Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Nov 16 2020 14:49:11

eBay Seller Advocate Is Stepping Down

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay Vice President of Seller Operations and Engagement Marni Levine announced in a Facebook Live webcast that she is leaving the company after nearly 4 years. 

She became the voice of eBay for sellers who tuned in to watch her twice monthly "Marni Monday" Seller Check-in videos, a practice she started at the beginning of the pandemic.

"Please rest assured that you have an amazing group of people at eBay that are cheering for you and really looking out for your best interests," she told viewers during her last Marni Monday broadcast today.

As part of her effort to reassure sellers, she said, "As you all know, Jordan Sweetnam came back over a year ago and one of his first calls to action was to recreate a seller organization in an effort to make sure that the sellers' thoughts, needs, and priorities were at the forefront of everything we were building here at eBay."

She mentioned Harry Temkin who is "creating and developing amazing tools," and Rebecca Michaels, who will be continuing as Director of Community. Levine said the team who creates programs for sellers are behind the scenes and are not going anywhere.

"eBay will always be the home of small business, creating equality and economic opportunity for all," she said.

Levine began the webcast saying she had bittersweet news, announcing she had decided to take on a new adventure and leave eBay. She did not say if she had a new position lined up, and she had not updated her LinkedIn profile as of this writing.



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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Nov 16 15:33:13 2020

"eBay will always be the home of small business, creating equality and economic opportunity for all," she said.

Is that why we are capped at X amount per month and have been for years. More alt reality.  I will attest that selling limits are alive and well on eBay, even when eBay tells you that you are not capped.  There is an eBay caste system of economic opportunity for the enterprise sellers, economic opportunity for the Chinese, and economic opportunity for small sellers.  The scale of those economies are vastly different.

My "home of small business" is now my own website, which due to eBay's actions over the years I had no choice but to build.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 16 16:03:56 2020

More holes then a package of swiss cheese

She obviously was a failure (nothing on eBay has changed for the better for sellers) OR she got such a good offer that the do nothing job at eBay became valueless).

"She became the voice of eBay for sellers who tuned in to watch her twice monthly "Marni Monday" Seller Check-in videos" - YEH! me and every OTHER seller I know - tuned in to see the stupidity from the boys/girls from SJ! (did she include such helpful tips as adding more then 3 pictures? LMFAO)

""Please rest assured that you have an amazing group of people at eBay that are cheering for you and really looking out for your best interests" .... Ummmmm there are NO "amazing people" over at eBay - unless YOU think they are amazing since they have continuously come up with ways to steal from sellers but havent gotten in trouble yet.

NO eBay employee looks out for a sellers best interests .... ALA GRIFF .... (psst wake him up - its almost dinner time here in the East)

""As you all know, Jordan Sweetnam came back over a year ago and one of his first calls to action was to recreate a seller organization in an effort to make sure that the sellers' thoughts, needs, and priorities were at the forefront of everything we were building here at eBay." ..... well Jordan has done NOTHING (besides eat wings at Walkers) while hes been here. Name us ONE POSITIVE SELLER INITIATIVE ... PLEASE - just one.

"She mentioned Harry Temkin who is "creating and developing amazing tools," ... you mean he IS a tool - yes.

"eBay will always be the home of small business, creating equality and economic opportunity for all" .... not unless you are paying eBay "on the side" for visibility, VERO avoidance, pay to be deal of the day, maybe you are in the special section in the Refurb section etc

Listing on eBay has become slave labor (make our catalog or you cant list), MP makes sure you get your funds ... MAYBE and when ever eBay feels like it - so again ONE example please.

Dont let the door hit you on the way out.

LMAO - when will eBay hire her back like the last few rejects?

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by: postbuster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 16 16:27:45 2020

My question is, when did any advocate ever STEP UP?

ebay, etsy, and amazon are all in the business of burning bridges.
Just to steal from the seller to keep up their "reputations".

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by: postbuster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 16 16:30:31 2020

Just in time for a liberal in charge to pursue unethical practices from large corporations...

Good timing, Marni.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Nov 16 16:55:52 2020

"...the sellers' thoughts, needs, and priorities were at the forefront of everything we were building here at eBay."

What a joke. For how many years have sellers been complaining about glitches, which never get fixed?

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 16 17:31:58 2020

Calling her an "eBay Seller Advocate" is fake news.

Name one POSITIVE thing shes ever done for sellers (not herself).

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by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 16 20:11:50 2020

How did she engage with sellers? Her YouTube videos are a one way street, no comments allowed. Her "blog posts" are just proclamations, no comments allowed. There is no loss for any seller in her leaving.

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by: Jrskills This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 17 08:49:03 2020

"...the sellers' thoughts, needs, and priorities were at the forefront of everything we were building here at eBay."

Yet:

Sellers are just noise.

All, returns, SNAD's INR's automatically side with the buyer.  And allowing up to 6-7 weeks for a return to be sent back.

Seller's can not leave negative or neutral feedback.

Rushing sellers into managed (to mess this up) payments, even though they weren't ready and even through a pandemic.  And charging FVF fees on shipping and sales tax.  And a processing fee that was originally $.25 per ITEM.

Rolling out unnecessary changes, yet glitches and issues remain unsolved.

Trying to squeeze every last dime from sellers.

"We are here for you sellers"...What a joke!!!

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

Tue Nov 17 10:25:46 2020

Poor Marni. She looks about ready to burst into tears several times while reading that prepared statement. ☹️

At the beginning of lockdown Marni was a mess. Eventually she finally upped her Zoom-background game and found a hairbrush (She also finally updated her LinkedIn profile to correctly spell the word ''operations'').

If there's one thing I learned this year, it's that many of these eBay execs actually believe the stuff they've been conditioned to say about eBay (some might say brainwashed), and believe they're the 'good guys' and anyone directing scrutiny or criticism eBay's way are 'bad guys'.

Ebay also has a strange history of these veep-level  ''Seller advocate'' positions. Two years ago, back in November 2018 when ECB published a blog post about Temkin's ''major changes', we commented on the apparent redundant nature of Temkin's title and role and questioned what it meant for Bob Kupbens.

Then in February 2019 after Kupbens got the boot, we wrote, ''Kupbens had a target on his back the instant Wenig brought in Harry Temkin (and frankly Kupbens should have realized it). If Kupbens was smart he would have put things in motion to GTFO back in November when Temkin was brought in.''

Ebay repeated these redundant seller facing roles when it moved Marni into her last role as the public-facing one, as Temkin (Wenig's former colleague) settled in to more of a back-office, data analytics role ''creating amazing tools''.

I *do* believe that Marni cared and attempted to do her best in a role that IMO was doomed for failure, and that she was genuine.

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by: zeek6228 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 17 10:32:45 2020

eBay has a seller advocate? I am a small seller. My eBay fees are only $2000 or so a month. But every time I contact eBay I can't even contact someone who has ever even bought or sold something online before. When you call eBay customer service it is obvious that none of them ever used eBay before.  

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by: zeek6228 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 17 10:36:31 2020

Ebay customer service is like going to Mexico and memorizing a few phrases "I want a chicken taco and two beers please" and then getting a customer service job at a tortilla factory.  

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 17 12:00:52 2020

The question is and has always been - why do sellers NEED protection?

That term is a mafia/criminal organization reference that has no business being used or needed in a 2020/2021 business setting. "Sir, it would be a shame if we let buyers steal from you - you need PROTECTION - for a small store fee and FVF on almost anything we can think of - we can and will PROTECT YOU.

Then of course they dont (look at Griff, the only thing HES protecting is his paycheck and his nap times)

If eBay wants to play judge, jury and executioner then THEY need to eat the losses that come from bad buyers - NOT sellers..

Otherwise - JUST BE FAIR and DO THE RIGHT THING - is it really that hard?

If an item shows delivered - there shouldnt even need to be a case unless no tracking was uploaded.

If the item is snad - then PROOF should be needed and restocking fees should be "allowed".

Not all sellers are evil and not all buyers are crooks - with 15 THOUSAND employees - they havwe the manpower (or women power) to deal with things

Why should sellers need protection, and from whom? Seems these days, sellers need protection from eBay more then anything else - and that should scare ANY seller.

At any given time - it can be yanked out from under a seller, the terms can change against a seller and its at the whim of a company you have no recourse in protecting your self from due to size (and crumbs left in the TOS)

Theres a reason why no one ever does anything when in that job - eBay doesnt want anyone to .... its all a sham and a white wash!

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 17 16:10:07 2020

''with 15 THOUSAND employees - they havwe the manpower (or women power) to deal with things''

I've often puzzled over just what in the HELL do all those people do at basically a company of some software and web servers.  It certainly is not tech as so many of the same errors and glitches just live on forever.  

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 17 16:32:02 2020

Tom :)

Theres alot of questions that go unanswered - mostly because Wall Street cant admit that eBay is basically Enron or Lehman.

Wall Street wont ever ask why eBay has so many do nothing employees (though I imagine they call them "contractors")(and pay them that badly too), they dont ask why only 340k employees out of 5 million are in MP, they wont ask what Griff does all day .... theres LOTS of questions .....

But as long as eBay has 2.5B in free cash, as long as they tell Wall Street that they want to increase their take - and as long as the money keeps flowing all around .... its all good.

Its the emperors new clothes all over again - but no one but we canaries in the eBay coal mine say so!

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by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 17 18:52:37 2020

Well, good luck in your future. Hope all is well.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 18 09:07:31 2020

What does she know that shes not telling us?

today: Glenview cuts eBay
yesterday: Starboard Value exits eBay

"One of the primary concerns for investors is that EBAY will not be able to retain the new cohort of new buyers and that purchasing pattern will revert to normal after the resolution of the pandemic"

"EBAY's history of success in driving marketplace organic growth is spotty at best and not properly focusing on and investing in the traditional marketplace on which EBAY was formed.



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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Nov 18 11:51:06 2020

@pace306

Who's made money profit over the past 25 years?

Amazon or eBay?

It's a lot closer then you think.

It took Amazon 14 years to show a profit, eBay was profitable from day 1

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by: toastedmutt This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 18 14:41:10 2020

Rexford's comments are right on the money.

Ditto being income capped no matter what eBay staff tells you.  

Equality - eBay does not know the meaning of the word.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 18 14:44:59 2020

Who's made money profit over the past 25 years?

Amazon or eBay?

1) off topic
2) 2 major VC companies are fleeing eBay - tells you something (regardless of what gibberish you post)
3) shes STILL leaving after doing nothing at all
4) eBay owns nothing, Amazon owns 20 warehouses (or so) plus planes and trucks (in many countries)

So - your comment makes no sense (it was a ha ha eBay is better but you took no real life issues into account) and 2) it had no bearing on what I wrote.

but thanks for "trying" to be included in the conversation

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by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 18 16:54:11 2020

Another executive leaving eBay...not surprising at all.

I find the position of "Seller Advocate" to be somewhat disingenuous. How can one be an advocate, when your paycheck and bonus are provided by the one you are advocating against? It's like Human Resources. They are not there for the benefit of employees. They are paid to protect the company.

Marni may have had every intention of being the advocate sellers need. Reality is eBay executives are not interested. When there exists a culture that can spawn the harassment of a couple of newsletter publishers, advocacy for anything other than eBay's interest is out the window.

Ebay is in a bad spot. They are a middle of the pack ecommerce platform that does not stand out for anything. They are in between smaller niche players  and larger, better performing platforms like Amazon and Walmart. The fact that large stockholders are divesting their holdings tells you the upside is limited.

Their situation will continue to deteriorate as other up and comers gain traction. Ebay will eventually go the way of AOL, Yahoo, and many others whose managers were too arrogant or stupid to steer their companies forward in a changing world.  

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