Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rakuten, Inc. - What is Next for Ebay?

"Spring Walk"

I posted this on a UK blog this morning and felt it was good enough to post here on its own. As sellers are hearing the news about the giant Japanese company Rakuten, Inc. buying up - they can't help but wonder what this will do to Ebay and its three year destruction path called "disruptive innovation." I'm hoping something great will come of it. What is needed here is stiff competition and I'm hoping Rakuten will become just that. I'm sick to death of hearing the excuses about auctions not being popular or that the economy is to blame. Underneath it all perhaps bad management and the wrong business model are to blame?

My post: I think you’ll find that here in the States we are pretty much for the underdog…the downtrodden. The idea that Ebay was a place where the elderly, the disabled and the stay at home moms could earn some money was worth supporting, and make no mistake auctions are pretty much alive here. Ebay, in the last few years, has managed to kill the excitement of auctions and destroyed the feeling of community that was so alive on the site. They’ve pitted buyers against sellers and driven off some good decent small sellers at the whim of buyers having a bad hair day! Ebay’s reputation is mud here right now.

I feel Ebay would profit from splitting their site – much as Overstock has done. Retail on one side – auctions and fixed price listings on the other. Instead, they try to combine them as Amazon does and its not working. They simply have no skin in that game – they sell nothing but a service and right now they are doing that very badly!

I think Ebay may finally be realizing they can’t make it on retail alone. The competition is stiff, wiley and well-honed. Up against the likes of Amazon they look like what they are – shabby and disorganized. It will be interesting to see what Rakuten will add to this mix. If Ebay does not get back to their roots and their niche as a place where one can find the unique, the rare, the vintage, etc. I believe they will drag on like this for years or until the present management is finally ousted. That’s my take on it after selling on and observing this business for past 12 years.

My painting for today is a watercolor - "Spring Walk"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ebay - Art is not an iPod


I really hesitate to even bother with this post but it seems to be necessary to bring up a big point. Ebay has probably the largest artist community in the world yet instead of helping artists they are busy pounding them into the same mold along with iPods and other items sold on the site! The same rules apply to artists as apply to iPod sellers....quantity will make you a Top Rated Seller and TRS sellers get top billing in the listings. Offering free shipping will also get you better placement in the listings. So, now, instead of a piece of art selling on its own merits buyers are instead seeing the art of those sellers Ebay gives the most exposure! Most art will not even be seen on the site. Top sellers will grind out the same art enmass to keep themselves at the top - good art will be missed or not seen at all! Ebay still uses its best match search in the arts category. That just has me scratching my match to what? An artist can be brilliant but if he takes his time and lists just a piece or two a month then he will find himself buried in the listings and given little to no exposure. Soon....he is forced to walk away. I just have to ask you art buyers and collectors....are you aware of all this or are you content seeing the same artists over and over again - is this really how you want to buy your art? Comments please....

After my vent I think we need something calming. My watercolor for today is called "Tranquility"