I did not go to eBay Live this year, obviously, as I was at the My Little Pony convention this weekend. That said, I have been reading the almost realtime updates from Auction Bytes so I think I have enough perspective to talk about it.
Last year’s eBay Live left me as a seller feeling like eBay was doing everything right and that my business had nowhere to go but up up up. Having been a seller since 1997, I can honestly say that they have 99% of the time done nothing but improve the site up until this rash of idiocy. I read the recaps of what happened at this eBay Live, however, and I am left feeling no better than I did when I first heard about these stupid changes.
The good news is that a lot of people brought up issues that I wanted brought up. The bad news, though, is that eBay had the same non-answers as before. I think Ina says it best with this:
There’s a disconnect between what I’m hearing from eBay executives, and what I’m hearing from sellers and vendors, here at the eBay Live show. Booing during a keynote has happened before – . . . But I’ve never before seen sellers upset to the point they regularly erupted in loud disagreement to eBay presenters, as they did in the Feedback session yesterday. There’s also a YouTube video showing a man going ballistic at one of the sessions. . . As far as execs, I have a feeling they either don’t get it, or get it and won’t admit it. And what I mean by don’t get it is that they don’t recognize sellers’ are upset to the point of leaving. The official spin on unrest is “change is hard,” which is a big part of it, but the (sometimes nasty) desperation I’m seeing is from sellers who feel they don’t have control of their businesses, don’t know what eBay might throw at them next, and some of whom are pulling out their hair stuck between poor customer service from eBay and abusive buyers, others who fear encountering bad buyers and how it will affect their businesses.
What she hits right on the head, which is something that has been bothering me the most is that, unlike every other terrible choice eBay has made in the past, instead of saying “We hear your concern and we are looking into it” eBay is being dismissive. “Change is hard?” I was at a workshop where they, honest-to-god, said, something to the effect of “You silly sellers always get all upset over nothing.”
Don’t patronize me! I pay you hundreds of dollars a month.
It is like they are not taking our anger seriously. I can honestly say that is what bothers me the most about this. I don’t care if you are lying but at least pretend to understand how badly you messed up and tell me that you are working on it. Don’t just dismiss me and tell me that I will get used to it.
It also bothers me that very legitimate questions (like why a non-paying buyer gets no punishment and why eBay verbiage makes 4 stars seem like a good rating but then penalizes sellers when that is what the buyer gives them) always get dodged.
If you read the comments on Ina’s blog posts, people are saying this is absolutely the death knell for eBay and that this new exec staff is running it into the ground. I want to disagree, I want to be hopeful but to my eyes that is exactly what they are doing. You have your yearly big Rah Rah eBay party and instead of people wearing I Love eBay hats like last year, you have people screaming at you and booing your keynote. To me, any exec from eBay would have to understand the situation from this. But instead, they are just like “Golly, gee shucks! You sillies just need to get used to it.” I cannot imagine that they really lack that much business sense. But as they say, actions speak the loudest.
I really hoped to get some peace of mind from eBay Live. I figured eBay would make some announcement that would make all this insanity all right somehow because they were changing x and y and then undoing z. Instead I am left with less faith in the system before.
I loved eBay. I still love eBay when it works like old eBay. eBay is a good thing, people. Would it kill you not to screw it up?