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Ebay's rising star plots revamp of 'flea market' 
Post: #1   PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:21 am Reply with quote
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eBay's rising star plots revamp of 'flea market'
By Richard Waters

Published: December 18 2007 02:00 | Last updated: December 18 2007 02:00

Tinkering with the core mechanisms of the world's busiest e-commerce site is not something to be undertaken lightly. Yet John Donahoe, head of eBay's marketplace division, is preparing an overhaul for early next year that amounts to a major revamp of eBay's core business.

If successful, it could revive the company's flagging growth while also strengthening his own standing as the likely eventual successor to Meg Whitman as eBay's chief executive.

A former managing partner of consulting firm Bain who joined eBay nearly three years ago, Mr Donahoe has cast an outsider's dispassionate eye over some of the site's practices and found them wanting. During an interview at eBay's headquarters in Silicon Valley, he talks with the clear and untroubled certainties of the consultant, and has the prescriptions to match.

"A year ago, we had 14 per cent of global e-commerce, we're the largest e-commerce provider, and our home page still looks like a flea market," he says. "The world around us had changed. In particular our buyers' experience hadn't kept up."


The changes to come in 2008 could prove more significant, and show eBay grappling with some of the new realities of its market.

One of those realities is that auctions, while still the largest part of its business, are no longer so dominant. In the past three years, fixed-price sales have risen from 28 to 41 per cent of the total, Mr Donahoe says.

To adjust, eBay is looking at moving away from its traditional initial listing fees and instead taking a bigger commission on a sale...... [ Read Full Article ]

© Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2007
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Post: #2   PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:00 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 13 Sep 2007
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Location: UK

If eBay go down the road of doing away with listing fees then I suspect that will blow most of what little competition there is clean out of the water. Most of the alternative sites focus on the fact that they charge no listing fees (though there are exceptions such as QXL which does have a small charge). I suppose these sites would then have to push the fact that their FVF were less than eBay. But with no listing fees to pay I think a lot of people would be tempted to return to eBay. It would certainly encourage me to put some items there, but at the moment unless I can be sure they will sell I hesitate!
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