Collateral Damage: eBay’s Changes Have Hurt Good Sellers Who Are Real People Too

Posted on August 22, 2008. Filed under: eBay | Tags: , , , , |


Written by: Lori Johnson

eBay ID: magic_age

This response by Lori Johnson was written in response to a public statement made by Griff on the eBay Seller Central Board, a statement which I asked Griff to clarify in a recent online interview (posted here on TheBrewsNews).


Griff, I have a question that perhaps you could answer for me based on your comment that the seller is always at fault

When I’m the seller and my buyer is unhappy then I am at fault – based on your own words, I behaved badly, I am the instigator

But when I am a buyer, even though I’m the same person using the same writting style and the same attitude I am never wrong and its the sellers fault

If I’m the same person how is it that in one case I am never right and in the other I am never wrong – how can that be?

In March I was a powerseller, my sales were growing at a rate 200-300% each month – I was one of the first tossed to the curb by the early changes – given 6 days to clear out – along with thousands of other sellers using digital delivery, I had to re-mortgage my house to pay off my business loan – thankfully I was able to to that or I would now be homeless. So trust me when I say that I am being incredibly civil. Lives have been destroyed and because of that ebay will never attain the glory it once had, no matter what it changes. Its all too little too late.

But along with my excellent March sales, I also had a full page of feedback as a buyer so I think I’m qualified to comment on this. I have always found it very strange that ebay NEVER acknowledges that sellers are also buyers.

Some buyers are just buyers
Mosts sellers are buyers – how can this large group be AWAYS at fault when selling and never at fault when buying?

As people who have been on both ends of transactions perhaps we might have better insight than those who are just buyers. Perhaps you should go back and look at all those cases again. Why you bother to look at them any more when your mind is already made up…..I can’t even comprehend

Perhaps ebay should have listened to us when we tried to tell them why some “change” wouldn’t work and wouldn’t help – perhaps they should have listened when…..
well, never mind, I think we can just sum it up with saying that in the beginning ebay listened and the growth was stunning – when ebay stopped listening and auto responding to EVERY single issue…….the downhill slide began.

Your loyalty is admirable if not misplaced. I was once a loyal ebay supporter until I was told very clearly that I was not wanted. Perhaps you would also feel differently if/ when they hand you your hat and say don’t let the door hit you on your way out

I, like many, many others have taken my business elsewhere, where I am welcomed, where their site is thriving and growing – my family no longer shops here, my friends no longer shop here – and its 100% because of the way I was treated as a seller – again, that is not good will you can get back, even with the best PR and certainly not with coupons.

When people say ebay is biting the hand that feeds it, it is basic and simplistic – and so very true. Ebay was its own unique economy. For example, I sold doll clothes patterns to people who sold the finished clothes to doll makers who sold dolls, they also bought supplies, business cards, special labels, packing materials, paints etc, If you damage the economy of one seller it filters down to the rest- that is just common sense. I bought patterns in lots, antique magazines etc, as well as gifts and hard to find items.

Now I buy elswhere, those sellers lost my business – not because of their actions – but because of ebays actions – plain and simple. Many, Many sellers buy (or bought) their stock and supplies on ebay. When you damage their ability to sell you damage their ability to buy – its really a shame that ebays interesting way of doing math didn’t take that into consideration. Yet as sales continue to decline ebays fails to consider it an issue.

A seller, once lost will NEVER buy here. I know that to sell in another venue, I need to support that venue by spending my money there – its not disruptive innovation, its not corporate thinking – its just good business.

The writing is on the wall, it has been from the moment ebay stopped listening to its sellers – no one was better qualified to decide was was good for our unique businesses than we were. I was tossed out quickly, others are merely being micro-managed out of business.

Fortunately for you, while some of us are trying to salvage what was left of our business, and some are sleeping in their cars with their kids and begging for food stamps, you can sleep securely in the certainty that its all our fault and all these things are good for business – just like Express…lol. You can retire comfortably.

In reality it was my fault – I put my faith and my money into a company that felt I was just noise, cluttering up their site and dragging down their stock with my cheapie yardsale style business. I should be ashamed of myself.


I appreciate Lori Johnson, guest blogger, for giving me permission to post what she has so eloquently written.


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9 Responses to “Collateral Damage: eBay’s Changes Have Hurt Good Sellers Who Are Real People Too”

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I really feel for this seller. Her words ring true. Griff is in denial. It’s not right or wrong; it’s just a defense. When we stop caring about others, we really stop caring about ourselves.

Griff is not in denial, Griff is a company man who will do nothing to risk his employment, stock options, and retirement. He’s the typical corporate yes man. His job is to be the company mouthpiece. period.

Think about it, would you risk your position?

I agree he is a yes man that is as lacking in humanity as the whole of eBay Inc. is. it is nasty corporation and I feel they will fall as hard as they threw this woman and every other seller of digital to the ground!

They truly disgust me- freaking crooks

If they did it to her-and they’ve done it to plenty more in different categories-they’ll do it you. This company is morally bankrupt.

And yes, I have walked away from good jobs because of the immoral way they treated their employees.

This seller was relying solely on ebay, on one product line, contrary to common sense and every successful business model? Seems like a pretty fragile business plan to me.


Walter, the seller has admitted that they were at fault for putting all their eggs in one basket. She admits that their faith in eBay was misplaced. And she recognizes that that she has to take responsibility for her own actions. It doesn’t change the fact that eBay made overnight changes that affected large numbers of people and failed to give them any time to make changes to their business model.

feeBay has abandoned us long, long ago. They lost track of those who made them. Open your eyes. There are many alternatives around. I use (in addition to my own store) and have not looked back at the beast ever since. There is light at the end of the tunnel!

What has happened to Ebay is the same thing that seems to happen to every company that gets too big. GREED takes control.

When greed takes control, quality goes right out the window. McDonald’s was likely, in the beginning, serving good food, for a good price, but if you have been to one lately, do you notice that it’s expensive, and gives you a gut ache afterwards??

How about Conrad Black? Not satisfied to own and run the biggest newspaper company in the world, he had to arrange huge payments to himself on every transaction. Now he’s a convict.

Same story as usual, just about Ebay this time. A small group of people are greedy, and along with that goes power hungry, and eventually the company will fold.

The only question left, is who, if anybody, will ever go to jail for all the crimes this company has committes along the way, that have yet to see the light of day. Fraudulent manipulation of listings totals and the resulting fraud pulled on stock holders is quite serious.

This is precisely the reason the boycott websites were set-up.
Because 1000’s of people are being hurt by Ebay, and they need a place to come together, and unite.
I am mostly a buyer, and as such, I find these changes harmful to me as a buyer, as much as I do to those who are primarily sellers.
I have not had fun bidding and buying on ebay in a very long time. But, since the boycotters decided to support I have enjoyed buying again.
As to Griff, well, he’s no longer “one of us”. He can spout off all he wants how these changes are great. But, deep down, he knows they’re full of poodoo. Or, he’s been inside ebay too long to know it. I no longer respect the man. He has lost his integrity, as far as I am concerned.
Yes, I understand his livelihood is at stake here. But, let’s be honest, does a man of integrity do a job just because of the pay? Do companies of integrity advertise products and services that do not have integrity? If they do, then do they have the right to say they are a company of integrity? I think not.
I believe integrity has as much a role in how we deal with others as it does with who we are.
Ebay has none. Griff has lost his, as far as I am concerned.

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