BusinessWeek: Ignore eBay Sellers--They're Just Whiners

BusinessWeek’s Rob Hof adds an experienced perspective to the eBay buyer/seller rage that the New York Times reported today: Ignore it, because eBay users never stop complaining.

This is true to some extent, but Rob is downplaying the current outcry too much. In the past, eBay’s seller protests have died down because the company has addressed their complaints. In this case, the likely way that eBay will have to address the complaints is to:

  1. Spend a lot on fixing the site interface and shopping experience, and
  2. Cut prices, so that sellers and buyers regard eBay as a great value proposition again.

Neither of these measures will kill the company, but they will likely put pressure on the profit margin. Also, eBay’s commerce business–the one the buyers and sellers are disgruntled about–is not quite growing at the “30%” that Rob reports. It grew 27% in Q3, and when the foreign exchange impact is stripped out, the organic growth was closer to 20%.

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