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eBay employees to sell on eBay for 1st time

By Chris Dawson January 27, 2012 - 12:29 am

I didn’t know whether to chuckle or cry at the latest post on the eBay Ink Blog announcing a new “Bring it. Sell it. Ship it.” program to encourage eBay employees in San Jose to sell on eBay. It strikes me as bizaare that they’re not all selling on eBay already.

I can remember hearing rumours that (in the old days) at eBay UK staff meetings they had to announce their feedback score and could even be called upon to explain any negative or neutral feedbacks they’d received. I can remember when eBay employees were proud of their feedback record and would compete to see who had the most. At the very early eBay universities some eBay employees had more feedback from me, and theirs numbered in the thousands.

The most telling part of the eBay Ink blog post was the comment “For those employees selling for the first time, each Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm, employee Power Sellers will be on hand in the station to help folks get started“.

I find it pretty sad to think that there are people working for eBay that have never sold anything on the site. Maybe I’m doing them a disservice and they’re simply avid buyers and are amassing hundreds of feedback… but you would have thought they had something laying around the house that they could have sold.

Google and Microsoft are reknowned for the internal use of their own software products. They wouldn’t dream of using a competitors product instead of their own, it’s called “eating your own dogfood”, So why not eBay? What are these employees doing with their discarded posessions?

I’m all in favour of the “Bring it. Sell it. Ship it.” program eBay are running (although I can’t help wondering who will be first to sell something that “all the free packing materials they need” isn’t sufficient for). If it gets eBay employees selling on eBay it’s a good thing.

If any eBay employees want to share their feedback score it would be great to have some reassurance that, in the UK at least, you guys are using the site you run for us (feel free to comment anonymously, we wouldn’t expect you to disclose your User Ids).

Edited to add: It’s been pointed out to me (and I really should have realised myself!) that eBay have some 27,000 employees and the vast majority that work in San Jose don’t even work for eBay’s marketplace business, but work for related companies. The related companies include payments (PayPal, Billmelater), GSI, classifieds, Stubhub, Shopping.com, Half.com, Rent.com and a whole string of other businesses in the eBay portfolio. That being the case it’s not surprising a large number have never sold on the eBay marketplace and makes this a superb program.

  • Richard
    10 years ago

    Pretty much everyone at eBay in the UK sells on the site – some more regularly than others, of course. When I joined eBay in 2003, everyone was asked about their feedback score and their selling as part of the interview process.

    There are thousands and thousands of eBay and PayPal employees in the US office, and at that scale it’s much harder to make sure that everyone hired is a regular eBay user.

    There’s even a devil’s-advocate argument that says that people who haven’t sold on the site can bring fresh perspectives to the business… but I wouldn’t make it too strongly ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Cheers
    Richard (feedback 981)

  • 10 years ago

    I would say that a vast number of eBays staff have never bought or sold on the site.
    You get this opinion when they answer questions with responses that are read from a list of FAQs rather than from seller experience and knowledge of the system.
    That said, the pinks on the PSForum and the CS people in Ireland are pretty knowledgeable but if you’re not a PS and you get the call centre in Manilla (I think) then they are just centre operators and respond as such.

  • Jay
    10 years ago

    Richard’s response is spot on – where eBay have 1000s of employees the company has to work to get some staff involved.

    When I joined eBay UK in 2000 the very first thing I was asked to do was sell something (signed photo of Ingrid Pitt, horror actress). The company even rewarded staff for reaching the major feedback milestones, and publicly handed out small gifts.

    I left in 2009, as the employee with most feedback in the London office c.1500 (there were many with more outside London).

    Jay
    (1555)

  • Michael J
    10 years ago

    In the ten years I have been working for eBay I have built up a feedback score of 471 – approx two thirds from buying / one third selling. Everyone on my team are active users on the site.

    The initiative mentioned is a valuable one – we hire many very talented folks from outside, some who have never sold themselves. So, especially for new hires, such a program is an excellent idea to get them going.

  • Henrietta
    10 years ago

    Best thing I have read about eBay in years. Very promising, if they follow through.

  • Kaz
    10 years ago

    Well, let’s hope they have more success than the team building exercise the UK seller team had late last year which was a farce from start to finish, and that they actually adhere to company policies before listing

  • 10 years ago

    How sad is that when a eBay staffer declares that 150+ sellers f/back over 10 years is an ‘active seller’ !

    I say send these employees out on secondment to real life business sellers, let them deal with the daily issues they face, created by both eBay functionality (or lack of it at times) and how buyers respond to sellers on a daily basis, as selling the odd item as a casual seller/lister bears NO resemblance at all to what those who attempt to scrape a living from the eBay platform have to face on a daily basis.

    • St Georges Dragon
      10 years ago

      it should be a condition of employment at least in in the customer service posts that you have bought and sold at least 1000 items on ebay. failing that customer service reps must have been on this planet for at least some of their working life

    • Jimbo
      10 years ago

      Are all of the customer service reps directly employed by eBay?

    • Richard
      10 years ago

      I think the idea to send some out on secondment to big sellers is a brilliant idea, they might actually get a feel for the real world and just how hard it is.

      As we seem to be playing a willy waving game on eBay status/feedback. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Richard – 11825 PS/TRS.

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      Might I suggest not just “big sellers”. After all the small and medium sellers have problems as well and some of these problems may not be shared by the big sellers.

      As for the 150 seller feedbacks over 10 years. Might I suggest that even the most casual of casual sellers would manage more than this.

    • St Georges Dragon
      10 years ago

      I think eddie has the biggest feedback wiily here, and were having enlargement treatment,
      its medium and smaller sellers who need the help and are more likely to accept ebay employess
      the big boys dont need or want wet eared ameteurs piddling around

    • St Georges Dragon
      10 years ago

      ps/trs/etcetc feedback means nothing
      there are sellers with 10s of thousands of feedback
      who are not even Vat registered they have such a low turnover
      its all just ego manipulation

    • St Georges Dragon
      10 years ago

      plus there is no chance of me telling any ebay employee anything about how I do things unless they splosh the dosh,
      and even then they will only get to know where the teabags are kept

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      Many small ebay traders probably work out of the spare bedroom or garage or perhaps the garden shed. I tried to imagine some young “wet behind the ears” amateur from ebay turning up, taking one look, and deciding that they would rather be anywhere but there.

      As for making the tea. Over the years I have seen numerous “Juniors” in offices who on their first morning have to be shown how to make a cup of tea(mummy always made the tea at home). So showing them where the tea bags are kept might not be much use.

    • St Georges Dragon
      10 years ago

      your right we would probably need to tell them where the tap the kettle the cups the spoon the milk and the sugar are

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      and how to boil a kettle. My ex-wife was very good at burning water. Whenever she boiled a kettle the water came out brown!!!

    • Michael J
      10 years ago

      Eddie and Chris are spot on โ€“ 150 selling feedback does not represent โ€˜active sellingโ€™ , but my point was that most eBay employees are active users of the site as buyers and sellers (something which was questioned in the original post).

  • Kang
    10 years ago

    I’ve never ever been able to get through to Ireland, and the Manila people always tell me that they can’t give the number.

    Anyway, it would be interesting to find out what problems eBay employees have with the terribly-implemented policies, when experienced from the sellers’ side…..

  • Kang
    10 years ago

    “we hire many very talented folks from outside, some who have never sold themselves”

    Well that’s encouraging. Selling oneself? That has to be a prohibited item…..

  • JohnC
    10 years ago

    Is John Donahoe an eBay seller?

    • 10 years ago

      Last eBay Live I went to John Donahoe was approaching 500 feedback, that was some four years ago so I imagine it’s gone up a bit since ๐Ÿ™‚

  • pete
    10 years ago

    Things like this make me want to vomit, just this week i have lost listing ability on a TRS business account for 30 days, my crime due to the Christmas post comedy of errors by Royal Mail on International mail ..I received 3 negative feedback from buyers who obviously do not know how to read the delivery guide I show in all my listings.

    eBay and all their pathetic customer support staff as far as i’m concerned can go to hell, as NONE have to put up with the garbage everyday sellers do week in and week out

  • Kenny
    10 years ago

    I have been an eBay user since 2000, was a Powerseller back in 2003, and have been a casual seller/avid buyer since then. I recently started working for eBay, and am now selling regularly again to make sure I know the selling tools & selling experience inside & out. I am also glad to see an internal movement to encourage employees to sell.

    Kenny (1055)

  • John Pemberton
    10 years ago

    When I worked for Dixons Group as a Marketeer, I would not dream of ever shopping there!

    You can work for a company, add value to that company with your skills and experience, but it does not mean you necessarily live and breath it!

    I am sure some of the new ebay employees are scared after seeing some of the neg feedback some buyers leave for no just reason ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      Many Companies give their Staff a Staff Discount. Certainly whenever I stand at the checkout in Tesco and I have a Tesco Employee in front of me in the queue I get the impression that they get a discount on their purchases.

      Certainly when I worked for Rolls-Royce back in the late 1960’s I would have loved to have bought from them but you will not be surprised to learn that my salary would not stretch that far.

      What is wrong with buying from your employer? If I worked for Dixons and I wanted/needed something that they sold in their shops(and they gave me Staff Discount) I would definitely have bought it there. If they did not give me staff discount then I might have a think about it but I think that I probably would have bought from their shops. Partly I suppose its called Loyalty. Partly because a small fraction of what I paid for the item came back to me through my salary.

      As far as the new members of ebay staff. Howe can they possibly know the ins and outs of the business and especially the problems faced by the buyers/sellers on ebay if they have not experienced being a buyer/seller? That includes the sometimes crazy feedback and complaints lodged by Buyers against Sellers on ebay.

      As a matter of interest. When I worked for Rolls-Royce I was in the Aero-Engine Division in Derby. There was quite a Senior Member of Staff who would not believe that we made Aircraft Engines. He was convinced that we made Cars in Derby(Cars of course were made in Crewe). In the end somebody took him down onto the shop floor(in all the years he had worked for the company he had NEVER been down onto the shop floor) and literally took him up to an Aircraft Engine and showed him what we made(I would have thought that the Divisional Name of Aero Engine Division might have given him a clue but no).

      So if ebay employees do not experience buying and selling on ebay how are they really supposed to know the ins and outs of the business?

  • St Georges Dragon
    10 years ago

    has to be sensible, we have people that have not a clue about how to sell though they are the best at what they do

  • M
    10 years ago

    I remember attending a meeting at eBay UK HQ a few years ago, and it was just before their Xmas party: they had all been asked to purchase their fancy dress wear from the site.

    Do all UK eBay staff sell on the site? I doubt it, but whether that’s essential or not, or should be part of a job remit, I doubt it. I do think, however, that some senior execs might out to spend MORE time visiting sellers and really understanding the nitty gritty of what goes into the HARD work that it takes to do well on eBay; not just the number crunching

    That said, I do find eBay responsive, and great listeners as to new ideas and opinions, so I can’t really fault their ‘reach-out’ to sellers.

  • Giles
    10 years ago

    Another long-term eBay employee here:

    I have sold 40 items this month alone and am currently on 1962 feedback (I have overtaken you Jay!!)

    Much as I would like to disagree with Richard he is pretty much correct on this point, there is certainly always more folks can do but I would say the level of expertise within the EU business is really pretty high (higher than at any time in the past I think).

    I wish we got a staff discount on fees but I don’t see that coming any time soon!

    All the best

    Giles

    • 10 years ago

      40 items in a month sold! Well done Giles, that’s more than one a day and I’m betting that puts you well into the top 1% of eBay employee sellers ๐Ÿ™‚

      (PS Hope you’re keeping well)

    • St Georges Dragon
      10 years ago

      oi stop messing around moonlighting on ebay and do your job
      bet your ebay support ,

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      I find myself thinking about an ebay employee selling on ebay. They hit a problem with a customer. The sort of problem that ordinary ebay sellers hit occassionally. Does the ebay employee get preferential treatment from CS? Do they have strings that they can pull? Or do they wait until they get into the Office and deal with it themselves or if they are not in CS do they go and see a mate in CS and ask them to deal with it?

  • 10 years ago

    Joining in the thread late…(like a underpaid stamp on a parcel sent by an eBay employee)

    In all seriousness, I’m a big advocate of “eating your own dog food.” Those that don’t, in what ever business you run, are fools not too. Why would you not want to better understand the dynamics of the business in which you work. And in the case of most employees at eBay UK, during my time, that was the case. Whilst buying and selling was actively encouraged, the daily post in the London office was always full of ingoing or outgoing eBay items (remember those swanny whistles Dan?)

    There were times – in my experience – that senior management had to be pushed/encouraged to sell items – but that lack of activity was normally the exception rather than the rule. New staff were encouraged to list items in their first week, were quizzed on their eBay history in interviews and ritually humiliated when they had to stand up and announce the first thing they’d bought on eBay when joining the team.

    Still I’d wager a person would learn a lot more from shadowing a seller for a day than listing 50 CDs one Sunday evening via Turbo Lister and it was always a pity that more eBay staff didn’t get the chance or take the initiative to work a day with a PowerSeller.

    As a cautionary tale – when I first started at eBay, and before Buy It Now was a glint in the seller’s eye, staff were not allowed to bid in the last 60 mins of an auction (on the basis that we had access to reserve price details – in theory true, but you’d be a maniac to want to try and uncover that data). I’m pleased to say that pretty much to a man we ignored that rule completely.

    As for feedback, I’m on around 1,200. It is my great regret that I did not pass 1,000 whilst at eBay as I’d have my own star in the pavement outside Hotham House now.

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