I read in the paper this weekend that eBay have angered both buyers and sellers alike by their decision to allow large high street retailers to sell on the site. In terms of protecting eBay’s brand and what it used to represent I think it’s a terrible idea. I have already stopped browsing the site as I might have done in the past as I get completely exasperated by seeing the same brand new item listed over and over again, sometimes on the same page with a “Buy it now” price.
eBay is rapidly losing the very element which made it different and new and which gave users from both ends of the transaction a feeling of community and ownership. It’s no longer a site where you buy stuff you didn’t even know you wanted – most people do a specific search, find the item and buy it. No fun, no surprises, no gypsy caravan shaped, hand-knitted tea cosies.
The new head honcho at eBay who has made the decision says that it was made on purely commercial grounds, stating that 40% of all current sales are made on new “buy it now” items through retailers. This change, along with the gradual shift of sellers on the site is set to dramatically change the type of business eBay becomes and the types of customer it appeals to, thereby creating a whole new identity for the brand. I only wish I had £250K + to set up a new eBay-style site. In the meantime my browsing loyalties go to www.etsy.com. I love it!