Paul Todd appointed new SVP eBay Marketplaces Europe

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Paul Todd hmI’ve just had the pleasure of speaking to the newly appointed Senior Vice President for Europe, Paul Todd.

Paul is a Brit, not only that but he’s a northerner born and bred in Sunderland and the years of working around the world haven’t ruined his accent either!

Paul came to eBay via a circuitous route, educated at Cambridge University it was a role at McKinsey & Co that gave him the opportunity to move to Silicon Valley right in the middle of the dot com boom. That was when he fell in love with technology and the Internet and from then on his career via McKinsey, Google, Rearden and eventually eBay took him to Seattle, London, Bay area and now Zurich.

Married with two children, Paul has a typical eBay family buying the normal combination of things that you can only buy on eBay. His prized eBay possession (kept hidden away in a cupboard out of view, at his wife’s insistence) is a Sunderland Football Club match ball signed by both Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips.

Paul is also a keen photographer, so buys lenses on eBay as it’s convenient and more importantly he can find right deals at right time – not always easy when you’re moving around the world.

Next for Paul is to finalise moving his family to Zurich, no small task when you have a 9yr and 12yr old. His children are looking on it as a big adventure. They’re looking forward to shopping opportunities in Zurich and although they’re going to have to learn to speak a new language there’s a large ex-pat community in Zurich so plenty of support networks to help them get settled in.

It’s somewhat reassuring to know that the new eBay SVP Europe is a down to earth brit, someone who sounds as if they’d be just as at home on the terraces watching a Sunderland game or enjoying a post match pint in the pub, as they are in the eBay board room.

Whilst running eBay Europe Paul will obviously be looking to grow business in Germany, France ,Spain, Italy and other key regions but it’s hard to ignore the home team influence of having a Brit at the helm.

We wish Paul well in his new role and look forward to hearing more from him when his family are safely settled in Zurich and he’s firing on all cylinders to get eBay sales growing.

42 Responses

  1. eBay needs to go back to being a “Venue” and stop sticking its nose into people’s business. These people who run “Business'” on eBay – know what they are doing. They do not need someone who never ran a business, but sits all day playing with code, telling them what’s best and whats not.

    Go back to basics – Just have feedback. Let that speak for itself! People can read feedback and make there own decisions before they buy.

    Better buying experience for the buyer? No eBay – your not! I WAS a regular buyer (5000 feedback and I don’t sell on eBay)

    Look at these scenarios that happened to me and led me to close my account – This is ALL BECAUSE of changes eBay think give the “Better buying experience”. I as a buyer am not happy and I have managed to annoy 4 sellers, unknowingly.

    Bought item not in stock –

    I would like – For the seller to refund my money straight away and let me know. I will be disappointed but at least I have my money to buy elsewhere straight away. These things happen (Look at the outlets – happens to them also)

    What happened to me numerous times before I left – Pretend they posted the item, make me wait a week or too with fob off stories. End result? My money in there account for a few days and no item! No eBay that is not “Better buying experience for me”.

    Returned items –

    I would like – to return the item to the seller MY WAY. I don’t have a printer and not buying one just for eBay use with this managed returns bull.

    What eBay is making sellers do – So afraid I will leave a defect, they will pretend they never got the item (unless I send tracked). Why? Because if I open a case or leave feedback – it can be removed as it has been “Escalated”.

    These are just two examples of why I will never buy on eBay again. Its not buyer friendly for me. Your making sellers jump through hoops, who then take it out on the buyers.

    Imagine, I open a case, why? Ohh eBay Tells me to because it “doesn’t have any effect on the seller” – then I get a phone call from the seller asking why didn’t I just email them and that it does have an effect!

    Or the other thing that happened to me – Opened a INR case BY ACCIDENT! I didn’t even know I did it. Then I closed it – Seller mails me and makes me feel guilty because the damage is done! Nah, not going back to eBay. I am actually afraid to buy on there now. Threading on so many toes its a joke.

    When I buy on eBay – My contract is from me to the seller. Not eBay. I expect the seller to do what they are good at. Without someone who is on a 6 month temp contract in Manilla – deciding what is best for ME. I don’t remember eBay deciding for me to buy the item.

    I am not even going into how the search doesn’t work (type the item and size into search – ohh lots of choice! – until I click on the listing and its “Out of stock)

    These are just a few reasons why I shop elsewhere. I don’t blame the sellers at all! Not one little bit. I blame eBay for creating this monster that I really don’t like.

    So Paul, I hope that you do something to tackle some of these issues, and STOP confusing the hell out of me and other buyers. I can only imagine what it is like for the sellers. Its not easy and its not simple to buy on eBay – Its a headache and minefield 🙁

  2. If he’s interested in reversing all the idiotic changes which have been brought in over the last few years to make sellers’ lives a misery, then good luck to him. If not, he can get stuffed, like the rest of eBay’s cretinous management.

  3. buyer opens case of missing parts. (£105 item)

    We say parts are fitted from factory. But if this is not good enough.
    We offer to COLLECT ITEM AT OUR EXPENSE 2 times.

    Buyers makes no response for several weeks then escalates case.

    We phone ebay saying its now been 50 days since sale and the buyer didnt accept our offer to return at our expense.

    We are assured if no item returned by the 7th/08/14 we would win the claim.

    Today 01/08/14 buyer wins case, We were locked out the case, and no return or tracking.

    Whats Paul going to do NOTHING !

    So basically ebay has helped a customer obtain goods by fraud basically.

    Yet when i login into ebay it says something about ‘Seller protection’

    Tomorrow im going to print it and wipe my backside with it. But then its not even worth that is it.

    Yet despite the misery of sellers the share price remains below 55 USD and thats after the S+P 500 hit record levels.

  4. I used to spend a few 1000 on ebay per annum.

    I ve now decided ebays too screwed to bother with

    Welcome ‘Todd’ you now have one more buyer whos defected to amazon for good.

    To give you an idea Todd, this year I built my whole kitchen more or less from ebay sellers !

  5. eBay as an organisation that rewards incompetence of the highest order. If you look back at all the take overs, buyouts you can see it on a top management level.

    lower down the line
    You have been connected with eBay customer support.
    The next available chat agent will be able to assist you.

    Thank you for your patience.

    Estimated wait time as of 8:02 PM


    Your position in the queue is # 38

    ebay is simply a monopoly thats run very badly.

    Its a breeding ground for poor quality goods.

  6. Ebay is full of spin doctors and propaganda.

    Many fell for the “community spirit” line.
    Many fell for the “better service to buyer” line

    Its all spin and flannel ….just wonder what tripe they are going to come out with next….
    Are they stupid enough to attempt Outlet only sales pushing the boundaries even more?

    or Forced branding on sellers products?

    They are not doing any uturns…So what direction are they going in next.

  7. Not a safe trading venue for sellers. Why I left eBay.

    As a seller:
    Best Match, dumping your products on page 144.
    Items sold, informing every competitor what sells.
    Paying out for listing fees every month for items not sold.
    Buying fraud.
    Cheapest items with matching keywords given priority.
    No protection for sellers.

    As a buyer:
    Counterfeit goods.
    Dozes of pages of identical items.
    The venue that sells cheap tat.

    Why I sell on Amazon.

    No fees for listing items that didn’t sell.
    Cleaner catalogue so buyers can find items.
    Better class of customer.
    Product reviews increase sales.

  8. like it or lump…dress it up with fancy bows…Sellers have lost confidence in anything ebay does now.
    Many sellers are openly annoyed and disappointed in ebay.
    Ebay need to change there company policy regarding non outlet sellers.
    The site is going downhill. You can no longer buy all items on ebay you now need to use other sites. Sellers are getting crucified and it is effecting the product inventory.

    Sales are slow, Search is temperamental.
    Many sellers are either looking to jump ship, or just hanging on until the death. it is no longer a solid base to build a business on.

  9. Cambridge, McKinsey and Google … the perfect background for a spy! Have fun in Zurich, I’m sure you really are a man of the people.

  10. Points for eBay:

    1. Rather than the day after an item is supposed to arrive an INR case should only be able to be opened 7 working days after this date and up until then leave it as communication only so a buyer can ask ‘Where is my item?’ This will allow the seller to investigate the ‘loss’ in case it is still with Royal Mail, been returned undelivered, next door or has been carded and mother put it on the mantelpiece and nobody saw it.

    This would lessen the CS time dealing with sellers unfair defects, allow sellers to sort a problem where there is one and improving the buyer experience and spending more time on investigating escalated cases where a buyer has misused the system.

    eBay should promote a seller with good Customer Service not give a defect before they get the chance to help their buyer. If the seller didn’t send it or does fix the problem then fair enough buyer can open INR.

    2. Look back period should be 3 months for ALL sellers. If you sell low volume or are new to eBay, one bad buyer can have a devastating effect on a sellers’ ratings for 12 months. We are talking livelihoods and peoples jobs here. Let’s promote good sellers and those who strive to give that service, these are the future large stores on eBay. eBay need to ‘grow’ good and new business at the same time as reducing visibility for under performing sellers.

    3. Managed Returns. I’m a big fan of it, it’s given less returns and none for SNAD to get free postage since January on one account in thousands of sales. I’m looking forward to RM being added to the mix.

    However it isn’t yet suitable for all, it’s not ready (multi variations with different postage methods in the same listing) and if a seller can get a cheaper price to return an item, please get that option in the flow.

    I think the managed returns process hasn’t been explained in depth enough at this point. I’ve read that some sellers think ebay refunds before the item is back with the seller which is incorrect, the seller is in control of the return and when the item has been inspected authorises the return. If there’s a problem you can report here but sellers need to see that buyers who misuse this process are suspended or removed from the site (like the 54,000 buyer accounts that were purged in December) and associated defects and feedback.

    4. Last year eBay were encouraging sellers to push their buyers into the case system so they could monitor those buyers who were abusing the system. Unfortunately this is being used now to ‘punish’ the seller due to defects caused then, eBay you betrayed your sellers’ trust yet again. A three month look back period for all, it’s really unfair to use defects from 12 months age before this system came in, especially for low volume sellers.

    5, All defects given for ‘item out of stock or sold to someone else’ that were given due to refunding directly via Paypal and not through the case system should be removed. Again unfair defects given for this.

    That’s it for now but there’s more to come …

  11. Hi Dan,

    Since you have asked for comments to pass onto Paul,

    I will suggest bringing the issues to his attention which no doubt you have been reading here mainly in regards to Defects, eBay deliberately leading buyers into opening disputes, expecting and asking sellers to fight defects instead of encouraging them to focus their attention and energy on resolving issues with buyers etc.. These have all been discussed in great lengths and details so won’t bore anyone with details again.

    The problem with eBay team is that they don’t listen or try to understand the frustration and negative impact these polices are having on sellers. Some sellers try to behave rationally and try to argue there point with a hope that someone at eBay may listen, but some sellers after getting frustrated, express their anger in unpleasant ways and words. Hence you see the topics getting off track. Didn’t used to be like this.

    It’s good that you can pass comments to Paul as sellers we need someone like you to forward a view or message when we feel helpless. This is why some like us come on Tamebay. On eBay discussion forums you dare not say anything about eBay policy. The minute you start, eBay team hiding behind id’s jumps on you like hawks to tear you apart. I preferred their pink banners as at least they had manners to communicate and could not insult sellers the way they do now in sarcastic ways. You look through their high volume of posts and record of previous discussions, within a minute you can tell these are not sellers but are paid employees.

    If you can still communicate or pass on any comments to Paul then ask him to spare few moments to read some previous posts here on Tamebay, eBay forum and other sites especially in regards to defect policy. I am so far in a safe zone and have been told by eBay that I have nothing to worry about. But I have no doubt that with current defect policy, my days are numbered. May not be just now but the way defects are coming with disputes being opened to ask a question or to inquire about the parcel received by the house hold, my days are numbered.

    Despite being in safe zone, am I feeling confident as an eBay seller?

    No I am not but seriously worried, so much so that I had plans to start a new eBay business focussing on international buyers and some exclusive lines but due to current eBay behaviour I had no choice but to cancel that plan. We can’t afford to spend money in buying those expensive lines and getting a professional looking shop only to have it shut within weeks as defects are unavoidable.

    We used to love eBay and will trade on eBay as long as we can but one bad week can switch a seller off on eBay so like many we are now concentrating on Amazon which we neglected till now.

    Losing seller’s confidence will have an impact and time will prove this.

  12. natural justice is all we want,
    if were wrong or its within our control bring us to task,
    if its buyer whim or a normal result and a part of everyday trade
    dont punish us
    as a seller on ebay I am beginning to feel as if I am Palestinian in gaza

  13. all of the suggestions made above seem to echo my own thoughts, so a +1 to them.

    but we have seen ebay employees come on here and say they are listening etc, or indeed be pointed in the direction of the posts by the admins here.

    i’ll take this with a pinch of salt, till paul actually comments or actions or seems to take on board any of the posts / suggestions made by tamebay readers on this post or any going back years.

    but in fairness i will also be at the front of the queue congratulating paul or any posts that do get listened to.

  14. Wow. Running a blog which invites comments both good and bad on such an emotive subject as ebay surely the the position of the journalist should be neutral, not attacking the contributers? It’s the internet, keyboard warriors happen, I expect to read good and bad about ebay in the comments section, not expect to see posters attacked by the “impartial” site….


    “But you’ll need to ditch the sweeping statements, hyperbole and banter”


    “Would you mind awfully changing the record? I refer you to my comments some moments ago.

    I really don’t understand why you need to come her anonymously and spout this tedious spume.


    “What is your useful point here?”

    “If you don’t have those useful comments. And feel that they do no good anyway. And as you feel that no one is interested. It would help me enormously, if you could just stop whinging?

    As you note it’s pointless: so please so step aside with your anon whinging and maybe other Tamebay readers could get a word in edgeways?”

    “I’m seeking useful, interesting comments that others can benefit from. If you don’t have those. Please do go elsewhere.”

  15. EBay doing well means sellers are doing well and as a seller this was an encouraging news and we would like to see the profit graph going up.

    But if I am a shareholder, here is the worrying part;

    We buy on eBay too and have seen increasing numbers of leaflets and messages inside the packs trying to sell direct by offering 10% cheaper, if we don’t pay eBay you save 12%! And get the same item and service, free express delivery, guaranteed resolution only a call or an email away unlike eBay’s 7 days process etc…

    These do seem attractive and couple of local sellers I know have seen results. We have been lazy as print and ship seems easier than taking orders and processing payment and invoices but due to defect policy it makes business sense to try and attract direct orders. We too are considering this option of including leaflets.

    Many sellers are not aware of the changes and will only come across the effect from mid-August. No doubt they too will be kicking hell and will try to use eBay to attract direct orders.

    Some sellers are making noises and some are not evening saying anything but are making changes behind the scenes so it’s all pilling up and what impact this will have on eBay graph, don’t know but remains to be seen.

    I am hoping and suspecting a U turn at some point but if it is too late then damage control will be impossible.

  16. Here’s a few then:

    1) Complexity of the buying experience. I have had to find things for people who would like to buy on the site but can’t work out how to use it. Yes, I know Ebay loves Best Match, but filtering by distance for big collect-only items is useful, as is sorting into auctions only by ending soonest. For somebody unfamiliar with the site, it’s not obvious that these options even exist.
    2) Pretending that “Free postage” really is free. It isn’t, it just gets costed into the item price, and it discourages multiple purchases where postage discounts are much the best pricing method.
    3) As a seller, classing as “defects” things that aren’t “defective”. Like buyers who haven’t read the description correctly, and then rather than admitting their mistake, make up a story about the item being faulty.
    4) Managed returns: I post out everything Large Letter, so the imminent returns process is way too expensive.

    There are probably about 50 more things, but that will do as a start.

  17. I understand your irritation Dan that this light & fluffy piece got hijacked so quickly with the usual complaints and I am sure Paul Todd is a great bloke (being a Cambridge man).
    However if you want to keep control then don’t invite comments about issues on eBay or say eBay are reading this particular light & conversational thread perhaps?
    Open another thread for ‘constructive’ suggestions so the heavy artillery can open up and provide copious amounts of ‘spume’ and then just move comments not in the spirit over to that on your whim – problem solved.
    For the record I will not be making any suggestions until I see clear evidence from eBay in the UK that they are prepared to start fixing an ever longer list of issues and provide my business with increasing value for money not tell me how to run my business – after all they are a market venue not Amazon Lite.
    This is unlikely because you (being an ex eBay employee) know perfectly well that the current culture in eBay is US driven command & control that brooks no dissent.
    Honda they are not!



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