Randy Smythe of "My Blog Utopia" broke a significant story in his blog today. The story invoves the not so subtle tilting of eBays "Level Playing Field".
If you have not yet read Randy's blog post, please do so now...
Then come back here and watch what Pierre Omidyar (creator of eBay) said in plain, unmistakable language concerning his definition regarding of a level playing field in this YouTube video interview:
Level Playing Field = everyone should be given equal opportunity.
People by virture of their stature outside of eBay should not be extended special deals to come on eBay
From this interview of Mr. Omidyar, it seems plainly stated that as the creator of eBay, he would not approve of the eBay/Buy.com arrangement. In fact it seems as though he had no knowlege whatsoever of this arrangement or he would never have said what he did in this very recent eBay sponsored interview conducted by CEO John Donahoe himself...
Randy Smythe should receive kudos from every corner of the eCommerce world for breaking this story through excellent journalistic ground work and by simply knowing the marketplace as the expert that he is. In fact, it seems Richard Brewer-Hay may have had to come in on the weekend to respond to Randy Smythe's release of this story on a Saturday. Richard quickly put together this post on eBay Ink Blog...
After I read the eBayInkBlog.com response to Randy Smythes Scoop of this story... I immediately composed, and tried to post, the following comment on the eBayInk story:
Unfortunately I think this "Partnership" with Buy.com may rekindle the firestorm of a few short weeks ago.
Sellers on eBay will not be assuaged by the Buy.com limitation of only one listing per SKU. When Buy.com can flood the market place with 150,000 SKU's in one batch and turn those items over 8 times per month at what must be a reduced cost, we are no longer dealing with a level playing field.
If eBay plans on offering reduced pricing for bulk sellers, and that seems to be the case, then you better advise Usher and the Execs to get ahead of this story. Look for a way to offer the long standing volume "customers" of eBay a way to partake in the same offer.
Otherwise, it seems eBay is simply telling all of the sellers who are smaller than Buy.com to go elsewhere, which may be the plan, but if it is... better to tell them sooner than later.
I am not normally this direct with my posts, here or on my own publication... And I apologize for my directness. But this deal does not sit well when only one company essentially is granted a license to steal by gaining reduced price access to core search in exchange for a "undisclosed" terms.
Peddle fast Usher, I think this story will be a job to shape in your favor without more information.
It seems no comments have been approved on this particular eBayInk.com story. I get nothing but an 404 error when I try to add to the discussion there. I experienced this problem with eBayInk when it was first launched and asked if I had been prevented from posting for some reason... Both Richard Brewer-Hay and Usher Lieberman returned my emails promptly saying it was a simple glitch. I hope this glitch is repaired soon...
Read the story(s), watch the video, read between the lines...
What do you think of this new "Partnership"?
3 Hours after my first attempt to post the comment above on eBayInkBlog.com the following positive comment posted:
MistyOn 05.03.2008 at 6:38 pm Said:
Richard I personally have no problem with retail competition they don’t sell what I sell, I am happy with the knowledge that we will not be crowded out.
What concerns me is their fee structure to incorporate this change to retail, I feel this is unreasonable to those of us who do not sell retail items and ask that a separate tier and fee structure be created for those of us who are not retail.