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Fri Aug 28 2009 12:45:12

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay acquired a 28 percent share of the Craigslist online classified site in 2004, and then proceeded to launch its own competing classifieds site Kijiji in 2005. It has been less than a "marriage made in heaven," with things coming to a head when eBay launched Kijiji in the U.S. in 2007. The two parties have sued each other and accusations have gotten rather nasty.

Given the strained relationship between the two companies, what if eBay gave up its share in Craigslist and donated it to charity? It's not really such a radical solution to the ongoing dispute between the two companies in which Craigslist accuses eBay of extracting confidential information to help it launch a competing site.

eBay covets Craigslist users, and at a spring meeting with Wall Street analysts, told of its desire to transform eBay into a multi-format shopping portal that would include classifieds on eBay. eBay may believe that beefing up its classifieds format could also help it reconnect with small sellers who have felt alienated as it pursues brand-name retailers and manufacturers.

There has also been speculation that eBay might rename Kijiji in the U.S. to "eBay Classifieds" after eBay revealed it was running localized tests earlier this year. (No wonder Craigslist is peeved.)

eBay founder and Chairman of the Board Pierre Omidyar is a philanthropically-minded fellow, according to his Venture Capital company Omidyar Network, and ditto for Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Could either of them really have a problem with a non-profit organization like Goodwill owning the 28 percent of Craigslist that eBay currently owns?

If eBay's Kijiji is not directly benefiting from its parent owning part of Craigslist, it has nothing to lose. Shareholders would benefit from the tax benefit of the charitable donation, and eBay would not be bogged down with ongoing litigation. Shareholders could feel comforted knowing those shares could never be placed in the hands of an eBay competitor.

And if eBay is misappropriating proprietary information to unfairly compete, as Craigslist has complained, then Omidyar should put a stop to it, and what better, quicker and easier way is there than showing some "Goodwill"? eBay could get on with competing with Craigslist with no accusations of anti-competitive behavior hanging over its head, and Craigslist could go on with its business as well.




Comments (55) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: Quicksilver Messenger

Fri Aug 28 13:21:53 2009

That is an excellent idea Ina, though I seriously doubt a corporate thug like eBay could be so kind. Just my 2 cents.

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: Nonsense

Fri Aug 28 13:30:42 2009

Great idea Ina, but I'd rather see it go to a charity that feeds the hungry rather than Goodwill.

They've gotten real greedy in my part of the country. Their CEO makes much more than our president but they can't afford to pay their disabled workers a decent wage? (the few that they do hire)

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: fruity

Fri Aug 28 13:53:28 2009

I dont know but apparently ebay has a real need for kijiji users to NOT know its an ebay company. Go look at all the pages, they're explicitly not stating its an ebay company. Strange huh? Do a search in their help screen for payments and notice how they word paypal as "their processor". Ebay thinks more of their brand than the rest of us do I feel. When I think ebay and paypal, I think big brother snooping at your internet activity because they need to know where you're going so they buy in.

Ebay ain't gonna give up Craigslist stake, what are you smoking? And Ebay 2 classified areas. 1 is ad format classifieds directly on ebay.com and its been that way for some time now. they're not getting out of the classifieds business. If anything they're going to integrate Kijiji into ebay like how they did the ebay express module

what ebay does is they need their fingers on web destinations and services that sit outside of ebay.com. that way they can still drink the blood of sellers that want nothing to do with ebays products.

protectionism

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: The spin doctors are foaming at the mouth!

Fri Aug 28 13:57:17 2009

@Nonsense

Amen! We all call them the GREEDYwill around here... there is nothing "good" about them anymore and their regional managers' 6 figure salaries ($820,000.00+) for overseeing 3 or so stores, especially since they have completely ceased doing what they based their whole organization on.

I don't know what 28% of CL is in dollar amount, but I'm sure it's pretty pricey. I'm under the impression that a "charity" cannot operate under a purely profitable platform, and I would think, especially of that magnitude.

Perhaps Greedywill should be re-classified as a for-profit corporation.

Can you just imagine the ebay spin coming off a move like this, should it come to be? PUKE!

Oh brother!

Other things I find amusing about this article:

ebay wants to re-name kijiji... LMHO! :D
(who was the idiot that named it that in the first place? LOL)

and that ebay is even considering dropping out of the suit they so frivolously slammed Craigslist with... only one of two things could be the reason for this... either they are tired of the bad press and it's finally working well enough to screw with their reputation (grin) or they finally met their match in Craig (go Craig!!!) and can't afford to lose another battle.

Either way, ebay is in trouble on many levels after all of the MORONIC moves they've made over the last 5 years and they are doing some fancy flipping dancing to try and gain some ground in the damage control department... it's pretty comical to watch... THANKS for the LAUGHS ebay! LMHO! :D :D :D

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: fruity

Fri Aug 28 14:13:45 2009

I iddn't see where ebay was considering pulling out of the suit. but I can see where they might start to get freaked that maybe the DOJ is going to notice how what Craiglist is saying, ebay has actually done with lots of other companies that were competitors. That is, they get on the board of a competitor and then start directly competing, buying or otherwise the competitor suddenly changes their business direction that doesnt' compete with the ebay or paypal products. Not as much as they could with the absence of ebay/paypal.

Go google autotrader.com from the early years and the ebay motors thingy

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: vince jelenic

Fri Aug 28 14:18:21 2009

Giving over the list to goodwill would end up putting a lot of other people on goodwill's help list.  

Lots of people currently use the thrift stores as augmenting their livliehood by finding items for resale.

Goodwill's already been cutting into that for years, and getting greedier as days go by.

Hand them the list -- it'll go to their heads.

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: matza

Fri Aug 28 14:32:07 2009

I don't know they just may need all the money they can get right now. The core ebay is in serious trouble. Sales have fallen through the floor. Nobody is buying or shopping much on ebay these days.

I went from selling tons to selling nothing. Go check the technical issues board on ebay. Sales are non existent for many many sellers.

Donohoe, has once and for all finally succeeded in killing ebay. It is as dead as I have ever witnessed in my 10 year history. It's not going to bounce back, it's over!

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: nancy

Fri Aug 28 14:40:50 2009

If they wanna generate "good will" then instead of giving away their stock, they should SELL IT, and use the profits to lower selling fees.

It might bring back SOME of the sellers whose wares generated the nearly non-existent traffic to the site. Lower prices could get back some buyers as well.

they could try a new name for Kijiji: BMWA (Big Money Wasted
Again) or AGM (Another Gigantic Mistake) or (TTTEE) The Thing That Ended Ebay. (after they pay off the lawsuit)

Whomever makes the decisions to pull these stupid stunts (buying Skpe without getting everything they should have, raising fees during a recession, throwing millions out of work during same recession, ticking off their paying customers, ruining the biggest money-maker of the 00's, etc, and on and on, should be strung up, not fired, but strung up.

Keep writing to Michael Moore, en mass. He just finished skewering Wall Street, now it's time to segway into WHY DON'T THE STOCKHOLDERS OF THIS COMPANY SEE??? What part of dopes run this company don't they get? The employees hate working there, the customers are revolting, the IT people can't program, buyers are leaving, prices are going way too high (thanks so fees, and soon to the moronic 10% rule)and they buy stuff just to buy stuff. There can't be just one guy deciding this stuff, someone higher up has to approve it. Who are they?

The dupe listing thing is probably half to pad the listings, which is why they drag their feet, and also to generate income on non-existent listings.

Hard to believe this stock is on ANYONE's "Buy" list.

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: Patricia

Fri Aug 28 14:41:46 2009

"Given the strained relationship between the two companies, what if eBay gave up its share in Craigslist and donated it to charity?"

Ina....I suggest you lie down and put a cold clothe on your head - you obviously have a fever that's making you delirious!  Ebay "give" away something????  You know they already said they have a seat at the table as far as craigslist is concerned.  I don't see them giving it up any time soon.

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: John

Fri Aug 28 14:47:37 2009

eBay is no longer the 800 lb. gorilla.
They have become the 800 lb. pig. What the internet needs is a 1200 lb. pig eater to set things straight.
Someone or some group is making the stock prices rise slowly. Me thinks a DB Copper golden parachute into the night is being planned. Just after meg has a handle on whether she gets to be Governor or not.

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: banrigh

Fri Aug 28 14:56:26 2009

In reading prior comments, I find it interesting that the mention of the word ''goodwill'' immediately everyone thought of the store and not the word itself. At no time did I see the store itself mentioned in the article. Just a charity in general. As far as what eBay should do, I could care less.

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: ebay=penny stock

Fri Aug 28 15:45:34 2009

@banrigh

Glasses glasses glassed

Try re reading the fifth paragraph from the top.

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: John

Fri Aug 28 16:03:01 2009

Most Goodwills provide skills training and support services to the disabled and others to help them obtain jobs --- the stores are a means to raise funds for these services.  (Which is why sometimes you can find items cheaper in other thrift stores, since the mission of Goodwill is not the thrift stores -- the thrift stores fund their mission.)

They may employ some disabled in their stores, but they are helping a significantly higher number find other careers in the community.

For example - the regional goodwill where I am employs a total of 1000 people, but has over 10,000 clients annually.  

Each regional Goodwill is a separate financial entity from the parent organization, Goodwill Industries International.

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: matza

Fri Aug 28 16:17:52 2009

Oh my gawd...lmao

I can't believe some of you think this is about the goodwill charity...hahaha

Goodwill to all mankind and good riddance to Donohoe one can only dream.

Garnering goodwill is something ebay knows nothing about. Garnering more cash from the goodwill of others they know plenty.


Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: Karna

Fri Aug 28 16:42:46 2009

@ vince jelenic

your wrote:

"Lots of people currently use the thrift stores as augmenting their livliehood by finding items for resale.

Goodwill's already been cutting into that for years, and getting greedier as days go by."

So true!!!
All "Goodwill" stores in our area have only junk for sale.

I do wonder where all the "good stuff" goes.....

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: banrigh

Fri Aug 28 17:19:51 2009

@ebay=penny stock

I have my glasses on. Read again fifth paragraph from the top...still no mention of the the Goodwill Charity itself in one sentence as the Charity itself.
And for those who wonder where all the good stuff goes? Depends on the neighborhood of the thrift store. Many die hards go to each one daily. For the once in awhile shoppers..well, you lose.

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: matza

Fri Aug 28 17:59:29 2009

ATTENTION KMART SHOPPERS


THIS ARTICLE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GOODWILL INDUSTRIES (THE CHARITY, THE STORE OR THE ONLINE OUTLET)

PLEASE pay attention. Comments such as these make the people complaining LOOK real DUMB and this is not good. Making me think HEY maybe these folks shouldn't be selling on ebay if they can't even understand a simple blog post such as this.

GOOD WILL IS SOMETHING OTHER THAN A CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION PLEASE GET A CLUE PEEPS AND READ THE ARTICLE ONCE OR TWICE MORE.

geez and I thought Donohoe was dumb!

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: nora

Fri Aug 28 18:49:03 2009

I'm not an expert in reading Financial Statements, but I did look up ‘financial statements Red Flags'.

First, the official definition of goodwill is that it represents the difference between the price a company pays for an asset and its book value. Since the book value is usually recorded at cost, a company will typically pay much more than book value for an asset.

Ebays ‘Goodwill' and 'Net Receivables' on their Balance Sheet increased last quarter. They could work themselves out or be potential warning signs that a company is short term padding things and may have to take an impairment charge in the future, like they did for Skype.

Last quarter on eBay's Balance Sheet 'Goodwill' increased and it did make their assets look better.  Could this increase be due to the purchase of GMarket?

According to this article ‘Goodwill’ was 43% of eBay assets in 1st quarter, now it could be slightly higher with the purchase of Gmarket.    

‘Get Out the Red Pen’
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2009

http://online.barrons.com/article/SB123457702581886857.htm
l?mod=article-outset-box

Then
also I noticed that eBay’s 'Total Receivables, Net' increased, and was figured into Assets. Was this uncollected debt from Bill Me Later?

Like I stated before I am not an expert on Financial Statements, but the increase in these 2 figures stood out to me.

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: Randy Smythe

Fri Aug 28 19:23:25 2009

Nora,

While that is not the Goodwill Ina was talking about (I don't think) You are correct in reading their financials both in the case of Gmarket and BillMeLater.

Good job!

Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?   Could eBay Garner 'Goodwill' by Giving Up Craigslist?

by: yet another one gone

Fri Aug 28 21:08:31 2009

Hoping Ina pops in to clarify, but I saw two things (and possibly even three)in her post that indicated to me that she was referring to Goodwill Industries:

1 - this quote from the previously referenced 5th paragraph

"Could either of them really have a problem with a non-profit organization like Goodwill owning the 28 percent of Craigslist that eBay currently owns?"

COMBINED WITH

2 - the image showing the logo for the afore-mentioned company.

The possible 3rd reference was her use of quote marks in talking about the subject which, in the context it was placed, indicated to me that she was applying a double entendré.

To me (to get back on topic), the only way for eBay to have a snowball's chance in that hot hot place of generating some warm fuzzies would be to agree to sell back the shares to Craigslist that they acquired in such a sneeky way to begin with.  If Craig and fellow shareholders wish to bestow those shares on a charitable organization of their own choosing, then so be it.

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