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Live Roaches and Bloody Pig Face

Jun 18, 2020 | Innovation

They say truth is stranger than fiction and that’s certainly true of the strange case of six former eBay employees, who are accused of intimidating a blogger and her husband to keep them from writing “bad things online about eBay,” including sending boxes of live cockroaches and a Halloween mask of a bloody pig’s face.

You will be forgiven if visions of Al Pacino muttering “You f…ing ‘cock-a-roaches’” immediately spring to mind. 🤯  We all know eBay deserves the critiscm, having spent the past 15 years repeatedly ignoring calls for innovation, instead giving Amazon free rein in digital commerce. In 2005, both companies were still relatively close, which, as this chart shows, is no longer the case:

Amazon vs. eBay Quarterly Revenues: 2005-2020

On May 9, 2005, I met then-Director of Brand Marketing, Kevin McSpadden, at an eBay business development team presentation, arranged by a mutual colleague, Mark Evans. I suggested to McSpadden that eBay should bolster its market influence by branding its “Power Seller” badge and add a “Power Buyer” version — thereby creating a Good Housekeeping-like seal of approval in the explosive e-commerce market.

His reaction was typical of marketers who need to innovate, it’s like I was suddenly speaking Swahili. A follow-up email went unanswered, typical corporate B.S. As I told the San Jose Mercury News in 2017, eBay’s user interface is severely deficient, damn ugly actually. If the company were to introduce a buying and selling experience resembling the Apple Store, eBay could easily double its revenues.

According to The New York Times, eBay’s CEO at the time, Devin Wenig, did not play a role in the cyberstalking campaign, yet there were “a number of considerations leading to his departure.” 😂  If that’s not hilarious enough, you should know that one eBay executive charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and tamper with witnesses had the title of “director of global resiliency.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

“The successful companies of tomorrow will address the changing business and consumer values of today.”

— Michael Tchong

Michael Tchong’s Ubertrends book
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