Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu May 4 2017 21:38:35

eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

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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?




Comments (34) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Thu May 4 23:32:15 2017

Let the eBay gating of branded goods, ala Amazon, begin. And the $5,000 or more application fees, which will not guarantee you can sell items from certain companies (didn't I mention this the other day???).

At the very least, the pay-for-play VeRo takedowns will certainly ramp up if they can acquire the rights to offer or have exclusives with certain brands.

Not to worry. Jack Ma will open up the Chinese market with 600 million consumers with Alibaba in the USA. Hope us American sellers can also get dirt cheap e-packet shipping rates!!

And if Baba also requires invoices of where merchandise offered for sale is sourced (which is unlikely unless they reverse course), there will be opportunities on a Facebook marketplace. Or Craigslist.

I really do not know why a brand would want to be associated with eBay. Wouldn't a manufacturer rather have their own website which would handle transactions and payment processing without the interference and meddling??

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri May 5 01:28:02 2017

IMO, Devil is taking small, incremental steps toward ebay selling product like Amazon.

You can bet these "brands" won't have to abide by the same policies and fee structures that we do.

The level playing field died with Pierre's conscience and character.

It will be fun to watch the elephants fight in the clearing. A hypothetical example: Ebafia captures the Dell brand; Best Buy on ebafia also sells the Dell brand. Can Best Buy sell Dell products at the same or lower price point?

Some of the big boys are about to find out just how perfidious  ebafia management really is -- something most of us learned along time ago.

The real losers will be the non enterprise "brand" sellers who likely won't be able compete.

Ebafia will be quietly advertising for more VERO employees.

I'd like to go to Las Vegas in July and do some disruptive innovation at Ebafia Open.

The contempt I have for ebafia management is limitless and infinite.

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 01:56:28 2017

Apparently eBay forgot that a very high % of their sellers, are also buyers on eBay. SELLERS GO AWAY.. SO DO YOUR BUYERS!  

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: ySirTinLee This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 02:25:44 2017

If the brands aren't making the sales now with there own websites, what makes anyone believe they would do better on eBay or any other platform for that matter?

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by: handmedownheaven This user has validated their user name.
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Fri May 5 02:37:54 2017

Just another stab in the back showing sellers they were only important to build eBay into what it is now.

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: Transferware Odds and Ends This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 06:53:17 2017

EBAY AND ETSY MAKE ME SICK......They suck you in, in the beginning, you do well, make money and when the company is at a point where they made millions upon millions on its "LITTLE" sellers, they ditch them for bigger companies and foreign companies, selling their ware at dirt cheap prices. Most of which have nothing but CRAP, and Ebay continues to do nothing to the Big companies that sell Crap to buyers and have hundreds of Negatives in their feedback. The more these 2 EBAY AND ETSY make the more they nt, forgetting where THEY STARTED AND WHO GOT THEM THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hope they both someday get Karam slapped back in their faces.....and fall on their faces. THEY FORGET THE LITTLE GUYS, US THE SELLERS GOT THEM WHERE TO WHERE THEY ARE NOW AND THEIR THROWING US ASIDE. SICKENING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 06:59:16 2017

Saw this coming.  I've been railing against Ebay sending them letter after letter, email after email, that my things were not being "viewed".  I guess they got tired of sellers like me, the little guy, and our complaints.

Incidentally, another site I'm on Tradesy, just increased their commission fees.  They were 14.9% (increased last year) and now they will charge the 14% only if your item is priced over $50.  They want the luxury names and brands and not the H&M and JCP clothing.  So I guess that leaves Posh.

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 07:00:16 2017

Ebay will become Overstock, NOT Amazon.  

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: fifilapew This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 08:04:26 2017

Chicago48, 'Ebay will become Overstock, NOT Amazon.'

you are absolutely spot on!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 08:08:02 2017

@ Ming
''The level playing field died with Pierre's conscience and character.''

Which happened fairly quickly.  He gets/got a lot of undeserved credit as far as I am concerned. He didn't even know how to run an auction. Real Auctions mostly end when there is no more bidding. Not at a set time.

It is difficult not to completely voice my contempt for eBay management, so I will stop here.

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 08:10:18 2017

As eXtinctBay said, Amazon style gating is sure to not be far behind Brand and eBay marriages.

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: fifilapew This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 08:13:42 2017

Ina, love your columns BUT PLEASE...enough of the cheezy GQ wannabe photos of Wenig. Far too early in the morning, lost my appetite lol

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 09:46:16 2017

I'm the OP on this one :)  (like you guys couldnt have guessed!)

Since eBay works 24/7/365 to help me turn my business into a hobby (instead of showing my listings 24/7/365) I receive job postings for buyers in my email every day.

Lord know its becomming impossible to live off selling on eBay (Shine awards my @$$) and its always good to have a real job to make sure I get to keep my house, car etc.

In those listings was a pointer to the eBay hiring site and I clicked on ALL JOBS and this came up under purchasing.

After reading it - it struck me as 1/2 purchasing and 1/2 advertising.

Well ... I couldnt figure it out, but with the HEAVY emphasis on brand relationships and deep knowledge of product - it didnt seem as if it was simply an advertising executive job.

Having experienced eBay attempt at this last time in 2007 - when I had to go a few rounds with lawyers with both eBay and Skullcandy - Im familiar with eBays behavior when these things occur.

In my case, Skullcandy promised eBay a Platinum level store with MILLIONS of sales, in return eBay was to VERO any and all Skullcandy sellers that Skullcandy DIDNT "recognize".

Now the people over in VERO - besides just being the lowest type of human life aka $2 cockroaches, arent very smart. You (if you are a brand) can literally write ANYTHING on the paperwork you fax to them and they act on it. (as an aside, my last VERO issue was "proven" by a WIKIPEDIA entry (that they made) not US trade law - in fact US trade law says in bold text that the USA isnt party to the agreement being referenced - so theres no VERO issue).

"And it came to pass" that when eBay got its Platinum store with its millions of sales, they VEROd me - only to get served with cease and desist since the goods were legit and from their own distributors aka they couldnt be fake.

When I sent this to Ina, I "saw" more of that behavior comming. Special deals, more hidden listings, the revival of the "authorized dealer" tag and MORE.

eBay is know to NOT care about its sellers - I dont put it past them to once again try and squash "the noise" ... this time - for good.

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri May 5 10:34:41 2017

As a seller of mostly used items I can't see this affecting my sales.

I highly doubt that any of the brands I do sell would want to sell on eBay!

VERO, only had it happen once and that was with a Snap On look alike tool that I called Snap On. . .

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri May 5 10:39:59 2017

@pace306

"Now the people over in VERO - besides just being the lowest type of human life aka $2 cockroaches, arent very smart."

This TOTALLY tells us what kind of person you are!

They were hired to do a job! and if you don't know each and everyone of them how can you make the statement you have?

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 11:38:54 2017

> If the brands aren't making the sales now with their own websites,
> what makes anyone believe they would do better on eBay or any
> other platform for that matter?

If they're smart, they'll position eBay as being the dumping ground for outdated and stale product, sort of like an outlet store, where discounts on old but new merchandise can be found. Otherwise they'll risk offending their first-tier big-box retailers: Best Buy and such.

That way they can take advantage of eBay's less-than-stellar reputation, dumping discontinued items there that customers will actually be searching eBay to find, while continuing to sell their new products through their existing retailers.

In other words, eBay might achieve some success as a source for cheap and discounted new mainstream items without horning in on territory occupied by the existing retailers. Play to their own strengths, in other words, even though those strengths are not what eBay would like them to be.

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: weber796
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Fri May 5 11:45:46 2017

I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE EXICTEMENT IS ALL ABOUT. EBAY DOES NOT GIVE A
S-IT ABOUT SELLERS. NOW WITH BIG BRANDS AND THE CHINESE WHO HAVE UNDERCUT EVERYTHING ON EBAY, YOU DON'T STAND A CHANCE. THEY HAVE MORE RULES THAT CHANGE EVERYDAY.
IF YOU HAVE A FEW DAYS WITHOUT SLEEPING YOU CAN GO OVER OLD AND NEW MATERIAL THEY HAVE PUT OUT.
TRY AMAZON TO SELL. AT LEAST THEIR YOU HAVE HALF A CHANCE.

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: weber796
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Fri May 5 11:48:48 2017

I FORGOT TO SAY IN MY LAST COMMENT.
EBAY DUMPED ME AFTER 17 YEARS OF GIVING THESE VULTURES MY ALL.

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 5 11:57:57 2017

TOOL - if they were hired to do "a job" as you said ... so far its been EPIC FAIL - unless the job is to not read the paperwork and to annoy and harass sellers!

EVERY VERO and T&S incident Ive ever had has been plain wrong - and in some cases the opposite of US case law.

You cant bring a complain against someone with a wikipedia article - thats NOT law - especially if YOU edited it.

You cant claim people are selling fakes if you have never bought any to examine.

You know stuff like that, that any first yr law student could figure out.

YOUR reply to me shows "what kind of person you are" (besides the illegal 420).

I expect people to be honest and fair - when they arent - I call them out on it - here on eBay and anywhere else.

I dont care what kind of fancy office VERO has, how much they get paid etc - the law is the law. Steal a picture and you are in the wrong, but do NOTHING wrong and then harass people is inexcusable, period.

Perminate Link for eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?   eBay Plans to Cozy Up to Brands - Bad News for Sellers?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri May 5 12:18:53 2017

@pace306

I live in California where marijuana is LEGAL, both medical & recreational.

VERO worked as it should when they pulled my FAKE Snap On tool.

The fact is that the same company made both tools, I had sold one with the Snap On name and just assumed the other was also Snap On but it didn't have the name embossed on the metal cover. Snap On had the item pulled! I relisted it without the Snap On name and sold it.

How can you disrespect the "peons" (pun) when it's management you're angry with!

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