Is it time eBay spun off auctions?

It’s all change at eBay Inc.. PayPal and the eBay marketplaces will part company next year. Mobile transactions have transformed ecommerce. Outlets are increasingly eBay’s bread and butter and subject to more attention from the top table. BIN is the dominant trading format on eBay.

And none of that is bad in any real sense. eBay is bigger and better because it innovated away from its original role as an online auction site that predominantly traded second-hand goods. But languishing in attention is the auction format these days. Auctions are the foundation of eBay and still a critical source of revenue. Pre-loved is unloved.

Moreover, auctions draw a very committed cadre of buyers who love the experience. Only last weekend I stayed with friends and both he and she showed off with pride the things in their house they’d bagged from eBay auctions. They doted on their bids and thought nothing of crossing county borders to pick up their buys. They boasted of the bargains they had bought to sate their delightfully eclectic tastes.

And this is why I love eBay to this day: you can buy almost anything on it. But I worry that sometimes this wonderful stuff gets drowned out by the new stuff and the BINs. eBay seldom showcase auctions and second hand stuff on their homepage despite the curated ‘Collections’ initiative.

It seems to me that the future of ecommerce is in differentiated, honed and specialised buying experiences for buyers. One size doesn’t fit all and eBay have shown they know that with specialist shopping experiences for fashion, outlets and motors.

But actually the best they could do, really, is remember the core. Plenty of folk love auctions and plenty of folk love bargains. Moreover, it could be an exercise that really delighted those buyers who love that bit of eBay.

It might just be time for eBay to play to one of its strengths and spin off a particular marketplace website just for used and just for auctions.

What do you reckon?