eBay will fail long term, and here is why.
I used to be an eBay Powerseller and now I can’t stand them. Furthermore, I think that their current business strategies are destined to fail long-term.
When eBay started, they embraced everyone and anyone selling products who were trying to meet the needs in the marketplace. The starting story of eBay is pretty fascinating. Well I thought it was pretty fascinating story about how the owner started the site based on an interest in selling PEZ dispensers. That is, until I learned later it was a completely fabricated story to help create interest in the website.
Strike one. Dishonesty.
If they cannot profit from it in a big way, they have very little interest.
This is clear from their indications that they will stop at nothing to encourage only big businesses to profit on their medium. Businesses such as Staples, etc. The small seller on eBay scratches their head and wonders, what the heck?!? I need to sell my stuff too and every restriction they put in place limits the ability to do that, oh, unless they are profiting.
Strike two. Greedy.
Cases in point:
- eBay forbids (not just discourages, forbids!) any sellers from linking to their own website, homepage or ecommerce store (that is, unless its an official eBay store where eBay profits from each an every transaction and post.
- eBay limits or throttles new users who start to sell online, assuming from the beginning that all new posters are bad posters, guilty first, innocent later only after fighting or proving innocence.
- Try to use any payment method other than eBay’s own Paypal and watch what happens! This not only enriches the eBay company further, it squashes good payment methods such as Google Checkout, etc.
- eBay’s VERO program is designed on the same principle above, guilty first, innocent later only after fighting or proving innocence. Any copyright, trademark or manufacturer who says so can remove an eBay listing by just advising eBay to remove it. Very little can be done about. Some eBay sellers such as a husband and wife team at Tabberone have fought back through the Federal court system and prevailed.
Strike three. Non-entrepreneur friendly.
- They DEMAND that you use only Paypal for a payment method for almost all transactions. That is just crazy!
- Not to mention they won’t let free citizens in a free country sell their guns, ammunition or a host of other items…
eBay will fail as they try to control what you sell, how you sell it, who you sell it to, who can damage your reputation and what payments methods you take. In addition, they want you to use their in-house payment method which is ridiculously strict beyond belief. They won’t let you grow your business as their are “eBay’s customers” not your customers.
The model of Craigslist and the ability of the local community to reach local buyers insists this theory. While Craigslist needs to fix their technology quirks and the ever-abused flagging system (another article coming), they will kill the online auction model eventually. Well, as it stands now with the likes of the abusive eBay.
A business cannot continue to offend its customer base and succeed in the long-term.
eBay, are you listening?