The Tipping Point: eBay Got Tipped

I love The Tipping Point, written by Malcom Gladwell.

Consider this: “The best way to understand the dramatic transformation of unknown books into bestsellers, or the rise of teenage smoking, or the phenomena of word of mouth or any number of the other mysterious changes that mark everyday life,” writes Malcolm Gladwell, “is to think of them as epidemics. Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.”

I can’t help not to learn what happen to eBay recently – Some called another Enron case, some called one of the biggest (if not silly) mistakes a big company do. In some web forums I followed, the eBay Powersellers (those that, in my opinion, build eBay with their extraordinary products and services) wrote about the scandal in eBay and post comments – uncensored, first hand stories – the real truth. Many of the Powersellers left eBay to other marketplaces (including affiliate marketing arena) due to the recent developments. They spoke mainly about two turn-offs that finally made them couldn’t stand eBay anymore, and left the marketplace.

The first turn-off, is the increase of fees, which were actually reduced recently. The second – the biggest – turn-off – no negative or neutral feedbacks for buyers – THIS is the tipping point that causes many of eBay sellers, including Powersellers move out of eBay marketplace.

The result? Decline in popularity, business value, and credibility – particularly in the eyes of sellers. Like Malcom said, it was just like an epidemic – news, especially bad news, spread like viruses do.

I’m not going to judge whether this is considered a good move or not, but eBay must not forget that eBay marketplace is THERE because of the buyers and sellers are using it – by controlling how they interacts EXCESSIVELY, no matter how fraudulent they might be, will limit the ‘human’ side of the transaction.

Let’s see how eBay handle this – This is going to be a great case study!

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