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eBay CEO Has a Stark Choice: Show Growth or Break Up Company (bloomberg.com)
75 points by petethomas on Jan 23, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 80 comments

As a shopper I hate a lot of the recent shifts in their strategy. The only thing interesting enough to make me want to deal with all the hassles of eBay are the interesting vintage or collectible one-of-a-kind items: coins, camera gear, art, etc. These things are more work to list and describe but make for an always entertaining browsing experience. I loved eBay back in the day when it was like one big never-ending garage sale.

The catalogization of eBay, moving toward SKU-based product pages with sellers providing fulfillment, ends up feeling like a weird me-too version of the Amazon FBA race to the bottom. Small sellers with interesting inventory have been bled to death with ever-increasing fees and seem ready to pack up the wagon and move on to greener pastures.

The featured products on the homepage have the same bland sameness as every other e-com site and as a shopper I don't feel like I have much reason to ever go there these days. Right now I'm seeing a Patriots ballcap, some men's sneakers, and a small grill. Might as well be shopping at Target.

eBay, yeah it used to be pretty good. Which could have served as their tagline for most of the last decade.

They've scared off the most interesting segment of eBay with their policies that are actively hostile to smallest sellers, and their rubber stamp appeals processes. The most interesting segment were the individuals using it for garage sales or selling grandparent's old collection and bits of Victoriana. I could, and sometimes did, spend hundreds. There's almost none left. The very few that persevere have to walk the very fine line between unacceptable listing and opening themselves to the many possible scams. They killed that niche pretty effectively. I can't imagine using it to sell ever again.

Instead, there's medium scale businesses who can afford some percentage of fraud as "cost of doing business", eBay has become another OK outlet. It's an OK place for run of the mill, boring, ecommerce, especially at the cheapest end of the scale. There's now lots of businesses trying to tread those collectables niches with very overpriced listings or endless listings of old rubbish branded collectable.

Surprisingly, I find I am using eBay a lot more than I did five years ago. It's the place to buy batteries, cables and other trivia under £5 with some confidence there's no forgeries like I've had on Amazon.

As a saver I should perhaps be grateful, but their strategies seem to have been designed to turn me, and my peers, from thousand(s) a year customers to tens. If not intentional, surely they could and should have seen the trend years ago.

The trouble with auction sites is that there are two types of products.

One is high-volume commodities, and for that you're just going to end up with a store. Even if you have a small seller, if a thousand people buy USB cables an hour, you're not going to sell it for more than what competitors are charging and you're not going to have to sell it for less. You ask for the market price and you get it right away. Efficient, boring.

The other is low-volume commodities. The issue there is if you list something for $250 and wait six or eight months, someone pays that. But if you put it up for a seven day auction starting at $250, it doesn't sell. And if you put it up for a seven day auction starting at $1, you get $25.

Which makes that the interesting one, because on the one hand it gives people an opportunity to get rid of their junk right away and make $25 instead of having to pay someone to haul it off, and on the other hand the buyer gets a great deal on something that would otherwise cost $250.

The problem is that it tends to make the sellers grumpy. A novice lists an auction starting at $1 expecting that in a global marketplace they'll get the market price, not realizing that the market price on a time-limited sale of a low-volume product is a lot lower than what you can get by demanding a higher price and waiting longer for someone to pay it. So they get $25 on something they expected to be worth $250 and they're dissatisfied with the auction site, or do something troublesome like refuse to send the item.

Meanwhile the professional sellers have been listing that product in their stores for $250 for months, but since there is only demand at $250 for one such item every six months and the novice just satisfied it for $25, now they have to wait another six months to get it out of their warehouse at that price. Assuming another small seller doesn't list another one before then.

And the auction site wants the sales to go through at the higher price too, because they'd much rather get a commission on $250 than $25. So they shoo away the troublesome small sellers causing all these problems.

Except that occasionally getting a $250 item for $25 was the reason buyers bothered to come to their site.

Three, surely? They forgot, or actively pivoted away from the second hand market that made them in the first place. Like they saw Amazon on 10x their turnover and decided to chase that new product rabbit instead.

Second hand was the interesting segment for so many. There's no $250 seller as it hasn't been made for decades, or someone searches for once-worn, but reduced price, shoes, or the new family looking for almost new kid's stuff. Second hand and junk shop (remember those?), or bereavement and house clearance stuff. The sort of stuff people would have no idea of value, then would throw, donate or clear. None of those went away, they just left eBay, some to landfill. eBay "helpfully" including new and global in every search, and fees increasing to 10%, just hastened the exodus. As did policies encouraging all remaining buyers to be from the "awkward squad" even for your £1 amateur one-off listing.

For a good few years it seemed like everyone put their junk on eBay, sold for decent prices, and as a result everyone tended to look too. Some made a worthwhile side income trading up junk picked up at sales and charity shops. Everyone seemed mostly happy. List a time or two, and if it doesn't sell, donate or throw away.

It's almost like yet another second rate mall/Amazon-alike wasn't what anyone was looking for, so no wonder it's losing ground. Could they have found a way to keep and grow that first market and still gain a commercial market for new products? Should they have stayed out of becoming just another second-rate mall? Good questions. :)

Agreed, The garage sale, family heirloom sellers were quite a gem.

FWIW the appeals process is awful. I've been scammed a few times as a seller when individuals cited inaccurate description after receiving the product (mismatch). In reality there were no inaccuracies just a buyer who wanted something for free or didn't actually read the product specs and was mad. I've been pretty much done as a seller since 2010.

eBay's stance for selling and scammers: fuck you seller

How do you avoid forgeries on eBay? I've seen a good proportion of the listings very obvious counterfeits or fakes (e.g. search for "2TB SD card") and you have to have some savvy to tell the difference between genuine OEM and fake OEM in some cases. I'm not sure I can guarantee always getting genuine goods, so I have avoided eBay for things where that matters.

You can't tell before you buy. Your only hope is requesting a refund and hoping they don't ask you to ship it back.

There are so many converter plugs for sale on eBay that are pretty much impossible for their size and price like USB to 3.5mm converters advertised to let you play music from a USB. Somehow I don't think they have a USB controller, DAC, FAT32 driver and mp3 decoder in a little cable sold for $0.70 free shipping.

I'm sure it's not foolproof, but I've had no problems whatsoever sticking to UK sellers with consistently high feedback. I have no intention saving another 50p getting something shipped from an unknown in the Far East with long lead time, and dubious returns possibilities.

eBay weight disputes heavily in buyer favour, so if I did get caught out a PayPal refund would likely be given without question.

I noticed the same thing. The front page is so boring it feels like a regular stores website. I don't know about the rest of their users but I don't come to ebay to buy sunglasses or phones. I'm looking for that obscure adapter that no store in the country sells. Or that game I used to play that has long since gone out of production. I can still find that stuff but there is no way to just casually look around at the interesting bits, you have to search for it.

To be fair, Amazon has 10 years of purchase history on my account, and they can't manage to put up anything on the home page that I'm interested in. Personally, I'm very much starting to doubt algorithmic recommendations for shopping sites. They work for books and music, but as Amazon has morphed into offering everything they can't recommend anything decent. I just get the same generic recommendations for products similar to my last few purchases, similar to Google advertising products that I've already searched for and bought. Adtech has promised a lot, but in my experience it hasn't delivered on most of those promises.

Oddly, I find the ebay homepage more useful, since it also displays a selection of products from sellers I watch, and has figured out I have a fetish for vintage test equipment. I don't think I've ever bought anything from the Amazon homepage, but I bought at least 3 items that I saw on the eBay homepage (from sellers I watched) in the last year. This relies on active participation from the user, however, and benefits people who have used the site for a long time. And I can't kid myself, eBay can't grow selling used test equipment and motorcycle parts, but they still do the online sale of unique items better than anyone else.

I do miss the 'rummage sale' aspect though, it's now nearly impossible to browse and find weird items, you have to just search for specific items rather than browse.

My housemate recently got a suggestion for a food processor dash button

Haha, brilliant. A good example of "AI" gone wrong. I wonder whether Amazon's recommender has a flag for durable goods, and if so, how it failed.

Perhaps Amazon knows something about planned obsolescence that the consumer does not.

Interestingly, the Chinese equivalent of eBay (taobao) does an extremely good job of recommendations for me. So much so that if I search for something, and can't quite find what I'm looking for, often the exact thing I was looking for is a recommendation the next day (or a better version I didn't know exists).

My suspicion is that they have teams of "professional shoppers" seeding the AI algorithms.

Yes all I get is products I have already brought - yes I have brought that RPG supplement No I am not going to buy it again why even bother sending me that email or suggesting it?

You don't need to doubt algorithmic shopping suggestions and just say they are absolutely worthless. It's amazing how much effort has been put into that concept throughout the industry and it is universally junk. They might as well simplify it: pick ten categories of items you have bought from, pick a random item from each.

That's like ten lines of code, done. It won't be any less useful than what they are doing now

I guess this is what they've needed to do to scale their revenue. A quick google search shows that eBay did about $9B in the US last year whereas Heritage Auctions, one of the premier auction sites for high-end collectibles and luxury items, only did about $900M in revenue. So there's plenty of money to be made peddling generic bullshit.

I think the issue is that many people use eBay less than sites like Amazon or AliExpress where you're out to pick a product - I used to use ebay quite often for buying things like phone cases and electronics components directly from China.

Now I choose AliExpress when I want it cheaper and Amazon when I want it faster. eBay has lost a lot of marketshare in this space - yes, there's business in auctioning collectibles and second hand stuff, but it's much smaller than that direct purchase market and they'd likely have to scale back the site in some respects.

Their front page should be just a search box.

Maybe that signals they need to work on site UX and AI to present useful purchases in a more consistent buying experience than an atomized encyclopedia galactica that drowns the user in a paradox of choice?

Sorry for the plug but you might want to check out HobbyDB, tiny little local startup here in Boulder that also hosts coworking space that I rent, but they specialize in what you're talking about and compete with ebay and are significantly more reasonable.

This expectation of perpetual rapid growth across the board is bonkers. Are there any online auction sites that approach eBay's popularity? Are there that many new people who want to sell stuff online for eBay to serve? What's it going to take for the market to start accepting a large company with a healthy revenue stream as "big enough"?

They should never have gone public in the first place.

I think they could expand by taking over Craigslist's marketshare. In some areas, Craigslist is super popular, in others it's virtually nonexistent. If they can find a way to connect local sellers with local buyers and make money doing it, they could make a killing.

That's only in US. ebay classifieds is massive everywhere else out of US.

15 years ago, I would visit ebay multiple times a day. I bought or sold something an average of once a week. Over time I used it less and less because it became a marketplace for cheap mass market consumer goods instead of an amazing bazaar. Part of the fun was not knowing what you'd find if you kept looking a little bit longer.

These days I have to look up my password when I log in. When I do and search for, say, "arduino", I get 85 different Chinese vendors selling what appears to be the identical product for prices that are lower than the cost of just the CPU chip that is on it.

I'm not saying it was better or worse, just different, and not what I loved about it a decade ago. But I'm in my 50s, and not the younger target demographic they think they can capture.

I'm in the younger demographic, and they're not doing a great job capturing me!

Half my test equipment collection came from ebay at one point or another, almost all of it bought "broken, parts only" and repaired. The bottom has completely fallen out of the market, these days it's all massive T&M vendors trying to shift junk at hugely inflated prices.

It's really raised the barrier to entry for quite a few tech-related hobbies.

Surprised no one else has said this, but eBay was ugly as sin for a very long time! Even now, the pages are crowded with variant font sizes and styles.

There are offers galore as though the site competes with itself to get you to click on various things. I gotta say, it is downright horrendous to look at an ebay listing still!

Look at this example from just now. https://i.imgur.com/1cjoT36.png

I mean, it wants me to write a review for this item as though this is possibly something I would do looking at it for the first time.

It wants me to "make more cash and sell whats hot" it wants me to shop with confidence and learn more what that means. It wants me to buy it now and add it to the cart. Oh but don't forget 3-year protection plan from blah for $26.

Is there any site on the internet that has such a mess for a product page than this? I can't think of something worse.

eBay should break up the company if it means it can create reasonable item listings. What they have now is a a travesty of a product page. This hasn't been okay outside eBay, ever.

Yet Amazon isn't better at any of this.

Same jumble of fonts, ropey hostile layout, it asks for reviews on products I haven't bought, suggests I might like to sell one, take out a subscription and shows ads for competing products. They also try and make the distinction between Amazon and marketplace as vague as possible.

Whenever I bring this up I get contested at the fact that Amazon has A/B tested the customer-facing e-commerce portion of their site down to the very pixel. If any page on the web has the incentive to go through massive amounts of A/B testing, its those product pages for sure.

Yet, then I look at those pages, and think to myself... really? This monstrosity is the result?

Still so confused.

Are you aware of the 'Belcher button' ?

EBay is one of the worst offenders for legacy crap. I had to integrate a website with eBay and literally 50% of the website doesn't work, especially all the developer facing bits. The entire sandbox site is running an older version that doesn't work anymore so you have to test in production. Every page you load has its own subdomain and style sheet which often requires you to log in again. The docs are full of broken links and the api is XML hell.

After all that I finally got it all working and then eBay shut down our account just before the Christmas period requesting we send them thousands of receipts for all of our products.

EBay needs to die, and fast.

You’re right, the UI is dated, but the 10% fees definitely drive away users

There are a lot of things I really like about Ebay. I have found myself using it more and more over the last year. I hope they highlight what makes them unique instead of trying to clone other e-commerce websites.

* I know exactly which business is responsible for my purchase. A business with a good reputation cannot afford to sell counterfeit products, and no shared warehouseing means counterfeits do not get mixed in with actual goods.

* Very cheap things are more competitively priced. Sometimes I like to buy things online that cost less than $5.

* It’s possible to pay less for items and get them directly from overseas. It’s nice to get a discount for having a longer planning horizon.

* It’s fairly easy to sell my unwanted items on the platform.

Also, you can find some of the most obscure and rare items on eBay that’s simply impossible to find otherwise.

For example, you can’t buy a Military APC[1] on Amazon :-)

[1] https://www.ebay.com/itm/CUSTOMIZED-MILITARY-VEHICLE-BUILT-O...

I want to love eBay but I can see why the board is so unhappy and the rot has been infiltrating the company for a long time.

Back in the 00's I was a PowerSeller, shifting over $20k a month. At first it was an incredible experience and I was selling high value items to people all over the world with high margins and almost always a great experience. I was long on eBay and became a shareholder, passing up on Amazon whose business seemed much less appealing to me at the time.

Then came along PayPal with their 3.5% uncapped fee, which on expensive items was significant. Buyers started expecting to be able to pay via PayPal and eBay stopped allowing trusted sellers to offer a small discount for paying by wire or cash. PayPal eventually became mandatory.

Later, eBay's fees went up significantly. Those along with PayPal's fees ate in to my margins and I eventually lost interest, packed up shop and sold my stock at about break-even.

While I continued to be an occasional buyer, I recently started selling a few items again. I was met with frequent time waster winning bidders and the same high fees that I remembered. My last sale was an iPhone X that went to Thailand, "covered" under PayPal's seller protection and sent with a shipping label printed directly from eBay's site. A few days after I had sent it, the buyer filed a dispute with PayPal saying he hadn't received it. PayPal almost immediately sided with the buyer with a boiler plate reply, removing the money from my account (including all fees) before the phone even had time to arrive. I sent an email to appeal which was met with a curt denial. I was almost $1500 out of pocket.

Don't even get me started on their site and mobile app - so much could be improved and way too many clicks to do anything meaningful. One of my last battles was spending 3 hours on the phone to try and resolve an account bug as I had transitioned from UK->US which seems to be an edge case they didn't finish working on.

It makes me sad because the idea behind eBay is fundamentally a fantastic one, you can still find great stuff on there and the prices are often much lower than Amazon (even more so with the recent coupons they must be burning through cash on). They still have the audience to make a global market place, although perhaps not for much longer.

This is why most sellers don't ship to international addresses....

The eBay/PayPal split has been a mess. eBay should have had its own, seamlessly integrated payments from the start, but lacking that PayPal was a good crutch.

Since the split, you now get the choice of paying through eBay directly, through PayPal, or another way (depending on what the seller accepts). Simplifying this for small dollar transactions is critical if eBay is to stay competitive with Etsy, Amazon, Target, Walmart and the numerous others that are sharing the online shopping market.

ebay did have its own integrated payments early on: Billpoint. (https://www.pymnts.com/digital-payments/2018/ebay-intermedia...)

From what I recall, the fees were much higher then PayPal and it didn’t take long for PayPal to become the de facto standard.

> The eBay/PayPal split has been a mess

It has been an absolute goldmine for shareholders. eBay bought PayPal for $1.5b in 2002 and spun it off in 2015 for ~$50b. PYPL is currently valued at $106b.

Why would eBay shareholders consider it a "goldmine" if eBay let PayPal go for half of what it was worth?

Because they didn't sell it, they spun it off. Shareholders got 1 PYPL share for every share of EBAY. EBAY was ~$28 a share and the combined value of both is currently ~$123. An 80% annualized ROI seems like a goldmine to me!

I have not checked the details, but I read it as someone who held a share in Ebay+PayPal prior to PayPal being spun of got an Ebay share + X PayPal shares at the time of the spinoff. I don't think PayPal was bought for $50B, it was valued as that as a separate entity. The PayPal share has doubled in value since the split.

Of all the reason I dont buy things from eBay, the payment options have very little to do with it.

Are you sure this is a problem? It’s very common for retailers to offer multiple payment options. As long as they let you check a box to default to the same option in the future, I don’t think users mind.

How is it that billion dollar companies with legions of employees cannot recognize why people don't use their product?

What is ebay? The online auction site. If you have something to sell, you should be going there. If you want something you can't find in a normal store, you should be checking ebay first.

If you aren't selling on Ebay, or aren't checking Ebay, those are the areas they need to improve on. You don't take the most successful business in a market (peer to peer auctions) and try to spin it into some other store to keep up with impossible growth expectations.

So you go look at why people aren't using your service...

I don't sell on Ebay because either the fees are too high to justify going through the effort making a listing, shipping the thing, and losing about 20% of the sale price to Ebay on something that I'm often getting poor margins on anyway. Or I'm not selling on Ebay because I don't trust their buyer contention system to be honest. I've heard enough horror stories of sellers getting refunded against and losing their often expensive products in the process with no recourse despite mountains of photo evidence of what they sold.

I don't buy on Ebay because its so hard to find legitimacy. I have never figured out why I should ever trust feedback scores - every single seller is always gold starred maxed out positive feedback, some are "Top Rated Plus" which I have no idea what that even is supposed to mean, and you can't comment on most listings or seller pages to call out the bad actors. I got some fake batteries for a Note 4 a few years back and while Ebay accepted my complaint and refunded me the batteries while letting me keep them because they were falsely advertised as NFC capable when they weren't, I had no real way to indicate to others a seller with 100,000 feedback score was selling counterfeits.

Generally their search is pretty good and their filtering is solid. I can almost always find what I'm looking for and figure out the right place to list what I want to sell. Those aren't problems. If they want more of my business, I need to have confidence that when I act legitimately I won't get scammed, and when I buy something the buyer is also legitimate. Its the exact same reason I shop so much less on Amazon nowadays and it seems zero tech company wants to take responsibility for actually insuring their storefronts are selling what the pages say they are and that sellers can expect not to be screwed over illegitimately too.

It’s really difficult to sell used items on Amazon but much easier on ebay despite their legacy UI (from when they used to actually charge for listings).

If you really want to be green, buy used items and sell your things which you aren’t using so it’s not wasting resources.

I used eBay for buying expensive IT equipment (routers, IO accelerator cards) that quickly lose their value, as well as buying rare collectable items (coins, car parts for my old Audi).

After reading the headline, my first thought was I will have to use AliExpress, but with collectables it's going to be harder. It's a sad reading, because there's always been room for department stores and for antique stores.

Hmmm... I'm surprised eBay didn't go the Amazon route - see what's working well in the marketplace, and then sell it yourself.

For instance, there are clearly a lot of electronics that sold at below-market rates just because of the hassle of an auction. If eBay could "pose as a buyer" and buy items at a certain price point, re-sell them for a little more, they could make money on the margins. In fact, I'm certain a lot of people use eBay to do exactly this, I just don't know how large the market is.

When you have a business model which make a steady 10% per sale for hosting a seller-updated web page and shopping cart, why would you adopt the far more risky strategy of employing more people to analyse, buy, hold and handle items in the hope you'll eke out net profits from reselling at higher prices on the same platform in future? Especially if doing so is likely to irritate part of your existing customer base.

eBay should not be having such a big problem. Look at all the niche trends that are being empowered by the internet:

- Vintage mechanical watches

- Vintage fountain pens

- Vintage mechanical keyboards

- Vintage woodworking hand tools

- Vintage European bicycle parts

- Vintage film cameras, especially SLRs and Leicas

- New things that look like those vintage things (often superficially) and make a lot of money on Kickstarter and Massdrop and Hodinkee and get resold when the hipster buyers move on to the next thing.

eBay is the best place to buy this stuff. It's hard to believe they can't figure out how to make money.

It's hard to believe they can't figure out how to make money.

Making a bit of money is not a problem. Making so much money that all their investors are happy is a problem. Their investors don't want a modest company that makes modest profits on modest revenue.

An understated reason for Amazon's dominance is the popularity of the Amazon Affiliate program. Because of Amazon's strong conversion rates, a massive number of bloggers use it as their primary revenue source.

Google any "money" keyword such as "best Bluetooth speakers' and virtually all top 20 results will have Amazon affiliate links

This allows Amazon to dominate SERPs. No matter what people Google, the links eventually end up leading to Amazon

What went wrong with eBay? I remember getting my first gaming console--a gameboy SP during the mid 2000s from the site. We did something like buy-it-now, essentially an early Amazon. While the rest of tech rushes forward, they seem to be forever stuck... Right now I'd say StubHub occupies a bigger slice in the consumer mindshare.

StubHub is owned by eBay though.

Which is why eBay sabotages ticket sales on eBay by dumping thousands of StubHub "classified ads" in the tickets category so that genuine listings can't be found among the chaff. You can't even exclude the StubHub ads from your eBay search results.

If a buyer buys direct on eBay from a seller, eBay gets about 10%. If it sells on StubHub, eBay gets 33-65%.

Ticket resellers are an absolute scourge on the music industry, anything that makes their life more difficult is fine by me.

eBay kind of got eaten from all sides: Amazon took over the regular stuff, Etsy got the niche and handmade stuff, Alibaba and Aliexpress got the cheap Chinese stuff outside of Amazon.

So a lot of what's left as a regular user are scams or simple resellers. Amazon also has a lot of the "garage sale" type of stuff these days

> Etsy got the niche and handmade stuff, Alibaba and Aliexpress got the cheap Chinese stuff outside of Amazon

In my previous searches of Etsy so many of the results were comprised of cheap (originally), mass-produced products masquerading as 'hand-made'. Peppered among them are actual hand-made or vintage goods but I'm not sure if Etsy was intending to address such listings, though things may have changed from when I stopped browsing (a couple years ago).

I use eBay mostly for the resellers, i.e., when I need to buy some Chinese crap but I can't wait 2-3 weeks until it arrives here, so I buy it from some reseller in my country.

Back in the day, before aliexpress, it was good too because you could rip off the sellers. Just claim the thing never arrived and since for cheap stuff they had no tracking numbers the seller always had to refund you. You could get TONS of free stuff that way. Now aliexpress does this right and it's significantly harder.

that seems pretty immoral

See Reverb.com for an example of eBay done better, for music gear: https://reverb.com/

I’ve read enough horror posts to have an innate understanding that selling on eBay is going to end with me losing the item I’m selling, and having to pay merchant fees and postage for the privilege of losing it.

Their appeals process is pretty straight forward, in that they always side with the scam...buyer, no questions asked and no exceptions.

Drop seller fees right down.

£45 on a £450 item and then to shaft you for fees on postage for a virtual listing is a fucking joke.

You can tell how bad it has got because eBay has no new listings unless there’s a seller fees offer on.

Indeed. Paying 10% of the sale price in fees is quite unpleasant, especially when there are equivalent services that will let you post an ad for free (e.g. Craigslist, Kijiji, eBay Kleinanzeigen, PAP)

Also, eBay doesn't really offer you much in this era. You can't include videos, and you're limited to a small number of photos.

Arguably the worst non-feature of eBay, is that they make it incredibly difficult to calculate the average price of an item. I end up lurking for months on items to build a history of the average price of a product before I decide whether to buy it. Their aggressive policy of deleting closed auctions makes historical comparisons extremely difficult.

Fees aren't cheaper on Amazon.

I have only had good experiences with eBay over the last 10 years. I’ve sold thousands of things over the years, and I’ve never had any run-ins with scammers. Then again, I’m not selling items that generally attract scammers. I have been trying to use eBay more, in place of amazon, when I don’t need it immediately.

I also generally have had decent experiences as of late. The article touches on discoverability of items as a key factor and I have to agree: my wife’s car had a catalytic converter warning light come on. To have them replaced by a mechanic is obviously quite expensive, and we had a make and model that looked like it was going to be not too much work to do ourselves. I’m not a car guy per se, but if you give me something that’s just unscrewing and screwing stuff in and it’s not too complex I can do it with a YouTube video.

So on eBay you can just put the make, model and engine type in and it gives you the correct part. That’s pretty cool, albeit not terribly special. But the part I really enjoyed was that eBay told me I needed a gasket and a new O2 sensor as well (I wouldn’t have known about the gasket) and gave me a nice bundle to do it.

In the end I just ended up replacing the O2 sensor and it was pretty simple to return the other parts. Print label, slap it onto the box, and drop it at the UPS store.

You don't mind the effectively 20% fee they charge you? Between eBay fee and PayPal fee.

To this day I still can't list any of my extremely valuable items because of "seller limits" even though I've been a member for over 15 years and have not once gotten a negative review. Pretty disappointing considering the money they could be making off my sold transactions.

It took Sears 126 years to fall apart, eBay is doing it in 23, but I doubt anyone will be upset

To be fair it is one of the longest-lived of the original dotcom bubble companies. 23 years is multiple lifetimes when you're talking about the internet.

So, basically greedy investors want eBay to ruin what's cool and useful about it... that it's not Amazon and not quite AliBaba either. Perhaps if they carefully tested expanding into less cool arenas like freight-forwarding, freight in general or delivery (merge with FedEx)... that might keep the capitalists at bay.

I don't see how spinning off Stubhub into a separate company will "ruin what's cool and useful about [eBay]". The rummage-sale aspect of eBay has and will change no matter how they choose to restructure their conglomeration.

Ah, Elliott. I worked at a company they took an interest in, this sucks for employees. They’re a powerful force and they seemed to get what they wanted.

Care to elaborate how you were affected

They made the CEO leave, layoffs just before he left, another round of layoffs after we were repeatedly told there wouldn't be when the new CEO came on board, spun off a successful unit, it devastates morale and makes you pretty keen to leave quickly. I figure it works for them but it sucks to work at a company they're doing that to.

eBay should have bought Yahoo. They would have been perfect for each other.

Lol? How? Yahoo and AOL seem to be perfectly happy riding into the non-innovation sunset with Verizon.

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