Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bayspeak 101

Do eBay's management ever talk to each other? I believe they spend an inordinate amount of time in meetings with lawyers polishing their Bayspeak techniques.

"eBay LIES!" is the complaint of Sellers on the Boards. Looking at eBay announcements, on the whole, I don't think eBay does lie, not directly anyway. eBay lies by inference and omission. It depends on your interpretation of the words.

Quite often one can learn as much from what eBay does NOT say as from what they do say.

Paypal Only in Australia

Less than a week ago eBay spokesperson Nichola Sharpe said the new Paypal as sole payment method policy applies only to eBay in Australia. “There are no plans to go to a PayPal-only model for eBay in the US and we haven't announced any other markets at this time.” The italics are mine.

This morning the New York Times quotes eBay CEO John Donohoe saying that if the test (in Australia) was successful, the company would introduce it in other countries “in months, not years.”

Is there a conflict in these two statements? None at all. Would your average person see it as less than truthful? Yes. However,Ms Sharpe's statement was precise, she did not say there are no plans to expand this policy elsewhere.

Nichola Sharpe is no novice, she was eBay UK Senior PR Manager before moving to San Jose 14 months ago. You may remember her from the non-edible cornflake auction SNAFU.

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