It came without warning in the middle of the night - a notice of the death of the eBay PowerSeller program. Memorial tributes quickly began pouring out from longtime sellers.
"Just received this message from eBay that they are retiring the PowerSeller program, see below. I have been an eBay seller since: Oct-27-01, and a PowerSeller for most of that time. This is a sad day indeed."
The eBay email subject line read: "(User name), we're retiring the PowerSeller program."
The subheading read: "Thank you for being a PowerSeller-learn what's next," followed by the eBay logo and a header reading: "We're retiring the PowerSeller program."
The email came from not one manager or executive, but from "Your eBay Team," and here's how it broke the news:
Dear (User name),
As a PowerSeller, you're one of eBay's most trusted and valued sellers.
While the PowerSeller program is part of eBay's heritage and has provided a meaningful badge for sellers, it now exists alongside eBay's Top Rated Seller program.
Because the Top Rated Seller program offers more meaningful seller recognition as well as a wider set of benefits, we have made the decision to simplify our seller programs and retire the PowerSeller program and badge as of June 20, 2021. It's been inspiring to see how PowerSellers have shaped eBay since the launch of the program more than 20 years ago and we now encourage you to continue your eBay journey as a part of the Top Rated Seller program. Learn more about what it means to be a Top Rated Seller.
So that you don't lose the benefits of being a PowerSeller, starting June 20, your 7 calendar day grace period for negative and neutral feedback will now be included in the Top Rated Seller program.
In recognition of your contribution as a PowerSeller, we have created a special certificate which you can personalize and download here.
Thank you for being one of eBay's most active and long-standing sellers, and for contributing to our heritage. We look forward to supporting you as you continue to represent the best of selling on eBay through the Top Rated Seller program.
Your eBay Team
Those sellers who took the trouble to follow the link in the email to get their PowerSeller certificate said they were unable to print it. Others wondered if eBay would be closing the PowerSeller board.
One seller, "my-cottage-books-and-antiques," summed up their reaction in a post on the eBay boards
"Power Seller status hasn't really been meaningful for many years. But my guess is, eBay hesitated to close it down sooner because they figured it would rile up a lot of people.....but its been so many years now, that I think very few people are really going to be upset about this. Maybe a little sad, for those who have been on eBay since the early days, but I doubt a lot of people will be saying that they are going to leave eBay because of this change....at this point, it's just a bit of Marie Kondo like cleaning out....kind of like the way some of the Community Boards will soon be closed down...."
The PowerSeller program had its genesis in 1997 when eBay hired Karen Stahl, according to Adam Cohen in his book about eBay called "The Perfect Store."
By 2002, eBay had Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels and added two levels, Platinum and Titanium. In 2008, eBay added a new tier called the "Diamond" Powerseller for those who sold $500,000 a month. But the eventual demise of the PowerSeller program seemed inevitable once eBay launched the Top Rated Seller program in 2009.
Leave your tributes here - what did it mean to you to be a PowerSeller?