PowerSeller's Impressions of eBay President Lorrie Norrington's Speech @ PeSA ECMTA Summit NOLA 2008 -3rd PowerOutlet Part Deaux

Morial Convention Center

Guest Post by: John Lawson – 3rdPowerOutlet.com

Wow, the intro that Scott wrote on Part I was very flattering. I really appreciated it, and he made me sound smart…way smarter than I am. I really am glad he wrote it though, because others may start to believe it, in spite of the glaring contradiction I will detail in these next entries of blogging about the conference. I got my own style, so do not get too offended.  This is only me having fun.

Part II – Conference Day

We left off at 2:00 AM this morning. That is when I got my crazy butt in a cab to the hotel and got to bed about 2:45 AM or so. As Scott said about the fine liquor in his intro, I am glad it was fine because the sting is a lot less in the mornings.

Note to self…Top shelf means fewer hangovers.

Well, the hotel calls my phone at 7:00 AM. Good thing I remembered to ask for that wake up call or I would have missed the entire morning session. Not a good thing when the VP of eBay is starting the morning off; you want to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

I got up, showered, shaved and was out the door. The breakfast was scheduled for 8:00 AM so I had to get there. I did not know what was in store today, but I know I needed coffee and carbs or my body would still be asleep for the keynote. So I sat, got some coffee and a muffin and chatted with some other sellers I had met from ChannelAdvisor’s Catalyst. OK, first I see Scott that I had met there and now these guys…hmmm, that sounds like networking.

Finally it is time for the kick off. You could feel the air, it was rather charged and everyone was sort of on edge, ’cause you know there is MUCH going on in the world of eBay. I am feeling like opening night for a production and I am hyped up to be there. The room was beginning to fill and I put my bag down right by one of the mics ’cause “I Got Issues” and I want to talk! LOL…Seriously though, I paid money, left my home and business, rented a car and stayed in a hotel. I’ll be damned if I am leaving New Orleans wishing I said something…umm, no…well, not just no…hell NO. LMAO!

The opening came from the host Jonathan Garrison of Gotham City Online to a packed auditorium. Then he introduces the speaker, the lights dim and a video begins. There it was on 2 big screens…cut to Hurricane Katrina! eBay starts the event off remembering why we are in this city for this event. The video details stories of real eBay sellers and how eBay and PayPal assisted them in those troubled times.

The lights come up and on comes Lorrie Norrington, President of eBay Global Marketplace Operations. She then presents a big ol’ check to Jonathan for $50,000. Now that was a Kodak moment. I actually felt proud because I knew that was MY MONEY too. I felt proud to be selling on eBay and be a member of ECMTA right at that minute. Very touching and an appropriate way to start an event in New Orleans…well, actually I started it off right when I partied on Bourbon Street on the first night, but this is good way to start a business conference the following morning.

Now let’s get down to business. I am NOT going to go through all the points and topics she covered. That exhaustive stuff is better left to media reports. What I got are my little notepad notes. What I do is not really take notes, but capture thoughts and phrases (not directly quoted) in bullet points. So I will give you my notes top down:

Originally uploaded by ebayink

Notes from Lorrie Norrington’s Keynote Speech

  • We want your business
  • If you are not doing business on eBay we want you to start
  • We value your business
  • You are our customers too

My thought in my head right now is…OK, STOP….Who in the hell is this? Does she work at eBay or is this a freakin’ dream?… sorry, I digress…

She presents 3 points (again, not directly quoted):

  1. Make eBay safer and easier
  2. Improve value and selection
  3. Extend the Paypal leadership position

Improve the SELLER experience

She mentioned Scot Wingo’s speech at Catalyst and quoted that he said “eBay is the best place to turn assets into cash”

  • Financial rewards for sellers
  • High DSR is key to your success
  • “Frankly” if you are unwilling to change (she was speaking to sellers with low DSR) then eBay is NOT for you!
  • All member DSR’s are up over the last few weeks
  • 63% of Powersellers got 5% discount
  • 30% of Powersellers got 15% discount
  • Retaliatory feedback was 4x greater in ’07 than it was in ‘04
  • New tools to block bad buyers (see details at http://tinyurl.com/4c68ms bullet point #4)
  • More success based pricing & category specific pricing
  • You are not “just” an eBay seller, you are an eBay customer (2nd time)
  • Free shipping is the standard in eCommerce (WTF?)

Now those are my personal notes as I wrote them. So that is what I heard in my head; she could have said something totally different. Applause, applause…now on to question and answer…SHOWTIME baby!

I did not want to look too anxious so I did not jump right away. I let another guy be “the first” this time. I was first at Catalyst so I didn’t want to look too crazy, LOL. You know how you feel when every boring meeting you are in, you know it will not end without that crazy person asking a question? I did not want to be that guy, but…

I want to quote my question from the eBay Ink Blog, they got it from transcript I guess…

Q. I was at the Catalyst Conference and I’m really excited to hear about some of things you’re introducing and to see you guys out here in force. You said it today, and it came up back at the Catalyst Conference about the .02 points discrepancy for non-domestic DSRs. There are some areas of this world that just don’t have the same postal service as we do here in the US. There is a distinct drag in Italy for example, really slow. Another is Slovakia. I shouldn’t have to tell the Canadian customer that his mail system is stinky – he already knows it – but it won’t stop him from dinging me on shipping. I know you look at it from the 50,000 foot level but it would be great if you could address it more granularly so maybe I could qualify for the 15% discount next time. [Applause]

Matt Halprin (eBay Trust and Safety): Although this is the first time I’ve heard about Slovakia, it’s not the first time I’ve heard about Italy or Canada. We’re aware of it and there are a variety of ways we’re looking at addressing it. I don’t think right now that we have a tool that allows you to lock out a country like Italy for example (if you simply choose not to ship there) but that is one end of the spectrum. Just to share one bit of information and I admit it is 50,000 foot information, but it is very telling for us. We thought that all Cross Border Trade DSRs were going to be a little bit lower than domestic DSRs because of shipping. Actually, around 50% of sellers have cross border trade DSRs that are equal to or higher than their domestic ones. So obviously there are some best practices in place that are helping address that possible situation. Now, I want to make sure I affirm what you said – we are looking directly at Italy and Canada to address that specific issue.

That was me and that was my question. Yeah, I am that guy. My thoughts on the speech? Tune in next time for Part III, I’ll be back… If Scott lets me?!?


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John Lawson
3rd Power Outlet

from Scott:

Now that I have opened the flood gates of prose from John Lawson, how could I ever prevent him from posting here?

John, your perspective is always welcome!

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0 Responses to PowerSeller's Impressions of eBay President Lorrie Norrington's Speech @ PeSA ECMTA Summit NOLA 2008 -3rd PowerOutlet Part Deaux

  1. Cliff Aliperti May 1, 2008 at 3:06 pm #


    Thanks for being the guy to ask that question. Never had the pleasure of shipping to Slovakia myself, but I would add France to that list.

    “I don’t think right now that we have a tool that allows you to lock out a country like Italy for example (if you simply choose not to ship there) but that is one end of the spectrum.”

    While that is an answer it is a terrible one. Are the DSR’s that important that we would want to cut off sales to an entire country? Wouldn’t splitting Domestic and International DSR’s be a much more reasonable response?

    As the DSR’s launched I considered shifting all international shipments to USPS Priority to enable tracking, but nobody wants to pay Priority (as opposed to First Class), so the loss in sales wouldn’t be worth it and my s/h DSR would probably take a hit on shipping charges anyway if I refused to use the cheaper rate.

    Perhaps removing the s/h DSRs from cross-border feedback, while leaving those more pertinent to the item and the seller would be the answer.

    I decided not to change anything, and climbed from a 4.7 to 4.8 s/h DSR on the last day of the first billing period calculating DSRs, and have just done the same within the past couple of days hoping I get the discount this time around too.

    In the end, unless eBay makes a change, I think we as sellers have to respond with no response. I mean, if you’ve got a 4.2 or something you’ve obviously got to fix something anyway, but if you’re on the cusp of a discount I don’t really see much you can do, so my current attitude is that I’m not going to worry about it.

    If I miss the 15% for a mark that month I’m just going to see that as the cause of a couple of International customers being unfamiliar with int’ trading rather than as any reflection on my own practices, which I’m confident are just fine.

    Thanks again,

  2. colderice May 1, 2008 at 4:27 pm #

    Great tips Cliff, thanks for sharing your experience. In my next and last installment (which I am working on right now) you will see that I was not done yet…I got more news from the eBay royalty that blew me away! Stay tune for the final installment.

    Thanks for reading and sharing,

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