Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Aug 2 2012 21:19:12

Behind the Article, 'Behind eBay's Comeback'

By: Ina Steiner

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A New York Times columnist has heralded eBay's "comeback" in a piece that has online sellers buzzing. Several readers told me it clarified for them the direction in which eBay is headed.

The author of the piece, Pulitzer Prize winner James B. Stewart, says eBay's comeback has little to do with core ecommerce operations. "Most of its growth came from mobile retailing and its PayPal online payments division, a business it acquired in 2002 for what now looks like a bargain $1.5 billion."

eBay CEO John Donahoe tells Stewart that eBay is "focused on delivering for our customers and continuing to innovate." But is he referring to the traditional eBay buyers and sellers? That's an area that could have been explored in greater detail.

As for innovation, has eBay's listing page really changed that much over the years aside from elements on the page being moved around? The biggest innovation on the page is a new space for ads so eBay can further monetize the marketplace.

eBay has introduced a catalog in commodity categories and has been experimenting with various features in the Fashion category. And there is a Daily Deals feature on eBay's home page. But curation and social sharing are not to be found, and eBay has actually removed much of the community elements from its site.

It's disappointing the author quoted only four sources when he assessed the company, all of whom have a vested interest in eBay:

- Ken Sena, an analyst at Wall Street firm Evercore;

- David Spitz, CEO of ChannelAdvisor, a company in which eBay has invested;

- Gerald L. Storch, CEO of ToysRUs, a large "diamond seller" on eBay that sued its rival Amazon in 2004 (Stewart quotes him, "eBay helps us succeed. Amazon is the competition");

- eBay's own CEO John Donahoe.

What's more telling is whom Stewart does not appear to have talked to - buyers and sellers on eBay. Stewart gets it right when he said sellers were complaining in 2007 about fees and support. Those complaints are still heard, and joining them this year are complaints about poor search exposure and dismal sales.

The article is well worth reading to get a sense of where eBay is headed, and it certainly highlights what a very different company eBay Inc., which runs the marketplace business, is today than in 2007 - find it on the New York Times website.




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Readers Comments

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 3 00:04:03 2012

I read the TIMES everyday---altho I have to admit that I have not gotten to see this copy due to family problems--but I find it kinda hard to believe that the author some how FORGOT to interview ANY sellers--or buyer????

Seriously????  

Now if this guy wants to do a more nuanced and balanced report---well--I would consider it my duty to speak to him and give him MY point of view as a seller AND a buyer.

Just gotta suck it up I guess and do it for the Gipper.  

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by: JoyfulA This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 3 00:04:15 2012

It's time for Yahoo! to open an auction site.

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by: trickstunt This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 3 00:30:00 2012

The 3 year turnaround is now a "multiyear effort"  hahaha.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Fri Aug 3 00:53:47 2012

Pulitzer Prize winner? Not with this nonsense! This story is more likely the result of what is otherwise known as "cash for comment", and the whole of this fairy story has undoubtedly been sourced directly from the eBay Dept of Spin ...

The NYT should be ashamed of itself for letting Mr Stewart regurgitate this blatant nonsense, and just as well they did not enable reader comments, as they did on:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/02/technology/paypal-antifraud-meas
ures-are-extreme-some-users-say.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y


eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 3 01:34:35 2012

It sounds like a Press Release that he put his name on.  

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 3 02:14:42 2012

Read between the lines.  Ebay is for this: ''Buy it new, buy it on eBay''.  It's right there in their ads.  

They have no imagination.  

They have established broad policies that work fine for new goods megasellers, but for the used, unique, hard to find or even nearly unavailable items that were *only* available for buying on eBay, not so much.

Ebay will end up based on product pages like Amazon. Ho hum.

It's already happening, every item has to be shoehorned into a known product, even if that the *only* one of those to have ever been sold on the secondary market.  I sold a printer and they kept insisting I pick one from their catalog, but none in their catalog were the same.  

They didn't have the intellectual ability to understand what I was saying when I complained.

If  you haven't looked up things on Amazon, like a Panasonic projector lamp, there's 15 sellers selling 15 different brands, and at the top of the page, it says they are all ''By Panasonic''.  

Some are real Panasonic lamps, some name brand Philips, some are no name Chinese knockoffs.

All being sold on the same page on Amazon, some by the same sellers!

I needed one and I called Amazon, I told them that is plain fraud.

Soon, eBay will have the same thing, but they will be blaming the sellers.  

Amazon doesn't seem that smart. Or maybe they are making money and they don't care.

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by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 3 02:20:07 2012

I AM SICK OF IT!
DISGUSTING story and that ''author'' should throw his GD ''Pulitzer'' in the TRASH.
SICK OF IT!!!!!
All my stuff is transferring to Bonanza- I will not feed into this any longer and I do not care if that is JD's plan- I HAVE HAD ENOUGH! I suggest others follow or Y-O-U are part of the deception- I DO NOT CARE IF I GO BROKE GD'it!
Mass Howler
(Sorry Ina but this has gone on TOO LONG)!
PLEASE PRINT THIS!

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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Aug 3 02:31:43 2012

Everyone should read that article in full
Thanks Ina.
Wow I did not know their shares had gone as low as $10.
That article makes you want to buy some more!
We all know that JD will struggle to keep those sales figures up once the effect of the fees on free shipping rolls over.
But you have to hand it to him.
He was right about mobile and the  fact that they have a company with 200 programmers on mobile is really quite interesting.
And they have set more software guys in NY.
I wonder how many programmers ebid.net or ecrater or bonanza have? 1 or 2 ?

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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 3 02:32:35 2012

Phil
Your website link is not working.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Fri Aug 3 02:48:39 2012

Digman1, You're right, its not; link was faulty; try above ...

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Fri Aug 3 02:52:28 2012

Same problem; but it was OK on the preview; so, it's not my fault ...
 
http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums/vbulletin/showthread.ph
p?p=167554

 
eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Fri Aug 3 03:17:33 2012

It is telling that The New York Times does NOT offer a comment section to the "story."

All of JD's children are happy!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Fri Aug 3 03:43:25 2012

Ah, The Grey Lady takes away and then The Grey Lady giveth:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/02/technology/paypal-ant
ifraud-measures-are-extreme-some-users-say.html?src=recg

The
story is about complaints over PayPal holds.

“It happens every day,” Ms. Winchell said. “It’s the most bizarre and draconian policy, and it’s really embarrassing, but they’re huge and they just don’t care.”

WOW! Story ran on August 1, 2012 and comments are closed already, at a whopping 57.

Oh, I see... quite critical. LOL

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by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 3 03:59:37 2012

Is it possible that this many people can be so far out of touch to actually think Fleabay is doing all the right things and everyone else is wrong....UMMMMMM

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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Aug 3 04:34:11 2012

@Mylifeisgood
You could be on to something.
There are 2 ways to look at it.

One
Eaby keeps increasing its income.
Its share price is rising.
Mobile and Paypal are goign up.
They have stacks of cash.
They keep buying BIG companies.
Their listings are not dropping.
No one has gone to an alt site and sold as much.

Two
Everyone on here hates ebay and is leaving
Everyone on here says they will go down next quarter.

Which school is right ?

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 3 04:34:36 2012

Story ran on August 1, 2012 and comments are closed. Some shill named Andy Hain says that Paypal is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 3 04:54:12 2012

Comments are no longer being accepted. Please submit a letter to the editor for print consideration.

Letters to the Editor

The New York Times

620 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY
10018

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by: go-figure This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 3 06:32:03 2012

One has to wonder what nationality are eBay's lead programmers? Are they Asian by chance? Does the HO even have a clue about the specifics of how eBay's "Best Match" search now work? Does he have any clue about the bias built into it for Chinese sellers?

Got to thinking about this the other night and began to wonder about the biases built into search by the programming team. Does anyone really think that Donahoe ever uses eBay's search function?

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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Aug 3 06:34:24 2012

@Bloggo
Paypal is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Using Paypal I have been able to buy and sell things all over the world.
And buy and sell services.
The banks used to charge a fortune to to this. And Western Union still does.



The only thin wrong with Paypal is that they are owned by ebay.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Aug 3 08:35:20 2012

This is typical of reporting by the media today.  There is no ''fair and balanced'' (as the lying Fox News likes to say) reporting today.  The media is owned by a handful of corporate giants and the message that they get out is exactly what they want to get out.  And even the liberal NY Times is guilty.

As far as I am concerned, if both sides of a story are not represented (pros and cons) what one is reading is essentially yellow journalism, fluff, or a press release.

I had to laugh when I saw Channel Advisor as one of the companies sourced for the interview. Did Donahoe provide the interview sources?  Sure sounds like it.  The esteemed Pulitzer prize writer needs a research team.

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