No apology from Jajah for cancelled listings

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Jajah is a competitive service to eBay owned Skype, it allows you to make telephone calls across the Internet for free. Trouble is they encroached on eBay’s territory without knowing the rules resulting in their users eBay listings being cancelled.

On their blog Jajah promoted their service to eBay PowerSellers, encouraging them to place Jajah buttons in their auctions. Needless to say this breaks the Links Policy which quite clearly states “Prohibited links include links or other connections to live chat systems”

Jajah have now issued a press release insisting that their aim was to “provide trust and safety by safeguarding eBay Seller IDs while providing enhanced eBay Buyer information and protection“. Sadly they could have protected sellers more by ensuring their service complied with eBay policy prior to endangering sellers accounts. PowerSellers have to adhere to strict standards and violating eBay policy can lose PowerSeller status.

Whilst I’m sure Jajah had the best intentions, ie grow their marketshare, it’s not surprising eBay have taken action, especially as their own Skype buttons are still not allowed to be inserted on listings in all categories. Rather than issuing a press statement condemning eBay and full of self justification, an apology to the sellers affected would have been more appropriate.

If any other companies are building solutions for eBay sellers it would probably be a good idea to get them approved first, or at least to check they don’t break eBay rules. In the mean time it would be good to see an expansion in the number categories which Skype buttons can be used.

14 Responses

  1. As far as I am aware, you can have a Skype ME button on any auction in any category ?

    Why am I so sure – because in 2006 AuctionPix won a Skype/eBay Deveolpers competion (eBay Integration category) I developed an app that would auto add a customise Skype ME button to each new auction you listed on eBay.

    Link edited
    because it was breaking the layout

  2. @ chris bailey –

    hi! did the eBayers whose listings got cancelled complain to ebay or to jajah or to both? do you have more info – or links?

    just wondering, because ebay’s deleted some forums i was reading on this subject

  3. I’m slightly amused by the reports of this story that express SURPRISE! and SHOCK! that eBay are pro-Skype and anti-Skype’s competitors. If I’d paid $2.6bn for something, I don’t think I’d be giving server space to competitors for free either.

  4. sue – i agree with what you say but, equally, ebay’s near-monopoly market position is leading it to try and own every single aspect of the entire selling process.

    why are so many people seemingly willing to accept that? it’s an abuse of power and against all free market principles.

    skype was a poor investment for ebay (as widely predicted) and is too difficult for huge numbers of ordinary computer users to use.

    ebay’s solution? ban all other telecom options.

  5. it’s an abuse of power and against all free market principles.
    No, it’s not. If you want to set up a competitor to eBay/Skype/PayPal, go and do it – no one is stopping you. I have plenty of competitors and am happy to compete with them – doesn’t mean I have to let them advertise for free on my website.

  6. eBay have had a ban on all “Links or other connections to live chat systems” for years. Just because they make an exception in some categories for their own company Skype doesn’t mean any other chat system can run amok on their site.

    Personally I’m of the opinion Jajah were perfectly well aware of the situation and knew the auctions would get pulled but thought it great publicity. They state that they’ve been in communication with eBay so it can hardly have come as a surprise. Their self righteous indignation is just for show!

  7. sue – it’s late here and i’m getting a bit cranky. i fully understand your point about ebay having the right to protect itself.

    but… ebay never abuses its market-dominant position? in the same way, i presume, that microsoft or bloated telecoms giants don’t?

    it’s been proven again and again that no one single entity can be trusted to own an entire supply chain in a monopoly (or near-monopoly) situation.

    create barriers to entry through sheer size, then start buying up the whole supply chain. suppress debate by putting the dread fear of delisting into your now locked-in customers and then impose ever-stricter rules and ever-higher tariffs. hardly a recipe for innovation and competition, is it?

    ebay and paypal have got their markets in many places pretty much stitched. yes, there are constantly new entrants, but they rarely prosper. why? because of ebay’s sheer size, nothing else.
    (but let’s see what happens when the google gets going.)

    the thing is – i really admire ebay’s platform, but less and less so because of their behavior. paypal is also very good, but it’d be unacceptable if ebay forced users to use it all the time.

    just because ebay owns something, doesn’t give them the right to restrict choice. even microsoft and the telecoms have had to learn that particular lesson.

    skype’s the weak link. ebay knows it – hence the writedown and the fear of jajah.

    next step: sell it off and allow competition to flourish!

    nice debating with you, sue. good night from the east.

  8. but… ebay never abuses its market-dominant position? in the same way, i presume, that microsoft or bloated telecoms giants don’t?

    As I didn’t say any of that, I’m sorry but I’m not going to bother to respond to the rest of what you said. I very much dislike having words put into my mouth.

    (In response to your “it’s late/cranky” disclaimer, I *will* say that this particular dislike is down to an ex of mine, who would make up arguments with me in his head, obviously imagining what my “irrational” responses would be to his “well-reasoned logic”. He would then turn up at my place furious about the argument that he’d imagined, and have a go at me for “being wrong”. Men, eh. Can’t live with em, illegal to shoot em :-D)

  9. I don’t see Jajah making a song and dance about having their buttons on QXL, eBid, CQout, Tazbar or any other auction site. They’re using eBay for their own publicity stunt and SGSL, you’re falling for it! 😉

  10. sue – i’m still here (just) and, as i said, it’s late.

    please accept my sincere apologies for my misinterpretation of your position in respect of ebay. absolutely no offence intended.


  11. definitely the last post from me tonight!

    chris – i’m not pro-jajah per se (who knows what jajah will be like when they’re big!?), i’m more concerned about ebay’s over-dominance. why do so many big corporations get like this?

    goodnight all.

  12. I’m not pro-eBay/Skype per se. I even blogged about Jajah way back in May this year.

    I just don’t see why a newbie company thinks they have the right to insert buttons on eBay, in direct contravention of the links policy, when eBay don’t even let their own company Skype do likewise! Why do so many newbies get like this? 😉

    Na night SGSL, always good to have another point of view 🙂


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