Back on May 18th, 2010, I got an email from Richard Brewer-Hay who is the official eBay blogger. He wanted to start a new initiative on his blog, eBay Ink, highlighting eBay sellers that are very active in social media. This program, called Social Media Sellers, would give each seller a profile on eBay Ink which featured a brief interview about how they used both eBay and social media.

In this original email, Richard mentioned that he had selected me (I’m Hillary DePiano, by the way, in case you have no idea where you are) to be one of the launch profiles for this program. I was rather flattered and agreed. There were only 9 of us in the original class.

The original class of the eBay Ink Social Media Sellers is:

Danna Crawford
Ocala, Florida
Power Selling Mom

Hillary DePiano
Denville, New Jersey
Priced Nostalgia

Marlene Gavens
Sarasota, Florida
The Savvy Seller

Wally Kolenda
Barre, Massachusetts
Auction Wally

Karen Locker
Dunstable, Massachusetts
Mommys Bazaar

John Lawson
Atlanta, Georgia
3rd Power Outlet

Kat Simpson
Montgomery, Alabama
Kats Kloset

If you click on anyone’s name above, it will take you to their profile on eBay Ink. The bottom most link is their business website.

The program launched in BETA on July 14th, 2010 with only little hitch. They could only put 6 of the 9 profiles up while they BETA tested the site. Richard promised that the 6 they chose for BETA testing was completely random to not show favoritism and that the program would launch officially in August which is when the rest of the launch group would go up.

So the program launched in BETA without Cliff, Karen and myself and we missed all the fun and fanfare when the other 6 were hailed and we had to sit around and say, “Grumble, grumble. Stupid random selection bug testing. Now no one knows that we were part of the launch group and we’ll look like random scrubs who signed up later… etc.” We were hardly bitter at all, obviously. ­čśë

Though August came and went without any updates, the program finally launched officially yesterday and the rest of the launch group joined the ones that were up for BETA testing. The option for others to sign up is also here with an email for anyone to send in their applications.

Now that the program is started “for real” I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on it.

I really love the idea for a multitude of reasons.

  • Firstly, I love that so many people complain that eBay has abandoned the community element of the site and yet here they are highlighting sellers specifically because they took that spirit of community outside the site and into the wide world of social networking.
  • I like they they selected a wide variety of sellers from very different types of businesses (collectibles, new items, auctions vs fixed price) because it really puts faces on the different kinds of eBay businesses out there and gives a personalized look into a few people who have had success on and off the platform.
  • RBH has hinted that this will be more than a collection of profiles, that it will also be sort of a brain trust for brainstorming ideas about using social network in business which could yield some fantastic information for sellers of any platform. Polling a group of people from different types of businesses will make for much more useful data than asking just one.
  • I love that they picked people who were good a social media, not necessarily people who were eBay cheerleaders. The fact that I’m on that list at all, to me, says that eBay is a hell of a sport and is willing to take criticism as well as praise. I love eBay and I sell there more than anywhere else but I’m not exactly nice to them every day on this blog and they were still willing to highlight me and my business. That shows some serious moxie and I respect them all the more for that.
  • Lastly, I like to see eBay (and let’s be honest, this is all Richard) putting a face on sellers, even if its only a small handful of us. There are so many complaints going around that eBay is becoming sterile and faceless that I like to see them very visibly pushing the human element in this way.

So, in all, I’m very excited for this program and I give all credit to Richard for not only coming up with it but also putting the work in and fighting for it. It looks like it has a ton of potential and I’m excited to see where it goes.