Top eBay Seller Disappears from Site
By Ina Steiner
eBay sellers began buzzing when they noticed on Friday that Glacier Bay DVD was NARU (Not a Registered User). Glacier Bay DVD had become eBay's number one feedback seller in June 2005 selling movie DVDs and soundtrack CDs.
According to a profile on the ChannelAdvisor website, Glacier Bay Entertainment Inc. was founded in May 2002 by Randy Smythe. Selling under the name glacierbaydvd, the company was listing 10,000 - 20,000 auctions a week and was a Titanium PowerSeller with an average selling price of $20/unit. "Looking forward to the end of 2004," the case study states, "Smythe expects Glacier Bay to be selling at a rate of $10 million a year." It planned to do that by listing more DVDs and expanding into entertainment-related products.
An exhaustive search to contact Smythe was unsuccessful. Phone numbers were disconnected, and the main page of the Glacier Bay DVD website was unavailable, though back pages of the site were still accessible (http://www.glacierbaydvd.com).
AuctionBytes was able to reach Michael Lehman, who had been referenced as a partner in the business in a 2004 Entrepreneur magazine article. Lehman said he operates a separate company that did software development and operations for Glacier Bay DVD, but was never an employee or owner of the company.
He said he has been friends with Smythe for many years, and said he let Smythe know AuctionBytes wanted to speak to him for this article. Lehman said Smythe did not want to comment at this time. When initially contacted by AuctionBytes, Lehman had said of Glacier Bay DVD, "They're still a client but they're kind of done at this point."
Scot Wingo, president and CEO of ChannelAdvisor, whose service helped power Glacier Bay DVD's ecommerce sales, said in an email, "Unfortunately, I can not talk about specific customer situations as you can imagine. Randy and Mike have been great customers of ChannelAdvisor for a long time and we've always had a very professional relationship with them."
Wingo went on to say, "The media categories on eBay are extremely competitive, as is the rest of eBay. The competition in combination with all of the changes going on at eBay over the last couple of years (fee changes, stores, etc.) have caused some seller's models to accelerate and other businesses to look at other opportunities."
An article in the June 22, 2005, issue of the Wall Street Journal outlined some of the challenges eBay sellers were facing, and stated that one seller in the CD and DVD category believed eBay shoppers were "looking for unreasonable bargains" (http://digbig.com/4gegx).
An eBay seller wrote to AuctionBytes about Glacier Bay DVD and said, "This is huge tragedy in our eBay Community, when one of the biggest eBayers with their stature, disappears and leaves a trail of Negs and crying victims."
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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