EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1815 - June 19, 2008     2 of 8

eBay Holds 2008 Annual Shareholders Meeting

Email This Story to a Friend

The Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel was the gathering place for eBay's Board of Directors and investors this morning at the company's annual shareholders meeting. Former President and CEO Meg Whitman was in attendance and was recognized by John Donahoe after the meeting. Meanwhile in another part of Chicago, thousands of eBay members were congregating at the company's annual 3-day user conference taking place at the McCormick Place West convention center.

The three proposals scheduled to be voted on at the Annual Meeting were:

The election of Fred D. Anderson, Edward W. Barnholt, Scott D. Cook, and John J. Donahoe as directors, to hold office until the 2011; approval of eBay's 2008 Equity Incentive Award Plan; and ratification of the selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as independent auditors for eBay's fiscal year ending, December 31, 2008.

About seventy-five people listened as eBay founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors Pierre Omidyar conducted the meeting. The three proposals were approved.

eBay's new President and CEO John Donahoe, who took the reigns from Meg Whitman at the end of March, made a presentation after the meeting and answered questions from stockholders.

Donahoe said the core eBay Marketplaces business goal is to be the largest online marketplace, "which we are in fact today. Where practically anyone can trade practically anything almost anywhere" (18 percent of trading on eBay is cross-border).

"Our role is to enable the marketplace, we are the custodians and stewards." He said eBay has a renewed focus in three areas: Trust; Search (Best Match); and Selection. Those three areas will be eBay's focus in 2008 and 2009. Donahoe said eBay was blessed to have such a strong portfolio of classifieds sites, which are growing fast.

He then transitioned into PayPal, whose goal is to be the leading way to pay and be paid. It's becoming the leading global online payment system, with 140 million registered users. He said the safest way to pay and be paid on eBay is through PayPal, but the merchant services (off-eBay area) is growing rapidly (60% growth last year).

Donahoe relayed a story of buying items online when on a trip in Australia and paying via PayPal, one purchase from a local Sydney flower shop and for a Southwest Airlines plane ticket for his son returning to college.

eBay's President and CEO then discussed Skype, reporting that 30 percent of users use Skype for business.

Another business very important to eBay and central to Pierre's vision, Donahoe said, is the Global Citizenship. eBay is the world's biggest recycler. "We're a carbon neutral company," he said, and mentioned the new green PayPal building in San Jose. He also mentioned Giving Works, eBay's community charity program. MicroPlace launched this year where micro-finance can be given to small entrepreneurs around the world. The World of Good is a marketplace where artisans who are making products with positive social impact can sell.

Donahoe said eBay has three priorities: make eBay easier and safer to use (trust & search); expand selection (pricing and other incentives to continue to make it the most vibrant marketplace in the world); and to grow PayPal on and off eBay

There were several questions from shareholders about the value of eBay's shares, and Donahoe and CFO Bob Swan said the company believes the shares are undervalued, thus the share buy-back activity. Another shareholder asked whether eBay had considered issuing dividends, and Swan's answer was no.

Someone else asked eBay if it could make it easier to sell on the site. A summary of Donahoe's answer is that eBay has 3 times the volume of Amazon, we are trying to make it easier to sell. Earlier this year, we reduced insertion fees significantly, made gallery free in US and just made it free in UK. There's a lowered risk for sellers to list on eBay, we are seeing growth in listings. What you (sellers) can do is drive good buyer experience - our changes this year are to make better buyer experience.

Donahoe answered a question about classifieds, and two organizations read statements A trading fund association thanked eBay for listening to its concerns about executive compensation and disclosure as part of good corporate governance, and PETA asked eBay to "wash its hands of the bloody business in China," referring to its relationship with Tom Online and its allowing the sale of live animals on the site. Donahoe said eBay has a minority share in the joint venture and would forward the PETA concerns to Tom Online.

One of the last questions was from a shareholder who pointed out that eBay reported as a competitor in its financial filings, but had offered a special deal to list on eBay. Donahoe said that many merchants on eBay sell on their own sites and thus, could be considered competitors. He said that eBay was trying to bring additional selection on eBay to help buyers find what they want. Consumer electronics was an area where buyers were not finding the selection they wanted. Through a promotion, eBay is encouraging them to bring some of their inventory on to eBay by offering free shipping, and return policies.

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

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to and either link to the original article or to
All other use is prohibited.