eBay’s horror year

It’s not farewell yet, but eBay’s descent in 2008 has been staggeringly complete. I was intending to write about it, but Dinah Balk has done that already.

Here it is – 2008 – the year eBay lost its mojo. I’d also call it “How not to run an auction site” or “Compulsory reading if work at Trade Me or Fairfax corporate”

They would have been much better off to move all marketing, development and management staff to customer service, but.. oh well. 

What a disaster year. Here are a few random quotes:

  1. Fees were raised and sales plummeted.
  2. Shipping rates were set below actual costs.
  3. Listings were hidden if they were indexed at all.
  4. PayPal was made mandatory and checks and money orders banned.

Sellers were banned from leaving negative feedback.

Site instability. … went from bad to worse. 

Best Match was officially named the worst sort/search engine on the internet. Search results were linked to everything but the kitchen sink and it took divine intervention to find anything. Entire categories of search results are still missing and many sellers reported over a 70% drop in sales which explains the pitiful sell thru rates.

I’ve never seen an e-commerce site nearly destroyed in such a short period of time.

I’m strangely still long eBay – simply because I think they they do have a compelling business. It’s just that they are doing everything to destroy it that makes me sick. I’d love to buy them and turn them around, but I am short a few billion sadly. I’m long in the hope that someone else with deeper pockets will snap them up. How about it Yahoo? Microsoft? Google??

About Lance Wiggs

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