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Investors: Thumbs Down on eBay Management Shuffle

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 6, 2006

eBay investors apparently don’t like the just-announced departure of Jeff Jordan, president of eBay’s PayPal unit. The stock’s down almost 5% this morning.

Given the relative success of PayPal—as well as its new competition from Google Checkout, which may require some fancy footwork on PayPal’s part—that reaction is no surprise. And my brief talk this morning with Jordan, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, and new PayPal President Rajiv Dutta didn’t offer much new to comfort investors. Although Whitman says she and Jordan have talked about his desire to spend more time with his family (“and wear out a mountain bike,” as avid biker Jordan put it), the decision was clearly pretty recent. Otherwise, I wonder if Rajiv Dutta, who moved to London early this year to be president of eBay’s Skype unit, would have done so, only to find himself moving back to head PayPal now.

A couple of analysts note that with Google Checkout now out, the risk profile on PayPal and eBay has risen, and they’ve cut their target prices for eBay stock.

Dutta took pains to minimize the significance of Google Checkout, which Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney in a new report says is a bigger competitor for PayPal, a full payment service, than it might first appear. “PayPal is much more than a checkout service,” he says. “Launching a payment service is more than just launching a UI, frankly.”

Nonetheless, it’s clear that eBay isn’t taking Checkout lightly. As ChannelAdvisor’s Scot Wingo pointed out early this morning, eBay has now placed Google Checkout on a list of payment services that are not acceptable to advertise on eBay listings (though what merchants use on the back end, in their own checkout process, remains their own business). eBay says that’s at least partly because, even though Google Checkout uses standard credit cards for payment, it doesn’t have a track record yet. Wingo thinks that argument won’t fly with merchants who like Google Checkout ease and speed, and I suspect he’s right.

I also asked Whitman, who flirted with leaving to head Disney awhile ago, if she would be the next departure. “No,” she told me. “I have no plans to leave eBay.”

Reader Comments

Peter Togel

July 7, 2006 9:29 AM

As a power seller, I wish all their senior management would step down.

Do investors looks at the sales numbers of eBay power sellers? Investors should take a look at the eBay boards. If they are fast, they can see the frustration before eBay deletes the posts.

A lot of sellers are complaining about eBay technology that does not work and the weak sales. Ebay is inflating their numbers with auctions that are won by “account takeovers” and other “scam artists”.

EBay customer service is driving people away from eBay because they have no clue. They don’t know their own system any more. If you ask them something, you get useless or no answers back.

Our own sales dropped more than 50% over the last half year. And we do more of our own advertising than ever before. Sales on other sites are up.

Ebay changed their great platform to a point that it becomes unusable for buyers. Categories are filled with imports from China. China sellers pay nothing, American sellers pay the fees. And customers that look for “it” have to search through thousands of items.

Here is something fun to try.
Go to the category:
Art > Paintings > Contemporary (1950-Now) >American

On the left, select: Date of Creation: Pre-1900
After that, select:Original - Listed by Artist

This gives you over 100 autions that are suposed to be created between 1950 and today, but at the same time before 1900 and listed by their artist...

We are just one of the many eBay power sellers that work on their departure of eBay. Ebay was great. It is no more ....

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