Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mr. Donahoe - What's Ebay Going to Be When it Grows Up?

Watercolor: "Cupcake Party"

Ebay's success came from the little people...buying, selling and becoming a community. Buyers had their favorite sellers, sellers of worth had a following of buyers....and so the cycle of buying and selling goes.

Actually, back in 2004 Ebay began to pare down the strength of auctions. First with the deletion of "Going, Going, Gone" and then the take over of the option feature plus that single handedly dominated many categories, computers, electronics, art, etc. Ebay at that point began to move away from auctions - undoubtedly Meg's idea. The idea of Ebay Express was a stab at fixed price listings but was so poorly thought out and executed -it was bound to fail.

2008, enter John Donahoe - Meg's handgroomed replacement who began to put into place a half-baked plan that was probably cooked up by the two of them. Let's shape Ebay into an Amazonish businessmodel! Well, it took a year for Mr. Donahoe to discover you can't simply change a business model and have it succeed.

Since the "Amazon" plan went into effect, Ebay set buyers against sellers with its feedback and DSR innovations. Ebay upset the balance of buyer/seller and, with countless new and outrageous policies made Ebay a hostile place for small sellers and for many powersellers as well. Thousands of small sellers left...leaving their following unable to find what they were accustomed to buying on Ebay. Sellers who left never came back to Ebay to buy either....then the disastrous 4th quarter holiday season report last year where Ebay declined 16 percent. Right then....John Donahoe and his team should have been let go and a team experienced in online sales AND customer satisfaction should have been brought in to replace them.

At this point Donahoe is outright fishing...first he says they're going to be the world's biggest retailer then at his bright and shiny Analysts Day he claims he is not a retailer but will be more like Overstock, selling end lots and discontinued wares. He pushed Paypal (I suppose so he didn't have to do a whole bunch of explaining about Ebay's core) on everyone and now claims it will be the biggest invention since fire! Anyone who ate that pap wasn't worthy of their job title. Unfortunately the wrong man is in the wrong job, combined with a board of directors who seem to be oblivious, and a multi-billion dollar company and its customers (the SELLERS who pay the bills) are suffering!

As Ebay's attitude says...."let them eat cake" so I thought I'd give you all something to munch on. My painting today is entitled "Cupcake Party"

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