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Fri Sept 10 2010 10:55:18

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay tried to turn a new page in its history with China today when CEO John Donahoe made a conciliatory keynote address at Alibaba's Alifest conference. Longtime readers will remember how contentious eBay's battle was with Alibaba. Washington Post columnist Leslie Walker blogged about it in this 2006 post when it was clear then-CEO Meg Whitman put her wounded ego before her sellers' interests.

Forbes said Donahoe's presence at Alifest was almost like Napoleon's top lieutenant returning to Waterloo to speak at the invitation of the British Empire. So why swallow his pride and speak at a conference that his predecessor refused to attend?

Donahoe sees the opportunity not as one of opening China's market to its longtime U.S. sellers, but rather, providing Chinese sellers with global opportunities. What's in it for eBay? The potential for PayPal growth.

Alibaba has allowed PayPal onto AliExpress, its U.S. marketplace where sellers can source product from China. But while PayPal may be a facilitator for Chinese exports, it's unlikely Alibaba will willingly allow PayPal to compete with its own AliPay service in domestic China.

Alibaba clearly has the upper hand in this relationship. Through its acquisition of eBay's U.S. partners Auctiva and Vendio, Alibaba gains 250,000 eBay sellers that drive over $7 billion in GMV annually, and are responsible for an estimated 5 - 10 percent of eBay's listings.

Alibaba's David Wei told the Wall Street Journal he wants eBay to help it build an online model that would enable Alibaba's customers to sell to eBay merchants for resale to consumers. eBay sellers are familiar with the challenges of competing with low-priced goods from China - visit the Wholesale category in eBay's Pottery and Glass category to understand users' concerns with reproductions on eBay.

Global trade can be good for small entrepreneurs, but carries an abundance of challenges as well. Unfortunately eBay is too focused on growing PayPal to concern itself with the challenges facing its marketplace buyers and sellers.




Comments (36) | Permalink

Readers Comments

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: She Bang

Fri Sep 10 11:02:02 2010

What John Donoahoe is to eBay... William Hung is to singing.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: buck efay

Fri Sep 10 11:10:33 2010

"Alibaba's David Wei told the Wall Street Journal he wants eBay to help it build an online model that would enable Alibaba's customers to sell to eBay merchants for resale to consumers."

This will never happen, why buy from one upwardly moving, highly priced online market to sell on another failing one? Most of these Chinese goods are coming in at 65-80% retail after costs. Dropshipping even worse margins. You'll buy only to compete with the manufacturers on Ebay.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: fat frog

Fri Sep 10 11:51:39 2010

What will sellers get???

SCREWED AGAIN.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: Ebay No More This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 10 14:27:53 2010

All those billions of dollars Meg Whitman wasted trying to establish dominance in the Chinese marketplace. What a waste and all because ''Meg's mother loved China''. Ebay squandered billions so Meg could think happy thoughts about Mommy.

Hopefully this means Donahoe will finally remove all those crappy Chinese sellers from the dot com site. Put them back onto China Ebay where people can go look. It would certainly improve the appearance and buyer satisfaction on the dot com site if they were gone.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: Small Seller

Fri Sep 10 14:30:25 2010

Paypal is outdoing eBay - duh - of course it is.  That's why eBay only accepts PP for items now.

If team Donahue (rhymes with ''doesn't have a clue'') wants to merge with Ali Bab on a platform similar to Amazon then let the small seller of antiques/collectibles off the hook with an eBay like site of their own.

Classic eBay, vintage eBay or something like that deserves a place of its own without new made in China junk.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: Ebay No More This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 10 14:50:58 2010

I would like to remind Donahoe (although I know how well this avenue has worked in the past) that American jobs and the American economy is in the condition it is today because of cheap Chinese imports. Encouraging a relationship with Alibaba so they can sell more Chinese imports to American sellers is only going to weaken our own economy. How about Donahoe actually got off his butt and go develop some relationships with AMERICAN manufacturers and network those with Ebay sellers. Let's work on exporting from Ebay and improving our own trade deficit. I know it's a novel thought and I know it will work that why I know it will be the last thing that Ebay and Donahoe actually does.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 10 14:56:43 2010

coming soon to ebay, a flood of chinese knock-offs.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: eatmeebay

Fri Sep 10 15:03:29 2010

spin...spin...all they want is to push paypal across the planet--which is a service I would totally eschew were there any alternative on eBay.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: GazLanNaThai This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Sep 10 15:14:28 2010

HoHum - another month, another strategy shift.

Donahoe's got more flip flops than an African beach-footwear manufacturer.

As Ming would say - move along, nothing here to look at.

I don't see eBay doing a phoenix-like resurrection from its own ashes any time soon, and if 250,000 is 10% of the eBay seller list, then they're in deeper doodoo than I thought - it means eBay UK has more sellers than dot com.

I'm concerned about all the protectionist rhetoric on AuctionBytes nowadays though.  Such trypists should reflect back on the US industry for the last century and a half and ask themselves just what exactly did America ever export apart from grain, cars, and planes ... apart from war weapons and weapons platforms of course.  Seriously, was there ever a particular industrial sector for which America was famous as an exporter?  Aside from movies and music, I can't think of one.  Maybe I.T. and technology in the last couple of decades, but that's really just a band-aid on a haemorrhaging economy that had its veins slashed in Vietnam and never got them stitched up properly.

America lost its way at the end of the Cold War when the Iron Curtain came crashing down ... when China was still protectionist and self-isolating - your woes began long before China became your primary overseas supplier ... look inwards, not outwards for your enemies.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: honeybunch

Fri Sep 10 15:34:05 2010

Gosh, Asia is out of eBay's reach?  Color me stunned.

So, another failure and, as GazLanNaThai says, another strategy shift.  JD hasn't been able to turn eBay into Amazon, or Overstock, or Taobao.  And his latest push -- to become a fashion destination like Net-a-Porter or Rue La La -- has no legs.

2011 is getting closer and closer.  Wasn't that when JD's original 3-year plan was supposed to present the world with a shiny new, more-profitable-than-ever eBay marketplace?  Instead, it looks like there's only going to be PayPal.

Nicely done, JD.  You're a Destroyer with a capital D.  How does it feel to have been handed America's biggest marketplace for *everything* and driven off its paying customers, chased away its traffic, and made it the laughingstock of its once-envious competition?  Brilliant.  Really.  You couldn't have screwed it up better if you tried.  Oh wait, that's right, you DID try.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: Troglodyte

Fri Sep 10 15:47:41 2010

The United States used to export huge amounts of durable goods such as heavy equipment, computers, appliances, steel, (more) cars and trucks, and so on.

We also used to export far more agricultural products, clothing, entertainment items such as video games, software, and movies (now pirated in the Pacific Rim and principally in China).

It all began when Japan was the China of the 1950s less damaging scale.

To say that outsourcing jobs and entire industries hasn't had an effect is just incorrect.

The fact is that Donahoe's comments only serve once again to underscore the fact that he and ebay corp are ANTI-AMERICAN.

It's now perfectly obvious even to most casual observer that Donahoe cares far more about the success and welfare of Communist Chinese sellers than he does about American sellers. Much of what he's done to ebay in the 2+ years demonstrated his blatant anti Americanism this being the worst yet.

The road to American ruin is paved in debt to the Communist Chinese and a patently unfair valuation of the the Communist Chinese yuan the former of which Donahoe wants to increase even more.

There are a handful of people I'd like to see outsourced to Communist China: Donahoe, Norrington, Griff, the idiot whose title is something like VP of seller experience, the entire corrupt PR staff, and all the rest of these anti American, Communist Chinese collaborators.

John Donahoe is a traitor to America.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: Ebay No More This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 10 16:04:42 2010

GazLanNaThai and all that Asian junk you ship to America enriches our lives how? America will survive without more mulberry paper bags. The good news is that thanks to this recession we started saving and paying down our personal debt. Now our goal needs to be a resurrection of our manufacturing base. Until we reduce our national trade deficit our economy will not improve. Adding more cheap Asian imports to the equation is actually going to slow our recovery. Which also affects a global recovery. Asian sellers need to find another market besides America. The Chinese economy is rapidly cooling and we will start to see how China deals with it. Looking to Japan's economy will probably be a good indicator. America is no longer the global consumer. Your marketplace needs to shift to other countries.  

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: goldilocks This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 10 17:44:02 2010

I'm going to wager that the next strategic move by the "brilliant" minds running eBay (into the ground no less) will be to follow in the footsteps of Auctiva and Vendio - they will sell eBay to Alibaba.

So, they had this STELLAR plan to market US goods in China?  Considering the fact that the bulk of "US" goods have been actually manufactured in China (and other Asian countries) for some years now, I would have to seriously question why ANYONE would have thought this could possibly be a successful strategy?  Why in the world would the Chinese WANT to buy the stuff they've been making after it has gone through numerous middlemen with the associated increases in price, when they can easily get it from a local source for far cheaper?

No, I see that lame excuse as a cover-up to hide what they intended to do all along, and so I will continue to sit back and watch this debacle unfold.  It's just a matter of time...

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: snickers

Fri Sep 10 20:31:40 2010

Troglodyte has it right, Donahoe is ANTI-AMERICAN and a Traitor just like the prez.  They are trying to ruin America  

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: Ebay No More This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 10 21:32:15 2010

Troglodyte somehow I missed your post. That was excellent. Ebay and Ebay sellers could be a strong ally to help the US economy if Ebay got behind a US manufacturing base.

Let's hope for the first time in their worthless corporate existence Ebay can do the right thing and work to network with the few US manufacturers we have. It's a start.

If not just sell Ebay to the Chinese and let Americans close the chapter on Ebay permanently.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: unaware This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 10 21:36:06 2010

I have always maintained that PayPal will be eBay's main business in the future... at some point the child will become the parent and all decisions will be made with a eye toward growing the PayPal business with the eBay marketplace a secondary consideration. I would not be surprised if someday eBay ''takes over'' the PayPal name and declare themselves a financial services company, spinning off the eBay marketplace as a separate business or sell it outright to someone else... perhaps Alibaba would like to buy the eBay marketplace business? PayPal is the future of eBay and Donahoe knows it. You will see them put lipstick on the eBay marketplace to make it appear worthy of being bought or spun off but the real focus will be PayPal.    

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Fri Sep 10 22:00:58 2010

Donahoe is going nowhere with PayPal except down the toilet eventually.

Draft Media Release re PayPal

“It is with great sadness that eBay’s Chief Headless Turkey, John Donahoe, announces the probable demise of eBay’s most ugly daughter, PayPal. Donahoe says that PayPal is about to be stricken by particularly virulent strains of Visa+CyberSource and Mastercard Open Platform, and these afflictions are aggravated by PayPal’s insurmountable lack of direct financial institutions support and a great deal of PayPal user dissatisfaction, particularly with respect to PayPal’s grossly unfair, “all responsibility avoiding” user agreement, totally primitive risk management processes, and grossly unprofessional, usually buyer-biased, fraud-facilitating (indeed, non existent) transactions mediation, to name just a few of the problems that PayPal merchants have to endure.

“Donahoe says that PayPal’s health may therefore be expected to deteriorate and, if ultimately not completely incapacitated, will most likely be eventually confined to its mandatory offering on what little there will, by then, be left of the Donahoe-devastated eBay marketplaces. There is no cure for this condition, and the “eBafia Don” is particularly saddened by the inevitable presumption that it is unlikely that PayPal, will be able to continue to underpin eBay’s sagging bottom line too far into the future.”

Yes, it’s a send-up but, still, it accurately describes PayPal’s most unprofessional and “clunky” operation. The fact is, had the developers of the original “bankcard” concept ever behaved the way PayPal behaves towards its payees in particular, credit/debit cards may never have gotten off the ground, and we would probably still be paying for all our purchases with bits of paper and little metal discs.

A detailed examination of and prognosis for PayPal, (including a link to the “PayPal Horror Tour”) at:

http://forums.auctionbytes.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=23309

Shill Bidding on eBay: Case Study #4
This latest study is a measure of eBay’s desperation to replace lost revenue and very effectively demonstrates eBay’s effective aiding and abetting of this criminal shill bidding activity, at

http://forums.auctionbytes.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=23540

eBay/PayPal/Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: Digby
Web Site

Fri Sep 10 22:21:21 2010

Wow
There are three things to this post.
1 that Paypal will keep growing.
2 That China can hardly export more low cost stuff through ebay than it does now through the dollar shops and wallmart.
3 That many Americans think they should start manufacturing again.

1 and 2 are dead certs.
No 3 is a big decision.
You do need to export more to reduce your overseas debt.
It means you will have to impose tarrifs on some imports and be prepared to pay more for your day to day goods. You will get more jobs.
What day to day goods will you be prepared to pay much more for ?
Jeans, tea Shirts, Hard drives ? Mp3 players ? Lunch boxes ? TV's, DVD players ? Tools.

Obama says he want the US to start making more green products and renewmble  energy, high speed trains etc.
Guess what. The Chinese already make all that stuff and last week the Chinese Prime Minister says he wants China to export more high-tech stuff of thier own.
And if he says he wants to do it it will happen.
If Obama says he want to do something it will take years for Congress to agree and nothing will happen.

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: Smitty This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 10 22:39:59 2010

@ GazLanNaThai

''your woes began long before China became your primary overseas supplier ... look inwards, not outwards for your enemies.''

You are 100% correct about that. I happen to consider ALL of my fellow citizens who are Wal-Mart customers, as full blown traitors to my beloved country.

Smitty

What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba   What Sellers Get from eBay's Cooperation with Alibaba

by: unusual1 This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Sep 10 23:28:52 2010

@eatmeebay
spin...spin...all they want is to push paypal across the planet--which is a service I would totally eschew were there any alternative on eBay.

There is an alternatinve to paypal -- take your own credit cards, get a gateway. Ebay allows credit card payments from anywhere. Ebay thinks that the sellers are to lazy or not smart enough to get their own processor. Checks and money orders also, that cant be stated on the auction but you can accept them.

When I sold on ebay I took my own cc payments, always did. Ebay could not say no to me on the card payments or any other way I would accept if the buyer asked.

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