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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: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 2 00:08:56 2014

''it only took J.C. Penney 17 months to dump their CEO''

It's truly sad it has taken so long to get JD out of there. The BoD failed all of ebays users by letting JD continue, now ebay Inc will have to reap the fruit of Donahoes labor; sour, rotten grapes and lemons.

It's finally time for them to eat some crow.

What I cannot truly understand is how Pierre Omidyar did nothing to stop the madness at ebay. He once stated ebay was a place to give small merchants a chance to compete with large. Did he stop JD? No, he sat back and watched him destroy what made bay great.

Pierre is just as guilty as John Donahoe- he sat on the board and did nothing.

They both should be imprisoned.

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This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted

Thu Oct 2 01:03:43 2014

In my mind, I see DonAhole like I see an ISIS Jihad soldier; beheading and crucifying small sellers and using 'updates' to further sell them into corporate slavery. He sure did a good job of destructing the ebay market, and turning it into flames of terror for small niche sellers.

So, what has DonAhole's karma brought him? Alibaba's IPO made ebay, inc. look like a flea market stall full of junk. Amazon punk'D little Johnny Ho by turning his stock price into junk status. Billions of dollars of antiques are selling just fine elsewhere.

DonAhole wrote the book on 'Destroying ebay a guide: for Dummies'. No matter what was working, his direction was to destroy the success of sellers, as though he thought he was crushing them like grapes to make wine. What he made was hatred, despair and distrust, where there was once light and hope.

How many of you quit your day jobs back when ebay was easy to sell on, and felt empowered by creating your own paycheck? That American dream is what John seemed intent on destroying. Whatever you did right, he wanted it for his credit, so he sabotaged you in order to gain from your pain.

Annie saw the same thing I saw in JD's last interview; a mumbling mentally ill fool using corporate gobbledegook, like a schizophrenic makes up words when talking to himself. A troubled man with too much power and the souls of millions on his back; all those he terrorized with his destructive policies are now shadows on the wall, watching and listening to his own insanity.

I'm just going to use this as therapy and believe the BoD orchestrated a coup d'état to move the 'crazy uncle' into the corner rocking chair with one of those 'spit guards' on his face while they figure out how to undue the insanity he infected on us all.

The concern I have is that the new CEO, Devil, is so brainwashed with this gobbledegook control that JD infected the atmosphere with that Devil will imitate the same style and not realize that JD's evil has crept into his soul.

ebay doesn't need a visionary as CEO. Ebay needs a CEO who will get out of the way, STFU and stop micromanaging the venue. We are the magic of ebay, not some 'leader' who is ignorant to the organic structure of individual entrepreneurs who built the concept. 'If it wasn't broke, stop fixing it'.

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Thu Oct 2 02:21:06 2014

So this moron CEO gets paid millions of dollars in compensation but makes a deal with Samsung G5 and thinks Apple will go along with the Apple Pay Paypal deal? Donahoe thought he was indestructible and couldn't be touched but out of touch and delusional is more like it. Guess JD isn't waving his iphone around anymore.

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by: P.Dorf This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 2 03:50:10 2014

well...I put this together in 2008, seems prophetic

http://imgur.com/QfUIoOW

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 2 04:34:03 2014

@ Xander

''It's finally time for them to eat some crow.''

Exactly.

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

by: tawhite This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 2 10:27:34 2014

Next on the agenda: when will eBay cut ties with ALEC?

http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

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This user has validated their user name. by: Beanie

Thu Oct 2 12:48:37 2014

Seems to me all the CEOs do is move around from company to company like pieces on a chess board reaping as much as they can for their own gain and leave the companies broken and everything left in ruins. It is so sad to see a once fun and thriving company come to this. WE THE PEOPLE, Mom and Pop, good hard working people, just wanted to make a better life for their selves and their families. And WE THE PEOPLE have and will show Ebay that we will no longer tolerate the abuse. They MUST make changes back to a earlier business model that was working. Ecommerce has grown leaps and bounds and people WILL find other avenues to do business!

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

by: sailormoon This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 2 13:50:37 2014

I will say this - yes, fee circumvention has all but been fixed. Between forcing paypal, fees on shipping charges, and automatically banning URLs and email address, it's next to  impossible to get around ebay's fees.

However, that's obviously not much good when sellers are leaving the site in droves and setting up elsewhere. How is ebay supposed to collect fees when people aren't selling anything? It's generally assumed the big box stores ebay is wooing to the site to replace small sellers are getting fee breaks. Who knows if that's true, though.

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by: notfunanymore This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 2 15:13:36 2014

I met this guy at ebay live in Boston, before he took over. He was very full of himself, I was not impressed. Once he took on his position with ebay, I cringed, thinking of what he would do. Well, you don't need a Harvard &  Wharton degree in business to figure out what was going to happen. Sadly, he took the legs out from so many people, good people, who want to make an honest living. The rules and policy changes under his regime,  have crushed so many of the people who made ebay what it is. No one is perfect, however, this guy never liked small sellers, he is a corporate guy. I don't wish him bad, however, I will be thrilled when he's gone. The ''mom and pop'' ebay sellers are like the mom and pop stores that were in every town. Then the corporate's come in, walmart, home depot, etc, etc, that knocked out the mom and pops. Same thing here, hopefully, there will be something to salvage once he's gone

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This user has validated their user name. by: shabbychick

Thu Oct 2 15:15:42 2014

Well said, Bankrupted! At least you are not spiritually bankrupt as is Mr Donahoe.

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

Thu Oct 2 15:41:54 2014

Ask anyone that lost many thousands getting scammed on an eBay Motors vehicle transaction.

Don't know whats worse, the phishing scammers, or the hit and run slimebags that lie about a cars condition, promise free shipping and ship the vehicle cod!

https://blog.ebaymotorssucks.com/10578/08/two-cars-sold-tw
o-negs-free-shipping/

They
need ID Verification for vehicle sellers. Doubt it will ever be implemented.

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by: Winkle Me Evilbay This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 2 19:11:51 2014

He'll be remembered in Vancouver, BC as the man that lied and mislead 1,000 employees & executives and then canned them all without any advance notice; so Canada doesn't remember him fondly;

In the US he helped launch the greatest downfall and hatred of a once loved and successful website. He will never be remembered as having 1. intelligence 2. compassion 3. common sense or 4. integrity. He will be remembered for his arrogance and greed. Hopefully he will be an example in future MBA classes of "how to not run a company". He is truly one of the most hated men in business. Ever.

I agree with the comment above, next Brian Burke. He's of the same cut of cloth but much lower on the IQ and integrity scale (if that's possible). And take "Uncle" Griff with you too. He's a complete joke and it's long past time to retire that puppet.

Also the replacement is just as bad as Donahoe. There will be no relief unless Devin wises up real quick, which I don't think is possible. He does NOT value small sellers or US sellers. He ushered in the Chinese sellers and supports the USPS funding of mailing costs for Chinese sellers -which undercuts the US sellers completely.

He thinks Ebay should be populated with ONLY big box sellers, cheap Chinese crap and no customer service is needed.

On a good note, I think the most popular name for new born boys in the Philippines is "John". That many be the only place on the planet where John Donahoe will be remembered fondly.

Good riddance to an evil man.

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by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 2 23:27:43 2014

David, thank you very much for the well written story.

Many of us have been wondering how long the John Donahoe would continue running ebay the way he was, so it's great news to hear he will be leaving the CEO position.

If I had to guess, I'd say there are a lot more details as to how this happened.

Please keep us posted as more information about his departure unfolds. Many of us are waiting for the truth as to how JD was sacked. I seriously doubt he wanted to give up being CEO.

We'll have a ''good riddance to the HO'' party and celebrate long and hard.

Salute!  

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by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 2 23:38:01 2014

I wonder when ebay is going to cancel John Donahoe's 24-hour security team.

Will he have to live without his 24-hour security?

Are violins starting to come out of their fuzzy lined cases on the promenade deck?
Is there a 40 degree tilt in San Jose?
It is starting to look that way.

I hope he enjoys his parachute.

WE KNOW Wenig is the same.

We have been educated, we are familiar with ebays body of work.

We wanted to be PARTNERS but instead WE WERE "CONDITIONED".

Try to run a business here and we get "Behavior Modification".

VOICE our opinions, seek comfort from others and we get "Social Engineering".

Now, this company gets illegally HYPED by Andreeson and then stripped off ala' Bain- this is what we get for sticking with ebay.

Everybody get it now, right?

With kindness,

Analyzing ever-changing contradictory policy is a DIVERSION, a waste of time.

Ebay policy IS a contradiction.

Peace and respect,
Mass Howler

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This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Fri Oct 3 19:38:56 2014

Well said, Mr. Steiner.

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

Fri Oct 3 20:48:30 2014

However John Donahoe's legacy is written, one thing is certain: it will not reflect the breadth and depth of the damage he did to investors, rank and file employees (past and present), upper level female executives, and the various marketplaces that were thriving when he began his 'disruption.'

The extent of the above damage pales in comparison to the damage he cruelly and intentionally inflicted on hundreds of thousands of sellers that Negged Meg Whitman begged to quit their brick and mortar jobs and sell full time on ebay.

But breaking this covenant wasn't enough for this arrogant Stanford Business School sociopath. He presided over if not personally engineered the destruction of hundreds of thousands of small American small businesses while doing everything he could to make sure that Chinese businesses on ebay.com were/are successful by deliberately crippling and otherwise disadvantaging American small businesses.

This was John Donahoe's most notorious 'success' -- former sellers on food stamps, welfare, WIC, repossession, mortgage foreclosure, divorce, and suicide all while he took home poverty level wages that ranged between $13 and $26 million annually.

I believe John Donahoe's goal was never to be another Amazon but rather to copy the WalMart model which has largely destroyed small brick and mortar Main Street businesses and American manufacturing by creating unfair arrangements with the Chinese.

His goal was the extermination of small American sellers by making them non competitive with the Chinese by creating policies pre destined and pre engineered to cause failure.

Donahoe did little to improve the value of ebay stock during his tenure, but he and his elitist little gang of Bainified synchophants made sure they were exorbitantly and obscenely compensated with free stock shares.

He squandered ebay cash on acquisitions many of whose usefulness remains to be seen.

He had to re patriate off shore funds and take the tax hit. He had to issue bonds to rise capital. He was, in short, living beyond his means in ebayland.

The ill will and hatred he created among his customers in the last seven years (the exceptions being the criminal buyers he created and coddled) is probably unprecedented in American business history.

His idea of innovation and vision was to repeat b school buzzwords over and over and over while waving his smartphone in front of his smarmy face.

No matter which arena it was, John Donahoe could be counted on the make a decision that was 180 degrees wrong.

He persuaded clueless Pierre to appoint a Board of Directors who governed like wolves in the chicken house suffering from periodic attacks of selective blindness.

It should come as surprise, then, that this over educated incompetent sociopath would surround himself with similar though even less competent reflections of himself.

No, the b school case history text book writers and Wall Street 'reporters' will write about how Carl Icahn and Donahoe's persistent refusal to divest PayPal caused his downfall.

They ALL will be wrong.

WE brought Humpty Dumpty down by letting our friends and family and their friends and families know just how unsafe, predatory, and fundamentally evil ebay had become, and they took their buying dollars elsewhere.

Unless Chinese business lover Devil Wenig does an abrupt about face and changes course (and a score of anti American seller policies) immediately, ebay is finished.

It's quite close to death now for most American sellers whose name isn't Jack Sheng.

The corpse may twitch for a while, but the stench can now be smelled by more than just us.

The holiday buying season Q4 rapidly approaches, Devin Wenig.

Are YOU smart to reverse course or will you be known as the CEO who presided over the final chapter of ebay's demise?

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

Fri Oct 3 23:44:40 2014

Even "No Touchy Jackie Sheng's" STR is down around the 5–6% figure ...

Well done Johnny Ho ... Jeff Bezos salutes you ...

And, I don't suppose we can expect Devin "Little" will do anything about the endemic shill bidding fraud that they so calculatingly facilitate on the consumers of the world? No, I did not think so …

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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by: gutspiller This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 4 10:08:48 2014

LOL everytime I come to read this article and the new comments I read the title as

How will John Donahoe's TORTURE at Ebay be remembered

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by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 4 10:14:30 2014

He was a total and complete  failure.
Out for himself he got his 28 million dollar bonus check by charging fees on shipping and cheating sellers.
Countless execs and managers jumped the sinking ship.
He is leaving the mess with buyer fraud running rampant, sellers fleeing, and a tangled web of ignorant policies that seem to be put in effect just to anger sellers.
He called sellers noise, not ebay customers.
He has been a help to other venues and new websites as sellers left ebay.
He is a short sighted, full of himself bully who had no clue.
He may end up being charged with Rico Act Violations and insider trading.
He has made ebay a stressful nightmare for sellers as he punishes the honest people and rewards theft and fraud.
He will be remembered as a terrible CEO who destroyed a online retail community to fuel his greed and self conceit.
Quite frankly he is a idiot

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by: Santini This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 4 12:07:59 2014

LOL. Just came across this old article in a search:
http://www.genuineseller.com/ebays-disruptive-innovation-ho
ws-that-workin-for-ya

basically,
the intro said it all:

eBay’s Disruptive Innovation, How’s that workin’ for ya?

by Steve on September 26, 2008

John Donahoe is less popular than President George W. Bush. The President took years to get to this point, Mr. Donahoe accomplished it in just one year...

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