Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ebay Threatened by a users' boycott

Ebay has driven users anger after having announced some policy changes. Ebay has decided to lower the fees for listing items but on the other hand to higher its commissions on sold items. Meanwhile, Ebay could hold some Paypal payments for up to 21 days(!) on certain transactions.

What you have to know if you are not familiar with Ebay, the auction website is a real ecosystem. A lot of people are earning money and make a living out of Ebay. They are using the auction website as a retail, where they can display and sell their products. Therefore, while Ebay is correcting its terms of services, you can imagine that if affects them deeply. Some of the users are thinking about boycotting the site to protest.

Now Ebay is in a very uncomfortable situation. Can they come back on their decision? It is going to be hard, as they have already announced it. So now, this is a new situation where the company will have to negotiate and talk to its clients in order to find compromises.

This example shows how important customers, whether they are sellers or buyers (or both), are. Without users, there is no market, and then no company. The company should have thought about it and incorporate users to its thinking process in order to lower the potential protest risk. They could have for example edit a forum where people could have suggest what they would like to have for policies, maybe vote for them. Also Ebay would have introduced and explain these new terms. At the 2.0 era, Ebay have to understand customers have a strong bargaining force, and they should be taken into consideration while changing a product or a service.

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