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Sun Aug 5 2018 16:00:25

eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

By: Ina Steiner

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When John Donahoe took over from Meg Whitman as CEO, he displayed his disdain for eBay's "flea market" image. The struggle to fight those perceptions lives on under Donahoe's successor, Devin Wenig.

Wenig's Chief Communications Officer Dan Tarman identified brand misperception has one of his biggest struggles in an interview published with the Holmes Report over the weekend.

Tarman, who holds a law degree and has a background in the financial services industry (PIMCO, Countrywide, Visa), said, "we're under no illusions of the challenges that we have to reenergize our brand and to also address some of our legacy perceptions that are not consistent with the current reality that eBay is an auction site, that eBay sells primarily used stuff, that it's like a flea market."

Some might question eBay's conviction that its used goods and auctions are a liability. Can eBay can promote its marketplace as a place for new goods without having to disrupt the notion it's also a place for vintage goods, collectibles, and used goods?

Amazon felt comfortable launching a marketplace for handmade goods, which has very different features from its main marketplace - notably, the ability for sellers to brand themselves, and the ability for buyers to request personalization and customization, which requires communication between buyer and seller. Amazon recognizes that shoppers are comfortable with multi-dimensional marketplaces.

Promoting new goods on its site isn't harmful to eBay, but distancing itself from its traditional style listings could be risky. One of eBay's strengths is that buyers can sell used goods and collectibles to fund their shopping habits on the site. In addition, offering users the ability to buy and sell used goods has helped make eBay recession proof, and with trade wars looming, that may prove to be an even bigger advantage as consumers seek goods without an extra levy.

You can find the full interview with Dan Tarman on the HolmesReport.com website.

Update 8/5/18 8:34 pm: eBay's Dan Tarman provided EcommerceBytes with the following statement:

"eBay's heritage as a platform for a broad spectrum of goods is a powerful differentiator for our brand. We are also focused on expanding and correcting perceptions of our brand so consumers more accurately understand the breadth of choice and value on eBay, including the enormous selection of new items offered by our sellers. Our efforts to further sharpen eBay's brand and engage consumers globally are an important lever to help drive new buyers to our platform, which directly benefits eBay's sellers."



Comments (77) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 16:08:25 2018

They would much rather be known as an online "Big Lots" where nothing ever works.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sun Aug 5 16:27:36 2018

Except for some edge cases, I would consider a trip to the flea market a step up from browsing eBay.  eBay is more like Family Dollar, except you wait three weeks for that cheap Chinese garbage knockoff that breaks the third time you use it.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: tiastreasures This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 16:39:31 2018

The last time I bought something on eBay, I got a flimsy product with a ''Made in China'' tag.  I checked the listing and that wasn't mentioned.  I used to buy collectibles on the site, but the few I find now are overpriced.  I suppose they have to be to pay the high fees.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 16:55:59 2018

Wenig wants to sell new items, but sellers do not want to sell new items on eBay that cost over 20 bucks to to the massive amount of fraud on the platform.

Sellers of high priced collectibles also take a chance listing those items on eBay, so they can't win with their current policies.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 17:13:12 2018

Wenig, Tarman, and their ilk are the ones with perception issues.
enay is an INTERFACE...it is NOT a "brand".

There...didn't need a JD or MBA to figure that out.
enay is led by educated FOOLS.
What's worse, they think that truly educated people don't notice.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: 1st Armored Div. 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 18:17:23 2018

Ebay's one size fits all does not work. The best thing it could do is separate the OOAK items from Commodity items and have two different sites. The business models are not the same and have different needs. Ebay has been geared to the commodity end "fast turnover low price" for some time now to the determent of the OOAK sellers "slow turnover higher price".

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: thievesBay This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 18:32:09 2018

How exactly does eBay think they can fight this image any longer? They've done it to themselves over the years by driving down prices on everything, especially used items.

They do it by directing buyers using Best Match or "suggesting" items that are the lowest prices. Seems to be their only criteria. Which also will happen to be lower quality items, many times without any actual photos or a decent description. But many buyers don't read descriptions nowadays anyway. If buyers don't take any time to filter results they're probably not gonna find something better. So the buyer purchases the cheap item, gets something unexpected or a piece of junk, files a SNAD, eBay automatically sides with the buyer. But you know what, eBay gets and keeps the seller fees so what do they care? Not at all.

They will not shed this image unless they get rid of the rigged programming of the site and Cassini which has been a disaster since the beginning.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 18:42:37 2018

"Your honor...ebay cannot be called a "brand".
A brand is consistent. For example, Lexus and Mercedes Benz are true brands. There is nothing consistent about ebay."
Slam dunk case.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 19:36:34 2018

Another damn attorney that knows zilch about what the site should be. No experience evident for what eBay has been and should be again about.

Please, someone, herd all the damn lawyers to the legal department and hire people with expertise and experience with the net, ecommerce, and or real retail, true tech expertise and put all the lawyers in that one room and lock the door.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: thriftyone This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 19:53:10 2018

His response to the very last question is very telling: "Every day in my role I am reminded of how little I know. I sit in meetings and scratch my head and go through the old imposter syndrome and try to make it look like I know what I’m doing and I think that always wanting to understand more and to never sit back and say ‘yeah, I got this’, is the best advice I would give somebody."  

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 19:58:08 2018

What he is saying about how little he knows is about scamming Wall Street Investors, fooling the Board of Directors, exploiting good employees, inventing scams to rip off sellers like Donahoe and Devin have been doing for a decade now.

You can't learn all that stuff in your first year on the job.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Sun Aug 5 20:36:31 2018

Updated post to provide statement from Dan Tarman.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 20:48:57 2018

''Can eBay can promote its marketplace as a place for new goods without having to disrupt the notion it's also a place for vintage goods, collectibles, and used goods?''

That's the Genesis question really.  

Day one of the new eMpire they had that opportunity to leverage into and build upon the admittedly lucrative global tchotchke and commoddities made cheaply market on top of their foundation, but chose instead to ''let go'' of their ''sucessful past'' by ''disruptive'' intent.  

So they could, but they stubbornly won't.  Doesn't fit the absurdity of their manipulated ''reality that is eBay'' today.

Mr. Donohoe wanted to desperately 'brand' that intent as 'innovative', but he, all his crayons, and all his delusional thinking days, all of his horses and all of his men, couldn't come up with one original idea in the process.  

Ironically, HAD they chosen instead to undertake their quest WHILE maintaining the castle, THAT would have been 'innovative'.

Instead, eBay has regularly, incrementally, increased the temprature of the now boiling cauldron of disdain still inhabited by frogs somehow yet to feel endangered by the heat.  

And Mr Wenig has just directed the rest of the logs be added to the fire, and wants to be done with it.  Focus on sharpening the blurry edges of their carbon copied new 'brand'.

And the true irony here?  The one thing these back alley copycats of eCommerce could take from their perceived competiton they had none from a decade ago?

''Amazon recognizes that shoppers are comfortable with multi-dimensional marketplaces.''

eBay can ''fight'' that, but will never beat it.  



Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sun Aug 5 21:11:25 2018

eBay charges sellers ridiculously high fees, pushes sellers to include shipping in the selling price, drives sellers to a race to the bottom on pricing or lose visibility, then expects that sellers to pay more for promoted listings to regain the visibility eBay takes away.

Given the inconsistencies in their seller facing policies, it is no wonder they have no concept that it was the electronic 'flea market' image that made the site a success.

While they continue to  deliberately retreat from that image, they can not wrap their heads around why their sales continue to stagnate/decline.  DUH!!!

Clearly this management team is wandering lost, and their only success will be breaking the marketplace beyond repair.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: thievesBay This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 21:18:57 2018

eBay is not a brand. These people are delusional. They sell nothing, they manufacture nothing, they have no products of their own. They are a platform only and a poor one at that. But in their never-ending quest to screw the sellers they want buyers to believe they're buying from "eBay" and not the sellers. But if there's any problems with a sale they'll throw all responsibility on the seller and take themselves out of the equation. Everything this company thinks and does now is the wrong direction. Can you smell the desperation?

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 21:58:09 2018

Ok - Ill be the first to go out on a limb here ....

This article/interview is %100 preprocessed baloney.

The last paragraph is telling:

"Every day in my role I am reminded of how little I know" - Yes - we can tell - it shows in everything you do.

"I sit in meetings and scratch my head and go through the old imposter syndrome and try to make it look like I know what I’m doing" So basically, you're a FRAUD (and you dont know what you are doing).

"say ‘yeah, I got this’, is the best advice I would give somebody. " So (as a lawyer) you are encouraging OTHERS to lie as well????

eBay ISNT a "brand", its a platform for shopping online. If you dont believe me, then by all means pull up the transcript of the eBay vs Vuitton trial - where eBay says so UNDER OATH.

The numbers eBay gives Wall Street are contrived, based on hidden things, income for which theres no "costs", the forcing of losses on to sellers who then must remit funds (extra %4 eBay has decided to charge sellers for too many returns)(that they themselves decide aka the books are cooked), and yet fluff pieces like this still seem to exist.

There are more glitches now then ever, and each day sellers find MORE. The CEO, spends more time on his private jet then in his office and doesnt care much at all.

The payments beta doesnt even allow sellers to use Paypal to make sales (and eBay neglected to tell BEFORE they signed up).

There is NO BRAND, the emporer has no new clothes, and this kind of article is the type that's written by someone who has no ecommerce/etail/retai/wholesale experience.

You wouldnt want your gardener to do your childs heart operation, you want a surgeon - that they both CUT things isnt enough - so why do you expect less from your ecommerce company?

This guy talks a mile a minute about "communications" and eBay even promised that they would announce changes to the site PRIOR to them being implemented - yet that NEVER happens ... wheres his "communication?????

eBay has NO concrete plans for the future - except stock buy backs. STOP the war on sellers and your future will change!


posted on his article - lets see if he has any cajones and contacts me!

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 5 22:32:25 2018

Likely the intent of the article was not to put lipstick on pig,
but managed to do so regardless.
Once again, an enay exec spouts conjecture, and dust comes out.

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Mon Aug 6 00:06:20 2018

Where he worked at before says all I need to know about this dope. Countrywide was one of the biggest companies that caused the crash in '08 with their derivatives of bundled mortgages they were selling to wall street. All he is to anyone is a yes man which he states in his release that he has no idea as to what is going on.

As I have been saying for a while now:

eBay = Dead Man Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 6 00:16:28 2018

What is amazing is how stupid Devin really is.

Poshmark is advertising their app on TV, so is OfferUp.

How hard is it if they can do it, yet the inept team at eBay can't get the job done.  

Perminate Link for eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image   eBay Continues to Fight Flea Market Image

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Aug 6 00:51:42 2018

I have never once thought of eBay as a flea market. Interesting observation.  

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