Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon July 1 2013 20:58:33

Would eBay Improve Under Google Ownership?

By: Ina Steiner

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Should Google buy eBay? And if it did, would eBay be the better or worse for it? And how about this: would you be interested in selling on a Microsoft marketplace?

Several readers forwarded me news headlines that got me thinking about marketplace mashups. A Florida financial advisor/radio talk show host wrote on Seeking Alpha that Google should acquire eBay. "Google has tried, and in my opinion, failed in the area of retail," he wrote.

If Google acquired eBay, it would make it a major player in retail and, he wrote, would "instantly make them the dominant player in online payments by integrating it with their Virtual Wallet service."

What would a Google - eBay mashup look like? (And would eBay listings be more likely to be found in Google search results with better rankings?)

There was a time when online sellers wished Google would launch a marketplace to compete with eBay, though I'm not sure they would be as enthusiastic about the concept these days, after Google turned Shopping into a paid ad platform.

However, when Julia blogged today about a new product Google is testing called Google Mine - "a way to keep track of the items you own or you'd like to have and share some of them with your circles" - someone posted in the comments:

"As fed up with eBay as so many sellers are, this could be a threat to eBay. Sellers are chomping at the bit for something new, and not just another marketplace who think "if we build it they will come"."

Another article, posted in the Wall Street Journal, revealed that Microsoft had recently explored launching a marketplace. "To lure shoppers, Microsoft was considering subsidizing the price of goods on its e-commerce service using a portion of advertising dollars merchants spend on Microsoft's Bing Web-search engine or elsewhere," according to anonymous people who were briefed on the company's plans.

Microsoft confirmed it had worked on "Project Brazil," which it called "an incubation to enable a more direct commerce model between customers and brands and merchants." A Microsoft spokesperson told the Journal it remained committed to "finding new and differentiated ways to enable a richer, more task oriented approach to e-commerce and online advertising." But would Microsoft be able to attract shoppers if it launched a marketplace? What if it acquired a marketplace?

Are you so fed up with today's offerings that you'd welcome another player? What would be your ideal marketplace? Would Google, Apple or Microsoft make the list?




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Readers Comments

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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Jul 1 21:25:12 2013

Those big corporations should stick to what they do now.

Leave auction sites to auction site companies.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Mon Jul 1 21:40:38 2013

It is such a shame to see the eBay marketplace continuing on its journey down the toilet under the present management, and now their latest clunky search engine …

Google could not possibly do any worse than eBay's current management; of course, like Donahoe did, Google would have to replace the whole existing incompetent bunch in the eBay executive suite; maybe they could get back some of the previous crew that actually had some idea of what they were doing …

Google Wallet was simply another middleman that never really had a chance against the well established “PreyPal” with its mandated place on the eBay marketplace; regardless, once the “MasterPass” and “V.me” online digital wallets gain traction “PreyPal” also will have its delusions of “galactic” domination snuffed out.

As long as Google puts little value on "PreyPal" they might be able hive off the clunky operation at a profit to some naïve venture group: maybe Bain Capital; then Google could install either of the new professional digital wallets from MasterCard/Visa …

Wow, a competent management team, an effective search engine, and a professional payments system … something to dream about …

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by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 1 22:46:28 2013

My big concern about any takeover of ebay is that even if the new management fixes the search and eases up on some of the anti-seller policies, they still will be more interested in mega sellers who list new goods in fixed price format.  

I can't see them understanding the community of small sellers who deal in the weird and wonderful, antiques and collectables and just cool junk. They could very well have no more interest in that group than the current ebay ptb do.

Would be nice to hope that new ownership would value us and treat us fairly, revitalize the auction portion of the site (or spin it off), but I won't hold my breath. The numbers look so bad for auction sellers that I think we would just get written off.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 1 22:49:13 2013

Would eBay be better if owned by Google? No. It would be more of the same with a different taste, but not better.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Mon Jul 1 23:22:46 2013

We need to do a "Buzz-head-ectomy" and get rid of ALL the people that have NO IDEA what it is to sell stuff online. A Google / Ebay thing could work ONLY if Ebay CEO Donahoe and the entire Ebay crew was nixxed and PayPal evaporated. Send 'em ALL out to pasture and lock the gate behind 'em.
Google is very user friendly, but they need customer support as it is almost non-existent, and that's completely unacceptable.
Sellers must NEVER be asked to pay more than 2.5% on the whole transaction. Sellers costs are way too much right down the chain, to ask for more.
Google is just a healthier environment for an auction venue. I can see it now. CHA-CHING !
1) Don't pollute the auction experience with "Social" junk. We're not interested.
2) Get the boot off our necks and let us Do Commerce. No email filters - BURN 'EM. No restrictions. NONE.
NOBODY does commerce like we do. CHA-CHING !
3) MORE IS MORE > More commerce = more sales = more sellers coming onboard = more buyers finding stuff they want.
4) LESS IS MORE > Reduce the "take rate" to 2.5% on the entire transaction, then we have enough money left to FINALLY be able to live on = kids to college = heat the house = take care of Mom & Dad, etc...
5) CASH IS KING ! Payment by Postal Money Order, check, or charge card. NO PAYPAL.
As sellers > We are -  1) Shipping & Receiving  2)Customer relations  3) Design & Fabrication  4) webmasters  5) Marketing  6)In house think tank, etc...
Give us a HANDS OFF auction venue where nobody from "Corporate" interferes with our success.
We're going to need all the eCommerce freedom we can muster if we're going to survive the onslaught of the "Carbon Tax" burden about to hit us hard in the face.
Thank You.

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by: Gina This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 1 23:46:55 2013

Google/eBay means no more PayPal.  No more PayPal seller protections!  Today marks my very first time I got scammed from on-line selling.  PayPal admitted that there was nothing I could have done to prevent it (unauthorized credit card use; caught but only AFTER I shipped the product) so they refunded me!  Show me a Google payment system who provides that level of protection!

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by: Gina This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 1 23:47:27 2013

what did Mom tell me about two wrongs not making a right?.....

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by: Gina This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 1 23:49:54 2013

RE: "Send 'em ALL out to pasture and lock the gate behind 'em"
Baaa Baa!  (laughter from the flock)

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by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 1 23:55:23 2013

Google is even worse to deal with. No telephone customer service. Pronouncements in double talk. Google Bay would be worse.

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by: richknobsales This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 2 00:02:50 2013

ANY auction site that lets sellers have the exposure and control that ebay offered prior to 2008 would have a flood of business. I think ebay may have fatally damaged their brand name by this point and starting a Google Auction Site (it's a GAS!) could attract enough business and buzz to be viable.

As for PayPal, it's really only the ebay application of it that is so horrible. I have not heard about scams and held payments and other horror stories about it on any sites other than ebay. That's not to say it doesn't happen, but the only reason it seems to be loathed is the mistreatment of sellers on ebay.

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 2 00:12:23 2013

Well, it couldn't get any worse than it is now ... could it? Hopefully someone at Google would have the brains to fire Donahoe and his minions and take eBay back to what it used to be when Meg was running the company.

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by: vendorren This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 2 00:34:05 2013

Whether it is a takeover, which may not be better, or a new competitor succeeds, similar to what Wall Mart did to Kmart, which should be better, it will happen! The sooner the better. I might then consider re-opening my store.  

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 2 00:42:41 2013

"finding new and differentiated ways to enable a richer, more task oriented approach to e-commerce"  Oh boy,more of the same meaningless business babble. No thanks.

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 2 01:10:57 2013

Google has been wildly successful.  They have what ebay management lacks...business sense.  I would think they would manage ebay  much better then it is being managed now...that's for sure!

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 2 01:18:38 2013

Ina, Microsoft did have an auction site many years ago.  In fact it consisted of three auction sites.  List on one and your item appeared on all three.  I don't remember the name they used...perhaps someone here remembers.  It sure didn't last long.  Like so many others they never got enough traffic.

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by: nobody This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 2 01:57:58 2013


Double Trouble.

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

Tue Jul 2 02:45:50 2013

I think if one of the big boys, like Google, Yahoo or Microsoft jumped in and launched a "Merchandise for Sale" site, it would be a success. All three have the means and experience to make a go of it and it would not be so  easy for some Mystery INC to buy them out and shut the site down. If Yahoo had kept its original market site, it is my opinion it would be outselling Amazon. If Karma was mandatory, then the short sighted CEO that sold Yahoo out, would be pushing a broom at McDonald's

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Tue Jul 2 03:29:11 2013

@Gina,

It is the clunky “PreyPal” that enables such credit card fraud in the first place …

@ richknobsales,

If you have not heard of problems with “PreyPal” off eBay then you simply have not been listening; the web is awash with such complaints … http://bit.ly/UVXx53

@ vendorren,

Yes, let’s go back to when a “monkey could have driven the train” … http://bit.ly/12xvzyA

And, “The band continued to play on, even as the bow dipped lower and lower.”—The Titanic/eBay Story ... http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

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by: pfft!! This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 2 03:40:46 2013

Oh HECK yeah!!!  they couldn't POSSIBLY screw up ebay more than these guys have done since the "regime" change.
Back when ebay and google "got along" we were ALL making money.  
I'd go on a freakin' CELEBRATION binge if google were to buy ebay.
BRING it ON....!!!!  

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by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 2 06:38:59 2013

How do these rumors about acquistions begin? I swear, someone invested in eBay stock starts this crap, just to get the numbers to increase. People at Google probably have no idea about this and never even considered it.

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