Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Feb 9 2014 21:48:09

Exclusive: Alibaba Subsidiary to Launch eBay Rival in U.S.

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay's rival in China is backing a new marketplace set to launch soon in the U.S. Alibaba's new subsidiary 11Main.com has been onboarding third-party sellers since the fall with the help of Auctiva and Vendio, two eBay listing tools acquired by Alibaba almost 4 years ago. Through those acquisitions, Alibaba gained 250,000 eBay sellers that accounted for an estimated 5 - 10 percent of eBay listings.

Alibaba and 11 Main declined to comment for the story in tomorrow's Newsflash newsletter, but EcommerceBytes has spoken to some sellers who are participating in the pre-launch. One such seller said he was excited about the new marketplace because it could be a viable competitor to eBay, "When I hear that the biggest internet presence in China is behind this, that's an attention getter. That makes it real and different from all the other competitors. They have the money and time to make it work."



Alibaba benefits when sellers use its product sourcing marketplace to sell on eBay.com. The fact that its subsidiary has chosen this time to launch a marketplace in the U.S. may say something about how those sellers are faring on eBay, which has chosen to focus on large brands and retailers.

Smaller sellers have found it increasingly frustrating to sell on eBay as management shifts its strategy to focus on the sale of new goods by retail giants. While many eBay sellers sell on multiple channels, eBay could take it as an affront to learn that one of its largest partners, Auctiva, is helping power a rival marketplace.

The biggest challenge new marketplaces face is gaining access to shoppers. 11 Main and its merchants have an edge over most startups since they can promote the site to their existing customers.

You can read the full story in Newsflash, along with a pre-launch screenshot of the homepage. Let us know what you think of the 11 Main marketplace, which is set to launch soon in a special invitation-only preview before its official launch. Would its lower fees (3.5% including shipping & handling) entice you to try it?

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Perminate Link for Exclusive: Alibaba Subsidiary to Launch eBay Rival in U.S.   Exclusive: Alibaba Subsidiary to Launch eBay Rival in U.S.

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 10:39:08 2014

Its WAAAAAY to early to even think that this will make JD & Co even think about changing anything about eBay.

Seriously, did anything change on eBay when Rakuten bought buy.com? NO.

How about when Sears.com tried to step up its game with 3P sellers? No.

How about when Bonanza got remotely more serious about 3P? No.

eBays goal ISNT to be an ecommerce site - that changed when Meg left. JD just saw it as a machine to make money off. On eBay the sellers are the cattle futures JD bets on. eBay pays itself - not dividends, their books are closed, their meetings (ala CES) are closed to the public, TWICE and Dealerscope wont mention them - and beyond poorly aping Amazon .. what do they do?

Lets see what 11main does. SO far its invite only - lets see who they invite to sell on their site AND who will dare to be a buyer - no policies are listed ANYWHERE.

The game is eBay and Amazon - and of course your own site - the rest are just BS.

If you want to get an idea of what Alibaba is all about - go there - 99.9% of it is fake Chinese knockoffs ....

A REAL transformation is needed before they get to be taked seriously as a "contender" IMHO.

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by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 10:50:02 2014

Time to dump the eBay stock!

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This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Mon Feb 10 11:05:06 2014

Every days appears an eBay Alternative. Let see this experiment goes more serious that Boocoo.

About fees. I don't support membership or posting fees. Because as far I saw it means owners will just sit back and wait for a weekly/monthly paycheck. They will focus in getting sellers to list/post, but not buyers.

Now I don't have problems with any fair final fee. Because it means the owners needs to work alongside the seller to get buyers.  

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 11:22:00 2014

Are we at last going to have an alternative to Ebay?  11 Main should have plenty of information on how not to treat sellers...Ebay is a textbook case.  Etsy will eat their current attitude.  I have things sitting there collecting dust...not traffic!  Its a good time for a new venue and they can be wildly successful if they play their cards right.

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This user has validated their user name. by: baconsdozen

Mon Feb 10 11:33:06 2014

I would like to see a competitor take on ebay,but if its a Chinese one then my feelings are mixed as the Chinese with their cheap junk have killed off the manufacturing industries in the UK.

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by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 11:44:15 2014

Visit 11main and apply for an invitation (easy process), to heck with JDogahole and Bozos !

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Feb 10 13:42:46 2014

“11 Main is also actively encouraging sellers to consider lowering their prices since its selling fees are lower than eBay's."

Ha!  Another race to see who can have the lowest profit margins.

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by: VintageLady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 14:19:45 2014

Another ''promised land'', so to speak. Might give it a try though if they envisage showcasing VINTAGE. Especially now that the last venue I invested in after my permanent break-up from eBay, Etsy, is such a disappointment. Etsy can not even figure out general terminology in plain English language (see the convoluted issue of what constitutes ''handmade'') let alone provide a real venue for artists, artisans and especially vintage.  

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 17:28:51 2014

I remember when Ebay first started up...every other commercial on the radio was an Ebay commercial...it went on for months with some TV ads as well.  The trouble with these new start ups is they think they can sail in entice sellers and the sellers will buy from each other and pass the word around.  You'd think they would learn it hasn't happened and it never will. If a new venue isn't ready to put up some ad money and put in some sweat equity they will fail...just like all the others before them.  So, with this new venue...we'll just wait and see.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Feb 10 19:13:53 2014

This could throw a very large monkey wrench into whatever draconian spring seller release ebay has or may have had ready to spring on us.

This new marketplace has the potential unlike all previous ones with the exception of Amazon to become a serious ebay competitor.

It would behoove ebay to begin immediately romancing their good sellers like never before.

Run, John, run.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Mon Feb 10 20:12:58 2014

@Patricia: You nailed it. The biggest failing in all of these venues is the lack of marketing. Yes, we all need to market for ourselves, but no site will become a shopping destination without some larger/broader marketing efforts. Ebay did this correctly in the early days, with their TV ads and such. That was something that simply worked. Yet, they've thrown that out along with everything else that brought good things to the marketplace. Their disruptive innovation has become *destructive* innovation.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Feb 10 20:41:12 2014

Alibaba & 11 Main gives one the hope they will be focused on where buyers and third party sellers exist - Main Street. At first blush, this appears to be loaded with the kind of appeal that eBay gave up with John Donahoe's destructive innovations.

John Donahoe & eBay so focused on Wall Street and reaping millions on stock sales that they have totally lost touch with sellers. As part of this process, the policies they implement to appeal to Wall Street have been successful alienating both buyers and sellers.

If Alibaba has done their homework, keeps their site simple, and avoids falling into the Wall Street mentality, this will definitely force eBay to simplify and appease sellers or stay dedicated to the Wall Street mentality and allow their marketplace to implode by their own hand.

Let's see if John Donahoe can manage to save eBay or if he will let 11 Main take eBay for it's long overdue comeuppance.


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by: StevenM This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 21:12:26 2014

It already has eBay's attention.  The discussion was removed from the Official eBay discussion group on LinkeIn.

I am a member of Alibaba for a different reason but they have already reach out to me more in the past 5+ months than eBay has in 12 years.  If they run 11Main in the same fashion, they may well make a serious impression on eBay sellers.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Feb 10 21:26:08 2014

"The discussion was removed from the Official eBay discussion group on LinkeIn."

One thing's certainly not changed.

Ebay still engages in the same free speech suppressing nazi behavior they always have.

They suppress what they fear.

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by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 22:13:31 2014

Why would ebay be worried? For every seller that leaves, (for whatever reason) there are 10 waiting to join.

I doubt D'ho is worried either. Go look at his latest SEC filing. He could fly at any moment. He could sic the butcher bots on 10s of 1000s more sellers and still be laughing all the way to some offshore banks.

It might get interesting but imho more than likely it's much ado over nothing.

Ebay can have the news and social media filled with $Million sneakers "news" spam garbage and no one will ever hear about alibaba.  

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 22:19:21 2014

It is probable that this is the long awaited ebay sellers Exodus.  I signed up for Request Invitation.  But there was no confirmation email. Could this be another dysfunctional and arrogant company.  Did anyone signed up for it? Did you get an email response from 11main.com?

Good or bad for small US sellers, there would be a great upheaval soon.  On the positive side, ebay has finally meet its most prominent competitor... well oiled, financially mighty, naturally (culturally) connected to Chinese sellers that ebay had favored against small US sellers. With all-time ebay seller moral and all-time ebay seller loyalty to ebay, this is very bad news to ebay investors.
Ebay only play would be politics. But ebay won't have the sympathy of the hundreds of thousand American sellers it purged over the years. With reviving, resurrecting hundreds of thousand deprived US ebay sellers, this could be good news to USPS financial woes.

I think antique sellers would naturally be area where 11main.com would be most interest to add.   There would be no problem getting all other kinds of products  coming from China.

I still hope 11main.com has a Board that is fair and compassionate to US small sellers.  We don't need another greedy alligator in the marketplace.

I could see that hundreds of new giant shops ashore coming from all 3 coasts.  This could be the negative impact to all of us.  

The Year of the Horse could make or unmake (again) small US sellers.



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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Feb 10 23:19:27 2014

Unlike other startups that advertised themselves as ebay competitors, it's important to remember that this one is well financed, has experienced management familiar with retail, and the Chinese are known for their patience while working toward their end game.

There are NOT, IMHO, ten people waiting in line to sell for every existing seller. Ebay's PR campaign last year was a failure and word of mouth has diminished a lot of interest.

Who in their right mind would be willing risk both their money and their item with the ebay enhanced buyer theft protection policies?

So as 11Main cherry picks ebay's best sellers and the marketplace gains momentum (if it does), ebay's best sellers will be more likely to leave ebay and another slippery slope emerges.

As for lower prices, 11Main would do well to remember that every marketplace I'm aware including ebay requires sellers to offer the same item at the same price in all venues.

As a practical matter whether that could be enforced is questionable and may not even be legal.

I received a written invitation from 11Main late last fall, responded, but didn't hear from them until I received a telephone call a little more than 3 weeks ago.

After the rep outlined 11Main, he promised another rep would be calling but that hasn't happened yet. But I am in the process of setting up a store.

I'm tired of my earnings being throttled each month by screwed up algorithms and a manipulated search of questionable legality.

There is NO manipulated search on 11Main.

I'm tired of the world's worst customer service.

11Main's CSRs are located in this country.

I'm tired of ebay's anti seller, pro criminal buyer policies.

I'm tired of the unfair standards ebay uses to protect their Diamonds while exterminating the rest of us.

I am sick to death of stars.

There is NO feedback on 11Main.

Run, John, run.

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by: Eric Saeger This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 11 09:46:33 2014

I'd love to see what this is, but Trend Micro lists it as a malicious site and won't let me go there.
Hmmm, huh?
I've dealt with Alibaba n other work capacities.  Lots and lots of Chinese trash on there, and I do mean trash.
We'll see, I suppose.

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 11 10:29:21 2014

Update on 11main.com request for invitation.   I tried again the 2nd time and it worked this time.  I got a confirmation email.  Also, I add myself the 11main.com subscription list.  

I heard someone said low fees.  This would help out bottomline profit.  Ebay and Paypal ate too much into small US sellers profit with huge fees, no viaibility and limited restricted sales target.

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by: Eric Saeger This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 11 10:53:54 2014

Yep, I just got a confirmation email also, after bypassing Trend Micro.

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