eBay: Another Yahoo

April 22, 2009

I am tired of the Microsoft Yahoo grade school love affair. The Google “dossier” function is old news because the GOOG disclosed similar functions in a patent application containing the Michael Jackson example two or three years ago. (If you are a reader of this Web log, you know that Googler Cyrus [last name withheld by me as a courtesy] told anyone who would listen that I made up the example. I am not interested in how much Yahoo’s revenues have fallen. Not much of a surprise because the Yahooligans are drifting despite senior Yahoo technologists’ insisting that I am wrong and the Yahooligans are right. They aren’t. Now the revenue problem puts the company into flashing yellow light mode.

No Google, no Microsoft, and no Yahoo.

Let’s think about this recent Forbes.com article “eBay: Back to Basics” by Taylor Buley here. The write up does a credible job of summarizing some of eBay’s challenges. I want to be more specific. eBay is a bit like the snail darter. The creature is like Kentucky’s own Townsend’s Big-eared Bat. Endangered.

Here’s my take on the eBay problem which includes some points either deleted, ignored, or known to be too addled for the buttoned up Forbes crowd and their pop up ads:

  1. Search. The eBay search system does not work for me. Let’s say I want to buy a refurbished Hewlett Packard NC4010 laptop. Try the query. What do you get? The same lousy results I do. Anything with the string. Try to limit to the actual computer itself. Not possible. This problem is sufficiently annoying to make me endure the wackiness of Google Shopping or the Amazon outfit that routinely changes my one click settings. Anything but eBay. The search system is awful in my opinion. eBay tried Thunderstone. eBay rolled its own. I am not sure what can be done to fix the core finding engine. My hunch is that there is neither the money, the desire, or the expertise to pull this baby out of the fire.
  2. Fraud. I learned a long time ago that eBay works overtime to keep the magnitude of the fraud issue under wraps. I have been snookered a number of times. There was the famous mobile phone play by a person with the alias of Wiguna. I took matters into my own hands, located the Wiguna person, and in person relayed my experience to an individual familiar with the outfit where Wiguna did some work. With this indirect method, I got my money back. I don’t think I am alone. eBay is trying to “do” security but not spending enough management time and attention to understand the magnitude of the problem and then not having enough resources to take action. Too little and too late, much too late.
  3. Vendors. The actions eBay has taken have angered some folks who sell products on eBay. Maybe this is a replay of the tragedy of the commons. But up the road from Harrods’s Creek, a small eBay service company has shut its doors. The company could not cope with the combined effects of the hassle, the fees, and the fraud. A couple more Kentucky folks have to shoot squirrels to eat I suppose. The cause was eBay, not these honest people who sold my used computer gear for me.

The most recent actions underscore the cluelessness of the company. Skype and StumbleUpon are in play. Skype was a poorly taken decision. StumbleUpon was simply fumbled by inept running backs. The management teams have not been able to take purposeful action, underscoring the fact that MBAs and folks with great personalities cannot run companies anchored in technology that cannot be fossilized. Change has marginalized eBay and now the company is in the same canoe as Yahoo.

Forbes is skeptical. I’m not. I think eBay’s radar is not working. Like a blinded big eared bat, a collision is inevitable.

Stephen Arnold, April 22, 2009


50 Responses to “eBay: Another Yahoo”

  1. Johnny Pannell on April 22nd, 2009 11:05 pm

    On the ebay comment. Ebay searches does not work correctly fior me. I have notified ebay before. I tried yesterday again and one person going under the name Eve D. admitted the search did not work correctly for my item. Then she connected with someone named Robert in billing when she found out she could not blow me off. She said it pulled up and I asked her to wait to check. I checked and it did not pull up correctly. Not able to deceive me like Eve did Adam, she admitted the truth: the ebay search did not work correctly. But Robert who she connected me to is a liar, fraud and deceit. Refused to admit the obvious, that my product listed for sale did not pull up correctly. Refused to refund $1.25 and offered me credit. Why, I will not use ebay again. Got ripped off on a hat I sold because it didn’t get much attention because it would not pull up in searches correctly. Robert was too stupid to fix the problem and too much of an ebay liar to admit that I was wright. He was very evasive. I just changed the starting bid to a higher amount to insure if it sold that I would not get ripped off again by ebay bad service and stupid personnel.

  2. allfreeads on November 2nd, 2009 6:08 am

    i tested the search before and i can tell that there is no comparision between the two

  3. motorolafans on November 14th, 2009 12:17 pm

    Well i must say that ebay sucks!

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  5. Yuko Ogura on February 7th, 2010 9:49 pm

    Ebay still need some time to improve their search…i prefer google…it is the best for me

  6. 3D DVD Movie on February 8th, 2010 11:28 am

    What ? how big is that rant but how correct, and then there is paypal pulling fraudulant moves left right and centre. I thought this was supposed to improve our lives!!!

  7. Blu Ray DVD Players on February 8th, 2010 11:33 am

    how right you are but they have moved forward since this post, only not quick enough.

  8. Jay Sean on February 12th, 2010 4:12 am

    ebay is good but not so good.

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  11. UK company registration on February 16th, 2010 2:31 am

    I don’t know if I concur with your post here. See you do make a good point, I don’t believe you have really given plenty of thought to the other side of this argument. Perhaps I could do a guest post or a follow-up, just tell.

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  15. Andrew on February 26th, 2010 10:26 pm

    I used yahoo most of my searches.Not because ebay don’t have the capacity to do the same field, but I think they still need to have more time to be competent for yahoo.

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  17. ifriends on March 12th, 2010 4:31 pm

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  19. Y8 on August 5th, 2010 6:23 am

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  20. Carencruz on August 14th, 2010 5:09 am

    Thanks for sharing useful information. Caren.

  21. Caren on August 16th, 2010 6:26 am

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  22. Hendry on August 16th, 2010 6:31 am

    E bay still needs to improve , prefer popular search engines to search guys…

  23. Shany on August 25th, 2010 8:30 pm

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  26. Y8 on September 14th, 2010 12:37 pm

    very good post no gigant firm in this domain only ebay

  27. Travel Kefalonia on September 29th, 2010 11:12 pm

    I dont know what’s wrong really..but it doesnt work for me as well…

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  32. Autodetailing on January 7th, 2011 6:57 am

    I’m totally agree with you man!

  33. Beads on January 20th, 2011 8:21 pm

    Ebay place too much emphasis on paid search. While their algorithms are smart, they are just trying to make more money.

    They need to go back to providing the best results and make money on paypal fees 😉

  34. Stephen E. Arnold on January 23rd, 2011 9:25 am


    I find eBay less and less useful.

    Stephen E Arnold, January 23, 2011

  35. Scrapbooking on January 23rd, 2011 8:54 pm

    We tried to sell on ebay, but it became too expensive like etsy, so we opened our own site!

  36. health on January 24th, 2011 1:13 am

    I’m totally agree with you man!

  37. Flight Simulator for PC on February 3rd, 2011 9:48 am

    I have never had a problem with eBay Searches, the company has always been on top of its game since I have been using it.

  38. Calypso Bay on February 23rd, 2011 7:48 pm

    You are totally right Stephen E Arnold. There are sites who can do it on there own.

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    Hey site owner, I like y3home.com but why did you chose it? I mean its so neat with the random avatars and draws people in, but what speficially made you want to install it?

  41. y8 on June 14th, 2011 5:32 pm

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  42. Jim Chamberlain on June 15th, 2011 4:34 pm

    You are completely correct in my opinion.

  43. Jeremy on June 17th, 2011 3:36 pm

    That’s interesting. I had never though of it that way really.

  44. Y8 on August 10th, 2011 12:43 am

    Ebay still need some time to improve their search

  45. Friv on August 10th, 2011 12:45 am

    ebay not good.

  46. Y8 on August 10th, 2011 12:48 am

    E bay still needs to improve.

  47. Y8 on August 10th, 2011 12:50 am

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  48. Friv on August 10th, 2011 12:53 am

    I used google most of my searches.Not because ebay don’t have the capacity to do the same field.

  49. friv on August 16th, 2011 5:19 pm

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  50. y3 on August 16th, 2011 6:47 pm

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