eBay Management… Do you want to be the next AOL? eBay restructuring worldwide, cuts jobs

In a story today on Yahoo News and commented upon by Don Reisingers cnet blog, it has been reported that eBay is cutting jobs worldwide. The Digital Home blog post attributes this move as a sign that eBay is fading away because of poor management. My first reaction was to think of that statement as eBay being akin to a dodo bird as a ridiculous premise. But then I thought...

Who in their right mind (back in the year 2000) would have thought that AOL would be irrelevant by the end of the first decade of this century? America Online was the premier destinAOLation and portal of the web. America may not have loved everything about America Online, but we all pretty much used them or came in contact with their products. AOL was a dominant presence and market analysts all agreed that it was an outstanding value.  Sound familiar?

Then something changed - the Internet got faster and it became easier to surf with faster connections provided by new competitors to the Dial Up ISP portion of AOL. The destination became a mere speed bump on the road of Internet commerce. This is a piece of historical reference for the executives currently running eBay. Do not think you have the world dominated; do not believe you have won the game. The game never ends and you must stay competitive or the market will decide your fate.

I am a solid believer in eBay, but I have not agreed with many of the changes or many of the acquisitions or moves in recent years. There are points to be considered when looking back at the AOL history. And there is truth in what Don Reisinger writes. While we may not agree that this is the point of no return for eBay, we do think the management should remember certain lessons history can teach. No one wants to become the AOL of the next decade.

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3 Responses to eBay Management… Do you want to be the next AOL? eBay restructuring worldwide, cuts jobs

  1. Dave White March 20, 2008 at 4:15 pm #

    Great insight. I had not thought of the AOL thing. Netscape is another, though AOL bought them.

    With the speed that companies crumble in today’s business world, concern is certainly warranted.

  2. J. T. Byron March 21, 2008 at 1:05 am #

    Oh yes, I remember AOL. Weren’t they the company that took on the attitude that they had no competition and they could do whatever they wanted? Weren’t they the company that kept raising their rates and gave their customers nothing in return? Weren’t they the ones that kept coming up with new rules and regulations to correct the poorly implimented policies they already had in place? You know, the company that lied to their customers, lied to the press, and lied to their shareholders? The company that was totally unresponsive to their clients? Whatever happened to them anyway?

  3. Scott March 21, 2008 at 2:21 pm #

    AOL is now a forgotten messenger service with still some user base paying for AOL email. But since TimeWarner merged with AOL in the deal of the century, not much news or good fortune has ensued.

    Not that many people miss AOL – really.

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