Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon July 27 2015 21:30:28

eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

By: Ina Steiner

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Two years ago, things were going very well for eBay's CEO John Donahoe. A Wall Street analyst talked of eBay's "Marketplace Momentum," writing, "Management's execution of the turnaround of core Marketplace has been impressive."

The following month - August 2013 - Donahoe told Bloomberg he believed its eBay Now one-hour delivery service was economical and indicated eBay could innovate better than Amazon or Google. Donahoe also talked about the touchscreen window it had developed for retailer Kate Spade. 

We wondered at the time why Donahoe was putting himself in the limelight: "Donahoe seems to be everywhere these days," we wrote, "granting interviews to the financial press and writing essays on outside sites like LinkedIn and LeanIn. He has been sharing his management techniques such as his unique "thinking days" in which he spends time in an empty office at eBay HQ organizing his thoughts on a white board, and sharing his philosophy on the benefits of taking time away from the office altogether and the importance of family."

Just a few months later in January 2014, Donahoe met his nemesis in the form of Carl Icahn, and things went downhill from there. Now, Donahoe is gone, eBay is a much smaller company after it was forced to spinoff PayPal, and it's made further cuts as well with plans to sell its enterprise unit (eBay Enterprise, formerly known as GSI Commerce).

Today comes word that Donahoe's pet project eBay Now is being terminated. (See Tuesday's Newsflash.)


Above: A slide of eBay's 2015 goals shared with analysts at eBay's 2013 Analyst Day in March 2013. 

Many factors helped lead to eBay's decline, including Carl Icahn, hackers, SEO penalty - but there's no question it should have been able to fend off these assaults. 

What's really striking is the fact that Amazon started competing with eBay as a retailer, and now 45% of the paid units sold on the Amazon platform are from third-party sellers, which had been eBay's core competency.

Sellers don't have any say in where a marketplace places its priority, but they feel the impact of managements' decisions. As eBay's new CEO Devin Wenig kills off his predecessor's pet projects, what else should he cut, and where would you tell him to focus his attention?

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Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: lagunalps This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 29 14:58:11 2015

eBay shut me down after 13 years as a power seller with a 99.9% satisfaction rating.  They just need to dust off the playbook for everything they were doing in 1999 that made them super successful and put those policies back in place.  eBay doesn't have to reinvent the wheel to be great again. Just copy the past success and erase any and everything that came after 1999.  Now where is my golden parachute?

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

This user has validated their user name. by: FEEbay

Wed Jul 29 16:00:53 2015

I know that I may be flamed for this but: To all of those who want Ebay to "go back to the 2000 format.."
Get real folks... Ebay is not interested in tiny sellers who sell 3 or 4 unique collectible items per week. They decided a long time ago that there is far too much handholding involved. This is why sites like ETSY are flourishing now. My issue with Ebay is that they are now making it impossible for VOLUME sellers to succeed as well. We have sold 15-20 million worth on this channel since 1999, and are treated like scum. The defect system has got to be fixed!!

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 29 18:48:18 2015

@toolguy

I can only state the facts.

It's not me making the decision to chop Paypal, it's our customers !!

Since we started offering Direct Payment, on one of our venues (etsy) our sales have increased, about half of all transactions customers are using direct payment, instead of paypal.

I can only assume that offering the same setup on our website our sales will show the same increased results.

There is an increasing amount of customers that HATE Paypal, and or certain idiots that operate the company, and would rather buy somewhere else if they have to.

With your ebay only mindset, your living and working in a closed, and isolated shrinking manipulated bubble, that could pop anytime



Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 29 21:19:42 2015

Well, if Devil Wingnut will she-it can every "Disruptive Disruption" of Johnny The Hoe, I'll stop calling him "Devil Wingnut!"

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 29 21:22:24 2015

Gee, 'toolguy' now says buyers don't like PayPig!  I can't imagine why, as all they have to do is WHINE a bit and they get their money back plus a free item! As for sellers digging it, I say a silent prayer after every eBay sale, hoping I'm dealing with a sane and honest party and not a scammer.  

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 29 23:55:58 2015

@toolguy

I've been here from 1998 - kind of a long time, and so when *I* complain, its not because I have nothing to do or that I just like to pick on eBay.

I had no complaints with Meg - others may have - I cant speak for them.

Things for me were GREAT until John Donohue showed up. All of a sudden as a seller, I became ENEMY #1. I didnt do anything the day AFTER he was hired, then I was before.

Let me remind you please that JD has NO (none, zero, nada, efes, gornished (is that enough languages?) experience in ecommerce. I ask the question again - would you let your non english speaking gardener do your childs kidney transplant? or would you insist on the BEST doctors in the country? We didnt get the best - we got an eskimo that had never seen civilization.

As soon as JD came to power, eBay changed. I understand the powers that be wanted it to be monetized, I understand they wanted certain standards, and I understand they wanted to aggressively grow eBay. Fine, all those things could have been done with out opening up a 10 year wr on your sellers.

As soon as he walked in, he got aa cushy office and a private jet, I got abused by VERO. I was vindicated EVERY SINGLE time, and it cost me ALOT (~ 10k) in lawyers bills to get that vindication.

I had people VEROing me claiming I sold fakes, all while admitting that they never saw even (1) example of anything I sold, to examine it before making that claim. I was just an "unrecognized seller, and that was enough. Guilty until I proved I was innocent. I was allowed to relist every single item, but it cost me time, effort and money.

VERO struck again a few years later. Being bored and not all that bright, they told me I couldnt list items in the US, that were US goods (NOT grey market) and make them available for sale overseas! I asked under what insane law are you VEROing me and I was pointed to an inter EU trade policy that the USA was NOT party to. All my overseas sales died off - if people in the EU cant see my items then they cant buy them, right?

Casio (unlike last time when it was Monster and Skullcandy) threatened eBay with a law suit claiming I was IMPORTING goods into the EU - when in reality I was EXPORTING goods out of the USA - NOT the same thing since the US was NOT party to that agreement.

Wasnt the entire reason of eBay and being "international" to actually sell goods overseas? Apparantly NOT. I still have the email that VERO sent me that states "they dont know the law nor do they care if its right or wrong ...too bad".

Unlike others, I have no issues in general, with GSP ... unless you count on them loosing items 1 out of every 6 shipments. Sure its a problem but since I dont get negatives and I get to keep the money (seller protection) - Im good - since Im made whole.

The last straw (and I have many other issues but Im only stating the BIG ones here) is the forced returns policy.

YOUR items may be big & heavy (too heavy to ship back) mine are NOT.

My return policy was fair and worked well. If it was my fault or DOA, I took it back and paid for the return shipping. If not I took it back with a %20 restocking fee. See MY manufactorers dont take back items cause "you changed your mind". We arent children in nursery school. If you dont like it or it isnt the right color - too bad - do your homework BEFORE you buy. We dont promise compatibility with legacy devices, and things like that.

In comes JD and his FORCED returns and *I* get a lot of returns - more in 6 months then in the last 6 yrs and eBay tells me to stuff it.

Now ordinarily, if it was just an unwanted unopened box - thats ok as my items dont go "stale".

BUT, when you switch serial numbers on me, or you return items missing books/tags/labels/packaging thats another thing altogether.

Over at AMAZON I have the same 30 day returns as everyone else and when I get back a different item or have another issue - I take pics, send them into Amazon and then 2 hrs later I get made whole.

As a general principle - I dont steal from YOU, so dont steal from me.

eBays attitude was that they were doing me a favor to begin with. The few million that Ive done with them wasnt worth a damn, and it was a PRIVILEGE to be stolen from - and more then that - a customers RIGHT to do so!

What BS!

Let me close with the idiot Wenig who wants to tweet himself into a $23 million dollar parachute.

He like JD has no experience in running an ecommerce company. He wasnt even a stock boy at Sears!

He came in an promised all kinds of changes - and so far - ZIP.

eBay continues down that dark path of becoming "invisible". No advertising, no trade show appearances - NOTHING, not even a mention in industry magazines.

I dont hate eBay. I hate what the morons in charge have done to her.

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: drewmark This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 30 00:57:18 2015

Ebay is Dying a slow death just like myspace.com did.  Myspace was once a very popular website, Now? Facebook is the place to be.. Looks like Amazon is overtaking eBay for buyers. I'm glad I sell on my website because I know my buyers are serious buyers, Not scam artists,, I set my rules and if they don't like it. THEY DON'T have to buy from me. Gotta love America.  

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 30 02:59:08 2015

No problem, Devin Wenig says, “We Can Tweet Our Way Out of This”.

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 30 15:07:05 2015

off topic but i notice that your headline "eBay: We Can Tweet Our Way Out of This" is being hijacked on twitter. People (or bots) are using it to send people to sites which aren't the actual news report. Some of the sites looks hoky.


How eBay is that?

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jul 30 15:26:32 2015

toolguy says "You either adapt with change or get left behind."

Aren't you selling old, antique or discontinued tools on eBay?

If this is the case, please re-read what you have written as it is quite ironic if you are indeed selling the above.

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 30 15:34:09 2015

one of the accounts hijacking that title says Social Media &✰ Reputation Management for it's tagline blurb.


omglmao  

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 30 22:51:58 2015

Any pro seller formerly selling on Ebay....
have diversified away from Ebay already.

Leftover sellers on Ebay who keep wishing and hoping for some miracle rescue, keep offering detailed analysis of how to reverse course. They are not listening....

Wake up.....sales now are ~10% of what they used to be.

John Donahoe's Pet Project is a huge SUCCESS in FAILURE.

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: swaggy waggy what? This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 5 20:45:08 2015

I have many years of successful retail and online selling under my belt, so finally decided to make it a go on eBay and Amazon selling some things, let's say.

In one week, I was in a HOLE $25 with eBay and Amazon Sales brought in $25. ... Hmmm, who will I do business with in the future? Screw eBay, it's obvious the site sucks.  

Perminate Link for eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project   eBay Dismantles John Donahoe's Pet Project

by: ConnecticutGal This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 9 04:28:18 2015

@IDK pretty much covers it all with one or two additions needed.  Firstly, those 180 day potential returns via PayPal are just plain ridiculous.  Other than Zappos, who offers this?...  eBay needs to negotiate with PayPal to get rid of this a sap.  Also, if you want auctions to succeed, then the BIN price should only be 10 percent above the starting price or let the seller set whatever BIN price they want.   And get rid of the extra fee if you end an auction early to let the high bidder buy the item a day or two early.  And, again, these seller defects have to go.  



I had a buyer today for an auction item which had no bids.  She offered me a reasonable price and wanted to buy the item right away.  There was still two days to go on this auction item.  If I set the BIN price to her offer, I had to gerrymander the auction price to 30 percent lower.  When I did that, someone else popped up and bid the lower price.  So my very nice customer was in danger of losing the item. And I couldn't end the auction because now I had a (low) bidder.  I couldn't even end it to resist as a fixed price because I would be liable for a double fvf.  And I would have had to pay for a fixed price listing.  How much more convoluted can this get.  And my buyers don't understand this pickle.  

I had another customer who bought a special antique gold brooch for his wife.  After he bought it and he paid right away, he told me he was in the service and got a special leave so he could be home for his 25th anniversary as a surprise for his wife so he asked me to hold off shipping the brooch for a few days.   What to do, what to do?   If I was customer focused and patriotic, I would get a defect.   T
Again, just ridiculous.  

I have perfect feedback and was a TRS until the hacking last March and in spite of rolling blackouts.  My business had been growing 30 percent year over year....until March, 2014.   I've now list TRS and am ''above standard'' with perfect feedback and glowing remarks from my customers.  How can this be?  How de motivating to me or any seller for that matter.  

I sell unique antiques and oddities.  I have had only one return which was buyer's remorse.  I've had a buyer who wrote a haiku about an item he bought from me.   It used to be rewarding, both financially and emotionally, to sell on eBay.  But now, the stress that I could be kicked off because my volume is so low and a couple of defects might ruin me, I could theoretically get a return in six months with no warning, etc. etc. are just counterintuitive to building a business.    

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