touch it's amazing ebay survived under his leadership.

Now where's that bottle of champagne I was keeping for special occasion

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Sep 30 15:17:57 2014

@rjrkea

EXACTLY.  That is my concern too.  He is there currently and in a high ranking position.  He is part of all the decisions, so what is it about him that is going to be better than JD.

You know, he could be worse!  There is that old saying better dealing with the devil you know than the one you don't.

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by: VintageLady This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Sep 30 15:24:39 2014

Murphy's Law applies:
''Every man advances hierarchically to the level of his own incompetence''.
He would make a good political candidate though...hopefully the constituents/voters will see through the BS quicker than we, ex-Sellers did.

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 15:29:46 2014

Ebay an ecommerce company?
No, not really.
They don't do any ecommerce. What they do is provide a computer service to us sellers.  We are the ones doing the ecommerce.

Remember Meg?  ''Ebay is only a venue''.  They were scrupulous to avoid becoming a party to the transaction, which was between the buyer and the seller. Ebay was *not* involved.

But in later years ebay has themselves become embroiled in the transaction between the buyer and the seller, dictating business policies that every business must set for themselves.  Dictating returns, dictating how much shipping can be (by suppressing you in search if you are deemed to be too expensive on shipping, even if you are losing money),

The reason? Ebay had a reputation for expensive shipping, because we sellers want the buyers to pay the entire cost of the transaction, which is how business actually is.  The customer pays for everything!

Enter the Donahoe regime, who realized they can force US sellers to pay the shipping, and it wouldn't cost Ebay a cent!

They can force individual sellers to sell items at unrealistically low prices, with fast free shipping, easy returns(now for 6 months).  And all this at unprofitable prices.

This will be the Donahoe legacy, where he turned a profitable computer service company into a weak, fake ecommerce company that doesn't sell anything.

A company that is despised by it's own customers.  

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 15:37:04 2014

@VintageLady

>Murphy's Law applies:
''Every man advances hierarchically to the level of his own incompetence''.

That's the Peter Principle, not Murphy's Law

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

by: Cyclestripper This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 16:02:54 2014

Fear Devin Wenig. He is completely clueless and nothing but a Donahoe sycophant.

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Tue Sep 30 16:28:00 2014

His tenure will be remembered by me from my Personal HELL since 2008 as

1. Severe Depression

2. Acute Anxiety

3. Post Traumatic Donahoe Disorder

4. Tears

5. Chest Pain

6. Ulcer

7. Dread

Thank you Johnny for the SEVERE distress you caused a loyal, top seller, and for ALL the pain you allowed lying @ass buyers to inflict on me which inflicted pain and suffering on them also seeing the pain you caused me when I did not deserve it, OR earn it from the few lousy buyers who ALMOST put me out of business through no fault of my own !

Thank you for the EVIL CS Reps, who could of cared less when I was screwed and could prove it, and would get so disgusted with my plea for fairness, they got ignorant and hung up on me with a take your penalty or leave !

That is how I remember tenure !

ROT IN HELL ! To little to late, you my friend have literally RUINED peoples lives for real !

Hope a higher power shows you someday the pain and suffering you caused good honest sellers, because you could not find a way to punish the truly bad sellers, so you let us ALL be punished by your impossible standards !

Good Riddance !!!!!!!!

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This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Tue Sep 30 16:29:47 2014

TYPO ERRORS CORRECTION:

Thank you Johnny for the SEVERE distress you caused a loyal, top seller, and for ALL the pain you allowed lying @ss buyers to inflict on me which inflicted pain and suffering on my family also seeing the pain you caused me when I did not deserve it, OR earn it from the few lousy buyers who ALMOST put me out of business through no fault of my own !

Perminate Link for How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?   How Will John Donahoe's Tenure at eBay Be Remembered?

by: COH This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 16:30:15 2014

2015 is only 3 months away.  He'll be heading the transition team (good luck with that, team).  

They are getting rid of him before the holiday season, which starts essentially NOW.  Wedig will take over immediately, I believe.  But the question is, what will HE do?

Changes are never implemented quickly, and with eBay, changes always bring on unintended consequences.  

SPIN OFF COLLECTIBLES to its own Auction site (with BIN option) like the OLD eBay.  Hopefully, they kept copies of the last version that worked with with the OLD search engine, and can ramp it up quickly...  

Let the big boxes have the 'new and improved' eBay.

Yeah, dream on, Celiene.

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