Tamebay comment: Hacks happen but eBay is losing the “confidence” war

Yesterday Tamebay reported that eBay had been the victim of a security attack.

Later in the day we relayed some of the additional info eBay had published regarding the so called “cyberattack”.

And at around about midnight, I was pleased to discuss the issue frankly with eBay Marketplaces CEO Devin Wenig on the blower. I was encouraged to hear his determination to resolve the issue swiftly and get “back to business” as soon as possible.

Any grown up who uses the internet must know this: no network is secure, no information held online is private.

And for the most part that isn’t a massive problem. Google ensures that most of our public information can be found by prying eyes anyway. Plenty of people give it away freely on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.

And sometimes such networks are hacked by bad people. We know that too. That eBay was pillaged of data in February or March isn’t really a surprise. It happens a lot. Few organisations have an impervious network.

But now it is public that eBay has been the victim of a cyberattack, what does surprise me is that eBay Inc., thus far, does seem to be fluffing the communications war.

eBay has released details and briefings to the media, but at time of writing (03:00am Thursday), the information being given to users is scant. It’s not good enough.


It is more than 12 hours since we first learnt of the problem and yet, as I write, I haven’t received an email from eBay regarding the issue as a user. And eBay’s homepage appears to be in shutdown mode (See above, my view from the iPad). Wenig says that such comms will be despatched “as quickly as we can.”

None of this bodes well because as long as the media rumbles, only one thing matters: buyer confidence. Wenig declined to confirm that sales had been dented by the news during our conversation. And that is fair enough.

But we have a problem. The eBay homepage currently doesn’t seem totally open for business and hasn’t been since at least 5pm BST on Wednesday.

People are wondering (not least down my local boozer tonight) whether eBay is safe to buy from and the bulk of information available is through the media.

eBay needs to get the message out directly to users ASAP that eBay is safe, open for business and a great place for buyers. That means emails and onsite messaging for starters. None has yet to materialise.

A slow start is one thing but this will prove to be a confidence campaign that will take weeks and months to win now.

I look forward to eBay batting this hacking problem past the pavilion and reaching out to buyers soonest to rebuild confidence in the eBay marketplace. It is the least they owe to sellers.

But in the meantime a homepage placement and reassuring emails would suffice. Where are they eBay? Why has it taken so long? Twelve hours and counting.