These Boots Are Made for Walkin’

Posted on January 29, 2009. Filed under: eBay, Other | Tags: , , , |


As a business owner, I am a paying customer to many others including “venue” owners like eBay and Amazon.  And, how do these venues treat their customers?  Let’s compare:


Today, Amazon held a seller webinar about their Fulfillment services.  At the beginning of the webinar one of the first things Amazon had to say was “We have 3 customers and today in this webinar we are going to focus on YOU, one of our customers, as we discuss an opportunity for success using Amazon’s FBA program.”


In addition to Amazon’s helpful webinars this month, they have posted a total of 10 great articles on their blog that is devoted to helping Amazon sellers.   And one of Amazon’s posted announcements this month was titled “A-to-Z Guarantee Improvements: Buyer to Seller Communication.”  I have never had any A-to-Z claims on Amazon and I partly attribute that to Amazon encouraging communication between buyers and sellers to resolve any issues.


It seems that eBay is putting their customer service efforts into their community bulletin boards.  Their recent announcement is titled  “Coming soon – A New look, plus some cool new features for the eBay discussion boards” and a new thread was recently started on the community Seller Central board by Griff where he personally answers sellers’ questions.  For example, the following is one of the first posts:

Hello Griff heres my question.
When is Ebay going to start listening to and providing the customer service, that Ebay expects us to provide to our customers the buyers, to its customers ,yes you know us sellers who pay you to list items.

Now. We are working on improvements for customer support as we speak.

You send a question to Ebay and you get a nonsense answer that has nothing to do with what you asked. You contact live help about a problem and they have no power to fix said problem.

If that happens, forward the email and response to me at using your regular email (not My Messages)

You post your opinion on one of the threads about new things being implemented that will dramatically impact your business and Ebay says we are listening and then they go and make the change they intended to in the first place. So why even ask our opinion.

Because all opinions are welcome. It doesn’t mean all can be adopted. And we have many times altered plans and designs on the basis of member input.

I know John Donahoe comes from the standard business world and thinks all the changes will fix the business they won’t and haven’t. Ebay is not a standard business you have thousands and thousands of businesses that every change effects detrimentally. It would be different if Ebay had inventory and shipping or any tangible product other than web space.

That is correct. eBay’s business model is unusual and unlike most others. We know this.

They don’t All you have is us and for the last year you have treated all of us little guys like dirt.

If you have a specific incident or issue that was handled in a way you felt was not professional, satisfactory, fair to you, or respectful, email the details to me.

So when are you going to start listening to all the great small time sellers that love Ebay enough to come here and tell you whats wrong and how to fix it.

Uh… I am here… listening…

Sometimes it seems to me that eBay uses a lot of words to say (and do) a whole lot of nothing.  Now, while eBay may have good intentions for the community board and eBay may think the community boards are worthy of  devoting more effort to, I think there are so many other more important issues that eBay should be tackling.  But, hey, what do I know? 

My day as an eBay seller ended today with me discovering that I was forcibly opted into a beta test of a new item page which lacks several standard features.  Now, I get to spend the evening figuring out the new eBay page and then creating instruction sheets that I will share with everyone at work tomorrow so that we can use workaround solutions to eBay’s “improvements”.  Funny how eBay’s improvements tend to create more work and difficulty for me, the seller, instead of making things easier or better.  It’s not that change upsets me, as eBay claims is the problem with sellers, but rather I am upset by change that specifically creates a more difficult system.

I can only guess that eBay’s “disruptive innovation” of my business may have something to do with the fact that they just don’t see me as one of their customers.  Well, in all fairness, I sure do pay eBay a whole lot less now than I used to since I began transferring more of my selling effort to eBay’s competition.  That is the great thing about being the customer – I get to vote for what I want with my dollars.  And right now I am voting more often for the guy who is walking the walk not just talking the talk.   

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3 Responses to “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’”

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I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts over this last year and wish you well in your business this year.

Well done for telling eBay ‘ GOODBYE ‘

It’s sad what eBay has become as I used to love it. Now, it has left me with severe anxiety and depression as well as a lot of debt – thank you eBay.

The difference between Amazon and eBay’s customer service and attitude towards sellers is striking.

I can only imagine the frustration those who still choose to sell on eBay feel when like you Brews, find that they are being forced to be guinea pigs for beta tests with no forewarning… in the old days of eBay that probably would have been called auction interference.

I have been following the ask Griff thread and this was included in the latest batch of Q&A’s and I think it says
it all:

Q: Is eBay re-thinking their disruptive innovation scheme? Are they considering the possibility that its a big failure both econmically and politically (customer dissention)?

Griff’s answer: No. We have and we will continue, to adjust course and fine tune changes as needed. But we are on path and not turning back.


A very sad reflection on what was once one of the most successful companies whose name once stood for innovation and was celebrated. Now when I think of innovation and eBay, I find myself looking around to see where the mallet is going to come crashing down.

Excellent post, as always, Brews. I can’t think of one single eBay “improvements” that didn’t end up in a whole lot of wasted time either learning a new feature, changing listings or doing something else to essentially just keep marking time in the same spot.

Sounds like Amazon is trying hard to help their retailers, while eBay still just don’t get it.

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