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Sun June 22 2014 18:29:23

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Experience

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
It is no secret that eBay's management is disconnected from buyers and sellers. The millionaires who dictate policy and direct new features implemented on the site have nothing in common with buyers or sellers, and the end result is a dysfunctional marketplace.
 
eBay can not - should not continue to run their marketplace with management that is isolated from the causes and effects of their decisions.
 
eBay management needs to re engage with their customer base, and an excellent way for them to do this would be a requirement that every executive spend 2 weeks every year manning customer service lines and hearing directly from buyers and sellers how frustrating eBay has become to use on either side of the transaction.
 
Another way for them to re connect would be to have them participate is eBay discussion forums related to their area of responsibility.
 
Management would be better equipped to address issues that drive buyers and sellers from the site if they had real time communications with their buyers and sellers instead of relying on data points to drive their decision making processes.
 
If eBay really wants to gain traction, grow their GMV, and contribute to the success of their sellers, they need to abandon the aloof management style they have adopted from their CEO and take some initiative to get onto the front lines where buyers and sellers are.
 
Managing eBay to please Wall Street does little to enhance the buying or selling experience. It is time for management to get back on Main Street where the buyers and sellers who drive the activity in the marketplace are.
 
If eBay's management concentrated on better meeting the needs of both buyers and sellers, sales would grow, and Wall Street concerns would take care of themselves because the revenue from genuine sales growth would drive share values higher.
Regards,
Ric




Comments (31) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Sun Jun 22 21:22:19 2014

Nicely said Ric ! I agree with you 100%

And they need to do it ASAP !

eBay Buyer and Seller trust is really bad now since the hack, and google SEO

My business has been living proof the last 3 to 4 weeks

I really fear that if this sales decline, traffic decline etc. is not corrected ASAP that eBay might not exist in 1 or 2 years at all.

Something needs done real fast at eBay, Mr. Donahoe has his chance, it is time for someone else to come in and get this once awesome site revived !

I m not hear to bash eBay, I loved eBay, but it is in serious shape in my opinion, almost like it is dying of a fatal illness, someone PLEASE get a new CEO and try to heal eBay from the slow death that is obviously occuring !

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 22 22:44:16 2014

ummmmm ....call me Captain Obvious ...

1) eBay DOES connect with who it believes are its customers - the buyers. Buyers almost NEVER loose, even when they lie, steal and cheat. eBay believes they are the customers since its their funds that pay the FVF (through the seller - sellers are just conduits for the cash)

2) eBay doesnt care about stock prices. Anyone/everyone can compare eBay vs Amazon stock prices and see the difference ... eBay doesnt care because like JD, most higer ups A) have more then 1 job thereby getting multiple incomes B) they get benfits and pay from eBay that are NOT stock related. As an example - when the peggies eat X amount of Hershy bars JD gets a bonus - stuff like that.

3) eBay has ALOT of GIS companies - those companies make eBay the bulk of its profits (not sellers cleaning out grannies attic)

4) eBay believes it is above the law, more then that it believes it can create its own laws - and history has shown that no one - not an ystate AG or the US AG will bother to do anything to eBay. Money buys alot of things in todays worlds - favors dont run cheap - just follow the moeny trail, look at the political donations. When you control the law you can legally steal money from people without having to work for it - why "reconnect" with anyone over anything when you can just steal their money? (does the mafia get warm and cozy with you? I think not)

4)You mention "discussion forums" ... eBay doesnt want your opinions. When you do email them, they get ignored (unless you ar a manufactorer who wants to sue them for something). Tahts why its ok that the boards are useless, combative and when you speak up against "the regeim" you get silenced.

All your ideas are great and well tought out ... but like most people - you are optimistic about eBay and your relationship with them .. until you get "seller protected" (the polite way to say "getting scr_wed".

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 23 11:05:00 2014

Don't expect this to ever happen with the current management in place. I mean, to my knowledge, has the CEO even spoken publicly about the data breach, and ensured users that they are secure.  No,instead, eBay is issuing coupons to buyers as if it is business as usual.

It is not business as usual.  Day 4 without a single sale. From what I'm hearing on the discussion boards, we are not alone.

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 23 14:17:37 2014

Anyone remember Wang Laboratories? eBay is reminding me uncomfortably of them, and Donohoe is reminding me uncomfortably of the unlamented Fred Wang.  

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Mon Jun 23 16:04:08 2014

Wang Laboratories? I remember those 8" Wang word processing disks with the proprietary format that cost about $10 each back in the early 1980s; the original IBM PC put paid to that robbery ...

Maybe Johnny Ho should read up on Wang ...

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jun 23 17:53:50 2014

Rexford observes: "Don't expect this to ever happen with the current management in place..."

I agree with you 100%, however, eBay appears desperate to recover after the poorly accepted Spring Seller update, the hack and the massive amount of data that was taken, the rejection from Google, and the loss of 3 top PayPal staff, including the PP President.

If combined events do not signal that it management needs to find new methods of administering the site, then eBay is in it's death throes.

The SSU takes effect in August, and there will no doubt be massive numbers of sellers who find their years of hard work to earn TRS discounts will suddenly and swiftly amount to nothing.

On the heels of the SSU going live, many more sellers who presently earn TRS discounts will find eBay has yet another way to eliminate them from receiving the discount by mandating 90 day return policies through the holidays.

I know of quite a few sellers who will be delisting a significant part of their inventory this holiday season rather than be forced by eBay to offer 90 day returns. This is going to reduce selection on eBay.

The seller dissatisfaction with eBay is going to hurt the company through the rest of the year - and eBay's old methods of trying to spark business will fail to inspire buyers.

Doubling or tripling the eBay bucks reward program will not work if buyers are afraid  of coming to eBay after the hack.

Thousands of free listings to sellers means nothing especially if there are significantly fewer buyers on the site.

The time is ripe for a new approach by eBay management.  If they have any hope of salvaging the rest of 2014 or even 2015, management must abandon the failed corporate thinking that got them into this mess in the first place.



How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 23 19:49:41 2014

Ric, I would love your opinion as to why the CEO has not made a public statement regarding the data breach. If he made a statement, I missed it.

How can a site recover from such a large scale security breach if the captain of the ship will not make a statement and ensure users that their personal data is safe?

I don't know if the big boy retailers are having the same disastrous sales results, but if they are, I expect that some noise is being made---and this time not by small sellers.

The sad thing is that I think that the CEO feels like everything he is doing is the right thing for eBay.  I feel just the opposite.  I don't know how much longer he can be kept in his role without the site folding like a house of cards.

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

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

Mon Jun 23 21:59:46 2014

From a Motley Fool article by Jade Welsh today: "eBay displayed what not to do in the event of a data breach. The company took days to post a notice about the breach on eBay.com, confused users as to whether their PayPal accounts had been affected as well, and many eBay users had never received an email notification warning them about the breach nor informing them to change their password.

Dave Kennedy, the CEO of security consultancy and breach response firm TrustedSec, said, "It just seems like their response has been complete disarray and disorganization. This is one of the worst responses I have seen in the past ten years from a company that's experienced a breach."

Investors should approach cautiously, as customers become more aware of the breach, their usage may become less frequent. eBay customers should also remain alert, and prepare themselves for grim news that may come next quarter."

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jun 23 22:35:07 2014

My take on JD's nearly complete silence with regard to the hacking incident would be that he does not want to be in a situation that could come back to haunt him, and that he is afraid that the undisclosed truth will come out.

Donahoe has been unavailable for the most part and has avoided all contact with the media esxcept through carefully scripted PR releases which fail to mention the hack.

Even at the recent keynote speech he gave, Donahoe was unavailable or unwilling to take questions after the address which is extremely uncharacteristic of him.

What we do know is that the hack occurred long before the shareholders meeting but was not disclosed to investors during that meeting. In fact, there was no information about the hack released until AFTER the quarterly financial report to Wall Street was made a week or so later.

JD obviously knew that the hack had occurred, and timed the disclosure about the release so that he could avoid questions from investors as well as Wall Street Analysts.

Is the failure to disclose what he had to know criminal? Quite possibly - I guess investigations into the incident may reveal the truth, but there has been little in the way of information regarding any investigation which may or may not be taking place.

Is it possible that investigations into the hack would have been compromised if he announced it at the share holders meeting or even during the quarterly report? Possibly, but I prefer to believe that the timing was meant to minimize the negative effect on the value of eBay stock, and give him breathing room of 3 more months before he had to comment.

Bottom line, it does seem as though the CEO and the company are intentionally marginalizing the hacking incident by failing to further address the issue.


How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 24 06:26:04 2014

That makes sense Ric, but someone at that company needs to start leading instead of hiding.

Day 5 without a sale.  Unprecedented. We've been on eBay for more than a decade and I've never seen anything like this. We've never gone more than two days without a sale, and that was rare when it happened.

Ina, are  you hearing anything in regards to how the "Diamonds", or big box retailers (those who have many thousands of listings on eBay) are faring since the breach?   I think we would all benefit by knowing if it is just the small sellers taking the hit or is it site-wide.  I myself would take great comfort in knowing this because if it is the case, eBay will HAVE to do something extraordinary if they are to rebound from this.  Free listings aren't going to do it.

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

by: bruincomputer This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 08:05:24 2014

This is a well written article.  Management seems to have forgotten that sellers are their customers too.  Without us, they would not have a traffic flow.  And with MANY of us UNHAPPY, they need a wake up scream.  

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

by: kzeeman This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 08:48:47 2014

Good Post Ric. A little shaking of the tree would be a good thing. Personally I think they are losing brand recognition. They need to buy some traditional advertising as they no longer get the Free Stuff. But I am sure there are many more things they could do. They dont appear to be seeing the forest for the trees right now so any steps would be good steps.

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

by: Cyclestripper This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 09:03:18 2014

It may be that ebay management DOES think they engage with buyers and sellers and that the people who complain are simply a chronic problem typical to any business.

Put yourself in an ebay exec's place for a moment. Who is your customer? The guy that controls your paycheck? Right?

A CEO's job is supposed to be strategic rather than operational. In the case of Donahoe, he wants a larger marketplace and a dominant payment system but also an expansion of services into areas not currently being served.

IMHO, the problem with ebay is the same as with any very large company. Lacking strong operational vision focused on the user results in products typical of Microsoft consumer products that make one ask "why?". Win 8 = prime example.

In this kind of environment, changing CEOs is more likely to produce a negative experience. Remember John Scully and Gil Amelio at Apple.

That said, Ebay has a weak founder who serves only as a figurehead and a board of directors focused 100% on wall street. It is extremely unlikely that ebay will luck into a visionary leader taking the CEO position, EVER. It's very rare, particularly in Silicon Valley.

Ebay will continue just like it is, a stumbling behemoth that will simply persist and squash any potential challenger.

IMHO, as always.

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 10:55:34 2014

The current focus for eBay management is eBay’s stock price, keeping Wall Street investors happy, and mega bonuses and salaries.  None of this includes a positive “seller’s experience” on eBay.

If Carl Icahn’s MBA management team took over at eBay today little would change for the better for small sellers.  New management’s focus would be the same do whatever it take’s to keep the big salaries and bonuses coming.   That is what Wall Street wants, not sensible treatment of small sellers.

Sadly, over the past several years, any improvement in my sales and profits is short lived followed by another nose dive in sales.  

Time for this CEO to have a “positive seller’s experience” and make some money mowing lawns.  

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

by: ellisdtripp This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 11:03:59 2014

Ric is on the 100% on the mark. His recommendations will never come to fruition because they are sensible, something the corporate dweeb mentality cannot abide. It seems that eBay (and many other companies) are run by passive/aggressive dipshits who are getting back at the world for being stuffed in a wastebasket by the jocks in junior high.

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 11:43:34 2014

Don't you wish you could have a half hour alone in a room with a tape recorder and the HO?

What did he know

When did he know it

Why did he wait to disclose it

Who else knew it

When is he going to do something about it

And then lead him out to the crowd with the tar and feathers

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

by: MovinOn This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 11:59:47 2014

6 days since the last sale here. I think eBay already has my listings in ''Can't See Me'' search results. Hardly any page views, either. My sales this year are down 81% from last year, even though my listings are down only 56% (more on that at the end of this post).

I think eBay has grossly overestimated their increase in profits by nearly eliminating the TRS program and the resulting 25% increase in FVF, and grossly underestimated the number of sellers that will leave eBay permanently as a result of this change. I, and probably tens of thousands of others, will lose my TRS status for the first time ever, through no fault of my own. Yet I am being called a bad seller by ebay, because too many buyers have opened cases:

- asking where their item is, even though tracking shows it was delivered, and 3 days earlier than the estimated delivery date because the seller gave a free upgrade to Priority shipping rather than Parcel Post. Seller's fault.

- Wanting to cancel a sale or return an item because they found a better deal elsewhere, and open a SNAD case so they can get a full refund, including their original shipping. The seller's fault, of course.

- Buyers replace a new device or machine with their used, broken device, and open a SNAD case for a full refund. Of course, disputing the claim always results in the seller being wrong. The buyer is always right. Seller's fault again.

- Wanting to return a sweater or other article of clothing because the color or size wasn't quite right. Yep, the seller's fault.

- Buyer sends me a message through eBay messages that they are very happy with their purchase, and inadvertently opens a case. Yep, another seller defect.

Due to an error in my listing, I was truly at fault in one case. Yet 14 more cases that I had no control over, the buyer ripped me off, and I am charged with defects, over 5% now.

For several years with ever-increasing fees and ever-worsening treatment of sellers by eBay, and more ways for buyers to rip off sellers, I have been contemplating moving from eBay to other venues, but hadn't. This years seller updates are the last straw. Increasing the 8% FVF to 10% is a 25% increase in fees. And what do I get for it? Lower rankings in search results, more abuse by eBay and buyers, more hassles with returns, etc.

When I lose my TRS status on Aug. 20 (unless I somehow sell 184 items with no ''seller defects''), I will cancel all of my remaining listings on eBay. I have already moved over 50% of my inventory to other platforms. I could end my listings on eBay now, but I will wait until Aug. 20 as my vote showing eBay that the new seller updates are the last straw and my final selling day on eBay. I won't be buying on eBay any more, either. I hope tens or hundreds of thousands of other eBay sellers will do the same.

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

by: MovinOn This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 24 12:19:34 2014

What percentage of eBay sales and profits come from small sellers? 20%? 40%? 60%? Obviously eBay is so filthy rich that they can just throw out that portion of their sales and profits. And I would bet the Diamond Sellers don't pay 8% or 10% Final Value Fees, probably closer to half that rate, for a lower profit margin to eBay. Yet the small sellers are dispensable. Just throw them out with the bathwater. eBay desperately wants to increase profits to appease Wall Street, so the plan is, uh, to get rid of a bunch of the sellers by blaming them for many factors totally outside their control???

I don't understand why eBay is doing this. The stock price is already near its 52-week low. I predect it will hit more and more 52-week lows in coming months as the seller beatings continue and the effects of the SSU take effect. Time will tell.

Unless there are some major changes in eBay's direction, likely requiring some major changes in upper management, I suspect eBay won't be around in 2 to 3 years, or, at best, will be a skeleton of its current self. The ship is sinking.

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Jun 24 13:15:20 2014

“The current focus for eBay management is eBay’s stock price, keeping Wall Street investors happy …” Ho, Ho, Ho …

Notwithstanding that the eBay Dept of Spin likes to claim a “400% increase” in eBay’s stock price since the 2008–2012 global recession, the fact is, in August 2007, immediately prior to the start of the GFC, when the "Pain From Bain", Johnny Ho, was already effectively in control of eBay, the share prices of eBay and Amazon were both ~$40; with eBay recently <$50 and Amazon >$300, clearly, the “smart money” on Wall Street recognises eBay to be a "dog", and Johnny Ho to be a very poor dog handler; relatively speaking, eBay’s “long” stockholders are going backwards ...

Has eBay’s founder Omidyar ever thought about just how much more fabulously wealthy he might now have been had he not approved the handing over of the control of eBay to the delusional, unscrupulous, destructive, incompetent, narcissistic, sociopathic Johnny Ho? Indeed, had he, in August 2007, traded in just the ~108 million eBay shares that he still holds today for shares in Amazon, instead of ~$6 billion, his worth would now have been ~$32 billion! Now that, surely, is something for all of eBay's long-suffering "long" investors to think about, is it not? ...

eBay Inc, where the incompetent mingle with the malevolent and the criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper   How Management Could Really Improve the eBay Exper

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Jun 24 13:19:49 2014

Why is eBay "doing this"?

"Our ambition is to be the strategic partner of choice for every leading retailer, brand and manufacturer across the world ..."—eBay Employment Ad (2013) ...

That's why eBay is "doing this" ...

Come to terms with reality and start making other arrangements ...

eBay Inc, where the incompetent mingle with the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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