eBay employees to sell on eBay for 1st time

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I didn’t know whether to chuckle or cry at the latest post on the eBay Ink Blog announcing a new “Bring it. Sell it. Ship it.” program to encourage eBay employees in San Jose to sell on eBay. It strikes me as bizaare that they’re not all selling on eBay already.

I can remember hearing rumours that (in the old days) at eBay UK staff meetings they had to announce their feedback score and could even be called upon to explain any negative or neutral feedbacks they’d received. I can remember when eBay employees were proud of their feedback record and would compete to see who had the most. At the very early eBay universities some eBay employees had more feedback from me, and theirs numbered in the thousands.

The most telling part of the eBay Ink blog post was the comment “For those employees selling for the first time, each Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm, employee Power Sellers will be on hand in the station to help folks get started“.

I find it pretty sad to think that there are people working for eBay that have never sold anything on the site. Maybe I’m doing them a disservice and they’re simply avid buyers and are amassing hundreds of feedback… but you would have thought they had something laying around the house that they could have sold.

Google and Microsoft are reknowned for the internal use of their own software products. They wouldn’t dream of using a competitors product instead of their own, it’s called “eating your own dogfood”, So why not eBay? What are these employees doing with their discarded posessions?

I’m all in favour of the “Bring it. Sell it. Ship it.” program eBay are running (although I can’t help wondering who will be first to sell something that “all the free packing materials they need” isn’t sufficient for). If it gets eBay employees selling on eBay it’s a good thing.

If any eBay employees want to share their feedback score it would be great to have some reassurance that, in the UK at least, you guys are using the site you run for us (feel free to comment anonymously, we wouldn’t expect you to disclose your User Ids).

Edited to add: It’s been pointed out to me (and I really should have realised myself!) that eBay have some 27,000 employees and the vast majority that work in San Jose don’t even work for eBay’s marketplace business, but work for related companies. The related companies include payments (PayPal, Billmelater), GSI, classifieds, Stubhub, Shopping.com, Half.com, Rent.com and a whole string of other businesses in the eBay portfolio. That being the case it’s not surprising a large number have never sold on the eBay marketplace and makes this a superb program.

33 Responses

  1. Pretty much everyone at eBay in the UK sells on the site – some more regularly than others, of course. When I joined eBay in 2003, everyone was asked about their feedback score and their selling as part of the interview process.

    There are thousands and thousands of eBay and PayPal employees in the US office, and at that scale it’s much harder to make sure that everyone hired is a regular eBay user.

    There’s even a devil’s-advocate argument that says that people who haven’t sold on the site can bring fresh perspectives to the business… but I wouldn’t make it too strongly ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Richard (feedback 981)

  2. I would say that a vast number of eBays staff have never bought or sold on the site.
    You get this opinion when they answer questions with responses that are read from a list of FAQs rather than from seller experience and knowledge of the system.
    That said, the pinks on the PSForum and the CS people in Ireland are pretty knowledgeable but if you’re not a PS and you get the call centre in Manilla (I think) then they are just centre operators and respond as such.

  3. Richard’s response is spot on – where eBay have 1000s of employees the company has to work to get some staff involved.

    When I joined eBay UK in 2000 the very first thing I was asked to do was sell something (signed photo of Ingrid Pitt, horror actress). The company even rewarded staff for reaching the major feedback milestones, and publicly handed out small gifts.

    I left in 2009, as the employee with most feedback in the London office c.1500 (there were many with more outside London).


  4. In the ten years I have been working for eBay I have built up a feedback score of 471 – approx two thirds from buying / one third selling. Everyone on my team are active users on the site.

    The initiative mentioned is a valuable one – we hire many very talented folks from outside, some who have never sold themselves. So, especially for new hires, such a program is an excellent idea to get them going.

  5. Well, let’s hope they have more success than the team building exercise the UK seller team had late last year which was a farce from start to finish, and that they actually adhere to company policies before listing

  6. How sad is that when a eBay staffer declares that 150+ sellers f/back over 10 years is an ‘active seller’ !

    I say send these employees out on secondment to real life business sellers, let them deal with the daily issues they face, created by both eBay functionality (or lack of it at times) and how buyers respond to sellers on a daily basis, as selling the odd item as a casual seller/lister bears NO resemblance at all to what those who attempt to scrape a living from the eBay platform have to face on a daily basis.

  7. I’ve never ever been able to get through to Ireland, and the Manila people always tell me that they can’t give the number.

    Anyway, it would be interesting to find out what problems eBay employees have with the terribly-implemented policies, when experienced from the sellers’ side…..

  8. “we hire many very talented folks from outside, some who have never sold themselves”

    Well that’s encouraging. Selling oneself? That has to be a prohibited item…..

  9. Things like this make me want to vomit, just this week i have lost listing ability on a TRS business account for 30 days, my crime due to the Christmas post comedy of errors by Royal Mail on International mail ..I received 3 negative feedback from buyers who obviously do not know how to read the delivery guide I show in all my listings.

    eBay and all their pathetic customer support staff as far as i’m concerned can go to hell, as NONE have to put up with the garbage everyday sellers do week in and week out

  10. I have been an eBay user since 2000, was a Powerseller back in 2003, and have been a casual seller/avid buyer since then. I recently started working for eBay, and am now selling regularly again to make sure I know the selling tools & selling experience inside & out. I am also glad to see an internal movement to encourage employees to sell.

    Kenny (1055)

  11. When I worked for Dixons Group as a Marketeer, I would not dream of ever shopping there!

    You can work for a company, add value to that company with your skills and experience, but it does not mean you necessarily live and breath it!

    I am sure some of the new ebay employees are scared after seeing some of the neg feedback some buyers leave for no just reason ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. has to be sensible, we have people that have not a clue about how to sell though they are the best at what they do

  13. I remember attending a meeting at eBay UK HQ a few years ago, and it was just before their Xmas party: they had all been asked to purchase their fancy dress wear from the site.

    Do all UK eBay staff sell on the site? I doubt it, but whether that’s essential or not, or should be part of a job remit, I doubt it. I do think, however, that some senior execs might out to spend MORE time visiting sellers and really understanding the nitty gritty of what goes into the HARD work that it takes to do well on eBay; not just the number crunching

    That said, I do find eBay responsive, and great listeners as to new ideas and opinions, so I can’t really fault their ‘reach-out’ to sellers.

  14. Another long-term eBay employee here:

    I have sold 40 items this month alone and am currently on 1962 feedback (I have overtaken you Jay!!)

    Much as I would like to disagree with Richard he is pretty much correct on this point, there is certainly always more folks can do but I would say the level of expertise within the EU business is really pretty high (higher than at any time in the past I think).

    I wish we got a staff discount on fees but I don’t see that coming any time soon!

    All the best


  15. Joining in the thread late…(like a underpaid stamp on a parcel sent by an eBay employee)

    In all seriousness, I’m a big advocate of “eating your own dog food.” Those that don’t, in what ever business you run, are fools not too. Why would you not want to better understand the dynamics of the business in which you work. And in the case of most employees at eBay UK, during my time, that was the case. Whilst buying and selling was actively encouraged, the daily post in the London office was always full of ingoing or outgoing eBay items (remember those swanny whistles Dan?)

    There were times – in my experience – that senior management had to be pushed/encouraged to sell items – but that lack of activity was normally the exception rather than the rule. New staff were encouraged to list items in their first week, were quizzed on their eBay history in interviews and ritually humiliated when they had to stand up and announce the first thing they’d bought on eBay when joining the team.

    Still I’d wager a person would learn a lot more from shadowing a seller for a day than listing 50 CDs one Sunday evening via Turbo Lister and it was always a pity that more eBay staff didn’t get the chance or take the initiative to work a day with a PowerSeller.

    As a cautionary tale – when I first started at eBay, and before Buy It Now was a glint in the seller’s eye, staff were not allowed to bid in the last 60 mins of an auction (on the basis that we had access to reserve price details – in theory true, but you’d be a maniac to want to try and uncover that data). I’m pleased to say that pretty much to a man we ignored that rule completely.

    As for feedback, I’m on around 1,200. It is my great regret that I did not pass 1,000 whilst at eBay as I’d have my own star in the pavement outside Hotham House now.


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