eBay's Turnaround Is in Jeopardy — What Now?


What happens when your turnaround takes an about-face? eBay (s ebay) CEO John Donahoe may find out the answer to that question if he isn’t careful. Although Donahoe has been implementing a lot of changes aimed at driving new business in the company’s core marketplace division, it’s looking like he needs to come up with some additional ways to bring consumers and sellers back to the site.

Next Wednesday, eBay is expected to report its financial results for the last three months of 2009, which includes the holiday season. The results aren’t likely to be as bad as a year ago — when Donahoe had to apologize to investors for a disappointing performance – but also aren’t likely to be as impressive as you’d expect when a turnaround is working. Analysts are looking for an incremental rise in both revenue and profit.

Perhaps eBay’s efforts to repair its business have been too focused on impressing investors. True, eBay’s stock is up 67 percent in the past year. But the company isn’t doing well with either consumers or buyers — who, unlike investors, actually contribute to its revenue. When Piper Jaffray asked consumers last month which site had the best shopping experience, only 13 percent said eBay, down from 27 percent in March 2009. Another 65 percent said Amazon (s amzn) was the best, up from a prior 36 percent.

Amazon is also appealing to eBay’s key customers, the PowerSellers. When JP Morgan surveyed them, 54 percent had a negative opinion of eBay, while 69 percent viewed Amazon positively. Even worse, PowerSellers sold 56 percent of their goods on eBay last year, down from 65 percent in 2008. In short, all that tinkering with eBay’s marketplace isn’t reversing the flow of buyers and sellers from eBay to Amazon.

So what’s it going to take to return an allure to eBay’s site? There aren’t a lot of appealing options. But it could start by reaching out to its most vocal critics. The comments section of many articles and blog posts concerning eBay (including some here) blossom with angry rants from disenchanted, often alienated eBay sellers.

eBay’s stance has long been to dismiss them as a vocal minority, which worked for a while. But the web is a mighty bullhorn amplifying the complaints of the disenchanted — whether you agree with their complaints or not. After a while it taints the brand in the eyes of others, as companies that have set up fire brigades to extinguish complaints on Twitter have learned all too well.

To win back more consumers, eBay can also go head-to-head with Amazon at its own game: heavy discounting. Part of the appeal of the auction-driven commerce that eBay has moved away from was that it held the promise of a bargain price. Now that eBay is pushing the fixed-price format, many consumers don’t see much of a difference between eBay and Amazon — except that Amazon has a stronger image as a trusted clearinghouse for low-priced goods.

Often, many sellers offer the same item on eBay with no difference in their buy-it-now prices. eBay could encourage deeper discounts by placing them higher in search results or in featured listings. The company could also renew its image as a low-cost e-tailer with commercials that are more focused and less baffling that its “IT” campaign.

Of course, going up against Amazon on discounts isn’t easy, as Wal-Mart (s wmt) well knows. And a discount strategy could disappoint the same investors that eBay has been working so hard to impress. But if the company continues to lose market share to Amazon, it will have a bigger problem than irate shareholders. It will have a failed turnaround.

In-post image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Philip Cohen

eBay’s many ongoing Donahoe-introduced problems are hardly worth discussing any more. Clearly, the headless turkeys have taken over the eBay farmyard and, in particular since the sociopath (psychopath?) John Queeg-Donahoe has been given a key to the larger “disabled” cubicle in the executive wash room, the eBay Marketplace has every quarter, in relative terms, been flushed further and further down the toilet.

Since April Fools Day (how apt!) 2010 and the dumping of all “store” items into core, eBay’s data centers appear (still) to be effectively crippled or, if they are functioning as planned, it’s a very strange plan. Regardless, it would appear that for many users the eBay marketplace whale is now high and dry on a beach somewhere, has died, and the putrefying carcass is now very much on the nose.

I suspect that the eBay Marketplace must by now be obtaining most of its stagnant revenue stream from re-listing fees for items that remain unsold, FVFs from shill-bidding professional sellers buying their own stuff, and from advertising on sellers’ item pages that takes buyers away from the seller and even away from eBay itself, than from fees on any genuine sales. How long can that situation continue?

It appears that the only people that have ever had any benefit out of eBay’s supposed stash of overseas cash are the senior managing executives, and even they have been recently selling their eBay stock: eBay’s chief headless turkey and Bain & Co shill, John Donahoe, has been dribble selling his eBay stock on a monthly basis since June 2010, probably hoping that no one will notice:


Methinks that this latter-day “Captain Queeg” and his fellow incompetents are provisioning their personal lifeboats for the inevitable announcement that the now near completed three-year Donahoe “turn around” cruise has indeed not yet weighed anchor and is still “spinning” around, and around, and around on the same spot and, as a result of Donahoe’s “destructive innovations”, the rusting old hulk “eBay” is now so low in the water, it must be on the point of going submarine.

Surely, the people currently making the decisions at eBay need to be psychologically appraised: I suspect that all that Koolaid has detrimentally affected them, and one has to wonder just how much longer the eBay Board is going to let this destructive Bain & Co shill and his cretinous minions continue their destruction of this once unique and commercially most successful entity.

Shill Bidding on eBay: Case Study #4
This latest study provides an indication of eBay’s desperation to mitigate its lessening sales activity and very effectively demonstrates eBay’s effective aiding and abetting of criminal shill bidding “wire fraud” activity by unscrupulous sellers on unsuspecting buyers:


eBay/PayPal/Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.


Ebay is one true evil and communist company.
They have made two mistakes and 1 serious breach of privacy, abuse of account and intention to cover up their mistakes.

They deleted my listings and realised later on it was their mistakes. They tried to cover up by illegally going into my account, uploaded a copyright image and then accused me of copyright infrigement. AMAZING!


Ebay is without a doubt the worst big e-commerce company in business. I would avoid them like the plague. 6 years ago I had a solid, reputable business, with 100% positive feedback going back to 1997. They mysteriously suspended my account, saying I was linked to another banned user. Never an explaination what user this was, what item caused the problem. Nothing. I’ve attempted dozens of times to get an answer. They offer none.

Their customer service is the absolute worst from a major company I have ever seen. I can only hope they go bankrupt, as that’s what they did to my business.


@Thomas The thing is with auctions, people like to get into the “competition of it”. While I agree that the best policy is to simply bid the max you’re willing to bid and let the robot bidding do the rest, there is the “real world auction” desire to have more part in the sale, and it seems to be rather inherent to people’s inner desires. At least if the standard eBay practices are any indication.

The idea that “Well if I just go 5 dollars more i can beat this guy” can be a powerful tool for sellers to gain more money and bidders to enjoy themselves more.

The way things are with sniping and “buy it now” I may as well, as others have said, just go to Amazon.


@ JoshMiller
If you lose an auction but would have bid more if you had time, you should have the 1st time you bid. Decide on your absolute max, and place your bid (or schedule your snipe, better idea). Bid only once. If you win great. If not, the winner paid too much.

with that said, maybe it would bring a bit of fun back to eBay if they extended auctions maybe by five minutes (I think an hour would be too long) when there is a bit placed in last five minutes.

EBay needs to do something to bring both sellers and buyers back. Not that this would do it, I have no problem with sniping, just saying.

Sniping is more of a convenience for bidders who want to avoid bidding wars, and hopefully save some money by not drawing early attention, and not giving manual ‘nibbling’ snipers a chance to react.

@ Philip Cohen
You would hope that it would not be the case, but maybe eBay does not mind shill bidding – They would get a higher final value fee if an actual buyer did win the item, they would still get the insertion fees if the seller actually wins the item, and maybe they figure the seller would list it again.

Sniping should be a good defense against shill bidding as you mentioned, the sellers would not have time to raise your bid up to or near its max, and then retract theirs before the end of the auction. I’m not sure what would happen if the buyer (actually the seller or his buddy) try to retract their bid after the auction was over. I guess it would not be a bid retraction but just backing out of the transaction completely, so I guess in that case the seller would then have to send a second chance offer to the “sucker”, to then sell the item at an inflated price?

Philip Cohen


And that may be OK if eBay had any control over shill bidding; they dont, and it can be clearly demonstrated that shill bidding by unscrupulous professional sellers is rampant on nominal start auctions. In fact, with their application of non-unique bidder masking, eBay is quite deliberatly aiding and abetting the unscrupulous sellers to defraud buyers. Sniping is the only way for buyers to get any protection from such criminals and their facilitator, eBay.
See my introduction to several case studies on the matter at


A bit of a response to Thomas and his last suggestion.

eBay “Sniping” is probably the PRIMARY reason I never buy on eBay anymore. It’s supposed to be an auction. One thing ebay could institute that I think would actually help with people’s interest in the auction model is for all auctions to automatically extend by say, 1 hour, for every bid received with in the last 5 minutes.


Ebay now caters to the large seller these days, along with fixed price listings. The only place for smaller sellers is maybe used items, antiques, and some specialty items. The big boys have taken over things like electronics and dvd sales.

The jump in their stock price was because of all the book of the specials they were running on the site. Things are coming more into view now I believe.

For everyone who still buys on eBay, a couple tips:

  1. Something that might be worth trying is searching eBay for listings that have main key words misspelled in the title. Sites like ebuyersedge.com (typojoe.com, etc) will search ebay for common misspellings of keywords you enter.

Most searchers will never see these misspelled listings, reducing the competition and most likely ending price.

Ebuyersedge also gives you the option of saving your favorite searches, then sending you an email when an item is listed matching one your saved searches, giving you a jump on other potential buyers.

This works best with ‘Buy It Now’s, but is also effective with auctions.

  1. Whenever you send a question to a seller, use the “Ask a question” link that is on a page of another item they’re selling that you’re not interested in.

Maybe send the seller an offer to end the auction early. All they can do is say no.

  1. If you bid on an ebay auction, use a sniping service (bidball.com, etc.) to avoid bidding wars, and hopefully save some money by not drawing early attention, and not giving manual ‘nibbling’ snipers a chance to react.
Tony P.

“Often, many sellers offer the same item on eBay with no difference in their buy-it-now prices. eBay could encourage deeper discounts by placing them higher in search results or in featured listings.”

Mr. Kelleher, ebay already takes such actions. They have ‘advantaged’ some, while ‘hiding’ others… to a degree that transcends interference of commerce, malicious manipulation and non-delivery of services purchased.

Over the past few years I have gleaned some bits of wisdom from the ebay discussion boards. I’d like to share them here. These quotes will not explain the situation to people like the author of this article; although he has the “right” idea, he’s obviously not clued in to the bigger picture.

“Best Match will never be the default search method.” ~ jeffking@ebay.com

“SEARCH should be a tool that a user manipulates, not the other way around.”

“Two years after the adoption of the “new” ebay policies things are not innovatively better but disruptively worse.”

“The “NEW Ebay” web pages are like the “New COKE” They are the unwanted answer to the problem that did not exist. “

“They will live on the losses from sellers until the sellers have no more to lose. We are bleeding they are feeding. This entire business model is not long term sustainable. It’s a grab and go for the CEO.
The new American way.”

“The ebay business model was, and is, successful in spite of whatever they do in San Jose. Even during the recent 24 hour blackout, transactions still occurred. As long as there’s at least an intermittent connection, people will still transact business. Only if someone in the SJ Ivory Tower trips over the dammed power cord and shuts the whole thing down, will ebay cease to function. Even their idiotic policy changes cannot stop the revenue. Conversely, the revenue stream doesn’t continue BECAUSE of anything they do.”

“We sell, buyers buy and ebay management just gets in the way. They really should learn ‘their place’ in the grand scheme of things. They are the Noise, and the Scammers, and the non-Performing sellers.”

Philip Cohen

I always refer to eBay “members” as eBay “users”, for to refer to them as “members”, as eBay does, is to imply that the organisation is run for some benefit of those members—it is not. No action taken (or not taken) by eBay management has anything to do with benefiting or protecting eBay users (buyers or sellers); eBay’s every action (or lack thereof) is purposed solely towards benefitting eBay—and by whatever means, no matter how unscrupulous—undoubtedly more to do with the attempted recovery of those “lost” executive performance bonuses than with any direct consideration for stockholders—and if at any time there appears to be any benefit to eBay “users”, that will be purely coincidental.

An Observer

Another thing: The Affiliate Program. The Affiliate program drove customers to ebay. It drove MOST of ebay’s customers to ebay. That’s key. It was the most successful affiliate program of its kind. And they dismantled on a whim.

Affiliates are the most vital part of the ebay ecosystem. Most consumers are scared of ebay, and an affiliate is like a friendly introduction to the auction site, a warm and welcoming handshake making the potential buyer feel safe. Affiliates were NEEDED and VITAL to the success of ebay.

And they just threw the program in the toilet.

In fact it seems they just threw away their whole business model. For no reason, other than the fact that Donahoe doesn’t really like the auction format (he’d never really used auctions that much, and doesn’t really like them). Kind of like when car companies hire a new CEO who hates “those damn smelly automobiles”.

A Pligg

A friend ended up throwing out a pile of stuff instead of auctioning it on ebay because it was now too expensive, too complicated, and frankly too risky.

ebay has brought extreme risk BACK to selling on ebay, and it is now too risky to sell stuff, even if you have a fair quantity.

There was simply no reason for ebay to mess this up. They destroyed their own business. They didn’t just kill the goose that laid the golden eggs, they raped it and left it cowering and shaking in the corner.


Patricia – If you read articles in June of 2008 – it would be the same. All sellers and many buyers complaining about Ebay and its policies and its manipulation. How long and how much does ebay’s core have to decline before SOMEBODY will listen? We spoke the truth all thru 2008 and 2009 and here it is 2010 and the “noise” continues unabated!

Amen Sister!

It has been a long two years of Disruptive Innovation. Supposedly, we have another year to go as John Donuthole thought it would take three years to turn Ebay in the direction he wanted it to go. Well, John, it sure doesn’t look like you are anywhere near where you want to go. Before you completely destroy the site you had better have a heart-felt talk with yourself, open your eyes and for once realize – THIS IS NOT WORKING!

Looking forward to Wednesday….

PS – JOSH said
I’ve got it! The plan is, kill the resale business online, then open Mini storage everywhere. Then, people will have to rent Mini Storage because they don’t have any decent place to sell their extra crap!

Thanks for the laugh this morning Josh! LOL!


It’s time for eBay share holders to come out of the John Donahoe ether, wake up and demand he be given his walking paper. His incompetence is at least five orders of magnitude below that of a twenty year old booted out of the worst business school in the country. Everything he tried to manipulate in the eBay empire from skyp to buyer and seller confidence to listings and fees have taken a nose dive – including eBay stock and continue to and will not stop until eBay completely tanks or is sold off in pieces and is religated to its proper insignificance. You’re almost there Jonny Boy. I can’t imagine how ashamed of yourself you are. Donahoe be horsewhipped by the share holders for destroying a proud profitable American company and its community of sellers and buyers then handed his walking papers. You can find a fine all leather horsewhip on Amazon at a good price.

Scott C

Well, i think the niche here will be in products that haven’t yet been brought mainstream via amazon.com etc. What I mean is, they own the niche market as in if my father in law calls me and needs a hot tub heater part, or if i need a use mac pro…most new niche products resellers can’t compete on price because the eyeballs just aren’t there, and for most products the ebay margin leans toward 10% of sales including paypal fees.

So really, they are catering toward a niche albeit wide and shallow which will further be marginalized.

Right now they can put a few hundred people on an auction/BIN….be it a car or a shoe..but they still have to enable conversion and no one likes ebay anymore.


Interesting….the comments on the article you refer us to were written back in June of last year. If you read articles in June of 2008 – it would be the same. All sellers and many buyers complaining about Ebay and its policies and its manipulation. How long and how much does ebay’s core have to decline before SOMEBODY will listen? We spoke the truth all thru 2008 and 2009 and here it is 2010 and the “noise” continues unabated! The only people happy about all of this are the management team at Amazon!


“Often, many sellers offer the same item on eBay with no difference in their buy-it-now prices. eBay could encourage deeper discounts by placing them higher in search results or in featured listings.”

This is part of Ebay’s problem. With Ebay’s high fees and low traffic flow (Amazon just beat them out in unique visitors) there is NOT ENOUGH PROFIT LEFT to keep sellers and to keep their prices low! Ebay cannot compete because they want their cake and eat it too! If you were selling on Ebay and paying the SAME fees as everyone else, how would you feel to see someone else pushed ahead of you in search? Many disgusted good sellers left – tired of being beat up by Ebay’s ridiculous polices and their search manipulation! Tired of being at the mercy of that one buyer who is having a bad hair day and wants to take it out on you! Now to top it all off they have to put up with Paypal 21 day holds on their money and rolling reserves that keep a chunk of a seller’s money! Buyers are leaving because they can no longer find their favorite sellers AND they can no longer find ANYTHING in Donahoe’s “best match” search! John Donahoe needs to put things back the way they were. He’s only on the right track if failure is his ultimate goal! He needs to level the playing field so that everybody can participate once again. He needs to STOP trying to be Amazon. Amazon’s business model is meticulous and properly put together by years of hard work. Donahoe wants to “Frankenstein” his site together to make it “look” a bit like Amazon then wonders where everyone went. If I want Amazon I will GO to Amazon! Ebay…get back to your niche – the niche you held in a tight monopoly for years until Donahoe came on board! Get back to your niche…or you are destined to DIE!

Philip Cohen

eBay: Dead Man Walking

The eBay marketplaces are continuing their journey down the toilet, period! And undoubtedly that will be reaffirmed, once again, on Wednesday. Well done John!

Let me then cut straight to the chase with a simple statement from an ex regular eBay user’s point of view: eBay (aka “the eBafia”) is a criminal organization!

How could that be, you ask? Well, with some effort and some multi-auction analysis, it can be very clearly demonstrated (see the below link) that shill bidding fraud by unscrupulous professional sellers, at least on nominal-start auctions, is rampant on eBay auctions, and the executives “in the know” at eBay, unless they are actually as stupid as they apparently think all we simple consumers are, cannot but be aware of that criminal activity. And yet they do nothing proactive nor truly effective to prevent such criminal activity—indeed, they have done the very opposite, they have introduced a non-unique masking of bidding IDs, which serves no material purpose other than to further obscure such criminal activity and aid and abet said unscrupulous sellers to, by fraudulent means, maximize their sale prices, thus maximizing eBay’s FVF. (It’s even worse in the UK, where buyers have got absolutely no chance of detecting the unscrupulous professional sellers that infest eBay auctions.)

It’s called “criminal facilitation” and, in most civilized countries, anyone who knowingly facilitates such criminal activity is also considered to be a criminal. It’s as simple as that! Is it any wonder that buyers are staying away and this business is now going down the toilet?

PayPal is a banking-type service, a service that would be more competently carried out under the auspices of the banking community via their credit card company partners. Without the bankers’ knowledge of the entities involved in the transactions, PayPal will always be handicapped—even more so while under the management of such incompetents as those who currently control eBay.

The head turkey at eBay, “Noise” Donahoe, will occasionally talk of the possibility of selling off PayPal because he is just barely smart enough to know that when the major credit card companies do get off their butts and introduce a like card/terminal-less payments system to complement their credit card system, they will do it properly, and the “clunky” PayPal will then sink like a stone—other than, possibly, on what is by then left of the Donahoe-ever-shrinking eBay marketplace.

From an ex buyer’s point of view, an introduction to an introduction to the full sad story at


“Hartman has since left eBay and is currently pursuing an illustrious career in the Mini-Storage business on the East coast (seriously).”

I’ve got it! The plan is, kill the resale business online, then open Mini storage everywhere. Then, people will have to rent Mini Storage because they don’t have any decent place to sell their extra crap!

Chris K

Ebay is a mess.

On top of what was mentioned it is a pain to scroll through some of these listings. They might be 3 or 4 pages long and contain some fine print like over-priced shipping charges or the fact they guy is actually selling you an open-box item even though in the title it says brand new. Or you might find that the seller is selling you a photo of the item instead of the actual item.

Then Ebay jacked around with where your auction appears in the listings. By default, the bigger sellers have their items appear first in the listings. Your auction might be ending, but it might 20th down on the 1st page while auctions that aren’t ending for another 30 minutes might be listed first. Congrats you pissed off every small seller on your site.

Then it is a pain to search for something. You’ll get endless lists of knock-off products or unrelated merchandise. And you’ll have to click on each listing to see if the seller’s feedback. And again search the fine print.

If you list something and the buyer wins the auction, but decides not to pay you have to jump through a few hoops to get your ebay fees back.

And to list something you have to put in a title and description and make sure all your buttons etc are in order.

And you have to go to 2 sites – Paypal and Ebay and pay 2 different sets of fees.

Amazon is pretty much the opposite. Takes a minute to list something. It is free. You’re told immediately how much money you’ll get and how much Amazon gets. When someone buys your item, you ship and their credit card is charged. Every week Amazon dumps the money into account. All automatic and transparent.

If you don’t end up shipping something then Amazon automatically gives you back their fees. It it was easy to cancel an item too.

Ebay is a pain in comparison.

The only thing I wish Amazon had already was the ability to automatically print out shipping labels. IF they made that one click it would be perfect.

Ebay will remain a place to go for some items. Amazon doesn’t do one of a kind stuff afaik. And sometimes an auction format can be the way to go, less fees for that too. But it is pretty much Amazon for me.


Your plan for fixing eBay is “heavy discounting”? Really?

You’re aware that eBay does not set the prices for goods sold on its site, right?


From day one, John Donahoe has ignored the basic premise that eBay’s most frequent buyers were in fact it’s small sellers too.

From the day Donahoe began alienating small sellers with system, search and policy changes aimed at improving the lot of his preferred class of Diamond Sellers, at the expense of small sellers.

Small sellers are less successful on Donahoe’s eBay, so they buy less too.

There is an old adage in retail that says never give your customers a reason to try out the competition as they may never return.

John Donahoe has been the prime motivator behind sellers abandoning eBay as a platform and migrating to other venues.

Many are finding huge success at Amazon, others have flocked to smaller sites, while still others took the revenue they once would have forked over to eBay for listing fees and invested them into their own websites with great success.

Mr Donahoe has been oblivious to the fact that his policy, search and system changes have been the root cause of eBays steady decline.

Mr DSonahoe destroyed the sense of community which was a prime motivator for many with the elimination of eBay live, censorship on discussion boards, and limits on member communication.

It is not a coincidence that eBays fortunes have declined in conjunction with Mr Donahoe’s so called site improvements.

Donahoes “damn the torpedoes….full speed ahead” approach is accomplishing nothing more than sinking the eBay ship, not righting it.

It is time the existing management team at eBay was shown the door. Their strategy is a complete failure.

David Bordin

“But the web is a mighty bullhorn amplifying the complaints of the disenchanted — whether you agree with their complaints or not.”

The “mighty bullhorn” is a fantastic metaphor – may not be unique, but I haven’t heard that phrase before.

I’ll comment that as a buyer who hasn’t used eBay in a few years, my current naïve but likely “average” user impression is that eBay is poisoned with fraudulent sellers and a problematic payment processor in PayPal which makes me believe that there is at least a 50% chance that I will have not only a negative experience when transacting on eBay, but an experience that will cost me money.

It’s one thing to have a bad customer experience such as poor customer support so that it takes you 2 or 3x as long to get an issue resolved – your cost is typically time and not financial. It’s an entirely different matter when it’s not just a time cost but an actual monetary cost involved.

I’d much rather use free local classifieds if I’m looking to buy or sell used items as I feel that I can control a lot more of the uncertainty compared to an auction. I realize that eBay has hedged somewhat against this with their Kijiji investment, but it is unlikely that will ever yield the kind of revenue and profit that their auction business model ever has.

Isaias Moises

Correction – in my earlier post, I wrote

“PayPal tells the SELLER to return the item” It should read. “PayPal tells the BUYER to return the item”.

Isaias Moises

You ask “So what’s it going to take to return an allure to eBay’s site?”

Let’s start with this.

Ebay and PayPal now help dishonest buyers steal from honest sellers through the PayPal “Significantly Not As Described” (SNAD) process.

This has been going on for months. Both eBay and PayPal’s executive offices know about it from numerous reports by angry sellers. Ebay’s so called “Seller Advocate” knows about it.

Yet it continues.

What sort of company would knowingly participate in theft from their paying customers, the sellers?

Any buyer can report an item bought with PayPal on eBay as “significantly not as described”. PayPal tells the seller to return the item with Delivery Confirmation. When PayPal receives the Delivery Confirmation number, the buyer’s money is automatically refunded. It doesn’t matter what the buyer returns to the seller, dirt, sand, air – the Delivery Confirmation number triggers a refund to the buyer.

You would have to be crazy to sell anything of value on John Donahoe’s eBay.

Again I ask, What sort of company would knowingly aid in theft from their paying customers, the sellers?

Jason Collins

Also, let us not forget that eBay’s brand was on one of the largest and most profitable affiliate marketing program in the history of affiliate marketing. eBay systematically dismantled this program and destroyed any trust and credibility among independent internet publishers.

The end of the eBay affiliate program began when they moved Steve Hartman out of his position in “on-site advertising” and into the directorship of the affiliate program. Hartman is the guy that convinced eBay to put third-party ads on ebay’s site. Google “penis pill ads on ebay” if you are unfamiliar with this fiasco. Hartman then deduced that it would be a good idea to drive traffic AWAY from eBay by placing contextual ads at the bottom of search results.

Hartman has since left eBay and is currently pursuing an illustrious career in the Mini-Storage business on the East coast (seriously).

Just like with their marketplace changes, eBay too the things that worked for affiliates and removed them from the program and along with it went the profit for the publishers. Those publishers left in droves and took their traffic with then. Many publishers pointed their magic traffic wands at Amazon and that can account for a portion of that companies growth.


If Ebay want’s to fix itself it needs to drop the lame idea of competing with Amazon and go back to regular auctions.

As a buyer I hate all fo the knockoff chinese crap listen in bulk on Ebay and I HATE Buy it Now. I don’t even bother with any listing that’s “Buy it Now” or has a “reserve”. Reserve is ridiculous as well. Either you want to sell it or not. Don’t go putting a “reserve” of 100 dollar on something you list for a dollar just to “catch the bargain crowd”. Those people aren’t going to bid on your crap in the first place.

Also as a sell, these bulk listings are annoying as well. They clutter up the whole place and now, my listing, as few as they are, can’t get exposure unless I spend a zillion dollars on “featured item placement”.

The whole system is just crap anymore, I’ll admit I never used it much to begin with, not next to all of the “power sellers” but I did use it pretty regularly int he past.

Also I agree with Vera Berry about bad transactions. I got burned on several video games once all being knockoffs and I’m exceptionally careful when it comes to buying video games from places like this to AVOID this sort of problem.


The downfall of Ebay must be the most retarded story of any big tech company failing. They have nobody else to blame but themselves. They screwed themselves from both ends – seller and buyer. It’s almost as if they identified the exact things which made them a huge hit among sellers and buyers in the first place, and then surgically removed those things from their business. It’s akin to committing suicide by cutting out your own vital organs. The subsequent attempts at a turn around are like those of a person who has lost half a brain. How can they be so blind? Oh, they must have also poked out their eyes…

Vera Berry

When you end up spending money and exorbitant amount of time to sell something and you have no recourse to protect yourself, it no longer becomes feasible for the average Joe to have an impromptu garage sale on eBay. The charges alone through both eBay and Paypal are astronomical. Why do that when Craig’s List can do it for free? It isn’t like eBay helps the seller. I sold a computer for $100 less than what I was hoping to get and then had to pay $75 in charges for all the transactions. I have been ripped off in more ways than I can count from bad information on shipping charges to unscrupulous people that bid, win and then want to do some whacko type of transaction. Then there is the poor shipping and the imperative nature of having an additional cost for insurance lest we lose our shirt from people who say that the product arrived broken, when it is fine. On the other end, I have purchased two things through eBay that turned out to be junk. One was a $1500 sink and the other was a charger for my laptop. When a transaction goes south, it is wonderful to be able to walk back into a store and see someone face to face to get help. eBay has NEVER stood behind their service or products. It is harder to find someone to help through eBay in times like that than it is to take a trip to the moon. It is a great idea as long as everyone is acting reputably. For those times, we’ve had a great experience.

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