Meg Makes Nice

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 24, 2005

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After months of complaints from its sellers, it’s clear that eBay is finally paying more attention. On Thursday night, CEO Meg Whitman extended some olive branches, drawing big cheers during her keynote at the company’s eBay Live! member conference in San Jose.

For one, she and Bill Cobb, president of eBay North America, announced are ways to make shipping easier for both sellers and buyers, such as eliminating a 20-cent charge per preprinted shipping label and adding the shipping cost to the results of product searches. They also announced several changes to eBay's feedback system, by which buyers and sellers rate each other. Among other things, buyers won't be able to leave so-called retaliatory negative ratings if they don't pay for an item, and sellers will be barred from doing the same thing if they don't ship the item they promised.

Whether all that mollifies sellers miffed at fee hikes last February and what they see as declining customer service remains to be seen. But sellers after the keynote said the moves are promising.

Whitman also shed some light on the recent flurry of acquisitions and investments in new selling venues. "We want to help you grow, even off the eBay marketplace," she told the crowd of thousands of sellers. "This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for you and your businesses and, we believe, for eBay as well. eBay wants to be not only the best site but the best solution provider for sellers."

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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