EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1504 - March 28, 2007     2 of 3

eBay Seller Group Launches PESA Australia

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PESA, the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance, announced it has joined forces with a group of eBay sellers in Australia to launch PESA Australia. The President of the new organization is Phil Leahy, Managing Director of Entertainment House, an Australian online retailer of music, DVDs and games, and a longtime PESA member.

"I have been attending PESA events in the US since the second summit in Las Vegas in October 2004," said Phil Leahy. "PESA has been instrumental in our growth and success and I am excited by the opportunity to help other Australians reap the benefits of PESA membership."

PESA Australia will host its first summits in Sydney and Melbourne in July 2007. Details on the events are to be announced shortly, and the events are already fully funded by sponsors.

PESA was founded in 2003 under the name eBay Elite. The organization decided last year to change its status from a non-profit trade association to a for-profit corporation, distribute shares to some members, and start charging membership dues ( Those decisions, coupled with member criticism over a lack of financial accountability, resulted in controversy, and a spin-off organization called IMA (Internet Merchants Association) was launched (

PESA Executive Director Jonathan Garriss told AuctionBytes this week that after controversy erupted, the board decided not to change its status and chose to remain a non-profit corporation, without tax-exempt status from the IRS. He said that since members had had an issue with the decision to become for-profit, "we decided it doesn't matter - we were not making money either way." Garriss said PESA went through a transition last year and addressed any open issues, including financial issues ("we delivered financials at the beginning of this year"), corporate governance, and the benefits PESA offers to members.

PESA continues to work with ECMTA, a for-profit company founded by Garriss. ECMTA membership is not limited to eBay sellers and can negotiate better deals with partners for both organizations, according to Garriss. The groups recently announced a deal with to allow PESA members access to the invitation-only Seller Central program, and the group will introduce a health-insurance portal next year on which members can price and purchase health insurance plans. "These deals are only possible because of the two organizations teaming together," Garriss said.

While the new Australian organization is a separate entity and will have a separate member portal, it will work with PESA and have a separate section on the website. PESA Australia will leverage the PESA reputation, Garriss said.

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

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