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.
Sun Apr 12 2009 22:38:05

Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Mary Anne Ostrom and I traded eBay stories when we sat together at the first eBay Live user convention in Anaheim in 2002. Mary Anne was covering the tech beat for the San Jose Mercury News at the time, and she later began covering politics for the newspaper. As recently as September, Mary Anne called me to find out what I thought of Meg Whitman's move from eBay CEO to politician for an article she was writing. She was uniquely qualified to cover the campaign and, as the call demonstrated, she did her research thoroughly.

Now, Mary Anne works for Whitman.

This is a classic Meg Whitman tactic and demonstrates why it is not just the money spent on advertising that will matter in her gubernatorial campaign. eBay used such street tactics to compete in the business world, and with the help of her friends, her campaign is likely to do the same.

I had been looking forward to Mary Anne's coverage of the race, and her departure leaves a void.

With newspapers hemorrhaging (our own Boston Globe is in peril), we might find this a trend - that the journalists who know the most about companies and politicians go join the entities on whom they once reported - going from "Hacks" to "Flacks," in journalism-lingo.

For instance, the Associated Press' Rachel Konrad, who also reported on Silicon Valley technology companies, left the AP to become Senior Communications Manager at Silicon Valley's Tesla Motors, according to Gawker's Valleywag blog.

The Sacramento Bee reported Ostrom's departure from the Mercury News, calling it "another blow to California's dwindling political press corps."

Update: Someone asked in the comments, what did I think of Meg getting into politics. Kenneth Corbin of InternetNews.com interviewed me in February about it as an industry observer and did a nice job of capturing some of my thoughts on the matter, if anyone is interested.





Comments (9) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign   Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign

by: Scriptorical

Sun Apr 12 22:49:38 2009

@@@ Ina:...., Mary Anne called me to find out what I thought of Meg Whitman's move from eBay CEO to politician for an article she was writing.......

@@@ Ina, What did you think ??????

Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign   Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Sun Apr 12 23:06:28 2009

Scriptorical,
See the "Update" at the bottom of this blog post (above).
Ina

Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign   Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign

by: On Lies and Secrets

Mon Apr 13 00:54:12 2009

If Whitman's ''friends'' are smart, they will distance her from any association with the ebay corporation which appears to be dying.  The bloom is off of the rose at ebay - there is no getting around this fact.  The ebay site looks bad, complaints from all quarters are increasing dramatically and the company looks like it is in the throes of a slow, painfully protracted death. The acquistion of Skype and the current IP issues with Skype do not reflect well on her abilities in managing a technology company - she arrogantly paid too much for Skype, never integrated it into the company's business model and failed to secure all of the intellectual property necessary for its full functioning.  Her approach to managing ebay was to sacrifice people for profits - her popular reputation in many quarters is that of unchecked greed and venality.  The spirit of the times these days is not favorable to arrogant former business executives.

IMO, her political ambitions are likely to harm the ebay corporation because her presence will cause people to publicly discuss their (often unhappy) dealings with the ebay corporation. IMO, this will result in a lot of negative press about ebay at a time when they can scarcely afford a further loss in public opinion.

Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign   Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign

by: Meg is evil

Mon Apr 13 04:30:23 2009

Everything that is wrong with ecommerce is MEG's fault. I wouldn't vote for that witch 1. Because she is a republicant. 2. She RUINED ebay. 3. She is not easy on the eyes. 4. Bad personality, no class, no morals, and certainly similar to the bush crime era.

Hope she spends all her stolen money & looses big.

Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign   Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign

by: Stefano

Mon Apr 13 06:12:06 2009

I met Meg Whitman at that first conference in 2002 by Ebay in Anaheim. In the very short time we talked she managed to convey to me from her a feeling of unreliability, I felt as if I was talking to a used cars salesperson. I asked her about the future focus of Ebay and was told it would the small seller who would continue to be the ''backbone'' of Ebay. Her later actions at Ebay proved otherwise.

I went from being a selected member of that Ebay conference in 2002 to not selling on Ebay at all now. I haven't sold there for quite a while. Last month an Ebay Rep called and asked me about how I was doing on Ebay. I had to laugh and tell him , I was doing fine, Because I wasn't selling at all on that site.

He surprised me & blurted out that I wasn't alone, and before he hung up I asked him a question about Whitman's run in California. That ''pro'' publicist caller from Ebay offered up that if the tone at Ebay was any indication, she'd be lucky to get one vote from any Ebay employees and that vote most likely would be Donahue....

My overall feeling is that Whitman's Ebay Past will prove to be a grass roots fiasco for her elective hopes. Between all the angry Ebay sellers, angry Ebay Employees and even now; upset buyers at ebay, the groundswell of negative articles about Whitman/Ebay will derail her political ambitions.

All those people will be able to give her the Ultimate Negative Feedback, a vote for the candidate who runs against her.....

Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign   Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign

by: Steve

Mon Apr 13 07:51:05 2009

Ina, I hope you and David will always resist the call to the dark side of journalism. We need good, well informed, dedicated writers like you to keep us informed and to shine a light on the areas the powers that be want to keep in the dark. Thanks for all you do for us!

Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign   Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign

by: Et tu, Brute!

Mon Apr 13 12:39:28 2009

@ On Lies and Secrets

"IMO, her political ambitions are likely to harm the ebay corporation because her presence will cause people to publicly discuss their (often unhappy) dealings with the ebay corporation. IMO, this will result in a lot of negative press about ebay at a time when they can scarcely afford a further loss in public opinion."

Perfectly stated.  And, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing.  I can't thing the BOD is happy about Whitman's political meanderings, as the more she do so, the more light is shed on the growing fiascoe of ebay and the new CEO.  This CANNOT reflect well on them.

I welcome this disaster.  It's time the ebay underbelly went public!

Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign   Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign

by: Karma's a female dog

Mon Apr 13 16:11:01 2009

The death of Ebay began with Neg Meg. She refused to do ANYTHING about the ridiculous amount of non paying bidders of fraud. When she would do TV interviews and ask her what she was doing to control fraud she would admit there was a lot of fraud there, but had no answers and could do nothing to protect users. And she wants to be governor now? Someone better vet every major purchase & make sure the state doesnt get hosed like her biggest decision on Ebay, buying Skype but forgetting to get the engine/patent that drives the service! Good job, -5 DSRs for you Meg. My sister the republican works in the State capitol in Sacramento, and Meg's an office joke, since I sent her the link to the Neg Meg site:)

Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign   Tech/Political Reporter Joins Meg Whitman Campaign

by: Kal

Mon Apr 13 20:23:01 2009

This just proves that everyone has their price.



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.