Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Aug 16 2015 21:56:07

Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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Before you get too mad at the Amazon employee who can't get your seller-account suspension lifted, take a look at this article from today's New York Times. It could be that the person you are fuming at may him or herself be held up to unreasonably high standards.

The article paints Amazon as a demanding employer that perhaps goes too far, with workers expected to work long hours under difficult conditions. 
Online sellers who run into performance issues at Amazon (or eBay) because of a personal crisis may take note of this line from the newspaper article: "Some (Amazon) workers who suffered from cancer, miscarriages and other personal crises said they had been evaluated unfairly or edged out rather than given time to recover." (Update: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos defended his company in response to the article, says Geekwire).

Working in retail is tough, probably a lot tougher than working at a high-tech company. Amazon third-party merchants must also work all hours, including weekends and holidays.

One gets the sense that managers at eBay have life a lot different than their Amazon peers.

We'd love to hear what online sellers think about the corporate culture at Amazon after reading about the harsh conditions described by former employees - and how they think that compares with the corporate culture at eBay.

Many have noted that eBay has copied Amazon in many regards. Now that some of the secrets of Amazon's management style have been revealed, will eBay be tempted to copy them as well? And if so, will it trickle down to how eBay treats sellers?

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Perminate Link for Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers   Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers

by: Owen This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 17 15:05:13 2015

I have a hard time understanding why some managers think you have to be cruel to get the most from your employees. Pushing people beyond their limits is ridiculous. Everyone has their own personal limitations, be it physical, mental, or intellectual. Pushing them beyond what they can do, in counterproductive. People cannot work effectively when they are uncomfortable. Expect the most you can from the best people you hire, yes. Cruelty has no place here. If you have poor employees, then your hiring practices are off somehow, and you are hiring the wrong people to do the job.

I suggest the top managers who are doing these kinds of things, have mental defects, and should also be treated the way they treat others.

Treating people horribly because they have developed an illness, or are pregnant, is cruelty in its purest form. And it also affects other employees, who aren't even ill. Morale will tank.

Rapid turnover, cannot be good for any business.

The fish stinks from the head. Jeff Bezos, look at yourself in the mirror. Have you created this kind of environment. Is this how your parents brought up their little boy? Maybe you need some counseling. The buck stops with you.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Aug 17 15:13:35 2015

sasikat9 says "I would think that if these people felt that they were being that used and abused they would quit."

Have you ever had kids to feed and clothe?  People don't stay in abusive roles because they like it.  There is a saying "you can't exploit the willing"----in actuality you can.

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by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 17 15:35:48 2015

Heyyyyyyy... now there's a shocker.. Amazon treats it's employee's like sh*t just like it's marketplace sellers!! Why am I not surprised at all??

Perminate Link for Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers   Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers

by: BB2 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 17 15:40:51 2015

@JustTheFacts - Well said.

Human capital is a company's most valuable asset. Bezo's letter to employees today was nothing more than a red herring.

I spent 20 years in high-tech. I recognize a lot of the issues raised in the article. Churn and burn was commonplace, and still is in some pockets, but not to the extent described in the article. Many high-tech firms have since migrated to a wellness philosophy for their employees and customers. They had to re-structure to ensure the future success of their organizations.

There is nothing progressive or innovative in Bezo's approach to business. He is buying as many markets/customers he possibly can now, in hopes it will carry the company forward. He is a dinosaur. He'll either adjust to the changing climate or risk extinction.

Perminate Link for Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers   Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Aug 17 16:27:32 2015

What will be interesting to see is how the public reacts to the Amazon revelations.

While Amazon Prime customers will be unlikely to bail, those who are not locked in may find these allegations disturbing enough to change their buying habits and pull back from Amazon.

Time will tell if this is an isolated reaction or something that will become more wide spread:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/08/17/can-conti
nue-support-amazon/31831119/

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 17 17:11:50 2015

by: clegge This user has validated their user name.
     
Mon Aug 17 01:25:38 2015
@TomH, ''I sincerely hope for your sake that Jeff Bezos doesn't start holding 3rd party sellers to the same brutal standards.''

lol, well actually Amazon has some pretty tough standards also for 3rd party sellers. Recently there has been a definite increase (from all that can be discerned) in account suspensions.

I learned fifty years ago to never put all my eggs in one basket; for your future hope you have learned that lesson also. Many, especially on eBay, appear not have learned that lesson.  

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by: brokentoys19 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 17 18:27:52 2015

Bezos didn't waste any time before firing back, nor did he mince words or waffle. Compare to corporate culture crisis response of other certain eCommerce websites. LOL


Full memo: Jeff Bezos responds to cutting NYT exposé, says tolerance for ‘lack of empathy needs to be zero’:

http://bit.ly/1DWQQM6

Perminate Link for Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers   Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers

by: Owen This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 17 19:16:35 2015

I read his responses. He wants people to report grievances directly to him. Ha Ha Ha. Wanna bet what will happen when someone does that?????

Total weasel words from a total weasel.

He created this monster, no one else but him. It rests totally on his shoulders.

Perminate Link for Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers   Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 17 21:13:17 2015

feeBay probably treats its rank-and-file employees like dirt; after all, that's the treatment they mete out to PAYING CUSTOMERS so why would they cut their own grunts any breaks? Besides, many, probably most, of their staff isn't even on their US payrolls; they're in the employ of foreign outsourcers in Third World He// Holes like the Philipines.

Now, would The River be any different? I'd figure this Bezo, Bozo, or whatever who rakes in tens of millions annually to be cut from the same stinkin' cloth as The Hoe, Devil Wingnut, and the rest of their Forty Thieves.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed Aug 19 01:04:15 2015

As someone who has worked for Amazon, I have to take this with a grain of salt. Disgruntled people make a whole lot more noise than happy ones. Amazon is really no different from most other high tech companies. They may be a retailer, but they're definitely a high-tech outfit.

I worked for them on a contract gig and enjoyed it quite a bit. They are very demanding and are well-known (along with Google and Microsoft) for their grueling hiring and interview process. I had to do 3 phone interviews and write some code to solve a problem for 'homework'. For contract work, that is definitely not the norm.

One of the reasons I prefer to work on contract is because of the expectations most companies have for their salaried employees to put in more than their 40 hours/week. I don't like that and the stresses of company politics annoy me, so I prefer to work as a contractor where I get paid for every hour I work.

Working at Amazon was a lot of fun, at least in the group I worked with (the technical side of their financial services). The people were great and I learned a lot. They were very big on training and learning new technology, with regular lectures and video classes done by expert employees. It really was one of the most enjoyable gigs I've had. They're not perfect - no company is - but they're not that different from any other place, aside from being pickier about who they hire. I've worked at over 50 different companies, so I've seen a wide variety of work environments. I found it interesting that once I posted my Amazon role on my LinkedIn profile, I was immediately contacted by Microsoft and Google. Apparently, the three companies regularly poach from one another, since they have similarly stringent hiring practices.

Turnover is high in a lot of these companies, but not necessarily due to company abuse. In the the industry, if you don't keep up with the rapid advances, you risk becoming obsolete and unemployable. Many people change jobs just to keep up. For me, working a few freelance or contract engagements helps keep my skills fresh. It's not for everyone, just as the regular corporate role isn't for everyone, either. Personally, I prefer to be the driver of my career and don't expect a company to take care of me. My goal is to do work that I enjoy and make as much money as possible doing it. It's not much different from a company's goal of making a profit, so it's a win for both of us. YMMV :-)

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by: keep trying to do the right thing This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 19 18:25:49 2015

Hey if you think Amazon is bad, I heard ebay is building a secret under ground gas chamber for it's sellers

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by: dibooks This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 20 20:08:22 2015

I took the time to read everything, including Jeff Bezos ''articles of faith'' leadership principles.  I spent the time because over the years I have both bought and sold on Amazon.  NEVER AGAIN.  Mr. Bezos, you have created a monster, one you obviously, (as shown by your own response to the article) have lost control of. It starts with you, and ends with you, as do the profits you reap from your overworked employees.  It is greed and greed alone that drives your machine, and I will no longer support it.  I don't need anything that fast.  I don't think any of us do!  I am just one person, but that one person, today, went to her niece's bridal registry and saw that she was registered with Amazon and BB&B.  Not only did my $300.00 not go to Amazon, but I am sending my niece the NYT article....and she can decide from there if she stays registered with Amazon. And I'm on my way out to buy a Nook, as my Kindle account will soon be closed!

Perminate Link for Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers   Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 21 21:03:19 2015

@BargainzBabylon

Seattle becoming unliveable? Couldn't have anything to do with the flood of Asian immigrants [the legal kind] plus the ILLEGAL ALIENS, could it?

Seattle's sister city, Vancouver, BC is already past the point of salvation.  

Perminate Link for Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers   Amazon and eBay Corporate Cultures Impact Online Sellers

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 21 21:05:21 2015

@keep trying to do the right thing

How much are they charging for admission? Will they offer a 100% Money Back Guarantee? If I survive the gassing, does that count as a "defect" against Devil Wingnut?

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