Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon June 22 2015 17:10:59

Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?

By: Ina Steiner

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Now we know why Alibaba laid off staff at its subsidiaries, which we reported in April - the Chinese ecommerce giant has sold its 11 Main marketplace along with its two subsidiaries that provided tools to eBay sellers, according to media reports.

But if Alibaba sold its only U.S. marketplace, does that mean it's not interested in buying eBay Marketplaces once it splits from PayPal later this year? Or could it be part of a larger strategy with the new owner of 11 Main (now partially owned by Alibaba) getting ready to make a bid for eBay?

Alibaba laid off employees at its U.S. subsidiaries Auctiva and Vendio in the spring, confirmed by spokesperson Abbygail Reyes. "We have made changes that align the organization with the needs of our business and our long-term growth strategy," she told us at the time.

Reyes' phone number is now non-working,* and we've got inquiries in to Alibaba and 11 Main's new owner to learn more about the fate of the three companies.

What may be most worrying to eBay sellers is the possible loss of eBay tools provided for free or low cost by Vendio and Auctiva.

Sellers had been initially optimistic when we reported last February on the pending launch of 11 Main, many of whom were hopeful that Alibaba could provide an alternative to eBay. But the site had an identity crisis from the beginning, and its highly selective "curation" approach proved frustrating to sellers, and the site failed to gain critical mass.

One such seller wrote to EcommerceBytes today and said sales were nonexistent on 11 Main. "Since Feb. 27, I've had exactly 6 sales out of more than 1,800 items, with 5 in April, NONE in May and 1 in June. During that time, their order numbers have increased at a rate of less than 400 a day. I have sent an email to my supposed customer rep and filed a trouble ticket with customer service and have not even received the courtesy of an acknowledgement. I think that everyone assumed that with Alibaba behind it, 11Main would make a splash, but apparently Alibaba gave them a budget of about $12 and told them to sink or swim."

If Alibaba was planning to acquire eBay, it would seem it would not sell its own marketplace to rival OpenSky. However, TechCrunch, which broke the news, said as a result of the transaction, Alibaba will become a 37 percent owner of OpenSky.

Could an OpenSky-eBay combination make sense? We honestly don't know much about OpenSky, but we can say that the 11 Main brand is not enough to guarantee it will keep the site operating separately.

We'll provide updates as we learn more. You can read the TechCrunch post here.

Update: Abbygail Reyes of 11 Main reached out to let us know her phone number is working, apparently we had a number that no longer works - we've asked for some further information and will report back.




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Perminate Link for Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?   Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 22 17:41:19 2015

I've been saying for months that alibaba is going to buy Fleecebay and really turn it into a chinese junk store.

People whine about how bad Fleecebay is now, well just wait when the junk sellers from China are really given priority treatment over the real paying sellers on ebay.  

The big plus in this mess is the lovely deal the USPS has given the junk dealers from China. Who do you really think is paying for this postage???

And don't tell me the customer when the item only costs  less than a dime.  It costs me more to send a card to the neighbor than it does the chinese junkers to send a trinket from China to the US..Funny part is that their junk mail will probably get to the neighbor before my card will.

Perminate Link for Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?   Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Jun 22 18:21:50 2015

Well, that's a shock. Though I think this has been in the works for a while. I used to get almost daily e-mails from 11 Main about the great things for sale, which has dwindled down to about two a month.

Personally, I think they went about the entire thing incorrectly. First, what does 11 Main even mean? If it wasn't for EcommerceBytes, I wouldn't know what their purpose was. Then they make it virtually impossible to sell on their site. If they were trying to lure sellers away from eBay, why did they make it so hard to be accepted as a seller there?

Based upon this, I would bet that Alibaba is going to go after eBay. One of the articles I read recently about eBay (maybe on Seeking Alpha?), the analyst stated that the best thing that could happen to eBay was for Alibaba to buy it.  

Perminate Link for Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?   Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Jun 22 18:34:34 2015

To go with sasikat9's comment:

I recently bought a couple nice items - very inexpensive under $2.50 total - from China.

Did not take that long to arrive with e-packet.  Seller sent two nice ''extras'' on top of the already inexpensive items I won. Their pleasant, attractive note made it clear they were primarily interested in positive feedback.  

My seller side wondered about the need for positive FB when they already had a decent number in the 1000's. Curious.


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by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 22 19:44:45 2015

China is trying to globally control ecommerce , by buying everything , including our land.
Once they control ecommerce , they can then move on the controlling force on the monetary systems. They are buying gold at record #s , & have been for awhile.

Can you all say , "takeover" . how much does the US owe China?? Billions!! They are taking us from the inside. Ecommerce , banking , property investments.

May as well go live on the moon.Soon they will own that too.  

Perminate Link for Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?   Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 22 21:25:42 2015

Is it any coincidence that the Chinese are getting top visibility on eBay these days?  I don't think so.  Totally orchestrated.

A big ugh to this potential buy.  

Perminate Link for Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?   Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?

by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 22 21:56:50 2015

As anyone who's tried to buy anything on Alibaba knows, the place is a snake pit of make-believe sellers and imaginary prices.

If you can ever get an email back, the price they quote is 50X the listed price, and if  you ever have a problem, they suddenly 'lose' their English.

It was obvious from the beginning and the screening process that 11 Main would never be a competitor to even Bonanza, much less Ebay.

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Jun 22 23:34:46 2015

Gizmo is correct on China's global takeover with their main focus on the US. The US owes China trillions of dollars and that is why they are given carte blanche with USPS ePackets and preference over US sellers to their detriment. The US economy is being suffocated and no one in authority especially our government is doing one damn thing.

I read 11 Main was really a data gathering information site. Why else be so super selective in accepting sellers using their initial application process? IMO 11 Main was just sent in to the USA as a ''feeler'' brought in to establish trust and set the ground work for Papa Alibaba to take the helm. Will US sellers be subjected to more suppression? Many articles have been written on the subject of the middle class becoming the new poor.

Perminate Link for Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?   Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 22 23:45:24 2015

Assuming that Opensky keeps any/some/all of 11main's sellers...

"When an existing OpenSky customer discovers your store and makes a purchase, you will keep 80% of that sale. "

So they make %20 on you? And people complain about eBay and Amazon fees? %20 is INSANITY!

Is there anyone that posts here on Opensky NOW?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jun 22 23:59:43 2015

Some thoughts....

Alibaba wanted to be listed on a US stock exchange....what better way to increase their IPO than to go through the motions of setting up a US marketplace which they knew from the start would be jettisoned?

Maybe 11 Main was nothing more than an IPO booster as well as a barometer which Alibaba used to measure the strength of eBay's backbone - their sellers.  By starting up 11 Main, Alibaba was able to see how easily they could acquire sellers who were looking to escape eBay's rampant anti seller madness.

As to Alibaba acquiring eBay, I don't think so as Alibaba likely learned a lot about eBay as mentioned above. Also,  given the fact they also sold off the 2 eBay tools.  One would think that if the plan was to acquire eBay, Alibaba would have kept the tools in order to squeeze more revenue out of eBay sellers post acquisition.

It is quite possible that Alibaba learned that the China business methodology was not a workable fit with US sellers in a US marketplace just as eBay's business methods failed miserably in China.

Remember that eBay's marketplace division will be retaining virtually all of the current company debt post split.  The massive debt obligation will likely deter any buyer until after eBay declares bankruptcy and the debt is erased by the court.  That bankruptcy would likely take a couple or three years.

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 00:26:07 2015

well last christmas someone at 11main took an interest in my store and getting things properly imported from ebay.  nov dec showed great sales with dec rivaling ebay.  jan was ok, then it died.  i get maybe one sale a month now.

looking at what the new fvf's are they are pretty high at 20-30%.  i think what little momentum they had had gained will quickly be lost.

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

Tue Jun 23 00:29:10 2015

Not matter what they said: ''11 Main ate the dust''

Bad move creating a marketplace base on stealing members from other site and adding limits even to visitors in the site.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 01:04:46 2015

I tried to source a few things via Alibaba--what a joke!  As stated above the so-called business' either refuse to reply or they are "not exactly"  as they advertised;  none of them can even manage to use a Google translate program;  and they really are NOT interested in doing business with any one outside of Asia.

Could Alibaba succeed with what is left of ebay?  Well---I doubt it as they cannot seem to figure out HOW to do business.  Esp not with the 11Main model ===  they made it way TOO hard for anyone to actually SELL or BUY there.  Thus making themselves--irrelevant.

Now if some bright young thing would come along and make a business modeled on the pre-2008 EBAY model---now THAT might be of interest.  

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 01:09:27 2015

Didn't seem to me that 11 Main ever really got off the ground.  It was a PITA to get painting okayed by them so i could put them in my shop.  After awhile it was just too troublesome trying to work with this site..  My paintings were selling on other sites and it was troublesome even trying to remove them from my shop.  After awhilr, i simply put the shop on vacation and that was the end of it.

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by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 01:14:39 2015

20-30% fees! Makes ebay sound good.  

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

Tue Jun 23 02:07:50 2015

To me this was all about taking Wall Street investors to the cleaners which they did very nicely. As for Alibaba buying Ebay, you might as well hang a black wreath on the door of Ebay headquarters in the Bay Area. It will be the death of an American Company.  

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by: Mrsebastian This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 02:42:08 2015

I sell collectibles, mostly animation art and have had one or two sales on their site in at least six months... and those were only due discounts for first time buyers on the site. I may only be a small portion of products listed on the site, but I can safely say the collectibles market did not do well on 11Main and I'm pulling the plug on any remaining lisitings.  

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 06:37:05 2015

If Alibaba buys Ebay, it might be a good move for other struggling sales sites like Ecrater and Bonanza who can't seem to get a footing.  I would hope so.
I never quite understood why Bonz didn't take off.  The site is well designed, but you can't find a doggone thing in Goog or Bing Search.

Perminate Link for Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?   Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 23 07:10:44 2015

pace 206 says "So they make %20 on you? And people complain about eBay and Amazon fees? %20 is INSANITY!"

Oh he** no.  Insanity is right.  eCrater takes a most minimal commission. I'll stick with eCrater.

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by: Carol This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 08:49:14 2015

Although I have occasional sales (vintage jewelry) on 11Main, it got off to a rocky start and hasn't grown as I had hoped.  I appreciate their current free listings and reasonable commission, but it sounds as if the commission on Open Sky will be higher than I'm willing to pay.

Perminate Link for Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?   Is Sale of 11 Main a Hint of Alibaba's Interest in eBay?

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 09:37:35 2015

eCrater is a wonderful site! Love it!

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