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Sat Dec 15 2007 11:50:07

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

By: Ina Steiner

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For 8 years I've covered eBay closely, and I can tell you when something seems out of the ordinary. This article caught my attention: "EBay president to speak in Bettendorf." No offense to the fine people of Bettendorf, but Betten-where? Meg doesn't do a huge amount of public speaking, and she saves it for big events. For her to speak at a chamber of commerce in a place where eBay doesn't even have a physical presence seemed odd, to say the least.

The pieces of the puzzle fell into place when I did a search for Bettendorf. It's in Iowa. You know, where all the presidential candidates are hanging out trying to get votes in the all-important upcoming Iowa caucuses.

Meg is working hard to get Mitt Romney elected president, as this blog has previously noted. I just wonder if the tab for her appearance at the Bettendorf Chamber of Commerce is being paid by eBay, by herself, or by the Romney campaign. Will she mention Romney? Is this appearance really an ad for his campaign, and if so, does it fall under campaign finance laws? And what about eBay shareholders, should they be picking up the tab for what may turn out to be Romney's political campaigning?

I'm just asking the questions, that's what this blog designed to do. Maybe the fine citizens of Bettendorf will comment here and let us know if Whitman's talk on "how eBay became the largest auction service and address emerging e-commerce and business trends" sticks to the message. Citizen journalists, here's your chance to do some reporting. (Photos of Meg in Iowa are welcome.)




Comments (23) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: Eric

Sat Dec 15 12:13:26 2007

Wow, Meg Whitman is like Romney's Oprah!

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: Charles

Sat Dec 15 22:59:38 2007

Meg Whitman seems to have lost focus on the important things that made eBay successful. How about reducing the punishing sellers' fees? And take actions make and even balance between the amount of eBay buyers to eBay sellers? ...So that eBay stops being a site with too many sellers vs. buyers.  Meg Whitman turned eBay into a place to SELL instead of a place to BUY.  CEO's seem not to care about the little people that make a company work ..like the sellers. They only care about quick profits and quarterly earnings for the share holders. So maybe she'll raise seller's fees again and put more ads on TV to tell people how to sell on eBay.  Just sell on eBay and get charged big fees when nobody buys your item! ''HA! HA!'', I can hear the board of directors chuckle as they chomp their cigars.

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous

Sun Dec 16 01:38:00 2007

Just another reason to leave the marketplace.

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: jsicolts

Sun Dec 16 07:08:06 2007

right-wing evil liar. you have to be nuts to listen to anything that witch has to say.

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: Floyd R

Sun Dec 16 07:37:16 2007

I doubt Meg ever heard of Bettendorf til just now either.

Keep Meg & ebay out of our nation's politics. Things are screwed up enough already.

The LAST thing we need is Meg Whitman & ebay anywhere near our govt

Boycott ebay



eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: Sue @ TameBay

Sun Dec 16 10:57:05 2007

If she's going campaigning for Romney, she ought to quit eBay RIGHT NOW. Never mind eBay shareholders picking up the tab for the appearance: what about eBay *sellers* picking up the tab?

I for one am not impressed if my fees are being spent campaigning for a candidate who makes me want to puke, in a country which is neither the one where I was born nor the one where I live.

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: Henrietta

Sun Dec 16 11:12:29 2007

Eric -
Wrong candidate and wrong party, I think that would be OBAMA's Oprah?

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: Boston ebay seller

Sun Dec 16 19:48:24 2007

Ina, why not contact the Boston Globe's reporter covering the Romney campaign?  Could be a useful tip!

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: LP

Mon Dec 17 02:55:22 2007

Charles (comment 2), can you explain why lowering seller fees would help a ''too many sellers'' problem?

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: firemeg

Mon Dec 17 05:13:14 2007

It's funny that Whitman has chosen to publicly endorse a right wing conservative candidate while still being employed by eBay.  eBay Inc. is a progressive, liberal company with left leaning values.

What does it say being that the leader of that company does not share the views of the company as a whole?

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: onlyebay

Mon Dec 17 11:43:32 2007

It's truly surprising how anti-Meg everybody is (or at least professional sellers and shareholders).  Unfortunately,  I am not sure her likely replacement (Donahoe) is much better.

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: Sib

Mon Dec 17 23:05:58 2007

No, Henrietta, Eric hit the nail on the head. Whitman is Romney's version of ''Oprah'' - someone whom he hopes will influence millions and pack 'em in the houses. The scary thing is that he seriously thinks Meg Whitman might positively influence wide numbers of people to vote for him.

Love her or hate her, Oprah is respected by millions of people, especially women, but is also known for admitting her faults and foibles. She knows her limitations as a person and knows when to come out and apologize profusely. (I.e. weight loss issues, James Frey, her history of doing skanky ''tabloid shows'', the recent allegations in South Africa).

The same cannot be said for Whitman. As a woman business owner - and former eBay seller - as much as I like seeing a out in front woman CEO, I'd much prefer seeing a COMPETENT one.

But...Thanks Romney - you've given me a great reason not to vote for you.

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: jcglobalsales

Tue Dec 18 08:57:19 2007

I live in Iowa.Here's reality to Meg Whitman and the Romney campaign.Prior to Meg being named a national voice for the Nick Romney campaign Romney was the front running candidate with millions of more dollars than any of the other candidates.Now,with Meg,Romney is no longer the leader.A little known guy from the State of Arkansas is.Iowans are not dummies,they see thru phony campaign money and phony promises.Hence Hillary,who tells everyone she has it locked when many private polls (polls where customers come into a place of business and vote for their candidate of choice) have her as low as 4th place.Money does not buy an election (AKA:John Kerry).Honesty and character does.Meg jumps in on a campaign that she thought had the most money to get elected.

Here's the reality to Meg.She took over a company that was already on a meteoric rise in growth.It was going to grow no matter who was at the helm.Do people think that Disney did not see that.Meg didn't refuse Disney,Disney refused Meg.This is one of the worst CEO's in history.She's taking a once great company made by sellers and has turned it into what it is today.Such as buying the Skype debacle.Or buying enough of Craigslist to only where the founders of Craigslist benefitted.Meg is a joke.

And so far you've heard about Obama/Oprah - Edwards/Bacon - Romney and who the heck is Meg.To give Meg a tagline like Oprah is an insult to Oprah.Oprah is self made,Meg took over a company that was already made and has steadily destroyed it.

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: GGG

Tue Dec 18 09:33:37 2007

Margaret (aka ''meg'') supporting *any* candidate speaks volumes in my book... the way she/ebay not only allows fraud to run rampant on ebay, but actually promotes it, by ignoring the buyer and seller reports of the fraudulent activity on the site... I would never vote for, promote, nor endorse *anything* ebay/meg is behind...

to Charles... I agree with you about the exhorbitant fees, however if ebay merely enforced what their POLICIES PREACH, that would cut the seller base probably close to in half, after ''taking out the trash'' and suspending *permanently* the accounts of those fraudulent sellers...

Not only would there be a better market for sellers, but ALL of those poor buyers that are ripped off daily by ebay allowing those thief sellers to stay, just *might* return if they felt more protected... though it's probably too late for that... they've just given themselves *such* a bad reputation... I think it's a done deal...

ebay allows and even promotes fraud, strictly to collect their fees, buyer gets ripped off by fraudulent seller, ebay does nothing... bye bye buyer... we (as sellers) just lost another potential sale... I'm truly amazed, better yet, dumbfounded at ebay's ignorance, incompetence and inability to see this happening...

I've been an ebay seller for 9 years and 10 months (just a few days longer than meg has been ceo), and it's crystal clear to myself and many others that ebay is dying... their greed has grown to near unimaginable proportions, making them choose unbelievably poor business decisions, that have and will continue to cost them greatly.

The heydays of ebay are over. They've screwed, tatooed and buried themselves right out of a job by raping, then spitting on their long~time, honest sellers (the ones who *made* them what they once *were*) and by completely ignoring buyers, such as complicating, to the point of utter stupidity, the search format and refusing to protect buyers from fraudulent sellers.

ebay is no longer a ''hot topic'' and if, in those rare moments, they do come up in conversation, people rarely have anything nice to say about them anymore.

I stopped listing w/ebay a few months ago (and started slowing *way* down on listing over the last 5 years) and opened shop on another (in the top 3) venue, and I must say, not only am I loving the customer support (remember what that is? ebay sure doesn't), but I'm loving not having to pay ebay one slim dime for listing, nor FVF... and the best part? I'm not competing with the fraud, thus I don't need to ''gamble'' by opening my bidding at a penny, just to beg buyers to even look... it's a store format... I set my price, they but it, and everyone's happy! :)

ebay has been slowly (or not so slowly) commiting suicide over the last two years especially by ''punishing'' the honest, hardworking sellers on their site and it's finally taking it's toll on them...

So long ebay, it was fun while it lasted!

(gads! meg in politics? I hope I can sleep tonight now! what a terrifying nightmare!)  

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: GGG

Tue Dec 18 10:00:46 2007

To jcglobalsales... here's a tidbit on meg and her competence (or extreme lack there of)... do you know she almost REFUSED the job at ebay? Because she didn't see a future with a "no name" company like ebay... LMHO!

I mean, my gosh, anyone with even half a functioning braincell back then could see that ebay was going to SCREAM to the top of the charts, nope, not lil' ol' meg! LMHO

And this moron is ebay's "leader"?

That pretty much explains things doesn't it?

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Tue Dec 18 11:08:59 2007

In the "keeping 'em honest" department:

Meg is speaking again in Iowa. Only this time, she clearly states why she is speaking and on who's behalf. "EBay CEO to speak on Romney's behalf."

http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/200712
18/BUSINESS/712180373/-1/SPORTS09

Transparency
is so important!

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: Ann Farmer

Wed Dec 19 01:29:00 2007

SHORT AND SWEET.
IF MEG IS SUPPORTING MITT ROMNEY, I WILL BE VOTING FOR ANY OTHER CANDIDATE.
YOU MUST KNOW IF HE IS WILLING TO SUCK UP TO MEG, IT'S NOT IN OUR BEST INTEREST. BOYCOTT ROMNEY..
I will send this to him, to see if he still covets her precious support.
GGRRRrrrrrr
Ann

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: Nick West

Wed Dec 19 12:27:02 2007

Thats why I left when eBay last raised it's fees, and pulled the rug out from under store owners.

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: Hani Durzy

Thu Dec 20 13:56:26 2007

Hi all -- I just wanted to clarify a couple of things that Ina and others have brought up. Yes, Meg is a supporter of Gov. Romney, who is a longtime friend and former colleague of hers; in fact, she is his National Finance Co-Chair. It’s a purely personal choice and is not representative of the views or opinions of eBay Inc.  It also has no impact on her ability to address the day-to-day operational needs of the business. Meg was already on personal vacation time this week when she went out to Iowa on behalf of the Romney campaign; she paid for the travel and expenses entirely out of her own pocket, and didn’t use company aircraft to get there.


As a high-profile executive, Meg has a lot of company among business leaders who have chosen to publicly support one candidate or another (Cisco’s John Chambers is a McCain supporter; Warren Buffett backs Clinton, just to name two.) But as a private citizen, Meg has the same rights as everyone else, including the right to back whatever candidate she chooses.

eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa   eBay CEO Meg Whitman to Speak in Iowa

by: charles

Fri Dec 21 23:03:08 2007

LP - Regarding your question.  My statement said there are too many sellers vs. buyers - not too many sellers. Lowering the sellers fee's would allow seller's to drop their prices back to where they used to be and attract more buyers to balance the ratio out.  I am not against more sellers - but raising sellers fees causes sellers to raise product prices and also causes some unscrupulous sellers to resort to raising shipping prices to recoup profits lost from eBay and PayPal fees.  It all drives buyers away.  I have had to rais my eBay prices to counteract eBay's seller's fees and buyers have increased their complaints and gripes about my price raises through the years - and they have consequently bought less.

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