Small eBay sellers have always worried about competing with larger rivals that get special treatment. While eBay founder Pierre Omidyar had vowed to keep the marketplace a level playing field, John Donahoe obliterated that promise unapologetically when he headed the company.
So where does eBay stand now?
Current eBay CEO Devin Wenig gave an indication to Wall Street analysts during a recent conference call. Here's an excerpt of an article published in the April 20th issue of EB 411 about his approach to retailers and brands:
- Wenig was emphatic that eBay was not working to attract big retailers. "Since the new leadership team took over, it hasn't been a core part of our focus."
- However, Wenig indicated eBay is going after brands and expects to accelerate the pace of brand acquisitions through 2017 - "meaning there will be more brands selling directly or through resellers on eBay directly, and those conversations have gone very, very well."
"We're more focused on bringing outstanding inventory, and where we can, direct from the source," Wenig said. Brands see in eBay a cost-effective channel and a "very progressive technology partner, which is what they need to navigate the world that's coming."
A reader sent me a link to an eBay job posting
this week that had him concerned about what eBay's relationship to brands could mean for eBay sellers. It was headed, "Brand Partnerships - NYC" and included the following verbiage:
"eBay Advertising is looking for a Brand Partnership Sales hunter to be responsible for developing marketing partnerships with a set target of vertical brand accounts. This role will work to build relationships across brand marketing teams and their agencies. This position will hold a quarterly marketing spend target, reporting into the national leader, the Director, Brand Partnerships."
The reader was skeptical that eBay could work with brands and not have an impact on its third-party sellers.
He wondered if eBay might suppress listings of branded items from its sellers if it established relationships with those particular brands. "If eBay takes money from those brands are they then not "beholden" to them?" he asked. "How far would eBay go to do their bidding (since this is obviously not "just" an advert issue)?"
What do you think of Devin Wenig's approach to brands, and do you think it could have a negative impact on the sales of branded goods on eBay?