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Sun Dec 14 2008 22:11:09

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

By: Ina Steiner

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AuctionBytes' retrospective series on P2P ecommerce continues with an interview with Jim "Griff" Griffith, one of eBay's earliest employees. In addition to talking about the changes eBay has undergone this year along with some tips for sellers, Griff reveals some new changes ahead.

Griff said eBay is not eliminating or closing the discussion forums. "Community discussion forums are here to stay on eBay. In fact, we are making an investment in the discussion forum platform in the coming year."

"Starting in January of 2009 and going through the first half of the year, we will host a Town Hall on the second Wednesday of every month. The first will be on Jan 14th. We will announce this first Town Hall after New Years."

In discussing feedback, Griff said, "There is a lot more transparency in both the next version of the Seller Dashboard and there are real, solid improvements in the next iteration of the ratings system." In discussing the challenges specific to users who sell internationally (Cross Border Trade), Griff said there are some new solutions under consideration.

You can read the full interview with Griff in the December 15th issue of AuctionBytes Newsflash.




Comments (224) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Patricia

Sun Dec 14 22:40:17 2008

''2) The overall effect of the changes has left many of them feeling as though eBay views them as somehow bad or unwanted. This particular result is the one that, personally, distresses me the most and what is in my opinion, the worst change I have seen in my tenure here and the one I believe we must remedy immediately.''

In order to save the small seller sector of their business - Ebay is going to have to do a LOT more than this!  They've lost the trust and the respect of sellers who used to love Ebay unequivically!!!  It takes a long time to build up trust - but Griff - John Donahoe and his ''disruptive innovations'' has managed to destroy it in less than a year's time!  

Also, as for Town Hall meetings - just saying they will resume tells us nothing!  They had better be very very different then in the past or they will continue to be less than useless.  If they are simply ''mini dog and pony shows'' as they have been in the past then don't waste your time and sellers' time and insult sellers' intelligence because more of the same is only going to make matters even worse!  Don't do it then say you tried and we didn't want to participate.  In a sentence sellers are way too fed up with Ebay and their antics to listen to any more!!!  Many have lost their sales and their business due to Ebay's nonsense - specifically the DSR's and Best Match AND the callous treatment they've received this past year.  Even the inventor of Best Match intimates it is being misused yet Ebay clutches it like the holy grail in spite of complaints from sellers AND buyers!  Be aware - you folks at Ebay are destroying the site and the small seller business on your own without any help from the sellers!!!  Small sellers who feel they've been shoved out in favor of diamond sellers will not drop this - Ebay has hurt them deeply and so they will continue to spread - by word of mouth AND by persuading their customers to follow them elsewhere.  I see doom and a deep nosedive for Ebay in the next quarter.  I suggest you folks get down to the nitty gritty and fix it!

Its clear to me from this interview that Ebay is beginning to see a big hole forming in its bottom line...revenue!  Perhaps that's the only thing that will make Ebay listen to the sellers - its real customers!  Perhaps they're being forced to notice that there just isn't a deep well of new sellers to fill the gap made by older disillusioned sellers!  Perhaps they even realized that its fine to kowtow to buyers - yes - they are needed but GOOD HONEST small sellers are equally needed or business does NOT continue!  You sure don't need an MBA or a sheepskin from harvard to realize that!

Just the honest opinion of a 10 year ex-ebay seller who left with a 100 percent feedback record in the 3,500 range (never one negative) and perfect DSR's!  Frankly, I lost business and it was no longer worth all the guff and baloney!

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Nonsense

Sun Dec 14 22:42:23 2008

"Community discussion forums are here to stay on eBay."

We'll just censor the hell out of them!
We'll just move the threads around to other misc boards so members will just give up trying to find their threads again.

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Nonsense

Sun Dec 14 22:50:22 2008

"There is a lot more transparency in both the next version of the Seller Dashboard and there are real, solid improvements in the next iteration of the ratings system."

What transparency?  Until they get rid of DSR's there will be no transparency.

Improvements to the rating system?

Tell that to the thousands of poor sellers who've already been shut down for nothing more than a few Neg's from NPB's and with virtually NO appeal process in place.  

It's too late for ebay.  The fees are driving off even their shooting star sellers. The ones who've managed to NOT get restricted, YET.
They've made too many mistakes this year and NOTHING can make sellers trust them again. NOTHING!

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Ronald McDonald

Sun Dec 14 22:51:29 2008

Just read this on Myblogutopia -- Interviewing Griff re eBay would be like interviewing Ronald McDonald about McDonald's.

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: ralph Bowman

Sun Dec 14 22:52:05 2008

if he has to explain what e-bay has done to sellers and he knows how bad it has made it for sellers, then there is just one reason e-bay continues to do what they do to sellers.. they don't want small business, they just want to mirror amazon or others like them who just sell new (i can get the same material over and over again) and if they did care they wouldn't make it so hard for us to do business,especially in this climate. I HAVE SAID THIS OVER AND OVER ON E-BAY YOUR NEVER TO BIG TO FAIL AND THEY WILL ,if they continue to treat small sellers like they do.

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: i'd rather remain anonymous

Sun Dec 14 22:57:21 2008

blah blah blah.

ebay can NEVER get back what they have lost from sellers they so cold heartedly crushed.

10 years. former shareholder. 5000+ transactions. 5000+ listings. lifetime 99.8% fb. closed me down for no reason. tossed 5000 listings in the crapper. reinstated me. big whoop. business near zero.

ioffer, bonanzle, ebid. go there now people.

rot in hell ebay.

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Gary

Sun Dec 14 23:07:44 2008

Too little, too late Jim, you and eBay suck. You can't piss on your paying customers (sellers) and expect them to keep paying you.

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: chrissy mamma

Sun Dec 14 23:12:17 2008

Well, part of me really wants to LIKE this guy 'Griff', but while I think..or HOPE that he has the best interests of the sellers in mind, he basically played it political in his comments--saying 'Wow, sorry sellers, we can work on communication and transparency...' even as he realizes 'I can't speak plainly here other than to use spin because eBay, the guys who write my paycheck, will slap me for speaking MUCH MORE HONESTLY'.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Bryan

Sun Dec 14 23:26:32 2008

Griff is thoroughly devoted to making EBAY better. The changes have been hard for many sellers, but it is clear that by making EBAY more buyer friendly it will have a HUGE long-term benefit to sellers. I am really looking forward to more improvements in 2009!
So many buyers were turned off by horror stories in the media of fraud, counterfeit items and scams. It really didn't matter that most sellers were honest---buyers were scared away. EBAY has done LOTS to minimize these problems.  I truly feel that it is a much safer place to buy and sell than ever. I rarely get phony / phishing EBAY emails these days and bad apples are processed out swiftly if justified.  
I think EBAY deserves a lot of praise for all the positive changes made. A great advancement made that Griff neglected to mention, the 'clean slate' which eliminated very old negatives and started looking more closely at just the past year of feedback rather than all the years. This snapshot approach is fairer to both buyers and sellers.  And as far as DSR's -- I think it is great to get a discount every month for superior performance.
Thank you Griff for telling it like it is---I know you are committed to making EBAY an even better marketplace for everyone!

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: mrmargen

Sun Dec 14 23:32:11 2008

Can Griff be believed?  Is he honest?

You decide, BUT...

PLEASE remember that Griff is the SAME individual who wrote this on ebay's ''Seller Central'' discussion board, on a thread titled ''Ebay's Griff Disapproves of Neg from Deadbeat Bidder'':

griff@ebay.com, Aug-14-08 16:38, post #181 of 540

''I've reviewed thousands of disputes between buyers and sellers for the last 12 years and in every single case, the 'rude' behavior on the part of a buyer was always precipitated by unprofessional conduct on the part of the seller who assumed intent on the basis of an initial buyer email and responded accordingly. And I am not exaggerating. I mean, every single case''.

Speaking of threads being arbitrarily moved by ebay...the ''Ebay's Griff Disapproves of Neg from Deadbeat Bidder'' mysteriously disappeared recently from it's original location on ''Seller Central'' and can now be found on ebay's ''Feedback'' discussion board.  An ENORMOUS number of informational threads AND posts are being DELETED at a rapid rate, while Off Topic (unrelated to sellers) threads such as ''OT: Proud Horse Owner'', ''OT Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree'', ''I'm not a cat lover I'm not a cat lover Part 2'' and ''OT: Obsessed With Infinity!'' are allowed to remain on ''Seller Central''.

PLEASE help to stop Donahoe & Whitman's ''Disruptive Innovatio'' of ebay!

http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?jdonoho
e

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Herman

Sun Dec 14 23:41:08 2008

Well, is looks like eBay did not fire their public relations dept. although, it appears they no longer believe in 'public relations.' With a public be damned attitude (public to eBay is their new word for their sellers!) This article appears to have been written by their 'public relations' dept. How sad to see a once dynamic and successful Company now be seen in the same light as the Gas Companies, Banks & Insurance Companies.  I also wonder if Pierre and Meg are now laughing or crying. I used to respect Griff & eBay, but not any more.  They are now a joke!!!  Sorry, but I really have a hard time expressing myself.

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Anna

Sun Dec 14 23:41:23 2008

blah blah blah, whatever dude

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: concho

Sun Dec 14 23:44:03 2008

Here is a guy who could have done more than anyone else to mitigate the distrust of eBay under Donahoe.

Instead, he chose (or was forced) to squander his good will capital on petty bickering.

You might as well interview the guy that cleans the lavatories on the corporate jet. Griff has zero credibility. Just like his boss.




Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Juan

Mon Dec 15 00:03:57 2008

I've said it before and will again. Ebay took a lazy (or narrow minded) approach and decided to punish ALL sellers for the misdeeds of a few bad ones. By eliminating the sellers right to leave a negative feedback for a buyer, they are in essence saying only sellers deserve to get negative feedback and customers are always right, even if they are evidently committing fraud against a seller. Sellers no longer have a way of warning each other against trouble buyers. It does not matter to ebay because sellers get squeezed out of their hard earned money whether they sell something or not, whether a customer pays you or not. This is why Amazon attracts so many sellers. No hassles listing, no hassles with payments, No fees until you sell something and you can always download your transaction history from day one to today. Amazon has actually sided with me on more than one occasion when its been evident a customer is trying to get something for nothing and refunded the customer's money at their (Amazon's) expense. Imagine ebay ever doing that for one of their honest sellers? I'm slowly building my website and I have a lot of old ebay customers who will follow me there.
Juan

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Another Wronged seller

Mon Dec 15 00:05:31 2008

Ina,
Another Great Interview! You asked all the right questions.

With respect to the improvements supposedly coming....How does this help the sellers who were forced off the site unfairly?

Rolling back the change to neutrals and DSR scores is a help but I was suspended in July 2007 for neutrals and didn't get my account re-instated until recently. I lost a huge amount of income in the last 16 months and it pushed me to the verge of losing everything. A great many other sellers weren't so lucky and DID lose their businesses, homes and had extreme hardships due to ebays poor decision making. How does ebay make THAT right?

I started with only one item, bought more inventory, expanded my listings, opened an ebay store, rented warehouse space, moved to a larger space, had hundreds of thousands of dollars of inventory until ebay pulled the rug out. While Griff now admits that including neutrals was a mistake, How can ebay make right my approximate $95,000 in lost revenue for the time I was off?

Do you honestly think that ANY of the small sellers pushed off the site would EVER trust ebay again? Regardless of what ebay does now, they will never be trusted again. And the vast majority of those small sellers are gone forever (as buyers and sellers)

Like the husband /wife that cheats it might be forgiven (if you're extremely lucky) but it will never be forgotten.

Acknowledging mistakes is fine but some things just can't be fixed. The damage has been done.

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Hillary

Mon Dec 15 00:48:30 2008

Well Griff, I'm shocked: I think this is as close to a sincere mea culpa as will get from you (not that its matters). Its refreshing for someone to admit the PR nightmare called Ebay. It will take some serious digging, but perhaps you guys can start digging your way out of that enormous idiotic and tragic ebay bad reputation hole. Hmmm.

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Anon

Mon Dec 15 00:57:10 2008

"and bad apples are processed out swiftly if justified"

If justified?  Tell that to the seller who was just suspended for a Me Page that they never had! Live Help confirmed they never had one and didn't understand why ebay suspended the seller over a non-existant page.  
No appeals! Just auto-replies saying too bad, so sad.

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: Andrea

Mon Dec 15 01:01:43 2008

I'm disturbed by the "improvements" they made to search. It used to be simple, now it's a super secret algorithm that might or might not work better - and you have to do a lot of expensive listings to possibly figure out if and how it might work for your items.

Uh, what?  What was wrong with the old search?

All I know is that my hubby hadn't been on eBay for a couple of years because he got tired of sorting through all the crap from the big "desirable" sellers when trying to find the stuff he liked.  He tried it again over the weekend, and was shocked that a search that used to routinely provide literally thousands of items in the results now gives him less than 200 listings to peruse.

I hope eBay dies a long painful death. What the Wall street did to that site should be a crime.

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: blahblahblah

Mon Dec 15 01:13:01 2008

Used to be, I'd tell friends (or anyone!) who was having trouble with some aspect of Ebay to contact Griff. I thought he was very helpful. But in the last year or so, he appears to mostly have become just another talking head.

To survive (if it's even possible at this point), Ebay MUST get the mega-sellers, especially the ones who rack up dozens of negative FB's each month, off the site. Ebay started as a marketplace for the small seller, but it's totally lost that focus!

Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead   Interview with eBay's Griff Reveals More Change Ahead

by: chargeme back

Mon Dec 15 01:20:06 2008

You missed one VERY important question:

Why does the sellers T&C in the auction listing mean absolutely ZERO in a Paypal/eBay buyer complaint ????

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