Thursday, July 17, 2008

An Open Letter to Lorrie Norrington

Dear Ms Norrington

As a woman I was very pleased to hear that you are moving up in the corporate ranks again. Sincere congratulations on your promotion. eBay has a history of being an equal opportunity employer and I am sure that you have worked very hard to earn your place in the sun, however, as you know, all is not well at eBay. As a woman I would hate to see another woman in the role of fall guy.

You have made a choice to live in the corporate world, with a regular salary and structured benefits. You have paid and will continue to pay a price for this choice, but it is your choice. Both large and small eBay sellers, who made eBay what it is today as sellers and buyers, are not like you in that respect; they are entrepreneurs, gamblers if you like, and probably not good employee material.

Those of us who are categorized as 'noise' by your PR department and 'flea market' by your boss John Donohoe, are unhappy with the 'New eBay'. Many left in May with lots of noise and others have just been quietly closing their doors and melting away in the succeeding months.

I know that eBay's focus this year has been on the buyer experience. I would respectfully remind you that we who sell on eBay are eBay's buyers. We are your buyers and the good people who buy our products are our customers.

eBay is loosing good sellers like water through a colander.

Do you know that as of yesterday 21% of the top 100,000 eBay sellers are inactive? Or that there was a 15% increase in the number of inactive registered sellers in that tranche alone in the last month?

This blog post from Scott Pooler explains one important reason why your seller base is suffering such enormous shrinkage. Customer Service. Is it possible that there is an element of "Do as I say, not as I do" at eBay today? Your customers at Cornerstone Supply have grounds to believe that. Sue at Tamebay, who is as pro-eBay as it is possible to be has a similar case.

Here is a blog post from one of your remaining good sellers. A pro eBay multiple account PowerSeller who because of the PS status is able to talk to a live person at eBay. The last two paragraphs indicate a poor prognosis in this case. Can you imagine the frustration of a small seller trying to deal with unwanted bidders, listing glitches and non-relevant bot driven customer service?

My judgement of you Ms Norrington is that you are a genuine person who honestly does not understand why your customers are so negative and depressed about changes that you believe are for our own good.

A large part of the blame can be directly attributed to your PR department who are arrogant, rude and dismissive. The 'noise' and 'routed off the site' comments will still be resonating long after Mr Lieberman has moved on. In Australia it would be safe to say Simon Smith is despised, moving him would solve a lot of problems in that country. Your T&S chief in the UK, Richard Ambrose has earned the reputation (in less than a year) of being a vindictive and arrogant micromanaging cruiser of the discussion boards who is openly contemptuous of sellers. This attitude is increasingly prevalent among your employees towards your customers and it is not helping.

Your customers have been deluged by too many ineptly implemented changes in too short a period of time. We are told that even more changes will be implemented 'before the holidays'. This may be enough to drive even more sellers to a platform where they can concentrate on selling during the busiest time of the year. I am directly quoting one of the top eBay sellers here, "One thing I would ask eBay, is to please stop making nonsensical changes in the 4th quarter...from September through December... Please try to stay out of 4th quarter changes this year!"

Y'all come back!


Anonymous said...

BRAVO!! I only have one question: Do you really think she cares? I believe Ms Norrington's main concern is her bottom line which I am sure is somehow tied to eBay's bottom line.

Anony Mouse

Anonymous said...

Annual eCommerce PP (Peter Principle) Award Winners for 2008 Announced.

For best Male Executive Performance in 2008 the PP Award goes to JD

And, the best Performance by a Female Executive the 2008 PP is awarded to LN.

Also announced, the Continuing PP Performance award for eCommerce once again goes to Pierre for the 9th consecutive year.

Runner-up for the Female Executive PP 2008 Award was that six times winner MW.


Henrietta said...

Tom H Don't tell me you are another economist! For anyone who wants to know, Lazear's Revised Essay on the Peter Principle - The Theory of Decline:

Anonymous said...

I don't think she reads English, try Chinese or the $ sign....

Anonymous said...

Tom H Don't tell me you are another economist!


Oh no. I only know that the Government has and is stealing all of our wealth by printing (figuratively, digitally, and imaginative accounting)scads of paper for the last 35 years or so and the dollar is near worthless with approaching zero buying power.

The price of oil, adjusted by true inflation, has probably only gone up about 24 dollars a barrel in the last 25/30 years.


PS: An d, I forgot the PP Award for Best Supporting Executive for 2008: ST