back to article eBay revenue shrivel hits nine month mark

eBay's bread-and-butter marketplace business is still shriveling. During the quarter ending June 30, the company pulled in revenues of $2.1bn, a 5 per cent decline from the quarter last year, and as usual, the culprit was the marketplace unit, where revenues dropped 14 per cent year-on-year. At the end of 2008, for the first …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Thanks but no thanks

    I used to occasionally buy stuff on ebay but now avoid it. There is just too much opportunity for dodginess (shill bidding, fake goods, etc) and while they say they will "protect" you they really don't give a stuff IMHO, caring only about their profit margin. There is nothing wrong with aiming for a healthy profit but don't insult my intelligence by making out you are looking after me.

  2. Philip Cohen
    Thumb Down

    Please John, go to Intel

    A 29% reduction in revenue …

    The real question is, does "Noise" Donahoe actually believe all that nonsense that he has just vomited all over us? If he does, then eBay is in even deeper poo than anyone could have possibly imagined.

    I can see John sitting there, the odor of his anxiety choking everybody else in the room. But he is still in control of the ship (Captain Queeg-like), so we will all have to do what he says and stay awake, anxiously awaiting tomorrow’s Amazon results. I can hear the praying from over here in Australia: "Oh, please God, let not Amazon have another increase in revenues or profits lest we be again be exposed as the incompetents that we indeed are, and the stockholders will not be unhappier still."

    Donahoe and some market analysts seem to believe that PayPal’s manning of the pumps will keep the good ship “eBay” afloat. I certainly would not put my money on the “clunky” PayPal for the long term. Assuming that the parties don’t already have some agreement to not compete, I have no doubt that eventually those other well known “loan sharks”, the major credit card companies, will get off their butts and introduce a similar universal card/terminal-less on-line payments system that the participating banks can incorporate into their internet banking systems—and they, at least, will do it properly—and that, my friends, will undoubtedly be the end of PayPal outside of the Donahoe-dwarfed eBay marketplace ...

    I won’t get going on PayPal any further other than to recall that Donahoe has been quoted somewhere as saying that the door is slightly ajar for a potential spinoff of his company’s online payments unit. If this is correct it will be the first logical thought that this guy has ever had; he otherwise clearly has no idea of what he is doing at eBay. If that MBA taught him anything then he should be using all his skills to negotiate with the banks to take PayPal and integrate it into their online payments system—in exchange for an appropriate interest in the consolidated business, of course. Because, the more successful PayPal is, the more likely it is that the banks will finally get off their butts and introduce a like system; if and when that happens the banks will do it properly and will exterminate PayPal for being the irritating “insect” that it is.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    eBay profits on the decline?

    That will never do!

    Quick, raise the cost of placing an auction and take loads of money in final sellers and paypal fees.

    What? you already have?

    Oh dear ...

  4. Scott 9

    Turning their back on Mom-n-Pop auctions

    That's it in a nutshell. Sure, sometimes you can get a bargain on closeouts or some pawnshop selling their inventory, but it's a whole different world from the days of average people like you-n-me selling kewl stuff they found in the closet.

    I miss those days, it was a lot more fun back then, and to be honest I only find Ebay useful for used merchandise or stuff I simply can't find anywhere else. Most of the new junk can be had other places for less money if you take the time to look.

    It used to be Ebay was *the* place to go and look around, now it's a Power Seller land where people talk about selling prowess with the same aplomb as weightlifters bragging about the size of their biceps.

  5. Greg J Preece

    It was better as a tat bazaar

    Cheaper, more interesting, more fun.

    Now it's expensive as hell, only drop-shippers and businesses post, and they post buy-it-now auctions that are more expensive than Amazon Marketplace. The amount I buy from eBay has reduced drastically from "almost everything" to "practically nothing," in the space of only a year or so.

  6. Ali 4

    Considering the present economic climate . .

    . . . where people are cutting back on buying new and second hand / thrift shops are recording bumper profits, Ebay should be raking it in. To make a loss in this climate from such a business just shows how spectacularly incompetent the management are, and how many of their customers have left in droves.

    Very sad.

  7. Neil Greatorex


    Does anyone still use ebay?

    Stupid site layout, phantom bidding, Buy it now, 'from China/Hong Kong', increased fees, 'Did you mean', power sellers and the rest have pretty much killed it.

    Amazon just works™

  8. J Ford

    Please fail

    Fail and fail quickly please, this romance is over. Hopefully ebay/Paypal will falter and something better appear. It shouldn't be hard to produce something with a better user experience.

    If they want to save money perhaps they could stop redesigning the interface every couple of months so that it becomes increasingly slow and difficult to find what you are looking for, and get rid of the pop-up window crap that works badly on mobile platforms.

    Oh, and throw in some kind of meaningful guarantee for Paypal too, not spurious claims of fraud protection that are non-existant when you try to claim back defrauded monies.

  9. dunncha

    Recycling before it became trendy - @Turning their back on Mom-n-Pop auctions

    Scott 9 is right.

    I miss the excitment of winning/selling in a 0.99p auction. I miss the nice emails from happy customers, never had any mean ones but I did get a couple from Nigeria offering me untold wealth. The real buzz of ebay used to be the thrill of getting rid of some old peice of crap that somebody else was really happy to get. Recycling before it became trendy

    It is just no fun anymore and largely too expensive to buy and sell. A victim of their own success.

    icon: I miss the old eBay

  10. Glyn 2

    @Scott 9

    Totally agree

    The last 6 auctions I won turned out to be shops in disguise all of whom shafted me for one reason or another. The negative feedback system doesn't work as let's face it who reads it and ebay only has one resolution policy, "return all of it to get your money back, but not the cost of the original P&P or the return P&P"

    Had a guy send me an incomplete lot from america, the lot was marked as complete, sent an email to check as some bits weren't in the photo's and it arrived with 2 bits missing and from the email conversation I had, he'd never had them but chanced his luck. If he ordered the bits from someone else and had them delivered to me, total cost to him $6. Ebay wouldn't have him doing this and said to get any money back I'ld have to ship it all back. Being as I spent $40 on shipping fees which I wouldn't get back and I'd need full insured carriage as the guy was about as trustworthy as an MP's expenses claim, cost about ....$40 then that means I get to pay $80 to have nothing and he gets away with it.

    Why have different options asking why you're complaining, it they're only going to have one option to resolve it? I suppose cause they don't care about individual buyers and spending more than 2 minutes trying to sort out the shysters

    That'll be why I haven't bought anything in ages then ;)

    Name of the conartist seller available on request :P

  11. Hugh_Pym

    ebay is dead

    They thought they were Amazon and looked to please the commercial sector with the effect of closing out the the real reason people used ebay. It was the global flea market. If you where looking for something if it was for sale anywhere it was on ebay. Not any more. The professional sellers have been given precedence and ruined it for everybody. It's hardly even an auction site anymore.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Well maybe if you didn't get the standard "that's ebays problem", "oh no that's paypals problem" run around ( when we all know they're one in the same ) every time you got scammed, then people would trust them enough to keep using ebay. I used to buy and sell all the time, along with many of my friends, on ebay but since they change the rules every two minutes and make it more difficult to recover money should something go wrong I don't think any of us have bothered recently.

    If you're running a big business off ebay, then it's maybe worth the risk of the odd scam. But for the normal user they're better off just binning stuff now.

  13. jason 7

    I've given up with Ebay.

    I used to enjoy doing a big sell off of all my old PC gear but recently I've been advised that I now have to offer free P&P on all computer items, books and dvds! How does that help me???

    So that kills off the auction side and just makes it even harder for me. So yes it now is just a power seller from China junk market. They dont want individual sellers now.

    I reckon all auctions will be stopped within a year. I do hope they get what they deserve.

  14. David Cameron

    tax are for nailing down carpets

    I guess that a lot of the people who sold stuff on ebay regularly, not really running a business, but turning over too much for the tax man to let go, don't do it now. The UK tax authorities came down on ebay and insisted on being given the trading information, so that tax could be charged where appropriate.

    I bet that discouraged a lot of people who were probably only selling stuff they didn't want any longer --- and who would NOT have been called upon to pay tax --- from using ebay any more.

    Maybe that is why so many of the sellers now turn out to be shops and businesses.

    The thing I like least about it is the carriage charges. Say I see an item and know that its worth about £5. I would be a fool to even think of bidding if the carriage charge is £5 or above ! Many times I see things sell for £1 with carriage at £8:95 !! Also, I notice that deliveries seem to come from UNRELATED companies --- is this employees selling on ebay and shipping the stuff out at work !!! and pocketing cash from their theft ?

    Others in my family use it sometimes, but I can well live without anything which is on sale on ebay.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Ebay fees

    The fees for sellers are madness these days. Not to mention buyers who bully you after the auction has ended suddenly asking for a reduction because they didn't read the listing properly.

    I spent time putting an item of equipment on Ebay, someone won it and then bitched about the cost! We had to mutually agree to drop the sale in the end so I've had a week wasted and still have to pay the listing fees. I'm now loath to offer the item as a "second chance" as I saw how high the Ebay final sale fees were!

    It's still good for buyers, but for sellers it's impossible. It used to be a good way for me to offload the occasional piece of equipment but between idiot buyers and the fees I'm not sure I'm bothered anymore.

  16. Jason 24

    Good riddance!

    The sooner paypal and ebay are gone the happier the world of e-commerce will be, I've seen so many horror stories from store owners and paypal disputes that it amazes me they are still going. Customer service? None existant over there.

  17. The First Dave


    I think the fact that PayPal is still increasing its profits, somehow, is a big indication of the problem: sooner or later everyone in the whole world will get fed up of eBay getting four cuts of each transaction:

    Listing Fee

    Final Value Fee

    % of PayPal payment from buyer,

    % of PayPal received by seller.

    These figures are now all so high on their own, that there is no chance of the total figure actually being a bargain.

  18. Hugh_Pym

    Where can we go?

    I want an auction site that:

    1. Only does auctions

    2. Concentrates on second hand stuff.

    3. concentrates on cheap stuff

    4. Operates a proper user satisfaction policy. (everything could be escrowed through the site)

    5. Doesn't allow sniping. (this can be achieved by adding random extra minutes after each close to the end bid).

    6. Doesn't charge the earth for doing nothing.

  19. Andy ORourke

    @ I've given up with Ebay

    Me too, I got a DVD the other day that I didnt want (a cock-up from love Film) and decided to stick it on Ebay...........

    Fuck that, pissing about, can't add P&P costs for that category, are you sure it is legal for you to sell this etc etc. Two minutes later and bang, Amazon now has another copy of the film on it's inventory!

  20. spiny norman

    Drive me away, why don't you?

    I didn't used to be in the "eBay sucks" camp, but they seem to be doing everything they can to drive me away. They've gone from management that had an instinctive understanding of their business to one driven by "our survey says" and chasing after per transaction profit, rather than making the business work as a whole. eBay is rapidly becoming a global on-line version of PoundStretcher.

    On the good side, they have cured me of what was becoming an eBay addiction.

  21. Dangerous Dave

    waste of time nowadays

    the last few times i've tried selling stuff on there i've had someone try scam me. It's like most things, it starts off great but once it becomes more popular and the idiots get hold of it, it all turns to crap.

    It's still good for the odd phone charger from taiwan or wherever, but selling for me nowadays is a no no

  22. jake Silver badge

    Diminishing returns, or something like that.

    What do you expect? Once enough of the world-wide "one man's junk" becomes another man's treasure, there is no tat left to push ... leaving businesses selling new crap.

    I never really understood the point of ebay anyway. I can get everything I need locally (defined here as under ~100 miles by road), usually cheaper overall, and I can look the seller in the eye when I make the purchase.

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