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Categories: eBay

Glyde Debuts New Online Marketplace. E-Commerce 2.0?

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 16

You wouldn’t think the world would need another place for people to buy and sell used media such as DVDs, books, video games, and CDs. eBay and, along with…

Interview: Google China’s Kai-Fu Lee Debuts Innovation Works

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 06

Kai-Fu Lee became famous in 2005 when the engineering whiz left Microsoft, where he had created Microsoft Research Asia, to head search giant Google’s operation in China. Microsoft sued, charging…

PayPal President: No Spinoff

Posted by: Douglas MacMillan on June 17

After eBay said in April that it planned to spin off its Skype business, some investors and analysts started wondering about the e-commerce company’s other major subsidiary: What about PayPal?…

Is eBay Ready To Start The Bidding For Skype?

Posted by: Peter Burrows on March 11

At its annual meeting today, eBay executives broke out more details about the health of its Skype unit than it has in the past. Turns out the Net phone calling…

eBay acquires 36% stake in GMarket

Posted by: Catherine Holahan on August 13

EBay plans to acquire a minority stake Asian e-commerce giant GMarket (GMKT). The U.S. e-commerce company announced the planned purchase Aug. 13, two weeks after initially sending a letter to…

eBay Claims Victory in the Tiffany Lawsuit

Posted by: Catherine Holahan on July 14

E-Commerce giant eBay claimed victory July 14 in its long legal battle with luxury brand manufacturer Tiffany Co. The renowned jewelry maker had sued eBay for trademark infringement in hopes…

eBay Told To Dump Dior

Posted by: Catherine Holahan on July 11

A French court ruled July 11 that eBay must remove listings for LVMH perfumes while it appeals a $61 million decision in favor of the luxury brand manufacturer. Last month,…

PayPal Foots The Bill For Fraud

Posted by: Catherine Holahan on June 19

For years, eBay executives have touted the trust worthiness of the sellers and buyers on their site. Now they’re backing up that claim with cash. On June 20, eBay announced…

eBay, Embrace Your Inner Retailer

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 24

That’s the advice of Stifel, Nicolaus analyst Scott Devitt, and I think he’s on to something. In his latest note on eBay, on which he has a buy, he says…

Will eBay Escape the Recession This Time?

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 23

After rising 7% on news of CEO Meg Whitman’s plans to retire in March, eBay’s stock gave back the gains in after-hours trading on a mixed fourth-quarter earnings report. The…

Report: eBay’s Meg Whitman to Retire

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 22

Longtime eBay CEO Meg Whitman is readying her retirement before long, according to the Wall Street Journal. Given that she’s just about to come up on the 10 years she…

News Flash: eBay Users Are a Cantankerous Bunch

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 17

The New York Times has discovered that buyers and sellers aren’t all happy with eBay. Forgive me, but I think I’ve heard this before. I don’t mean to belittle the…

eBay Beats the Numbers Despite Skype Writedown

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 17

No surprise that eBay logged a third-quarter loss thanks to its $1.4 billion writedown on its $4.1 billion Skype acquisition in 2005. But not including those and other onetime charges,…

Skype and MySpace Link Up

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 16

It’s such a natural that some blogs had predicted in recent weeks it should happen: eBay’s Skype and News Corp.’s MySpace are going to share their DNA, as it…

eBay’s $2.6 Billion Bet on Skype Doesn’t Pay Off

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 01

eBay mystified me and many other people when it bought Skype, the Internet telephony startup eBay bought in late 2005 for $2.6 billion plus a potential $1.7 billion incentive payout….

It’s eBay Vs. Craiglist Now

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 03

Here everybody thought Craigslist was safe from an ever-expanding eBay by virtue of the latter’s 25% stake in the popular classified-ad service. No dice. Today, eBay quietly launched its heretofore…

Google Gears Up to Take Web Services Beyond the Web

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 30

Google just can’t seem to resist baiting the 800-pound gorilla in Redmond. With Google Gears, just announced minutes ago, it’s providing Web developers a way to take their online services…

Is eBay on the Mend?

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 18

To answer that question: Partly. Clearly, investors liked the fact that the quarter’s growth overall looked pretty good, with profits up 52%, and especially that eBay upped 2007 estimates by…

eBay Beats the Street, and Then Some

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 24

… and even though investors already bid the stock up 5% today before the fourth-quarter earnings report, they’re buying after-hours, too. The stock’s up 8%—make that 10%, er, make that…

eBay’s China Challenge

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 19

Why can’t U.S. Web companies make it in China on their own? Assuming the reports are true, it looks like eBay will soon be joining a number of U.S. firms…

Edgeio Has Been Busy

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 24

Matt Marshall at VentureBeat reports that Edgeio, whose novel online classified-ad business I first described in detail here, has gotten its first venture round, $5 million led by Intel Capital….

eBay: Not Out of the Woods Yet, But a Few Good Signs

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 18

Quick take on eBay’s third quarter: It looks like eBay’s plan to recharge its core marketplace, begun earlier this year, isn’t firing on all cylinders yet. Gross merchandise volume rose…

Vanished eBay Seller Returns—As a Blogger

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 27

Randy Smythe’s Glacier Bay DVD was one of eBay’s largest sellers until last January, when his store abruptly closed—stiffing many buyers (including me). Now, he has surfaced with a blog…

More Trouble for eBay in China

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 26

The departure last week of Martin Wu, head of eBay Eachnet, eBay’s site in China, has some news outlets there reporting that the online marketplace is exiting the market entirely…

Now, It’s Google + eBay

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 28

This is what Ray Noorda invented the word coopetition to describe. I have a feeling an eBay-Google relationship is going to be, let’s say, dynamic….


Posted by: Rob Hof on August 10

A group of fed-up eBay merchants is petitioning Google to start an auction site, following eBay’s decision to hike rates on eBay Stores, according to a report in AuctionBytes. Those…

Yet Another Venture for the Skype Guys

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 23

My colleague Steve Rosenbush has the scoop: Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who previously started the file-sharing software Kazaa, apparently are working on yet another venture, this time…

Will eBay Fee Hikes Recharge Growth—or Drive Away More Merchants?

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 19

A lot of people, especially eBay sellers, assume that the online marketplace raises fees largely to extract more money. But the bigger reason is usually an attempt to alter seller…

eBay’s Google Checkout Ban: Hold the Rotten Tomatoes

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 07

eBay has come in for a lot of criticism for its decision to exclude Google Checkout from the online marketplace’s list of accepted payment methods. But a number of folks…

Investors: Thumbs Down on eBay Management Shuffle

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 06

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…

eBay’s Management Shakeup

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 06

eBay just announced a pretty big reshuffling of its management deck—and most important, the departure this fall of longtime exec Jeff Jordan, who had been president of eBay’s PayPal unit…

The Role of Fun in Online Success

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 22

The success of World of Warcraft and other online role-playing games has a lot of online businesses salivating about the possibilities of embedding game dynamics into their services. The idea…

eBay Dives into Web 2.0

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 14

eBay, arguably the original Web 2.0 company, is sure latching onto the newfangled 2.0 stuff. Today, it announced eBay Wiki, with service hosted by JotSpot. It’s intended to allow members…

eBay Gets into the Ad Game, Sort Of

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 11

I couldn’t make it early enough to the eBay Developer Conference in Las Vegas to hear the company announce eBay AdContext, which at first sounds like a competitor to Google’s…

eBay-Yahoo Deal: Less Than Meets the Eye?

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 25

It’s no merger, as at least one overeager analyst had suggested, but this morning eBay and Yahoo announced a fairly wide-ranging deal to work with each other. Looks like a…

Can Anybody Tell Me Why Vonage Isn’t Toast?

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 16

My colleague Olga Kharif raises questions about whether Skype’s new plan for free calling to U.S. landlines means growth in the States isn’t up to snuff. Well, maybe, but I…

The Future of eBay

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 04

Most of the stories on eBay’s analyst day today focused on the the company’s vow to grow faster than e-commerce at large—and how that’s a big challenge given its size…

eBay Takes the Express Train

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 21

During eBay’s earnings call this week, CEO Meg Whitman said the company’s new eBay Express site, which I wrote about a couple weeks ago, would launch next week. But…

How Do You Shop Online?

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 03

I’ve been noticing how many new kinds of e-commerce venues are sprouting up lately, from the fledgling Google Base and classified-ad startups like Edgeio and to upcoming offerings from…

eBay’s Skype Sued by StreamCast

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 27

According to VoIP Watch’s Andy Abramson, StreamCast Networks has sued Skype, claiming StreamCast owns the FastTrack peer-to-peer technology powering the Internet phone phenom Skype, which eBay bought last year for…

PayPal’s Goin’ Mobile

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 23

eBay’s PayPal is getting back to its roots as a person-to-person payment service with a new mobile service. You can find out more here, but essentially, you can use your…

Google Ratings: More Chips at eBay’s Armor

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 06

Scot Wingo, CEO of the online merchant services firm ChannelAdvisor, notes that Google appears to be developing a reputation system for Google Base, which many folks already think is a…

Edgeio Launches

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 27

Edgeio, the new classified-ad service of entrepreneurs and bloggers Keith Teare and Mike Arrington, has just launched publicly. Here’s how it works, but essentially, the site vacuums up items tagged…

Is Google’s Gbuy Almost Here?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 24

So it seems from a post on the Google Base blog, plus some background on Google’s main blog. According to Google: For buyers, this feature will provide a convenient and…

eBay Adds More Ads

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 24

No doubt eyeing the boom in online advertising, eBay is now trying out an ad format it has used in its real estate listings on a new swath of products,…

One Person’s Garbage…

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 20

… is another person’s treasure, or at least maybe something to sell on eBay. GarbageScout is a new site, still in early test mode, lets you post useful items…

Buying Safely on eBay

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 14

I had a very uncharacteristic experience on eBay recently, as I wrote recently here. For the first time in literally hundreds of transactions on eBay, I was stiffed. One of…

Edgeio Edges Toward Launch—and a Clash with E-Commerce Giants?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 09

Edgeio, the much-anticipated, secretive startup by onetime RealNames founder Keith Teare and TechCrunch blogger Mike Arrington, suddenly isn’t so secret anymore. Although its “official” launch is weeks away, possibly Feb….

Big eBay Seller Vanishes

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 06

Just a few months ago, Glacier Bay DVD was crowing about becoming one of eBay’s very top sellers, with the highest positive customer feedback rating of any merchant on the…

Social Lending Marketplace Prosper Launches

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 05

Mike Arrington has the news: Prosper (formerly known as CircleOne), founded by E-Loan cofounder Chris Larsen, has launched—very softly. According to the site: People who need money request it, and…

Google to Get AdSense Competition From Amazon?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 05

Chris Beasley says it looks like Amazon is considering an ad network to compete with Google’s AdSense. Beasley, who’s an Amazon Associate—meaning he gets commissions for referring his Web site…

Express: eBay for the Rest of Us

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 19

It got nearly buried in earnings reports, but eBay announced an interesting new service that will debut in spring: eBay Express. As eBay tells it: With eBay Express buyers will:…

Google Base Goes Live

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 16

As of tonight, the much-anticipated Google Base is live. Having just landed home from a conference, I haven’t had time to try it out, so for now, I’ll have to…

Are Online Reputations Portable?

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 10

For years, both sellers and buyers on eBay have bellyached about not being able to carry their reputations—the feedback ratings they get from each other on their transactions—to other sites….

Google Base: A New Rival for eBay and Craigslist?

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 25

ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo notes that some folks in Europe caught a screen shot of Google Base, which looks to be a potential rival to eBay, before Google apparently took…

What Is It About eBay’s Ads?

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 23

eBay has just launched another TV and print ad campaign, which you can view at a dedicated site, Once again, I just don’t get it. The ads show the…

No Head-Scratching at eBay About Skype’s Potential

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 19

If up to $4.1 billion wasn’t enough to prove eBay’s serious about just-acquired Skype, executive comments Wednesday sure did. And executive moves: eBay Chief Financial Officer Rajiv Dutta soon will…

Find a Bargain Courtesy of Dumb People

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 18

eBay’s Adam Trachtenberg alerts us to, a new search site for eBay auctions listed by the spelling-challenged (or at least the careless). So, try a search on “leappad,” the…

eBay Debuts Member Reviews and Guides

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 27

The online marketplace today rolled out a test site for member reviews and product guides. Good idea. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has browsed eBay for…

Will Higher Gas Prices Spark More E-Commerce?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 19

Shmuel Gniwisch, the CEO of the online jewelry store, thinks so. He doesn’t have hard evidence that the cost of driving to stores will drive people online, but he’s…

Why eBay Is Buying Skype

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 12

Here’s my quick take, below, an edited version of which will appear in a few hours at CEO Meg Whitman & Co. gave an impassioned rationale for the deal….

eBay Buys Skype After All

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 12

Well, eBay did it. It’s buying Skype for $2.6 billion. Here’s the press release and one of the first stories. I’m getting on the conference call shortly, so will have…

Here Comes the eBay Announcement…

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 12

Just got a notice from eBay of an “investor conference call” at 5 a.m. Pacific time, on an announcement to be made two hours earlier. Very unusual practice for eBay….

eBay Buying Skype? I’m Scratching My Head

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 08

Another day, another report about the Internet voice startup Skype maybe getting bought for billions of dollars. But eBay? It sure seems a stretch to me, as it does to…

Hey Kids, There’s a Revolution in Retailing

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 16

Robert Scoble throws out an intriguing new vision of online retail following his recent visit with the folks at eBay’s developers program: “For instance, check out That site sells…

eBay Haiku

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 14

Meant to mention this eBay Haiku Competition that the blog rummaging recently ran. The entries had to be part of a bona fide eBay listing (or feedback comment, apparently). The…

Productive Friction at eBay

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 10

Ever since I read John Hagel’s and John Seely Brown’s writings about “productive friction,” I’ve been intrigued by the idea but couldn’t quite understand how it worked in the real…

Lessons from eBay Live

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 27

After spending three days up close and personal with 11,600 of eBay’s members, I’m beginning to think the conventional wisdom about its recent decline is wrong—or at least behind the…

Meg Makes Nice

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 24

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…

A Cautionary Departure from eBay

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 24

John Battelle got an e-mail interview with Louis Monier, the director of eBay’s advanced technology group who just left to join Google, which looks increasingly to be a rival to…

Yet Another eBay Marketplace… and Another… and…

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 23

Whatever sellers may criticize eBay for, and they always do and always will, they can’t accuse it of standing still. Today, as its annual eBay Live! members conference cranks…

More Fun with Google Wallet

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 21

Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li has some interesting thoughts about what Google might do with the online payment system it’s supposed to be working on. I’m not so sure many…

Google Vs. PayPal?

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 18

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google plans an electronic payment service that may compete with eBay’s PayPal. If that’s true, I doubt Google would be dumb enough to…

eBay Goes

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 01

The news that eBay is buying came as a surprise to many folks. But maybe not to readers of my commentary back in January, after eBay’s fourth-quarter profits missed…


BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, 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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