back to article eBay marketplace reverses revenue shrinkage

eBay's bread-and-butter marketplace business is growing again. In the fourth quarter, the company recorded $1.5bn in marketplace revenues, a 15 per cent leap from the previous year. This - along with another beefy quarter from PayPal - helped boost total Q4 revenue to $2.4bn, a 16 per cent increase from the fall of 2008, when …


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  1. Philip Cohen
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    eBay: Dead Man Walking

    Let me then cut straight to the chase with a simple statement from an ex regular eBay buyer’s point of view: eBay (aka “the eBafia”) is now a criminal organization!

    How could that be, you ask? Well, with some effort and some multi-auction analysis, it can be very clearly demonstrated (see the following link) that shill bidding fraud by unscrupulous professional sellers, at least on nominal-start auctions, is rampant on eBay auctions, and the executives “in the know” at eBay, unless they are actually as stupid as they apparently think all we simple consumers are, cannot but be aware of that criminal activity (and, if indeed they claim to be not so aware, I am pointing it out to them now). And yet they do nothing proactive nor truly effective to prevent such criminal activity. Indeed, they have done the very opposite, they have introduced a non-unique masking of bidding IDs, which serves no logical purpose other than to further obscure such criminal activity and aid and abet said unscrupulous sellers to, by fraudulent means, maximize their sale prices, thus maximizing eBay’s FVF. (It’s even worse in the UK, where the form of bidder masking makes it simply impossible for buyers to detect the unscrupulous, sophisticated shill-bidding professional sellers that undoubtedly infest their eBay auctions.)

    It’s known as “criminal facilitation” and, in most civilized countries, anyone who knowingly facilitates such criminal activity is also considered to be a criminal. It’s as simple as that! Is it any wonder that, relatively speaking, buyers are staying away, and this business is now going down the toilet?

    PayPal is a banking-type service, a service that would be more competently carried out under the auspices of the banking community via their credit card company partners. Without the bankers’ knowledge of the entities involved in the transactions, PayPal will always be handicapped—even more so while under the management of such incompetents as those who currently control eBay.

    The head turkey at eBay, “Noise” Donahoe, will occasionally talk of the possibility of selling off PayPal because he is just barely smart enough to know that when the major credit card companies do get off their butts and introduce a like card/terminal-less payments system to complement their credit card system, they will do it properly, and the “clunky” PayPal will then sink like a stone—other than, possibly, on what is by then left of the Donahoe-ever-shrinking eBay marketplace.

    In support of the above comment I offer the an introduction to an introduction to the full sad/ugly story at

    If you want a laugh or a cry (whatever moves you), take a look at this recent video interview of this arrogant, clumsy, inarticulate, flip-flopping, buffoon, Donahoe (the hand language tells it all) at

    How this clown ever got to be CEO of a listed public company is incomprehensible to me. He is undoubtedly going to go down in US corporate history as the man who really did “kill the golden goose”.

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: eBay: Dead Man Walking

      Surely ebay is a platform, you will get people exploiting anything they can, there are lots of baddies out there. I admit that not doing anything about known exploits is probably criminal but there are other precedents like not blaming ISP's for 'supporting' child pornography, as long as they shut down illegal sites when brought to their attention.

      PS I think Paypal's brilliant, I just hope no-one hacks it.

  2. ravenviz Silver badge

    "eBay's bread-and-butter marketplace"

    Well it seems to make sense that in a downturn people are more willing to look at alternative / cheaper sources for their purchases, perhaps ebay provides that. I don't know how much of their revenue is attributable to the "bread and butter" selling off second hand stuff but I bet that segment increased during 2009. Seems like a good model to me.

  3. ravenviz Silver badge
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    Re[2]: eBay: Dead Man Walking

    By the way I'm an occasional buyer / seller on ebay UK and I've never had any problems, you can usually sniff out a dodgy auction if you have your wits about you, usual caveat: if it's too good to be true, it probably is best avoided.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Free Postage Scam?

    So the increase in revenue is nothing to do with the fact that ebay have introduced mandatory "Free Postage" on the most popular seller categories?

    Previously, sellers would be able to mitigate for the money they lose on the transaction due to ebay and paypal fees by building a small contingency into their postage costs (OK not so small with some sellers!)

    Now all sellers have to include the cost of the free postage in their start price - so whereas previously you could offer something at an attractive 99p start price and if it only had one bid you weren't out of pocket because you had the postage covered you have to start your auction at say 3.99 so that if it only attracts one bid then you make enough money to cover the postage AND fees

    Of course the ebay final value fee has never included the sellers postage costs (hence the scam where an occasional seller who would offer something for a few pence but then charge the actual value as the postage)so now ebay have forced sellers to increase the start prices and therefore increased ebay's slice of the pie substantially.

    It's not a sign of a recovering economy, or an indicator of consumer behaviour - it's just a case of ebay changing their pricing model to squeeze the maximum cash out of sellers and buyers

  5. eBuster
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    eBay is not very good with figures

    eBay say it has 233m members but if you read the small print then this 233m soon becomes 14m for the UK and you could add 20% more for the USA but this still leaves you a very long way from eBays 233m figure.

    eBuster put the total for active members at about 33m members.

    and that includes all the shill bid accounts and accounts set up for nothing more than selling feedback and if you think these are small numbers then take a look here were 1000's of feedback adverts are listed.

    or here where we have a bidder with just 6 points retracting 275 bids

    or this one where a bidder has 72 bids with the same seller.

    eBays responce is to cook the book when they have been caught out.

    but Google cached pages saves the day.

    Take a look at 'Books Fiction' on eBay UK and it says it has about 2.5m items listed so if you take 2.5m and divide by 15 days and 200 items per page then you should see about 833 pages of these books each day but the highest page you will get to is about 251 and it will show items are ending in about 23 hours time if ordered by 'Ending soonest' so where are the other 500 pages.

    eBay says crime only accounts for something like 0.01% of items and it is doing all it can to help members so how come i can write software with limited access to data that spots gang activity a mile away.

    eBay is doing all it can to hide data and will not answer why bidder in the UK are all called bidder 1-20 and the USA has two digit alias and not a ten digit unique alias but i think we can all work that one out for ourselves and now if you take the time to look at the bid history for cars you find a page full of new members and yellow stars.

    Sorry but eBay can not claim to have masses of loyal members if none of them are bidding and any figures from eBay must be taken with a large pinch of salt.

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