Saul Hansell delivers some blistering commentary today about eBay: Specifically, input from many members of eBay’s two crucial constituencies, sellers and buyers, explaining why they hate the place.
(As an aside, we are glad to see that Saul and the Times are now in the company analysis business. This is not the sort of info you tend to hear from Wall Street. Now that the Times is analysing eBay, moreover, we figure it might as well go whole hog and put a SELL on the stock. Based on the information in Saul’s recent posts, it certainly seems merited.)
The complaints Saul cites mirror those we’ve read in eBay’s forums, and they explain why the company is reportedly considering reducing initial listing fees. The comments also suggest that eBay should consider going further. Specifically, it should consider reducing all fees, to the point where both buyers and sellers are raving about the company’s value proposition again.
True, this would whack eBay’s profit margins and further bludgeon the stock. But, as Amazon has often demonstrated, taking a short-term margin hit in order to give customers better prices is often the best long-term plan. Despite enduring years of Wall Street disenchantment with its stock, Amazon never wavered on its commitment to customers. eBay, meanwhile, now seems to have alienated not only Wall Street but the folks who create all of its business value.
Saul lays out the complaints of eBay’s customers here:
- Disappointed Buyers
- Angry Sellers
We second Saul’s previous suggestion that Amazon should buy eBay. Meanwhile, as frustrated eBay shareholders, we reiterate our suggestion that it’s time for Meg Whitman to go.
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