In the process they have thrown away their reason for being and why they grew. At one point just about everyone I knew used to get rid of their spare tat on eBay and post a link. One or two had nice little hobby businesses selling collectables etc. Now I doubt many of them remember it exists. No one I know sells on it any more. I used to get rid of all my old IT kit on eBay, yet now I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot barge pole to sell anything.
That is equally reflected in what's there when looking as a buyer - mostly company sales and endless cheap rubbish and far fewer private sales.
eBay used to be great when it was genuine people selling their spare stuff. I used to buy and sell a lot on eBay and it was great - picked up a lot of great secondhand stuff at decent prices, and found new homes for kit I didn't need any more.
But for the past several years it seems to be dominated by "professional" sellers doing buy-it-now bulk-sells of new cheap
stuff shipped directly from China/Hong Kong that takes 6-8 weeks to arrive then when it does it is often awful quality and/or not what was in the listing. This ruined it for me.
There are a few decent secondhand sales still happening though - e.g. I got a really decent refurbished secondhand projector a year or two ago from a guy that specialised in projectors, and in the UK you can now collect your eBay orders from highstreet stores for free. It is just a shame that these genuine sellers are drowned out by the crap-pushers selling cheap tat.
I think the whole ordeal took over 30 days to resolve. $1,000 held up in uncertainty over a $10 part.
Thankfully, Reverb came around for people like me. They are truly a joy to work with. I had one instance where the buyer seemed like he could be sketchy, mostly because he was from a foreign country and the shipping on the item would likely be a large percentage of the cost of the item itself. My item was somewhat rare, but not sought after, high quality, or that collectible, so it was only sold for around $500. However, I didn't want to expose myself to any fraud risk, and Reverb walked me through everything I needed to do to ensure that even if the sale was fraudulent, Reverb would take the hit and not me.
I'm sure running a massive marketplace at scale is hard and since eBay and Amazon have both tipped the scales considerably towards the buyer, that that's where problems tend to impact worse and occur more frequently. But the seller horror stories are impossible to ignore. I'd have a hard time selling anything worth more than $100 on eBay anymore.
It depends on what you're buying I think, and whether you actually care that it's a cheap knock-off... and whether you're willing to dispute it if it turns out to be genuinely awful. (Why wouldn't you?) In my case I bought a laptop keyboard at some point that I didn't really expect to find anywhere at a reasonable price, so I kind of expected what I got to be a cheap knock-off, and sure enough it was, and did have minor problems. But it wasn't a big deal; I used it and it did the job and I was happy. On the other hand, just 2-3 weeks ago I went looking for -- and found & bought -- a used version of a particular scanner I wanted at ~10% of the MSRP (which BTW still sells at near the MSRP right now if you find it new-ish), and it's been working just fine. It's just not the kind of thing that sellers sell in bulks... and I frankly don't expect I could even find a fake version of it no matter how hard I tried.
We are lucky in Austria though, for 2nd hand stuff we have willhaben.at which everyone uses and is basically a mix of eBay and Craigslist (which we officially have @ vienna.craigslist.at but after years is still mostly just spam listings and is therefore IMO unusable).
The scammers on eBay are bold because they know eBay doesn't care at all about the sellers.
I have experienced first hand refusal to refund selling fees (even after escalating the issue) after an item was fraudulently returned.
Eventually someone started buying printers from me, claiming they were broken and getting refunds. They would open new accounts and do it under different names, to the point where one week over half my sales were all scammed in the same way. I was out 5 printers, and had no recourse. That ended a very successful 3 year venture.
It it practical to implement a We don't sell to brand-new accounts policy, as an eBay seller?
The thing I do like about ebay is they don't have the increasingly annoying dynamic pricing bullshit that Amazon is pulling.
i.e. you see a price on Amazon that's great, by the time you've spoken to your better-half and gotten back to the computer... the price has gone up!
Back to ebay though, I actually sold my car on ebay about 10 years ago... there's no way I'd attempt it these days!
as for amazon price changes, i use the honey plugin, can see the past 120 day price history. surprised by how much it can fluctuate.
I wonder if this layoff has more to do with the online tax reform on small businesses.
Buyers need sellers and those same policies have put off many (most?) of the private and small sellers. That's removed many of the products I liked to buy and the very reason I used to visit and browse regularly. It's still handy for toner, and a few other random purchases, I even bought my Macbook via eBay.
Ebay is a scammer nest and I will stay away from it.
The NY Times had a series of articles back then about the struggles. This is one of them: https://theboard.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/going-going-go...
> Ms. Whitman got in a few public tussles with the “community,” as eBay’s buyers and sellers are known. One came when she made an arrangement with Disney to give it special status on the site — its own Disney Auctions page. That violated Mr. Omidyar’s founding principle that eBay would be a global platform to which any buyer or seller could come as an equal.
I hypothesize that the departure from this treatment of buyers and sellers as equals has eroded their uniquenes and therefore that part of its value.
Presumably there's plenty of competition in both the buyer-first and seller-first e-commerce spaces.
I can get from Amazon stuff that is new, that I can return with minimal fuss, at my doorstep, often next day.
Whatever savings I might get using the same item used on eBay do not compensate the time and mental strain of dealing with shipping delays, potential scammers, articles with defects "unmentioned" in the original description, non-existent warranty.
Nowadays I use it only for very specific items that cannot be found on Amazon, or just to sell spare stuff (in the very rare occasions where it's worth it).
I was merely exaggerating criteria to get across a point regarding a very critical fundamental difference between eBay vs. Craigslist, not trying to list a comprehensive set of criteria for choosing reputable sellers. Evidently this wasn't clear, so to clarify: I also think someone who's merely sold 10-15 items of comparable prices over the past 4-5 years ago can also be sufficiently trustworthy if their reviews are 100% positive. And again, none of this is to say these criteria could not be relaxed or tightened depending on the situation, item price, etc... and, in general, you should also incorporate your common sense (which I would hope could go without saying).
I think it was ads popping up on FB asking to buy eBay accounts that made me aware of it but can't find anything right now on a quick Google search.
A couple of days ago I saw some tablets being sold for about 1/10th of their normal price by a seller with an old account and good feedback. But looking into it more I found that their only current sales listings were duplicates of the same tablet offer, and looking at past feedback it was mainly buys rather than sells and usually for household items and stuff that seemed personal rather than business related. Not exactly conclusive but it smelt funny enough that I didn't risk a purchase (I realise lots of people will just say that the low price makes it obvious, too good to be true means it isn't true etc... my own life experience has shown otherwise and I've probably had some bargains that those people would have missed out on).
I just tried to find the listing again and it seems to have disappeared - I feel it might have been a scam.
I enjoy using eBay as a buyer, been using it for 10 years and hundreds of purchases, only sold a few times but it's always been ok for me. There have been a few hiccoughs but I've always found some kind of resolution in the end. If the purchase is even slightly significant I check the seller's feedback out carefully. Really I think that's all that needs to be done but some people either don't know this, can't be bothered to, or don't want to spend their time in that way.
Has been happening for years, but has become more prevalent recently.
Last time I risked selling on eBay I spent a good part of the listing opting out of eBay Ts&Cs: Cash only, collection only, Paypal will be instantly refunded etc. Probably meant eBay could have cancelled the listing, but it worked.
 https://community.ebay.co.uk/t5/Seller-Central/Ebay-Paypal-C... (INR=Item Not Received)
I wouldn't think it's that weird since anyone who's rented an apartment has to do the same.
eBay would ask for proof of delivery!
It's relatively common for a buyer to purchase e.g. a DSLR and return it as "defective", mailing back a box of rocks to the seller.
A gentleman from Italy purchased an old book I was selling. He disputed the transaction, saying the book had never arrived; however, the Italian post said they had delivered the book.
eBay sided with me. I kept the seller's money.
I understand the trouble starts when there's plausible deniability and no witness around. How do you prove they shipped rocks? How do they prove they didn't? At that point it really could be either person's fault, and their policy seems to be to blame it on the seller. That's what people mean when they say eBay "always" sides with the buyer. They don't mean that this is literally true even when it clearly doesn't make sense.
Then file a refund request. Ebay will eventually refund it if the seller can't provide a tracking.
You can also spin it any number of other ways like if you get the item and the seller requests you to return the item then you just ship back a broken version.
The most obvious one is PayPal. That may have made sense in the '90s, but today I should just pay money to eBay, they take their cut and send the rest to the seller. Instead I pay directly to the sellers PayPal account, which may be named something completely different from their eBay account. Then eBay sends the seller an invoice at the end of the month or something. All unnecessary complexity, but I'm sure someone would be outraged if they changed anything.
That makes eBay the seller, or auctioneer, which gives you consumer law rights against eBay.
There are no examples in recent US stock market history of a large, extremely profitable corporation with a positive balance sheet being valued at a negative market cap. There's a reason for that.
The combined unit was suffering a discount. That's precisely why PayPal was separated. If your premise were right, eBay today would be worthless, not trading for $37 billion.
> extremely profitable corporation
Yup, layoffs look like a classic pump and dump to fiddle with the numbers for a sale.
That is exactly what they've been planning for a while: https://pages.ebay.com/seller-center/service-and-payments/ma...
They are starting it with some sellers this year but are expecting the full roll-out to take several years, with majority of customers transitioned by 2021.
The eBay listings seem to have been announced 2 weeks ago, on June 29: https://www.edd.ca.gov/jobs_and_training/warn/WARN-Report-fo...
Any idea how frequently this is published?
Looks like Al Jazeera is shutting down it's office in San Francisco. 68 people getting the Axe on Aug 5th
> 05/07/2018 08/05/2018 05/11/2018 Al Jazeera International (USA), LLC San Francisco San Francisco Closure Permanent
Source: PDF link in parent comment.
Over the years I had some reason to analyze them, and I do some half-assed job of collecting and parsing them into useable data. This repo from 2 years ago contains the PDFs as translated by ABBYY FineReader (in my experience, the best converter on the market, at least sub $100):
Today I started a new repo (forgetting about my previous one). I've been wanting to create a series of repos showing how I "casually" practice programming and data analysis. That is, satisfy and iterate upon a curiosity without going all-in on best software engineering practices. It's aimed at people who've tried to learn coding themselves, but don't have a job in it but don't know how to practice it in the wild and just for "fun":
Not much there except a simple wget invocation to pull the latest files, and the use of Poppler's pdftohtext to convert into plaintext files. Even though it's unstructured text, I think it's regular enough to be parseable with some regular expressions. For reference's sake, I've done an ABBBY PDF-to-Excel conversion (and will write a Python script to do the remaining data wrangling), but you can do what you want with the spreadsheets as they currently are:
They have a pdf-to-tree package which i haven't had good results from but perhaps i need to finally learn ML and try to train models for this a bit: https://github.com/HazyResearch/pdftotree
I get all my cellphones on Ebay, for instance: I get high-end models when they're about 2 years old, from high-volume sellers who specialize in refurbished/used cellphones. People are always jealous of my nice phones, thinking I spent $800+ when I usually only spend $100-150.
Many times, if I want something that's only $10 or $20, Ebay is the way to go because I don't have to wait long to get it, and don't have to get $50 worth of stuff to get the "free" shipping, so Ebay ends up being a better deal.
Also, avoiding Chinese sellers is easy on Ebay: just click the box that says "North American sellers only" (or "US sellers only") and you don't have to worry about stuff being shipped from far away and taking a month. Amazon doesn't make it quite so obvious, nor do they allow you to actually exclude such sellers with a search.
Of course, Ebay lets you buy stuff (usually used, or perhaps secondhand but never-used) from non-commercial/individual sellers. Amazon has removed the ability for individuals to resell their stuff unless you sign up for a special seller's account for $35/year.
That doesn't necessarily block Chinese sellers. There is one seller named X-Channel that is based out of China. They sell used phones as new, they lie on many of their listings about the devices the sell -- they have a terrible reputation that is well-earned. They have at least 3 different seller accounts on Ebay doing the same scam: two of them, 'x-channel' and 'lotus-online' I can recall of the top of my head.
They must have an address in NYC they use for Ebay's billing purposes or where they distribute the imports, but the items they sell are the shadiest crap from China that you'd want to avoid by ticking Ebay's 'north america only' box.
Anyway, my point is that the 'North American-only' box can be gamed, and is not a surefire way to avoid the Chinese scam sellers.
I wouldn't worry. This is nothing close to existential. Large companies like this use a downturn or bad quarter as an excuse to cull weak performers or just stop the unchecked needless growth that successful companies tend to have when no one's paying attention.
...or just stop the unchecked needless growth that
successful companies tend to have when no one's paying
And while hiring is easy, firing and laying off is hard. So the path of least resistance of an org is to grow larger than it needs to be, as long as there's profit or investment to feed it.
This is one of the most “HN” things I’ve ever read here. Thank you for making my day :)
Assumption on your part. I see people that really do spend $800+ on their phones and I don't think jealousy ever entered into the equation, more like 'wow, they can't handle money'.
Maybe their jealousy is just in your head?
The jealousy isn't in my head. What's wrong in your head is that you assume that most people think the way you do about money management. They don't.
You can challenge eBay locally, as shown by Craigslist and Gumtree. You can challenge eBay in a specific niche, as shown by Etsy. Facebook tried to take on eBay directly with Marketplace, with limited success. Amazon Marketplace competes fairly directly with eBay, but at a significant cost to Amazon's reputation - it has flooded their platform with counterfeits and fake reviews.
If you're seeking commodity items, the network effect is far weaker When I need a cheap USB 2.0 hub, why should I buy it from eBay when it will likely be a buck or two cheaper from a DealExreme/Banggood/LightInTheBox style direct-from-China shop? The selection will be adequate even if there's only one seller.
Similarly, as a seller, a combined marketplace makes sense when you have narrow inventory drawing low traffic. You have two widgets, and they'll sell faster being listed inside eBay's assortment of 500, than by trying ti SEO your two product pages. A lot of the classic eBay product lines were stuff where there were few "category killer" web shops with wide inventory and workable sales flow. (Think of the baseball card dealers where they publish paper price lists)
I wonder if in 10 years we'll see an eBay much more like that from 10 years ago. The cheap commodity items will eventually move to sellers' own sites where they aren't giving up a major cut of the purchase price, but more differentiated individual items will stick around.
Shpock (mobile only I think) seems to be the nearest thing to a competitor at the local level, in Europe at least.
What? As a buyer, I can still leave positive,neutral, or negative feedback. (I just checked.) I don't sell on eBay; so, maybe it's sellers that are limited in leaving feedback?
GGP simply doesn't understand the terminology.
Consistently siding with the buyer is the reason I use Ebay (and Amazon with A-Z) with confidence. You sell me what you listed, we're good. You don't? I'm probably going to be made whole by Ebay. That does open the door for scammer buyers. I hope, for sellers' sake, that Ebay has some kind of attention that they pay to patterns of bad behavior.
They don't. There have been quite a few stories about this, including some on HN, but the bottom line is that buyer fraud is rampant on EBay, and, as the GP said, when there's a dispute EBay never ever sides with sellers.
To be honest, while I also like buying on EBay because of the protections, I'm amazed that anyone still sells there; that's how bad it's gotten. I suppose whoever is left has just accepted that the fraud is a cost of doing business and prices it in accordingly.
Groupon isn't particularly busy and definitely aren't good with sellers. I've heard a lot of horror stories.
Overstock is probably the worst, and I'd say downright abusive to their sellers. They also have no API or FTP.
Rakuten, nee buy.com is a strange beast. They will pause your account for strange reasons. No API either.
Walmart has little useful online presence for 3rd party sellers and no API.
Newegg also has no API. I haven't heard any real bad things about them otherwise.
There are a lot of niche marketplaces that do very well in their domain. They aren't using APIs. Some are absurdly expensive and others are cheaper.
It doesn't really matter. No online market takes care of the seller, and honestly, the buyer is far more common than a seller. One seller leaves and another takes their place.
Bonanza and Etsy seem to be the closest things to what eBay was "back in the day".
Amazon used to have a facility where any regular Joe could resell some used item on there: you'd see the new item listing, and then you'd see "available for as low as $$$ from these new and used sellers" that you could click on. You can still buy from other sellers there, but only if they have paid sellers' accounts, which keeps out the regular Joe who just wants to sell a few things a year, like the time when I resold a used table saw I didn't need any more.
Looking for LoRa modules, eBay has 10 times more items, but half of the sellers are list the same item 30 times with different price and shipping costs, so that is actually reduced offer and enhanced misery. On Aliexpress you rarely find dupes from the same seller, they keep that shit at bay.
They have to be a bit biased towards buyers because scammers want money, and sellers get money. Buyer scams are mostly items that can be easily converted to cash, like laptops and phones.
Though if I were the employee, I’d take that severance and try to stretch it for a couple of months and depending on the engineering field, do a bunch of interview questions and apply at FAANG or other high paying ones. I feel like a large portion of layed off employees aren’t the ones who jump companies and get promoted regularly. Those ones can smell the end is near and jump ship probabaly beforehand. If finances are stable, getting laid off might be a great opportunity if one can maintain focus and is willing to put in the time.
Apart from the constant fear of not getting another job, it was actually a very very pleasant experience. I ended up doing a lot of reading by the pool at my gym, working out a lot and traveling. All the while reading up on algorithms, learning new technologies.
Of course I was pretty stable financially and that really helped. The severance made the first month seem like a paid vacation. The next 2 months were pretty wonderful as well, except that it hurt to see my savings get eroded.
I don't think you're accurate about the kind of employees that get laid off though. If I was a little more experienced, I would have seen it coming and started interviewing long before I was laid off. There were a couple of other folks who got laid off with me and they're not doing all that well now.
If you sense it coming and you work for a company that treats people decently (dunno if eBay does or not) then why wouldn’t you hang around for the payoff? A good company will give a months pay per year of service.
why wouldn’t you hang around for the payoff?
Plus there's the risk you'll be among those who aren't laid off, but your working conditions will worsen.
Are they helping anyone laid off or just the techies? If it is only the latter, then they are definitely recruiters.
I'm in Product Management by day (when I'm not in between jobs because I got downsized!), and I help to build out Layoff-Aid on my nights and weekends. More on my story here:
Layoff-Aid is my passion project that just hit the one-year mark:
Our first market is SF Bay Area tech talent -- anyone who has work experience in tech and is seeking employment in the SF Bay Area. Our candidates are roughly one-third business, / product & design / technical; basically the same distribution you'd find at a typical tech company that slashes headcount in a downsize event.
We do want to expand to anyone who gets laid off, in any industry, in any location, but we need to figure out how to sustainably generate revenue from our SF tech industry niche before we expand. Until then, I've somehow avoided burning a hole in my pocket as we figure things out, but we still have a lot of work to do to monetize effectively.
Our mission matters more than making money, but we need to make money to execute on our mission.
Have you heard about OpenBazar?
They had paypal. Lost
They had Skype. Lost.
They could have build the first social network on skype. Nothing.
They have skype on the phone. They could have been the major western payment processor. The Alipay or Wechat of the West. Nothing.
It looks to me like a long series of lost opportunities. A one trick pony, a fly that is looking for a windshield.
Anything higher than 4 stars is now taken with a grain of salt. I'm running every listing through fakespot.com and even then, I still have to research the reviews to verify the items are actually any good. I'm certain that I've decided against purchasing an item because the reviews looked too good. It just screams "FAKE!"
But the biggest issue (and headache/hassle) I have with Amazon reviews is the mixed reviews they lump together for different items. This just recently bit me in the ass when I totally missed that an item I purchased had a bunch of 1 star reviews, but was lumped together with a much more popular item boosting the item(s) to a 4 star review. That was a month ago, and I've refused to purchase from Amazon because the headache just isn't worth it. Amazon's customer service is great - but I'm tired of having to deal with them...
Factor in actual co-mingling of items (I've been the victim of this as well) and now I can't even trust that the item I ordered from Amazon is even real. As a seller, I hope you understand that as a buyer, I no longer have faith in the item you are selling actually being sold by you. At least with eBay, where there is no fulfillment, I'm working directly with the company.
Hard to believe that (presumably?) a large team actively develops it and that Ebay is a $38.8bn company.
Unless you're looking for used items, most items on eBay are sold by Chinese sellers or US resellers with a markup.
I'm guessing AliExpress is much easier to use and friendlier to Chinese sellers.
I bought my last 3 phones on Swappa and just spent a few hundred dollars buying vinyl on discogs. Did not even consider eBay for these purposes, and perhaps that is true for many shoppers across many niches.
When you have an unhealthy marketplace like this, of course it will suffer.
I went through the eBay procedure of waiting 2 days, open an unpaid item case, then waiting some more before closing the case for non-payment and re-listing the item.
Today I got my eBay invoice and I got charged the 10% Final Value Fee for those items. And now I have to call customer service to get some type of support.
One interesting thing is the crazy UI complexity of both Ebay and Amazon interfaces. I wanted to find something that provided fairly quick shipping, I couldn't figure that out. Text and presentation seem to be half-hazard - and this is not even getting into the softer issues such as brand/image/placement, my god man, I wouldn't want my 'upmarket' product jammed into those byzantine pages.
Instead of trying to be 'everything' it may make sense for EBay to focus very narrowly on their differentiating factor, and instead use their process and infrastructure to attack other opportunities under a different brand.
Shopify custom storefronts are growing explosively.
There is nothing in EBay's financial releases which indicates they are doing this well in this area, moreover, the non-Ebay branded interfaces are somewhat of inconsistent with their core business model.
Shopify is SaaS product that's like Wix + Stripe, it's growth is driven by the personality cults that made use of Facebook ad networks to convince others that they can make millions dropshipping or printing tshirts.
$128.9MM Q4 is ~$500-$600MM annum. At $30/mo that's maybe 1 million paid users.
$637MM was eBay's marketing budget for one quarter.
The only thing going for Shopify right now is the huge margins and cash accumulation they're doing. Which is pretty fantastic, and they're smart enough to know how precarious that position can be so they then reinvest back into other things, like a POS in an already very crowded POS market.
eBay in the beginning was also doing gangbuster numbers. Then they too invested that money into things and grew into a major corporation.
And that's the whole point. Those bets either pan out or they don't.
And when they don't it completely obliterates the margins on a long enough time line.
FYI those are market, i.e. public valuations, not fantasy VC hype valuations.
"At $30/mo that's maybe 1 million paid users."
1M users at $30 a month is spectacular at that rate of growth. (Though thats not actually how their revenue model works entirely)
... and they just secured the government of Ontario's Marijuana program worth billions.
While 'Dropbox', a YC darling: "Dropbox is filing for a $500 million IPO—but also saying it may never be profitable" 
"(Shopify) it's growth is driven by the personality cults that made use of Facebook ad networks to convince others that they can make millions dropshipping or printing tshirts."
No, there is quite a lot cost to 'switch over' to another platform, even for small companies, and they have tremendous buy in.
Shopify is basically sucking in the massive long tail and mid-market of companies who don't want to handle so many of those issues - while EBay and Amazon have failed to do that well.
They are in a spectacular position, and if they continue on this trajectory for a couple of years they will not only blow past Dropbox, they will probably eventually leap frog Stripe once the later's actual numbers start to come public.
If anything, YC darlings Stripe and Dropbox are in precarious positions, because both are heavily commoditized markets, and neither of them have a distinct competitive advantage.
That's not even remotely close to "crushing it" in the retail space.
1- TM is licking down access to the tickets, making it hard for Stubhub.
2- AEG and other primary concert ticket issuers are building their own ticketing system.
3- StubHub acquisition of ticketbiz and their international ambitions are failing because of very soft secondary landscape.
4- StubHub leadership and culture inspires politics, back stabbing and values BS over innovation.
5- New StubHub CTO is known failure at Amazon. He is bringing a lot of ex-Amazon to SH. There is feeling that something is fishy!
6- Vivid is spending much more in Marketing than SH.
Based on these, I think eBay will spin off StubHub in next 6 month.