Mark is a long time eBay trader, in fact I think he and I probably started trading on eBay about the same time some ten years or so ago. As well as a successful collectables business he also runs Business Photography and can shoot stunning commercial product shots ready for your website or eBay.
Today Mark looks back at eBay’s beginning as a Social Commerce company and asks how did they lose their uniqueness?
Ask yourself this question: What was it about eBay back in the day that made it so successful? What was it that set eBay apart?
They created a sense of community, they created a sense of interaction between people that did not know each other, but had a shared interest, or grounds upon which to trade.
It strikes me as kind of funny, back in the day, before “social networking” was a byword in the English language, eBay was operating “social commerce”.
eBay provided the platform for a large community to come together and to trade. It was the greatest Trading Community this planet had ever seen. It became the Small Business Hub of the world. And it was successful, it worked, people engaged, they traded, they communicated to the rest of the community how their trading was going. Many of them did very well out of this. But then sadly, one day, something changed.
The Corporate mindset saw money being made and moved in. All of a sudden eBay began to be embarrassed by their Social Media beginnings. They wanted to sit at the corporate table and look respectable.
And before you know it, this Social Commerce, created by a community of individual people, was slowly eroded in favour of bringing other corporate diners to the table. Slowly the community was asked to close up their market stalls and make way for large retailers, all the while being promised that the large retailers presence wouldn’t hurt the incumbent business.
And here we are now in 2012 with an eBay that has lost the Social Commerce roots they were founded on, fighting with other corporations to gain control of as many beans as possible. Yet it seems to me that eBay does not know what they have lost. It does not understand that the very thing was the community it helped build, is what everyone is striving to build today.
eBay have lost the very thing, that is revolutionising the rest of the eCommerce world.
eBay lost their Social Media roots.
Before Facebook, there was eBay…