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Mon July 25 2016 11:06:16

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

By: Ina Steiner

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Tech leaders can fall into the same patterns of celebrities - case in point, do you really care about their views on politics, religion, the environment, etc.? 

Nevertheless, there's nothing like politics to inspire people to speak out publicly. Recently the digerati have spoken out about their views on the US presidential race. Geekwire reported on an open letter published on Medium against one of the candidates - it was signed by founders and executives of tech companies including eBay, Google, and StubHub.

Likewise, former PayPal executive and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel took an opposite position and gave a speech at one of the major parties' conventions to endorse the candidate.

Combining your passion with a business can often be the key to success. Think of the collector or artisan who turned their love into an ecommerce business.

But unless you have incorporated your passionate views on issues into your business, can making political statements turnoff your customers? Do you have any real-life examples, and if so, how did it work out for you (as the seller or as the shopper)?

What's your stance on mixing politics and business?




Comments (23) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Jul 25 13:37:00 2016

I'm registered as Peace and Freedom and have no idea who the candidates from the party are.

Sellers, as well as buyers, should never mix politics and/or religion with business. I really get infuriated when anyone sends me an e-mail with the closing "Blessings." Everyone should keep their political preferences, and their religious beliefs, to themselves when dealing with online purchases.

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 25 13:44:33 2016

@ iheartjacksparrow

AMEN

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 25 14:33:57 2016

You know the old saying, "don't s*** where you eat".

I have found it to be the kiss of death to discuss politics with potential customers.  In person and on line.  

It was a lesson I learned the hard way!

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Mon Jul 25 14:37:36 2016

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

Nah.

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jul 25 15:17:03 2016

I'm too intrigued with Wenig's top, bottom and middle funnel talk to bother with politics.

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 25 16:33:46 2016

Who ever ebay votes for ill vote opposite

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 25 18:36:22 2016

I agree completely with iheartjacksparrow!

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Jul 26 01:05:53 2016

@macposty

Ebay is a lot of things, but one thing it isn't is a human being.  So have no fear, Ebay won't be voting for anyone.  LOL

@jack

I completely agree with you.  We certainly have our rights to our opinions, but they should be completely separated from out businesses.  Very well said, thank you.

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 26 03:22:00 2016

Religion and politics need to be kept out of business.

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

by: Jester This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 26 03:29:12 2016

I agree with iheartjacksparrow!

But with that said Trump will help us compete fairly with Chinese sellers who are getting unfair shipping rates. They can ship from China to my next-door neighbor cheaper than I can ship to my next-door neighbor. That's not Fair!

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jul 26 06:59:59 2016

Jester says "Trump will help us compete fairly with Chinese sellers who are getting unfair shipping rates."

LOL  You do realize his clothing collection is made in China and Mexico don't you?  

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

by: msquezal This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 26 07:59:01 2016

It is a very big mistake to mention politics, religion or ANY of your personal preferences on your website, in your auctions, or in your shop. It can easily cost you a fortune in lost revenue!

I used to set up in a large antique mall owned by rather nasty man and woman who's political and personal preferences were the polar opposite of mine.

Now i know that it was their shop, and they were absolutely entitled to their own opinion. They can like who they want to like and vote for whoever they want to vote for.
Its their right as American citizens and i respect that!
However, every week i would walk into the shop to bring new merchandise in or to pick up my check and have to look at the political posters everywhere, and listen to their banter with customers about their candidate.

Even people who did not wish to engage in that kind of conversation had no choice! I would hold my breath, bite the inside of my cheeks and never say a word for fear of retribution!
If they knew that you did not vote the same way or believe as they did they would not make any effort to sell your merchandise.

One day i was up at the front desk when a sweet older gentleman walked in wearing a political button on his lapel of the opposite party. The owner asked him why he would vote for someone like that (expletive deleted) and the man responded that he thought the candidate would be excellent for the country and great for him as a senior citizen.
The owner made a nasty, downright insulting comment right to his face and the man put his wallet back in his pocket and left without making his purchase.

What these MORONS did not know was that this man was a multi-millionaire and owned the largest collection of art glass in the state of Maine. Not only did they lose his business but that of his many friends and fellow collectors!
The owners only lost the commissions that they charged the sellers set up in that mall, but the unfortunate and unsuspecting dealers who were victims of this mans big mouth were the ones who suffered most in the long run.
The ripple effect was widespread and continues today. The moral of the story is keep your preferences to yourself and if confronted smile and walk away. You are the winner in the long run!

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Tue Jul 26 08:31:08 2016

@Marie:

Given The Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, corporations may, in the future, get the right to vote!

I hope my tongue is firmly planted in cheek, with my fingers crossed.

I'd say most of my customers are the polar opposite of my political views. So what. If we were in a debate, fine. They want a trinket fine. They don't need, nor do I need to be buttonholed about political views.  

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 26 09:10:53 2016

You should never discuss anything like politics with a customer. Some businesses around here would never dream of putting a candidates sign outside but think nothing of campaigning to raise my sales or property taxes. I remember that too though and do not go to those places who foolishly make their opinions that I do not feel are in my best interest known.
I would never put my feelings on my website or ebay, etc... Not even down to who I want to win the Superbowl!
Business forums are another matter, if there is something I need to know about, I want to hear what others think as well.
Some items I buy from China I have made differently so they are different from others generic products. But I have more of a plan than a brand.  I am sure if I were a candidate who sold Chinese made items and knew that my items possibly were being knocked off and sold wholesale individually to the public, I might want to do something about that especially if I considered myself a great negotiator.

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

by: peetee This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 26 10:13:59 2016

have many sellers on ebay say God Bless..They have the right to say whatever they want.

If you don't believe in God, that is your problem

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Jul 26 10:41:44 2016

This election I'm going to do a write in

I'm putting down my own name as I think I would make a better president then either of the major candidates!

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Tue Jul 26 12:42:20 2016

There have been periods over the last few years where eBay and Amazon delivered mostly Hispanic-sounding names from Florida and New Jersey.  If I'd advertised any pro-Trump opinions, I might've been denied those sales as well.  While I believe that, in principal, business should focus on business-related stuff, I don't appreciate being cowed/threatened into silence.

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

by: Interesting Antiques This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 26 14:27:42 2016

Trump seems the only sensible candidate. He did say he would tie loops, even he takes advantage of them since the loop holes are there. For America to prosper we need a fresh no career politician in the WH. The media has been so nasty with painting him ugly-untruthful.
If you want your business to flurish you want Trump. He is not an insider or beholden as the Clintons are. Trump  wants Americans to come first. Sadly under Obama America has been brought down with the middle class being almost extinct.
Do some research, unfortunately the Democratic party has been inflitrated with idiots in the last few years no common sense or regard how things will impact the country or the people.

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jul 26 15:26:56 2016

Interesting Antiques says "Trump seems the only sensible candidate.

To whom, Putin? The way you feel about the democratic party is exactly how I feel about the Republic party.  

Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?   Should Online Sellers Weigh in on Presidential Politics?

by: Eagle This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 26 16:23:24 2016

No, just like religion and politics don't mix, neither should business and politics not mix. Unfortunately, the citizens of the USA have become so torn apart due to politics that if a buyer disagrees with your view in politics they will boycott your business and take their purchases to a business that carries their same political views. It's not right, but then neither is the religious aspect of the same circumstance either.

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