Saturday, January 31, 2009

Et tu, EBay?

Unemployment is up again, companies one might have thought were solid are announcing layoffs, the LA Times announced layoffs today, and the Philadelphia Inquirer is reported to be flirting with Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell about a $10 million state bailout. (Presumably the only way to have a free and independent press in this country is to make it a ward of government.) But perhaps the most important signal that this recession is real and not likely to go away very soon is that EBay has announced a hefty year-to-year decline, with profit falling 31% from last year, the first decline since 1995 (which means it weathered the bubble-burst). We in the newspaper business, who have seen our revenues decline in large part because of migration to the Net, not only for news but advertising (Craigslist and have hammered us; Register employment ad revenue was down 40% in 2008) had tended to see Net businesses as somehow all-powerful. (Incidentally, one of the best commentaries I've seen on the slow death of newspapers is this from's Jack Shafer.) If EBay is seeing profits decline and laying people off, the recession is serious indeed.


dorban said...

Oh PLEASE! Please are you that uninformed that you are NOT aware of ebay's woes, which have NOTHING to do with the economy? Amazon Q4 shows strong growth, while ebay's number decline due to ebay's current CEO, John Donahoe and ex-CEO, Whitman's "Disruptive Innovation" scheme against ebay! Search the internet for "eBay's Disruptive Innovation, How's that workin' for ya? — GenuineSeller".

While you're at it, please view the petition to remove Donahoe from ebay, by searching the internet for "Ebay Stockholders and Sellers Calling For Immediate Termination of John Donohoe CEO Petition" at petitiononline.

Learn what ebay's own employees are saying about the extremely poor upper management of ebay by going to glassdoor (dotcom).

ebay's discussion boards are being SEVERELY censored and users are being suspended and restricted for being HONEST on those boards, BUT if you search through the ebay discussions at "Seller Central", "The Soapbox", "Payapal" and "Feedback" posts and threads, you'll get a better understanding of what is REALLY happening to ebay and it has nothing to do with the economy. In fact, discount venues on other sites are all showing remarkable resilience to these trying times, as people search for more "Deals". They are no longer on ebay.

Alan Bock said...

I'll have to yield to your superior knowledge. Shows how one needs to go beyond the MSM. I tend to focus on foreign affairs, and this is a situation of which I was not aware. Thanks for bringing it to my (and our) attention.