Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Letter From The Heart Of One Small Seller to Mighty Ebay

I roam Ebay's discussion boards and was really taken by this posters offering. It came directly from the heart and so I asked this seller, Ebay ID subay, for permission to publish it here:

Dear eBay,

I know you probably don’t want to hear this. I mean, you don’t really like to talk about our relationship. Not anymore, anyway. But things have been happening lately – things have changed. YOU’VE changed. And after this last incident, I just can’t keep on going along as though everything is still fine.

We’ve been together for, what, over ten years now, isn’t it? I remember those early days so well. Even way back then, a lot of people were talking about you, and you sounded so cool, I decided I had to introduce myself. It was love at first sight. We had so much fun back then, didn’t we? You opened up a whole new world for me. And you were so talented! A little rough around the edges, sure, but right from the start it was clear you’d be a star someday. But I didn’t love you just for that, not just for what you did. I also loved you for who you were. Or who I thought you were. You seemed to care about people, about bringing them together to create something new, something amazing! You had a gift and you shared it. It wasn’t all about the money, back then. And I felt like we were a team, you and me, building this world together. We did, you know… build it together. These days I think you forget that.

I guess I should’ve expected it. What a cliché, right? “Fame changes people.” You’re a really big deal now, a household name, even. And while you became a big star, I just stayed the same person I always was. I was enough for you, back at the beginning. But now you think you need to be with someone flashier, someone who can doooo more for you. Even though you’re supposedly committed to me, nowadays you’d rather be with other celebrities, and you haven’t exactly been discreet about it.

I know, I know, you say that’s not true, that you still care about me. That there’s still a place for me in your world. But we both know that’s not true. That might be what hurts the most, that you can’t even be honest with me about it. You’re doing that thing, that coward’s-break-up thing. Maybe you’re too uncomfortable with the awkwardness, or maybe you’re afraid of what your public will think of you if you unceremoniously dump the person who’s supported you for all these years. For whatever reason, you can’t bring yourself to end it cleanly. Instead, you’ve just started mistreating me, making me work harder and harder to be with you, and then blaming me for every little thing that goes wrong when I do. And finally you’ve spelled it right out… you tell me that from now on, even when everything I do is “Satisfactory,” you will not be satisfied. Technically, you haven’t broken up with me. But how could anyone stay in a relationship like that?

So I guess what I’m saying is, it’s time for me to move on. Not today… honestly, I’m still sort-of reeling from your latest “announcement.” I don’t know where I’m going yet. Maybe I’ll have to go it alone for a while. You know I’ll miss you terribly. We’ve been through so much, and you’ve been an important part of my life over the last decade. But somewhere out there, there’s another auction site who will appreciate me, and who'll treat me the way a seller should be treated. And we both know that I deserve that.

Take care of yourself. And try not to forget who helped you become a star. As for me, I will always remember the good times,



Above is an ACEO of a thoughtful cat.


  1. Wow, Ms Pat! This was certainly worth publishing. Actually I think it deserves global recognition. How touching and well-said.

  2. I agree with you. It sure touched me and I'm so pleased she gave me permission to publish it. Really hits at the heart of what small sellers are experiencing.

  3. Anonymous4:43 PM

    This post intrigues me. It's a well-written, emotional piece which clearly sums up how some eBay sellers are feeling. The "our relationship is over" metaphor isn't new, of course, but this is a fine example.


    What I simply don't get is why eBay sellers are seeing this as such a personal, emotional engagement in the first place. And I've put a lot of thought into this, because I've written a lot about eBay's plans to make the use of PayPal compulsory here in Australia.

    This is a standard business transaction! eBay provides a venue and an auction or sales mechanism, plus a lot of global promotion to bring customers into the venue. In return, they want a percentage.

    OK, the deal is changing. Unilaterally from their side, because they're the bigger player -- but that's no different from your bank increasing the interest rates on your home loan, or the bus fare going up.

    So, if you don't like the deal, if you do really feel that it's an abusive relationship, why not just leave? eBay isn't the only way to sell online -- far from it! To say that it's killing you, but then stick around anyway, well... doesn't that mean it really is a co-dependent relationship?

    I don't have answers for these questions, but I'm starting to suspect that for some (many?) smaller eBay sellers, this was their first foray into the business world. So for them there's a lot personal emotional engagement. Or am I on the wrong path there?

  4. Stil, thank you for your post - you are indeed partially right....and partially wrong. What ebay has done since January of this year is manipulate the listings. Out of every 10 sellers one or two is doing fantastic - several are doing...okay and a several are not selling at all. I imagine this seller is in the latter part of that sentence. This manipulation is what is driving a lot of small sellers out of business. They go to other sites and list and nothing happens and then they come back and list and nothing happens...they are in limbo. So, when I read this post on Ebay's own discussion board I just knew I had to publish it because it speaks for a LOT of small sellers who are just simply caught up in this. I can give you an example from my own experience. I list totally in the arts categories and have a "raised" standing in the listings. Still, after putting up 30 listings only 2 sold. Last year at this time I was selling 30 to 50 small paintings a month right on ebay - but then I wasn't hidden in the I am hidden even with a raised standing. Something very very wrong has occurred and we are putting the blame squarely on Best Match and Ebay's way of manipulating the listings to the big powersellers. I don't know what the answer is here. Certainly every seller who is complaining IS listing elsewhere already. Perhaps you have an answer - I do not?

  5. Wow! This is GREAT! Thanks for sharing. I am SO upset and fed up with ebay.

  6. Jillian - never stop making "noise" everyone must know how Ebay is treating small sellers!