Friendly Face of eBay – Evolving into a New Look – eBay Live 2008

Friendly Face of eBay - Evolving Into a New LookeBay Chairman John Donahoe and North American President Lorrie Norrington put on the friendly face at eBay Live 2008.

(Written from the mezzanine at McCormick Center, above the crowd of eBay Live attendees waiting to enter the closing gala)

This photo, taken during a meet & greet in the eBay chatterbox on the solutions floor is an analogy of the entire event.  Lorries expression is open and welcoming and John is just a bit worried (at least in his expression). 

Certainly the keynote speech yesterday was an attempt to put a very positive face on the changes at eBay and in many ways it succeeded. Unfortunately it was delivered with the old fashioned hokie eBay standard feel good vibe and was off point on several occasions.

For John to show family photos and then for Lorrie to follow up with the history of her single International sale of a pair of shoes on eBay, seems to highlight the very essence of the misunderstanding eBay seems to have for the eBay Live crowd. 

The attendees at this event have been more serious about the business of doing business than I or any of the other regular solutions providers and speakers I polled have ever seen at an eBay Live event.  This eBay Live was filled with real serious individuals who are looking for answers, solutions, ways to reduce the pain points in the process of selling online.  Every serious attendee I spoke with was on a mission to find a new way to do business, with eBay if possible, but without if necessary.

eBay knows internally this is true, and eBay solutions providers are scrambling to offer the pain reduction mechanisms to make it happen for merchants. eBay has announced several positive changes itself, including worldwide confirmed addresses from Paypal for shippers, further discounts for quality PowerSellers, and an improvement across the board in buyer feedback due to the changes recently put in place. In addition, Lorrie admitted some mistakes have been made and eBay is working to correct those mistakes (feedback removal policy). All of these changes or parts of the speeches have been covered by other bloggers and journalists.  My point here is that eBay is evolving as we watch it before our very eyes. eBay Live will evolve or go dormant in the process. 

eBay is transitioning from eBay 1.0 to eBay 2.0… this transition will not be without pain. 

We are in a period of puberty for eBay, everything went great through this companies youth and the first 10 – 11 years were an amazing story of growth for a young baby .com company.  Now we are entering the teen years of eBay… as we all know from our own youthful experiences, this transition from child to full adult can be difficult. There may be a lot of pouting and crying and hurt feelings along the way but the process of growth does not stop just because it is painful at times.

Some sellers, and those who are pouting and crying the most, those who liked the child more than the teenager, they are eBay 1.0 sellers…. I did not see very many of those types of people here, although they were in attendance and made their voices known at seminars and round table discussions. 

The sellers who were most prevalent and impressive are part of and ready for… eBay 2.0. 

eBay 2.0 will become a new and interesting adult in time. We are not there yet, but the signs of maturity are hard to miss. 

The vestiges of eBay 1.0 are dying off as we speak, within the company and from outside.  The crowd below me is cheering and clamoring to enter the gala at the behest of eBay employees. This crowd does not consist of hoards of goofily dressed and led adorned individuals.  The silliness and nuttiness of the carnival aspect of eBay and eBay Live is entering its last few hours of youthful exuberance. 

The organization has to mature and so do its followers. eBay can no longer survive off the fees from occasional yard sale and garage sale, at home sellers.  Growth must come from real businesses and small business is a big part of the future of eBay.  

The puberty of this company will bring a new focus. Providing value for real business. If eBay does not provide value for business, if they continue on the path of the carnival hawker, then they are doomed.  This is why eBay will never be what it once was, this is why eBay 1.0 is in the past.

eBay 2.0 is the future and if you want to be part of the future, maturing with the platform will be your best and only option.

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0 Responses to Friendly Face of eBay – Evolving into a New Look – eBay Live 2008

  1. john June 21, 2008 at 11:24 pm #

    I went for the first day and then left on the second day when the expert on paypal API spoke like he was drunk or on drugs. Everything was basic same old stuff. I even asked a guy from paypal when they would get a real shipping calculator. He said they may have one in the future that is better. I told him maybe they need to contact ebay since they have one and you are somewhat connected. He chuckled which he thought was funny…I did not since I asked the same question 2 years ago. eBay is becoming a joke run by people who have no experience besides wearing a suit.

  2. JIMBO June 24, 2008 at 10:55 pm #

    Ebay booted me off for good . I had almost 6,000 poditives and was selling since 2004. My sister lives with me and sold something not in public domain while she was doing ebay. because we share the same address they cloes down my account. She and I were combining our income to pay for her chemo and RA mediciine- Enbrel. We appealed our case and they still won’t let us on.


  3. Pat Curry June 29, 2008 at 4:21 pm #

    This was my first eBay LIVE yet I agree with your post, it was a new face, still fresh-scrubbed, but serious. From the pictures and blogs of previous LIVE events, it was a big change. I wondered if the stacks of event books and bags that were left over were an indication of the disappointing turn-out. I am in my 2nd year as a seller and struggling to make a profit, but I know it can be done if I do it RIGHT.

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