eBay: Don’t you think it feels tired?

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AntiquesAnd just to round out our “exBayer” day, here’s a post from Dan “Henry” Wilson, one-time eBay UK community manager, who’s been selling off some bits on the site. Dan asks:

Why does using eBay and PayPal feel a bit like going back in time? I’m no tech snob, I’m not an early adopter. I’ll always value substance over style. But selling on eBay feels unpolished and unexciting.

Turbo Lister is “crap” and “arduous”. PayPal “needs a massive shakeup”. It’s hard to argue.

There’s a comment on Dan’s post from Marnie de Vanssay, who recruited for eBay from 2002 to 2006. Marnie calls eBay a “tired, heavy machine”, and comments:

the first two years were exciting, all the people hired were highly creative on top of having a substantial university and business background. Then, the profiles requested moved towards the standardized powerpoint/excel diskjockey and the entrepreneurial spirit was gone, like a balloon without enough helium.

Marnie’s right that this happens to all companies, as they move from the start up phase to being an established business. In the start-up I work for, we know we prefer creating a business to running one: every other day there is a conversation that goes, “we’ll need a stationery cupboard/office manager/dress code”…”the day we get that is the day I quit”.

But I wonder if that changeover has to happen quite so badly as it’s happened at eBay. It’s still possible to run a company with vibrancy, imagination and style. And that’s what eBay lacks right now.

15 Responses

  1. Nail and head…never thought of it like that before but you’re right.

    This post will make me take a look at the direction we’re going, just to make sure we’re not too far down the rabbit hole…yet.

  2. Did anyone see Ebays front page has gone to its old design how it used to be a few years ago without all these deals, or is it just my page?

  3. Off subject a bit…………But did anyone see the Overstock.com advert on channel 5 tonight!!.

  4. I cannot believe it, today I sold my first two items on Bonanzle. I just listed for fun.
    Referring to this blog Bonanzle seems really modern in comparison to ebay.
    Also ecrater looks better than ebay.

  5. I think a lot of eBay sellers are tired (: a large amount of eBay’s content is created by sellers.

    In my opinion eBay looks a bit tacky overall. Amazon manages to avoid this.

  6. wonderful news, all these tired ebay sellers should have a nap
    and leave it to us
    ebay still dings our bell

  7. I guess eBay still has a role to fulfil for many (indeed I know a number of sellers who would be in deep doggy doo doo if eBay was to go ‘pop’ overnight) but I have to agree with the sentiments expressed here.

    eBay seems tired to me. The comment about Powerpoint/Excel gurus seems highly applicable and I suspect the company is bloated at the operational “human” level. Not bloated with staff numbers but chaff that needs “trimming” out as the company moved from pioneering to only employing 1st class graduates, ex consultancy staff and “MBA’s preferred”. This happens in a lot of organisations ….

    However, it’s not just the people …. It’s the site itself. Amazon may be essentially boring (come on you know it is, you just scan and click) BUT it’s simple, straightforward to use, both for sellers and for the buyers. They kept it simple, and functional. They didn’t bloat it with unnecessary “technology” and the site is still operationally lean and functional.

    There is also some mileage to the idea that eCommerce in general is a little tired. I’ve seen any number of sites in recent years, and contracted on interim as Head of eCommerce in a couple of places and it’s all very much “the same old thing”, especially the fashion sites.

    Like I’ve said in the past nothing lasts forever, maybe it’s time for a paradigm shift in eCommerce ? Maybe eBay being the “monster” that it is just shows more symptoms of this need for change than most ?

    Steve – EthicalCompanies.co.uk

  8. I want to add a bit more, now I’ve read these comments.

    One thing I must say is that eBay still works. It isn’t dead and it is still a remarkable beast. But it needs to regenerate itself, Doctor Who like, into something better.

    Amazon isn’t that glitzy either looks wise, it’s gotta be said. Still clunky and ugly. Frankly. Although evidently a great selling engine.

    I’ve sold a few bits on Gumtree too. That’s pretty amazing.

    The message is pretty darn obvious: ecommerce remains a case of horses for courses.

  9. Ebay notonly looks and feel tired.
    But it’s home page changes every time I load it up, and different features work or don’t work at random.

    I like ebid, ecrater is OK, but a bit plain. Bonanzle is too “homey” and “crafty” for me.

  10. lets be honest anyone who is making a fortune from ebay would be daft to shout about it,
    its good business practice to moan


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