eBay monitors the PayPal accounts of its biggest sellers to see how much off-eBay business they’re doing and thereby reward or punish them on their platform. That’s at least the allegation made by Daniel Leffel, the CEO of eBay competitor Yardseller, citing “a senior level eBay person.” (eBay owns PayPal.) Leffel also says it uses PayPal to spy on competitors.
eBay’s core business is in a bad shape in many ways. Though it’s still a cash machine, it’s still very inefficient, and many of these inefficiencies privilege big eBay sellers over smaller ones, which is noxious for the platform in general. In many ways, eBay is held hostage by its biggest sellers.
The company is planning to address this with its “New eBay” strategy, which sounds good, but as so often, execution is what will make or break it.
Update: A PayPal spokesperson writes us:
This is absolutely untrue. PayPal does not share an individual merchant’s specific off-eBay transaction data with eBay. Our corporate policy and procedures require that if any data is shared, it is only aggregate data of sales, but not on an individual account level. Our service is built on privacy, and we respect a merchant’s right to keep their sales data private as well.