|Mon July 13 2009 17:16:53|
RIP eBay Live
By: Ina Steiner
Last year, eBay announced it was canceling its June 2009 user conference, and today, it officially killed the event altogether. Next year's eBay Live conference had been scheduled to take place August 12-14, 2010, in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center, but today, eBay announced that event would be replaced by local events held in cities around the country.
The very first eBay conference was held in Anaheim, California in June 2002 and was likened to a Mary Kay convention because of the enthusiastic members who showed up, many even wanting autographs of then CEO Meg Whitman. At its peak in 2006, eBay Live attracted 15,000 attendees, but over time, the tone of the conference changed. Last year's conference in Chicago was so contentious that a convention-center worker observing one session told me it was like attending a union meeting. The anger directed at managers and executives in that session reflected the general unrest among many of eBay's sellers due to the radical changes taking place on the marketplace.
While this year, June saw no eBay Live conference, eBay did send an executive to give a speech at the Internet Retailer conference in Boston where she pitched large merchants on the idea of listing on eBay. These days, even General Motors is included in eBay's new target market, and small sellers are wondering where exactly they fit in eBay's plans. Today's announcement may have them wondering what's in store for them later this month when eBay announces its second set of marketplace changes that will go into effect in September.
Lorrie Norrington, President of eBay Marketplaces, said in today's Announcement Board post that "eBay: On Location" was a new program that would "bring eBay fun, learning and networking to cities around the country in 2010." The first event is scheduled for Orlando in February, and the last one will be held in eBay's home town of San Jose in August to celebrate eBay's 15th anniversary. eBay is still planning where to hold the rest of the 2010 events.
PS: Feel free to share your favorite eBay Live memory here.