AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Tue Sept 30 2014 09:00:49

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

By: David Steiner

Sponsored Link

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

Comments (184) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

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

by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 19:28:30 2014

Alcatraz is close to San Jose... JD can go there.

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: laurengrace

Tue Sep 30 19:33:54 2014

Would like to nominate Richard Branson as new owner of ebay

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: Anonymous

Tue Sep 30 19:56:48 2014

Woo hoo! Just an hour ago I made a post on FB, not yet knowing that Donahoe is/will be GONE (and very quickly forgotten, by most sellers). This is BIG, GOOD news!!!

Who knows how the next exec will run eBay? But right now all that matters is JD is outta here and things are going to CHANGE (yet again).

I only hope that this new Devin guy turns eBay around. He's gonna have a lot of tough competition on his hands with Jack Ma/Alibaba. And right now, I'm following Ma b/c he's da man!

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

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

Tue Sep 30 20:03:06 2014

Everyone here should tweet the URL of this blog on John Donahoe's Twitter (yes, he has a Twitter account)...

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

by: Cloud This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 20:06:10 2014

I think I'm going to have an impromptu party. Where are my noisemakers.

Farewell Donahue. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. This noise maker is still making noise.

Doing the happy dance.

I don't know what eBay's future will be under Wenig but since this noise maker already had one foot out the door and the other was working its way out, as far as I'm concerned it can't really get any worse.  

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

by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 20:11:08 2014

Jack Ma believes in supporting the people. Ebay supports the stock holders.

I'm conflicted about writing this but I would support Jack Ma before Devin Wenig. I doubt Devin will do anything but mirror more of what JD has done.

Remember, JD is on record by saying: ''He emphasized there was more work to be done. Added Donahoe: “I’m not looking backward yet. I’m looking forward.”

http://fortune.com/tag/john-donahoe/

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: laurengrace

Tue Sep 30 20:17:38 2014

I tweeted him..lol

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

by: extremetm This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 20:23:09 2014

This life-destroying elitist should not only be fired, he should be investigated and jailed.

3 cheers for his demise!

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 20:23:24 2014

@COH

You may have seen some information I haven't, so I hope you don't mind a few questions.

Where did you see that they were getting rid of JD right at the first of the year?  In the articles here, it just says in 2015, not a specific month or date.  

Where did you read that they were getting rid of him before the holiday season?  Again, not what is being reported here.

I'm not trying to pick on you, I'm just absorb all the info.  According to another article here Wenig doesn't take over until after the EBay / PP separation.  Which is sometime next year, not right at the first of the year.  

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

by: extremetm This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 20:36:02 2014

The people in Hong Kong aren't rioting because they want the right to choose. No sir, they are terrified that their Communist leader is leaving and will no longer protect their criminal counterfeit enterprises.

My G-D. 6 years under this bully is finally coming to an end. It has to be sending cheers around the world.

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

by: ConnecticutGal This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 20:50:34 2014

Here's a link to Mr. Wenig's bio, board affiliations, etc.
http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/people/perso
n.asp?personId=609529&ticker=EBAY

I
sure hope we don't see "Ebay Health" in the near future (like Apple's new Health endeavour).

My ex worked for McDonald's in the 70's-80's in a fairly senior corporate position.  Each person in senior mgt there was required to work in a store once a year doing things like flipping burgers, running the fry machine, etc.  They hated it but the experience taught them loads, not the least of which was having to READ the instruction manual about how to run the equipment and prepare the food.  It should be required of all senior mgt at Ebay to buy and sell a minimum number of transactions each quarter to get a better feel for the business.

I would love to see some of the Seller Updates from the past 4 years repealed and repealed by October 15th.   Otherwise, as the other comments before me indicate, there will be a dearth of sellers who sell what people actually go to Ebay to buy.

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

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 21:23:14 2014

I am waiting for the day when I get up and see the New York Times headline read:::

"Former eBay CEO Donahoe sentenced and reports to jail;  Will be sharing cell with Bernie Madoff"

Add to that the tragic pics of the grieving "Jail House Widow"  wandering about the Estate as the officers of the Court come and haul off all those ill-gotten gains in moving trucks to ACTUAL auction houses.

And all the "proceeds"  from the stripping of his "assetts"  will be REFUNDED to those he STOLE from.

Well written article David--will have to sign up for Twitter to get this out!  

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

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 30 21:39:26 2014

no doubt he'll be remembered as a great thinker. Highly innovative. [snicker]

Although an apparent latecomer to eastern thinking, he may prefer to be forgotten?

From his twitter page:


John Donahoe retweeted
John Maeda @johnmaeda  ·  Jun 27

"A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves." —Lao Tzu


Mr. Steiner, well done. Your words are like jeet kun do.
... If only Donahoe had ever known the phrase "be water". Could have saved him days. And face.

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: Map

Tue Sep 30 21:54:44 2014

I foresee the next steps for the Bainsmen is to sell ebay as quickly as they can and run off with the money.

Selling ebay will help cover some tracks of their crimes now that they have been plundered by "The Better than Bain", Mr Carl Icahn.

They will sell ebay before their Imperial Protection is out of the WH.

Icahn will be totally delighted for a eBay sell off because he will make even more money in his successful raid on John Donahoe.

Hopefully all us little guys will be able to sell and make a living again with new owners of eBay.

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

by: hogwarth This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 1 00:26:11 2014

you are so right, he sold out to the big box stores and brought them to ebay at the expense of the small sellers he made ebay what they are today

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

by: truevisionary This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 1 00:51:40 2014

This guy was certainly no Bezos, Ma or Jobs. Not even close to having either the talent, hunger or innovation of those three guys. I will always remember John Donahoe as a lazy slob who squandered vast amounts of potential and goodwill. His tenure was truly horrific.

I am somewhat optimistic now that he is going but Devin is hardly the man for the job either. Ebay needs a true visionary and until they get one the platform will continue to lose ground.

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: Ming the Merciless

Wed Oct 1 01:01:05 2014

No industry wide lessons will be learned unless the entire Donahoe team is indicted for racketeering under the RICO statutes, anti trust and anti competitive trust statutes, FTC and SEC violations, and millions of counts of criminal conspiracy, criminal deprivation of property, and misdemeanor and felony theft.

Not dozens of cases.

Not hundreds of cases.

Not thousands of cases.

Millions and millions of cases!

Collectively we brought Donahoe down.

WE DID THIS!

We had no help from Wall Street and viurtually no help from mainstream media.

Our only ally has been the Steiners. Thank God for them.

Patronize their advertisers!

Let me the first to fire the first volley over Devil Wenig's bow.

WE CAN BRING YOU DOWN, TOO.

Suggest you START by eliminating the JOYLESS 90 day holiday returns scheme, the defect system, the stars system, and restore mutual feedback effective no later than October 15.

Unfortunately the only attention we can expect to receive from the sociopath Wenig will be more punishment, more abuse, and more thievery.

These guys just never learn.

Bring on Jack Ma!

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: Ming the Merciless

Wed Oct 1 01:11:52 2014

Forgot one:  Immediately restore Ending Soonest as the Default search.

Do it, Wenig, and then start begging sellers to return and give incentives to ones still left -- like free medical insurance for those of us whose physicians say are suffering from job related severe stress related diseases.

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

Wed Oct 1 01:53:03 2014

@ming

JD is still in charge of eBAy until after the PP spinoff sometime next year.  So we could have yet another year of JD yet to come.

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

by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 1 06:27:59 2014







our prayers are been answered.

The main jackace, I mean idiot, no acehole,  is been put in its place !



Click to view more comments
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.