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Tue Sept 18 2007 09:26:12

BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes

By: Ina Steiner

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Expect to see more articles like one from BusinessWeek about eBay's changes ("EBay's Bid to Win Back Buyers"). I'm quite skeptical that any of the reporters will dig into the fact that eBay can't make its existing features glitch-free as it continues to pile on changes to the site. This article also swallows unquestioningly eBay's premise that its new search technology "Finding 2.0" is better.  ("It also returns results according to relevance-ensuring that, say, a search for Apple (AAPL) iPods yields actual Apple music players, and not pages of related accessories.") Not necessarily the opinion of eBay users.

When I got into market research in the high-tech field in the mid-80's, there was an expression: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But eBay keeps tinkering, despite pleas from users, and now it's taking the tinkering to a whole new level.

I'm also skeptical that reporters will question why a company like eBay delivers such poor customer support. Reporters need to do much more reading on the industry discussion boards and talk to more users before publishing eBay's public relations material.

The BusinessWeek article does nail it when it states, "If eBay becomes too straightforward, it risks eliminating the serendipitous shopping experience the latter group craves. On the other hand, getting convenience shoppers to linger via social tools including Neighborhoods, won't be easy either." Too bad it stopped there.






Comments (10) | Permalink

Readers Comments

BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes   BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: Bob

Tue Sep 18 12:22:14 2007

The BusinessWeek Article is right on when it comes to lousy Customer Service.  Here is an example.
I noticed that an item that I successfully sold was in the unsold items section of my eBay Service Manager.  I wrote eBay Customer Service.  Their response was that it was because I did not sell the item on eBay, and a warning that selling items off eBay was a violation.
I had an item number, (that could only come from eBay), A payment for the sale in PayPal, and an e-mail from eBay notifying me of the item sold.  How could they possible say the item was not sold on eBay?  The situation is unbelieveable.  Plus, the wording of the reply shows that the writer is not fluent in English.  It looks like the answer came from off shore (India) and was the response to someone else's question, because it was so unrelated to the situation.

BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes   BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes

by: Richard Chemel

Tue Sep 18 13:25:39 2007

Ina, I have a piece on this very subject. I believe the market has matured, and buyers now have many different ecommerce sites to choose from. Also the initial ebay buyers are aging, and moving on to easier, non stressful sites. Sometimes the excitement of the auction just doesn't cut it.

About the new incoming audience. eBay shouldn't insult their intellegence with all this cutesy marketing- and trying to mimic myspace or facebook.

just my two cents
Richard Chemel
ePlay 24/7

BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes   BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes

by: Kelly

Tue Sep 18 13:54:47 2007

Ina, Its sad that eBay still has such a long way to go when it comes to customer service. How many times does on inquiry to CS result in a response from eBay that does not address the question? They certainly have the funds to hire some talented folks to help their customers ($2Bil for Skype!). Also, I am  not sure how ''making eBay fun'' makes the site more appealing to customers. Personally when I am looking for something to buy online I want to find it quickly and at a a fair price so I may leave my computer and do other ''fun'' things. Kelly

BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes   BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes

by: Matt

Wed Sep 19 06:12:02 2007

eBay's share of overall US retail sales is now falling around 5% per quarter. This is a worry sign and the company is doing all it can to try and stop this decline.

Personally I feel that its move away from its traditional niche of collectibles into higher end consumer electronics has created a brand-misalignment.

BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes   BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes

by: Chairman

Thu Sep 20 04:37:49 2007

eBay damaged its brand with sellers ,who are the content providers for the site.

The fee pressure caused many of the best sellers of low value goods to migrate. This may not seem a big deal to eBay but a community of niche but wide content brings buyers back.

eBay at one time was a place to find all sorts of things with a community of talented experts sellers amongst the clutter of wannabes.

eBay sellers are/were loyal subscribers and content providers for the site. If they migrate the site suffers.

BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes   BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes

by: Alex

Thu Sep 20 14:14:15 2007

Amazingly, as more areas of the  site become more & more unusable, the stock keeps getting higher & higher.

Broken active & now even completed search, more open doors to scammers, shill bidding, counterfeit items, NO customer service, PayPal scams, abuse of sellers, endless buck passing. The list is endless...

Proof positive that none of these ''experts'' really do much digging into the operations of a company.

They just swallow the PR Dept's drivel hook line & sinker.

I think they actually believe the extreme & endless changes are actually designed to make things better. By the time they wake up, lots of investors will lose their behinds...

A smart reporter reading this should get off their backside & do some real digging. You could have the biggest business news story of the year....

Unbelievable !!

BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes   BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes

by: Another Wronged Seller

Thu Sep 20 19:54:14 2007

This is another example of a reporter swallowing a press release hook, line and sinker without doing the most cursory checking.

Give the reporter my contact information. I'll give them a real education on the true state of affairs at ebay!

BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes   BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes

by: garry king

Fri Sep 21 17:47:06 2007

What Ebay continues to miss is it is just plain cumbersome to find and buy something on their site unless you are looking forward to speding a lot of time doing it. I suppose that is the "entertainment factor"? Management is more fascinated with tweaking results than delivering accurate results, and with feature bloat as a fix for too many things that just don't work right to begin with.

Just my 2 cents

BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes   BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes

by: jsicolts

Mon Sep 24 05:51:51 2007

It's BUSINESSWEEK, not FACTSWEEK magaqzine. Pure rubbish from a right wing heavy handed trash mag.

BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes   BusinessWeek Article on eBay Changes

by: Brian

Fri Sep 28 13:58:39 2007

It seems like the more they make eBay ''better'' the more their stock declines. I've been using eBay for years (since high school), it started as an online auction site and thats what people liked about it. The more they try to  monopolize internet sales the more confusing and un''fun'' eBay gets. I go to eBay to buy cool things I can't get in my town, not to have fun. Its all about money now, first eBay takes your money then paypal (or eBay again if you think about it). All the take off companies on the internet have gotten power hungry and are trying  to dominate it, what ever happened to contributing something innovating and unique to the global community and just letting it be what it is?



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