One year ago, eBay launched "Voices: for Collectibles," but the initiative has languished despite an attempt to resuscitate it 4 months ago. It's notable because it relates to eBay's strategy of focusing on a few categories, such as sneakers, luxury watches, handbags, and collectible trading cards, to appeal to high-value buyers and fend off rivals that have made inroads into various product categories.
eBay announced Voices: for Collectibles in July 2021
, a dedicated space on its discussion boards "where Collectibles sellers can share category-specific ideas for improvement with the Collectibles Category Manager."
Only Voices sellers were allowed to post on the board, but all sellers were able to "like" other sellers' posts, eBay explained. "On a monthly basis, the Category Manager will respond to the most popular ideas - so be sure to "like" posts that resonate with you!"
eBay didn't explain in the post how a seller could join the Voices program, which is not to be confused with
the Voices of the Community program former eBay CEO Meg Whitman launched in 1999.
The Voices: for Collectibles board had garnered 24 posts between the period of July 25 and November 7, 2021 - when things suddenly went quiet.
That month, eBay lost a key executive
when Nicole Colombo, eBay General Manager of Collectibles and Trading Cards, left to become President of Alt
, a company that "envisions a world where anything can be an investment opportunity, starting with trading cards."
Alt's emergence is reminiscent of StockX, a marketplace that found success by focusing on a particular area (sneakers in the case of StockX) and optimized it in ways eBay hadn't due to its one-size-fits-all policies - and poaching a high-level eBay executive in the process (Scott Cutler).
Colombo presumably had a role in eBay's plans to launch its own collectible trading-cards Vault after it booted PWCC from its marketplace
in the summer of 2021, which may have been what attracted her to Alt, and vice versa.
Alt is micro-focused on alternative assets, offering services that go well beyond its own trading-card Vault - a la StockX (which has its own Vault and is further along with NFTs than eBay is).
The Voices: for Collectibles was quiet between November 2021 and March 2022, when an eBay employee using the handle Steve@collectibles published a new post
apologizing for the delay in developing a plan and cadence for responses on the Voices: for Collectibles board and wrote, "I want you to know that I'm making it a top priority going forward."
"The plan is to provide responses and feedback to the ideas for improvements that you post every month, with the first starting at the end of March. This should give you some time to come up with some really great stuff, and for me, some time to respond.
"I'm looking forward to working with you all and seeing what kind of improvements we can make to the listing process, search, and anything else you come up with. It's my goal to provide you with the best experience possible in the Collectibles Community."
That March 4th post was the last on the Voices: for Collectibles board.
It's unclear what impact Colombo's departure in the fall had, but eBay officially launched the Vault in June
. It may have more competition than eBay bargained for, however.