Richard Ambrose leaves eBay for new challenges

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Richard AmbroseRichard Ambrose is leaving eBay after six years with the company.

As Director of Trust and Safety for eBay UK, Richard was the media face of eBay, appearing on TV and radio to talk about the company and to defend sellers and the ways they make money online.

With over 1000 feedback (and no negs!) Richard knows eBay inside out. He was a valued and valuable member of the community, spending his own time on boards and forums talking to buyers and sellers and taking their concerns back to eBay’s internal teams. We’ll miss his wisdom, his advice, and his no-messing style.

Richard will be traveling and freelance-writing, with trips planned to Greenland and the US. We’re looking forward to reading about his adventures, and wish him the very best of luck.

70 Responses

  1. TBH his “no messing style” got on my wick.

    Sorry but I for one will not miss him.

  2. He wasn’t exactly known for his interpersonal skills, and on many an occasion he let his personal feelings override his professionalism, with direct threats and insults levelled at a number of sellers over the years.

  3. From reading that ‘tribute’, I can only conclude that there are two Richard Ambroses at eBay, because that certainly doesn’t describe the one I’ve seen on the forums and on TV.

  4. Miss him? – You must be joking!!! Counterfiet items and scams on eBay have quadrupled in his time with the Company!!

    Trust and Safety – Wot a larf!!!

  5. While I wish him no personal animosity at all, I don’t think this is a bad thing for Ebay at all.

    In his time we have seen the banning of knives (for which Richard stated categorically that there was a full e-commerce ban on knives coming despite no evidence at all, and the link he provided was a self regulation consultation by the government) and then knee jerk reactions to whatever Watchdog got hot and bothered about this week. Couple this with no really positive changes in attitude and help from Ebay T&S with professional sellers. We have seen him make outrightly stupid statements about the effect of Ebay Policy changes, after all who can forget his “dolphins in the net” statements? Recently he stated that free postage was becoming the “norm” in e-commerce and then vanished as the plethora of examples as to how much rubbish that statement was came flooding in.

    We should also remember that he was responisble for the utter failure of Ebay Express.

    At Ebay, Richard was the very personification of the Peter Principle of Management.

  6. I suspect he’s been pushed. His failure to carry out the role he was employed for has cost ebay dearly. He will not be missed and his replacement can surely do better.

  7. Ha! I see has has no other actual job to go to! Methinks he is being given the heave ho.

    I am another who won’t miss him a jot.

    And a whole 1000 F?B with no negs eh? Wow! That’s something to aspire to isn’t it??? They were probably all for buying anyway. LOL

  8. I suppose “traveling and freelance-writing, with trips planned to Greenland and the US” is better than “spending more time with the family” !

    I wonder what the real reason is – you just don’t walk away from a job like he had for no good reason – do you ?

  9. I can promise you he wasn’t pushed, he was only recently promoted at the start of this year.

    Whirly he’s managed to do the ultimate – figure out how to get paid for doing what he wants to do. Sounds like a great move if you ask me 😀

  10. Is there an official announcement? I had noticed that Garreth Griffith is now listed as head of trust & safety.

    Has Richard be replaced by Louise?

  11. His lack of language skills forced him on many occasions to resort to name calling and insults. “Freelance writing”? That figures. I can’t imagine that he would be employed for his ability to write.

  12. Did he jump? Or was he pushed 😈

    i wonder how much the golden P45 will be?

    No sad loss IMHO

  13. I believe Richard has been the most effective Head Of Trust & Safety to date in the areas where it really matters.

    Since he took the reins – incidences of serious fraud affecting multiple users have become the exception rather than rule.

    I will miss his wisdom, his advice (and his jumpers) and I wish him all the very best for the future.

    I suspect his successor will be marginally less photogenic and slightly greyer around the temples.

    Good Luck


  14. Well at least I wont have to put up thinking all the moaning threads about him on the Powerseller board at aimed at me anymore. :mrgreen:

  15. Does this mean that Whirly is allowed back on the eBay discussion boards? I remember his ban had something to do with him.

  16. He’s the sort of guy, that if he had said (wrote) to my face what he did in the PS forums, he’d have been eating hospital food.

    Obnoxious and condescending doesn’t even begin to describe him. He epitomised ebay under the JD regime.

  17. Re “1000 feedback (and no negs!)”.

    If anyone did neg him, he (being staff) would just get it removed by Customer Services

  18. I have to say if you met Richard face to face he is a very personable chap and also as an eBay employee not only would he genuinely listen to your concerns but would also consider and act on them. He might not give the answer you would like, but it would be an honest answer and he really did act as an advocate for sellers.

    As for getting negs removed – “being staff” would make that much harder, not easier.

    However Richard came across on the boards he’s one of the most genuine and likable guys around and it should be remembered that he was under no compulsion to post, he did so out of a genuine desire to build dialogue between sellers and eBay.

  19. #22 so whats your ebay ID?

    #21 No I am not allowed back, nor would I want to go back, same old drivel, same old people moaning about not making any money, it’s dullsville…since I got kicked off I have never looked back, If I wanted my ego massaged I would hire a hooker.

  20. > Confuddled on July 1st, 2009 4:05 pm
    > Since he took the reins – incidences of serious fraud
    > affecting multiple users have become the exception rather than rule.

    Citation with actual numbers please?

    “A bad workman always blames his fools.”
    The Doctor, Doctor Who

  21. Citation with actual numbers please?

    It’s impossible to supply figures that aren’t in the public domain.

    However, the statement is quantifiable.

    In the fourteen months prior to Richard taking over a small group of Q&A posters managed sixteen eBay groups. The purpose of those groups was to help people recover their money after paying for items they hadn’t received.

    Each group was dedicated solely to the customers of one eBay ID – each had differing numbers of members/victims ranging from fifty two to in excess of six hundred.

    Although effective, the groups only boasted an average 78% success rate for their members in terms of recovering their total outlay. Regardless of that – those figures, when totalled, exceed £500,000

    In other words – community members were doing eBay’s job for them.

    Six months after Richard took the reins those Q&A inspired groups had dwindled to one.

    During Richard’s tenure, partly thanks to expanded buyer protection, the need for such groups has diminished. In fact – I’m only aware of two and both of those were operating pre-sale listings of one sort or another.

    One was a furniture seller – the other a ticket seller.

    Each member of those groups was refunded in full by eBay despite being outside the timeframe for any of the protection policies.

    The improvement in Trust & Safety in this context is clearly visible on the eBay boards.

    Judging by your blog, you’re clearly a long term user, or at least, observer of the site and as such the changes, in so far as they affect how safe a buyer’s money is when buying on eBay, are plain to see.

    You don’t have to be an eBay apologist, or a badge wearing Ambrose fan, to know that the previous administration used to claim less than 1% of transactions ended in a confirmed case of fraud.

    That always smacked of ‘acceptable loss’ to me.

    You don’t have to be an eBay apologist to recognise that buying on the site in July 2009 is less likely to result in you losing any of your money than it was in the same month in 2006.

    Trust & Safety are the department charged with the responsibility of making the site safer for buyers.

    Under Richard Ambrose – they’ve demonstrably achieved that.

    If Richard’s successor can capitalise on that achievement and cut down on the numbers of counterfeits sold on the site – eBay may have a chance of becoming the platform most of us want it to be.

  22. Wow

    Ebays sinking and Richard’s jumping ship. He must know something we don’t.

    I wonder who’s going to replace him? will we ever know?

  23. Citation with actual numbers please?

    Actual numbers of what?

    Threads that didn’t appear – groups that weren’t opened?

    Trust & Safety are charged with making the site a safer place for people to trade.

    Under Richard’s tenure that was demonstrably the case – if his succesor can build upon that and reduce the number of counterfeits on the site, then we’re getting ever closer to the platform we all want.

  24. PMSL

    Post 30 didn’t appear so I reposted a shorter version and now they are both there.

    Ah well.

  25. Remember when he told a seller on ebay forum that ebay neither wanted or needed the items they were selling as they “cluttered up the site” ?

    Remember when he said that if one seller leaves another three will take their place?

    He was rude to me personally and directly on the powerseller forum (don’t ask what it was about it was soooooo long ago I can’t remember).

    I wish him well.

  26. Never mind Confuddled I’m sure we’re all happy to read both versions.

    As you say . . . PMSL.

    Alice – I don’t doubt for one moment that this has something to do with the MJ tickets fiasco.

  27. I’m sure we’re all happy to read both versions.

    I prefer the first one.

    But then I have always enjoyed the sight of my own font…..

    Perhaps concise is the way to go?



  28. On a lighter note.

    Is it just me or does anyone else find themselves wondering which song he is singing?

  29. Richard decides to allow ticket pre sales.

    Thousands get caught out with the MJ ticket fiasco which will cost eBay hundreds of thousands to sort out.

    eBay decide it’s time for Richard to leave.

    A very good decision for once.

  30. > 33 confuddled on July 1st, 2009 11:09 pm
    > Actual numbers of what?

    You made the statement “incidences of serious fraud affecting multiple users have become the exception rather than rule”.

    Interestingly you knew what “Actual numbers” were being talked about in post #30, but plead ignorance in post #33.

    > 30 confuddled on July 1st, 2009 10:19 pm
    > It’s impossible to supply figures that aren’t in the public domain.
    > However, the statement is quantifiable.

    To be on the same page:
    Etymology: Medieval Latin quantificare, from Latin quantus how much
    1 a (1): to limit by a quantifier (2): to bind by prefixing a quantifier b: to make explicit the logical quantity of

    In other words you don’t have any numbers, making any statements Not quantifiable.

    There is nothing wrong with saying that.

    Without numbers FROM eBay there are no points of comparison, making everything said about Richard Ambrose’s improvements subjective.

    By way of example, when eBay under John Donahoe shows a profit for Q2 2009 (we suspect) this is a quantifiable objective measurement based on a comparison with previous quarters.

    When John Donahoe says PayPal revenue will double in 2011, this is a subjective opinion.

    I can get hundreds of subjective observations from professional analysts and eBay posters. But what I want are numbers.

    Plus “aren’t in the public domain” is smoke and mirrors. eBay/Richard Ambrose could easily say fraud is down say ‘25%’ without giving away private data.

    > Each group was dedicated solely to the customers of one eBay ID
    > “ranging from fifty two to in excess of six hundred”

    Incidentally this is a terrible argument. As noted time and time again by eBay employees, a sample set of hundreds is inadequate to prove a case.

    In this case a tiny non-statistical sample based on a non-randomly selected set of sellers is supposed to accurately represent the outcome of perhaps a billion transactions?

    Answer: No. Except by chance.

    At this point judgement is reserved on whether Richard Ambrose accomplished a great deal. Or whether his works can be best described as:

    “If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”
    William “Bill” Gates

  31. SD – Unless Richard is a clairvoyant his departure was planned well before Michael Jackson died and that event had nothing to do with his departure. I’ve known since June 20th (MJ died on the 25th) that he was going and he’d obviously planned to leave for a lot longer than that.

    Without a doubt eBay would have preferred him to stay, and any suggestion that he was edged out or pushed to leave is erroneous.

  32. Where is the official eBay announcement?

    “Without a doubt eBay would have preferred him to stay, and any suggestion that he was edged out or pushed to leave is erroneous”, #41 Are you speaking on behalf of eBay here?”

  33. eBay don’t tend to announce staffing changes. I’m not speaking on behalf of eBay but I know he is well respected and will be sorely missed by the eBay team.

  34. “I’m not speaking on behalf of eBay but I know he is well respected and will be sorely missed by the eBay team.”

    This site must be very powerful if eBay execs have to inform you of any decision to force someone out, and for them to also keep you updated on who they respect and who they will miss.

    Or let me guess the team you are referring to are few nobodies that Richard worked with?

    Thought so.

  35. From the publicly available information, the ‘secret’ dodgy listing reporting programme results in which some buyers have priority reporting for certain reasons and the public demeanour of Ambrose (TV, Radio, boards etc.) my own view is that it wouldn’t be hard to replace him with someone that could do a better job

    Maybe non HQ staff have a harder time getting anything done – that must be frustrating, but even so, I have only ever been far from impressed by anything that I have known him do

  36. QUOTE…”I know he is well respected and will be sorely missed by the eBay team”

    Sorry Chris, but he will not be missed by many of ebays customers and I for one WILL NOT be looking forward to reading about his exploits

    QUOTE..”Richard came across on the boards he’s one of the most genuine and likable guys around and it should be remembered that he was under no compulsion to post, he did so out of a genuine desire to build dialogue between sellers and eBay.”

    WHAT ??….He may have been under no compulsion to post, but he did and he loved it, he loved to cause friction and he loved to “hit and run”, leaving crass and sarcastic ‘holier than tho’ comments and then just sitting back and watch all of the trouble unfold in a perverse manner

    He has a high opinion of himself and if he thinks there is going to be an interest in his work ahead I think he will be dissapointed to say the least

  37. #44 SD it’s time for you to realise Richard was NOT forced out of his job. It was entirely his decision to quit. You may prefer to think otherwise (which of course you’re entitled to) but no matter how many times you comment it won’t make your wishes the truth.

    I’ve met Richard a fair few times over the years at eBay Universities and other industry events he was speaking at and regardless of your or others personal opinions it’s a fact that he was respected by his peers. I don’t need eBay execs to tell me that – it’s been self evident for many years.

  38. I just want to make it clear I bare no animosity towards Richard and think for the most part he did a good job though I did not agree with all his decisions. Especially allowing ticket pre sales a situation seriously open to abuse.

    I made a lot of reports directly to him and can honestly say that most of them were acted on quickly and dealt effectively. I won’t go as far as to say I’ll miss him but I wish him well and just hope his replacement is lot more competent and fraud aware.


  39. ” I don’t need eBay execs to tell me that – it’s been self evident for many years.”

    So they didn’t then. As I said I thought not.

  40. If I was running eBay UK I’d have sacked him. He was offensive, abrasive and didln’t listen to the sellers.

  41. I’m sure Richard could be very personable and maybe it’s true that ebay corp would have liked him to stay but he had no interest in sellers trying to make an honest profit on ebay, his whole attitude was: bog off then, plenty more where you come from. Well, it was an honest attutude but not one most people would wear so openly in business.

    But good luck to him in his new ventures.

  42. Never liked the bloke.

    Should have been sacked ages ago.

    Look how he was a few years back on the PS forum.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish I say..

    Woo hoo Mr Knee Jerk reaction is on the way out 😀

  43. So, from graduating from Oxford (History I believe), here is the route of Ambrose’s journey so far

    A few years as a consultant at Mercer
    Just a few months at some firm called Decipher
    Just a few months at Talkcast (that lost £87m on turnover of less than £1m in the year to March 2001)
    Eighteen months at Music Choice Europe
    Then into Ebay from Sep 2003: Sr Mgr Collectables and Entertainment, Head of Finding, Head of T&S then Director T&S from Nov 08

  44. I cant say the decline of Ebay is 100% his undoing but I am sure he contributed a good bit. Hopefully Donahue is next. (fingers crossed)

  45. Many posts criticising perceived ‘rudeness’ ‘sarcasm’ ‘holier than thou attitude’ from Richard’s posts on the PS board. That doesn’t seem exceptional for the PS board – I bet he took a lot more stick than he gave out. He didn’t go off in a sulk and stop posting. F

  46. What I don’t get is why the story is broken through Tamebay (an independent blog?) & why no source is given for the story.

  47. Is it just me or does anyone else find themselves wondering which song he is singing?

    Another one bites the dust. 😆

  48. Am surprised he joined ebay in the first place.

    a bit of a step down than a positive career move.

    Still – perhaps he’s realised that at last and gone back to better things 🙂

  49. It’s bad when someone’s posting style and attitude makes them infamous internationally.

    People on the US boards have heard repeatedly about Richard’s attitude and general contempt for eBay sellers. There’s a difference between honesty and callousness.

    It doesn’t matter that he was different in person. He was someone who used the impersonal nature of the discussion boards to goad, bully, and antagonize users. Not someone I’d ever want working for or representing me.

    And making the site safer for buyers has resulted in making it less safe for sellers…so I don’t consider that a success. The goal should have always been making it safe for both.

    That being said, anyone who escapes eBay should be wished a Bon Voyage.

  50. Well he sent Sandy and I a heap of Ebay goodies to give to the Ebayer guests at our wedding, I was chuffed to bits, so he ain’t all bad.

    Some of you guys are being a bit harsh IMHO 😐

  51. #56 if rambo is as bad as the folk above make out then perhaps they should re read the blog post, it says he is ‘leaving’ it doesn’t say he has left 😆

  52. For what it’s worth I think that Richard is a nice bloke. Met him on a few occasions and he always seemed genuinely interested in sellers thoughts and ideas.

  53. Shill Bidding on eBay: A Case Study

    For any eBay “buyers” that are still interested I have done a major update to my detailed case study of shill bidding on eBay and the abuse of eBay’s proxy bidding system—all exacerbated by eBay’s introduction of “hidden bidders”—and a detailed comment on eBay’s apparent attitude thereto, still at
    Also now included is a postscript containing a response from eBay to a journalist who put the matter of these cases of shill bidding to eBay. Apparently, whereas they will not tell a reporting eBay user anything, they will give an investigative journalist a response—even if it is disingenuous.

  54. Chris was that a typo, you meant to type “with trips planned to Iceland” didn’t you?

    After all, he is now unemployed, so not only will many here miss him but Waitrose too, he will have to look after his pennies now 🙂

  55. Philip Cohen: your hijacking of threads to push your single agenda does you no favours, If you don’t like ebay, don’t use it.

    As for Richard Ambrose I don’t believe he had any real input on policy and was just a PR mouthpiece in the press and on the forums, the hate for him is misplaced.

  56. For a long time I believed that Richard didn’t exist but was simply a posting id for ebay employees who wanted to be rude. He may have been well-respected by ebay employees. He may have been good for Trust and Safety but he was rude and lacked people skills when posting on the boards. I never met him, but, tbh, I really didn’t want to.

  57. Good luck Richard – all the best. I know for a fact that trust and safety has improved in many areas over the past few years…but cant divulge on here.


  58. John, I don’t know you – please don’t take serious offence but “I know for a fact” when you cannot back it up with FACTS, is worthless.


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