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Wednesday Whinge: Why don’t eBay know me by now?

By Dan Wilson April 18, 2012 - 4:55 pm

Yesterday, I received an eBay marketing email to an account I’ve held since August 1999. For more than a decade I have been using that ID to buy and sell bits and bobs. Maybe a vintage paperback, a historical curio, doubtless a Doctor Who DVD or two and more recently items related to British seaside piers and Edwardian postcards. Never clothes. Never shoes.

In more than a decade, my buying and selling with that account has shown nothing more than I am a fogey, nose in a book, with a keen interest in history and tat and British sci-fi of an often low calibre.

At no point have I given eBay the impression that I am some tattooed hipster or a chavvy jack-the-lad who is about to roll up my trousers to reveal my ankles (or mankles as the kids probably don’t call them) and -as the title of the email distastefully suggests- “Work the Moccasins Trend”.

Work the Moccasins Trend. No!

Moreover, I think that I have given eBay adequate evidence over the years that I am highly unlikely to snap up a Superdry WOMEN’S miniskirt. See figure 2.

A man's miniskirt would be quite a different matter, natch.

In an age of uber-targetting, audience segmentation, and trying to hone marketing messages to individual users, eBay have turned back the clock to 2001 and are indulging in an email marketing practice that should be known as “shit flinging”. Just chuck any old crap out there and let’s hope it will stick.

It’s wrong for two reasons, Firstly, clever and dedicated marketeers could create specific marketing messages that would be of interest to me. But that would be hard work. It would mean looking at what people like me buy, and honing an email for people like me. In a meeting, they considered it for a second and considered how much work it would be before getting the key to the cupboard where they keep the Shit Flingers.

And anyway, it wouldn’t “nest” with eBay’s priorities, would it? I want to buy secondhand crap at auction, they want me to buy fashion with BIN. The subtext behind this email is: “No more Penguin paperbacks for you Mister Vilson, YOU VILL BUY AN AMERICAN APPAREL DAY-GLO GILLET, OR ELSE.”

The second reason it’s wrong: it just doesn’t bloody work. A one size fits all email to millions of people will never work all that well. Ask the Nigerians. Granted, some cosseted MBA at eBay HQ who has had a drilling and brainwashing from the University of Overprivilege at considerable expense to papa, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a major in Evasion, Prevarication and Self-aggrandisement will tweak the numbers to show that “Everyone loves Mocassins”.

And next week, we’ll love Deck Shoes, and the week after we’ll adore Espadrilles, soon brothelcreepers, clogs and even the humble rubber sandal or “jelly” will be all the rage. Because the numbers never lie… do they? Nein.

eBay. If you don’t know me by now. You will never ever know me at all

  • 10 years ago

    Well said.

  • fusion
    10 years ago

    they are not copying Amazon here.

    • Old Hand
      10 years ago

      Nah Amazon just try and sell you another one of the thing you just bought, rather pointless because …

    • 10 years ago

      Yes, that *is* generally a bit pointless, innit!

  • Glenn
    10 years ago

    Nice one Dan, you can’t beat a good moan.

    There is only one item eBay could possibly interest me in and that a new soap box because my old one is nearly worn out from all that standing on it.

  • 10 years ago

    oh god you look SOOOO good in those pink trousers, Dan…

  • 10 years ago

    You are right Dan, this is just Spam, nothing else.

    Now Amazon, they know how to send out emails.

    They send me links to interesting camera stuff I cannot afford all the time…

    Ebay emails just get the “delete” button, along with the rest of my spam.

    Of course, it has nothing to do with them trying to ply the world with their outlets end of season stock….

  • Jimbo
    10 years ago

    Love the soultrain clip. Where can I get the peekaboo outfit number 2 is wearing?

    • 10 years ago

      Jimbo,

      I have listened to that number several times tonight and can only say it is wonderfully sung and utterly sublime. They don’t write em like that any more. Or sing em like that. Talent!

      As for the garments… I can’t help there. But, blimey, aren’t they special… ;o)

    • Jimbo
      10 years ago

      Dan, this one is also deffinately worth a listen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNLR9r_qdNQ

  • Gary
    10 years ago

    I received a variation on this theme last week with a few TV’s and laptops thrown in but also featuring the clothes.

    What about the girl friend/partner/spouse?

    Wouldn’t they look good in a Superdry Mini?

    Sometimes these marketing emails provide gift ideas. Pity the weather is typically British right now as I am a great fan of summer fashion! 🙂

    The only real issue with the email is that it could have been sent when the weather was better so ebay’s timing is way out. But what is new here!

    And don’t forget the mens trainers. A pair of Voi Jeans are not quite Lacoste but they are 25% of the price.

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      Have you noticed that when ever they start talking about Droughts the Weather Gods cause the heavens to open.

      Talking about the weather. Does the current weather mean that our Summer is now over and we are into a long Autumn? leading onto an even longer Winter.

    • Gary
      10 years ago

      Daily Express is talking about a return to winter for the whole of the month of May.

      It could well be that this years Olympic games will be the wettest on record.

      Should be an excellent summer for ebay sellers then! 🙂

      Lets hope that ebay start sending out appropriate marketing emails so that Dan is not upset. Ideas on a postcard to eBay …….

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      ebay emails advertising Wellington Boots, Rainwear, Thermal Vests and similar instead of Mini skirts. Certainly it would be a change but as a Book Seller I am not certain what good it would do me.

  • 10 years ago

    … and exhale 🙂

    flinging LOL

    • 10 years ago

      *exhales* I’m fine. I’m fine… I just get a bit cross that eBay throws away such opportunities to be brilliant.

      For me, eBay is like the teenager who chucks in the clarinet for an evening on Merrydown and a two minute knee-trembler round the back of the changing rooms.

      Query: do people still do knee-tremblers? Is there a more modern term? ;o)

    • Goodrockingtonight.
      10 years ago

      Yes indeed, there is a more modern term but not printable on here 😉

  • Old Hand
    10 years ago

    Advertising sux.

  • 10 years ago

    Re: the mini skirt email, I asked my wife would she like me to buy her one. The answer cannot be published. Needless to say maybe eBay are tempting their male customers to trade up in other ways 😉

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