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Thu May 19 2011 19:55:38

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sent an email to a subset of users asking them to take a survey on social networking. It used the survey to find participants for focus groups it is conducting over the next week with users who use sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

The survey asked respondents which social networking sites they use, in which types of social networking activities they engage, how frequently they use such sites, and even the type of cell phones they use (iPhone, Blackberry, Android smartphone, Symbian Smartphone, Windows Smartphone, Palm, Traditional cellular phone).

eBay's survey also asked about online shopping behavior on Apple, Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Macy's, JC Penney, Sears, Walmart and Target, and in which categories they shop:

- Vehicles, parts or accessories;
- Clothing shoes or accessories;
- Collectibles, such as antiques, cons, stamps and memorabilia;
- Computers and consumer electronics (TVs, MP3 players, computers, cameras, video game consoles, etc.);
- Entertainment items (books, movies, DVD/Blu-ray discs, video games, etc.);
- Health and beauty items;
- Home furnishings;
- Jewelry and watches;
- Tickets (sporting events, concerts, theater, etc.).

eBay asked respondents in which online channels they listed or sold items in the last year. It's always interesting to see which of its competitors eBay includes on surveys - in this case, the list included: Amazon; Bonanza; Craigslist; eBay; eBay Classifieds; Ecrater; Etsy; Facebook; Glyde; iOffer; Kijiji; Oodle; Overstock; Marketplace on Sears; Marketplace on Walmart.com; StubHub; uBid; Your own company website; and other.

eBay was interested in respondents' attitudes about Computers and Consumer Electronics, asking how willing they were "to go to as many websites as possible to get the best deal," and asking how well each of the following statements described them:

- It is important that I always have the most current technology
- I enjoy reading about and staying current on improvements in technology
- I am intimidated by electronics and technology
- I enjoy building or customizing my own devices to meet my needs
- Computers-electronics bore me

Other survey questions include the following:

Which of the following websites or programs do you use?
- Facebook
- Twitter
- MySpace
- Quora
- LinkedIn
- Bebo
- Friendster
- Foursquare
- None of the above

For each of the following websites or programs how frequently do you:
- How frequently do you log on?
- How frequently do you Post/update information
- How many friends/connections do you have?
- From which device do you access?

Which of the following have you done on Facebook in the past month?
- Created a Facebook ad
- Created/updated your company page
- Posted info/a link for an item for sale
- Updated your profile
- Updated your status
- Asked/posted a question
- Asked for a product recommendation
- Made a product recommendation
- Posted a picture
- Posted a link
- Posted a video
- Tagged yourself or someone else in a photo
- Used Social Sign-on to access another website
- Clicked the "Like" button on 3 or more things
- Played a game
- Purchased Facebook credits
- None of the above

It's interesting that eBay, which had a huge community element in its early days, is now conducting research into users' social networking behavior.

How big a deal is social networking when it comes to online shopping? Is it over-hyped, or will a killer app come along that we have yet to envision?

Are there any social features would you like to see on marketplaces such as eBay?




Comments (26) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: Rupert Pupkin

Thu May 19 22:10:11 2011

This social networking crap is for the birds.

I put eBay's interest in it in the same category as Donothole always waving his iPhone.

A distraction and an absolute waste of time.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: anyone out there

Thu May 19 22:30:13 2011

Maybe they are thinking of buying Facebook.

Just another useless survey that means exactly NOTHING to anyone at Fleecebay.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: kw

Thu May 19 22:52:16 2011

They want to know way more on that survey than I'd want to tell them!

I've used social networking for almost 2 years to help sales but have found it to be of limited value, plus it is so time-consuming.  I'm now doing less and find sales to be about the same so will probably stop altogether soon.

Should add that social networking is boring in addition to time-consuming.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: Yubba Dubba Doo Doo

Thu May 19 23:22:07 2011

It's none of your business eBay what sites me and my family and friends visit !

However, be assured eBay is not 1 of them, I only sell what is left on eBay, after what Mr. Donahoe did to us small and medium sellers, eBay can go to h*ll !

Word of mouth built eBay, and our "NOISE" has been unbuilding it since 2008

And that is something, that is very obvious, you hurt us, so we tell out family and friends, and they never darken eBays online doors ever again

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: Yubba Dubba Doo Doo

Thu May 19 23:24:44 2011

Why do you think there is no traffic ? Cause the "NOISE" is real !

You can't piss on the people that built it, and expect us to keep promoting it, and growing it

And from the lack of traffic/sales for most of us I would say our "NOISE" is doing a fine job

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: Joe Average

Fri May 20 00:27:43 2011

Facebook is for teens, people who want to post pics of kids/grandkids, and folk who have too much time & like to pretend they have alot of "friends" (cuz it says so on their facebook page).

I reckon if social networking will help bring back the neat auction items from small sellers I used to find, then I am all for it.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: JoyfulA

Fri May 20 01:07:35 2011

I've bought two items off Twitter. An author friend (someone I've known online for 10 years) tweeted that Amazon put one of his books I'd hadn't read on half-price sale. That's normal. The other was odd.
Someone else I know tweeted about the moral importance of fair trade coffee. I replied I'd try it if I could find fair trade instant coffee. (My fair trade friends find instant coffee gross.) Then a total stranger tweeted to me a URL where I could get it. So I ordered.

Now I have to figure out how to sell on Twitter. I've got a printout on how to use it beyond just chatting in 140 characters, and when I get time----

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: JB

Fri May 20 02:15:33 2011

It is ironic that eBay, who once had a thriving, very active community of its own, and then destroyed it, is suddenly interested in social networking sites. There was social networking aplenty there before Donahoe and Whitman drove people away.

I agree the questions on the survey are intrusive. There's no way I'd give eBay, or any other company, that much info.

As far as social networking sites as a means to assisting in buying or selling, it's extremely indirect and somewhat chaotic. Also time-consuming as someone else mentioned.

Social networking is still something of a buzzword, but it's on the wane. (MySpace, seriously? It's been dead for years now.)

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: Darth Buyer

Fri May 20 04:53:33 2011

Yesterday none of the descriptions and pictures were appearing in the auctions.  

Too bad they don't worry about that.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: Maddie Schell

Fri May 20 07:01:53 2011

I doubt that social networking sites will serve Ebay very well. Such things merely provide a forum, or outlet for the folks who are most disaffected by Ebay policies to vent their anger and frustration. In the case of Ebay, it's cathartic release. The only ''evangelical'' Ebay fans are employees, paid consultants, or PR firms.....and Griff.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: GF

Fri May 20 08:56:17 2011

I don't think there is any social networking feature that ebay could add or use to improve anything. They ruined  what they had. They may as well try to catch lightning in a jar as to try to artificially induce something which is by nature spontaneous.
Furthermore, after watching the John Bodine videos I'm quite sure that anything related to ebay and 'social networking' is completely fake and contrived. It can never be taken for granted that anything related is genuine. Beyond that, more social networking takes place on various hobby or collector related chat forums than any of the big "for profit" sites. It also wouldn't surprise me to learn that the majority of personalities on their forums now are paid, or that what appears to be many ID's are actually a lot fewer people with multiple IDs each. Ebay has always been about fakes.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: GF

Fri May 20 09:06:42 2011

PS-
I also don't want to 'socialize' on a site where you need to speak in secret codes, lest the 'powers that be' suspend you or send someone to mess with your listings etc for mentioning the name of a competitor website.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: Going backwards

Fri May 20 09:39:38 2011

Remember the old days when you recommended ebay to everyone you met.
Now I'm embarrassed to say eBay out loud.
All they had to do was look at feedback patterns to clean up the site.
The make such foolish decisions.
Why do they need surveys when all they have to do is read their own forums.
They seem so dense.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: Here Again

Fri May 20 10:25:52 2011

I no longer am willing to provide eBay with any information whether it be about my business or my personal web habits.  eBay has shown absolutely no honest interest in my input in the past on anything.  So why bother now.

Now all I do is work to take information FROM eBay in the form of new customers to refer to my other selling venues.

Thank you Donahue in showing us the way.  eBay -- making it work FOR us.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: Average Bowler

Fri May 20 10:39:04 2011

Those questions are a bit too personal for my comfort. If I had been included in that subset of users to receive the poll/questionnaire ... I would have never participated.

It makes one wonder if future polls will include the ubiquitous old-school questions about

--Personal Income
--Marital Status
--Children Living At Home
--Education Level
--Job Title
--Zip Code
--Home Value
--Renter or Buyer

I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm paranoid when it comes to intrusive (or borderline intrusive) questions. But still. Yuk! It's creepy.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri May 20 13:44:35 2011

''eBay's survey also asked about online shopping behavior on Apple, Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Macy's, JC Penney, Sears, Walmart and Target, and in which categories they shop...''

And there you have it, folks! These are the sites that eBay wants to emulate. This is the future of eBay.

I think their little survey confirmed more about their plans that they had intended. (But of course, most of us knew these things all along... it's just that we now have some first-hand comfirmation straight from the horse's ̶a̶s̶s̶ ... uh, mouth.)

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: Mike

Fri May 20 14:06:20 2011

Greedbay looking for a "trendy" new way to dip its grubby fingers into more peoples pockets.... watch your wallet !

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: another side of the coin

Fri May 20 14:57:44 2011

Ebay lost the ''community'' due to all their disruptive innovation. The community is the buyers and sellers who use facebook and other social networking sites. Ebay has become the last place anyone would want to mix social networking and  business. They already put barriers up between sellers and buyers.

When calling eBay customer service, I hear the condescension in their voice and little quips against sellers who aren't their chosen diamonds.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: Kathy

Fri May 20 21:15:30 2011

Facebook SUCKS. It's evil. It causes more problems than it solves. It's childish. I will never have a Facebook account as long as I live.

eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities   eBay Surveys Customers on Social Networking Activities

by: monster headphones
Web Site

Sat May 21 03:19:48 2011

Ebay lost the ''community'' due to all their disruptive innovation. The community is the buyers and sellers who use facebook and other social networking sites. Ebay has become the last place anyone would want to mix social networking and business. They already put barriers up between sellers and buyers.

When calling eBay customer service, I hear the condescension in their voice and little quips against sellers who aren't their chosen diamonds.

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