Friday, July 07, 2006

Flambé Ebay!

Ebay was cool when it first came out because it allowed you to sell your old crap to people across the US, and even the world, as opposed to the people in your neighborhood or at a garage sale. It was a genius idea. After a while, however, Ebay got greedy. They were constantly raising their listing prices and fees, screwing over sellers, and then bought out Paypal (which also led to Paypal fee increases) to get even more money from sellers. It got to the point that it was impossible for me to sell anything on Ebay because I'd make no money after all of the fees.

We can now add one more bullet point to the list of things that Ebay has done to destroy its relationship with sellers -- they've banned Google Checkout as a payment option. Finally someone comes along to challenge the stranglehold that Paypal has had on the online payment market, and one of the main sources that would benefit outlaws the one source of solid competition.

I don't know if they'll be able to keep this ban up long, but it sure is creating some bad press for Ebay. Combine that with the announced leaving of Paypal's president and you have Ebay looking at some shaky ground in its future. The company's stock is already starting to reflect the uneasiness that's surrounding the company.

With Google Checkout coming into play and gaining press, along with the negative image slowly encompassing Ebay, someone needs to come in for the coup de grâce by starting an actual, viable alternative to Ebay. Sure there's Yahoo auctions (which I use) and some other auction sites, but none of them have the exposure that Ebay does. Google would seem to be a natural fit to offer up an Ebay alternative, but I could see any well standing company doing well if they really put a lot of effort behind making a great Ebay alternative.

At the end of the day, I feel a little bit better each time I see Ebay knocked down a peg. They've become way too greedy for their own good and it should only be a matter of time before they fall or before they realize they're pricing a lot of potential sellers out of being able to use their service.

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