eBay Acquires Sneaker Con Authentication

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


eBay has announced they have entered an agreement to acquire Sneaker Con's authentication business.

SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world, and Sneaker Con Digital have entered into a definitive agreement under which eBay has acquired Sneaker Con's authentication business, a leading sneaker authenticator with operations in the U.S., U.K, Canada, Australia and Germany.

The acquisition is an extension of the ongoing collaboration between eBay and Sneaker Con, which has been critical to powering eBay's Authenticity Guarantee. The service, which eBay launched in October 2020, offers full vetting and verification of select sneakers bought on the marketplace by a team of Sneaker Con's industry experts. Authenticity Guarantee has significantly changed the way people buy and sell sneakers on eBay, as evidenced by quarter over quarter category growth. In just over a year, more than 1.55 million sneakers have been authenticated globally on eBay.

"eBay has always been a vibrant community of enthusiasts, with deeply knowledgeable buyers, sellers and employees," said Jordan Sweetnam, SVP and General Manager of eBay North America. "We partnered with Sneaker Con to launch sneaker authentication on eBay last year because the team shared our passion for the category – with best-in-class capabilities to deliver what our customers want most. The response to our authentication offering has been overwhelming, and this acquisition allows us to continue to transform eBay and bring a higher level of trust and confidence to every transaction."

Since launching Authenticity Guarantee, the variety of products eBay authenticates has kept pace with the types of items and inventory collectors are seeking. eBay will continue to build upon its offerings to accommodate resale market trends and ensure a seamless user experience that provides the community with a trusted marketplace.

"We respect eBay's commitment to the sneaker culture and are honored that Sneaker Con's authentication business will be incorporated into their platform," said Brad Fried, the company's Co-Founder.

Conceived in 2009, Sneaker Con has cultivated a global community of sneaker enthusiasts through its industry-leading events, where people gather to buy, sell and trade sought-after footwear. Sneaker Con launched its authentication business in 2018 to complement the events business and provide industry-leading authentication services to further support the sneaker community.

"While Sneaker Con's events business is not part of this transaction, these events will continue to represent the global sneaker community," said Alan Vinogradov, CEO and co-Founder of Sneaker Con. "eBay is the industry pioneer and the marketplace was my first exposure to the sneaker community. We at Sneaker Con remain committed to providing premier global events for our community to come together and share their passion for sneakers."

With the acquisition of Sneaker Con's authentication business, eBay – which operates a diverse sneaker marketplace with more than 1.9 million pairs available to buy every day – is able to further empower its community to buy and sell footwear with total confidence.

Details on the Transaction
eBay is acquiring Sneaker Con Digital, Sneaker Con's authentication business, and the companies have signed and closed the deal as of November 24, 2021. Further details were not disclosed.

eBay Acquires Sneaker Con Authentication Business
The deal furthers eBay’s vertical expansion strategy in sneakers and offers customers added confidence in the purchase of high-value items eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world, and Sneaker Con Digital have entered into a def…

CEO Jamie Iannone has leaned heavily on the sneakers category as part of his vertical focus strategy, so this move is not particularly surprising.

Earlier this year there were massive delays at the authentication center, with some buyers reporting 3-4+ weeks waiting for shoes to be forwarded after being checked. There have also been many reports of shoes getting mixed up at the authentication center, shoes being damaged by the authenticator, and some shoes just "going missing".

Problems With eBay Authenticity Guaranteed
eBay’s authentication program experiences pricing manipulation, delays, & mistakes causing frustration for buyers & sellers.

I've also seen increasing recent reports from buyers who bought shoes that passed authentication to them, but then when they later resold the same shoes in the same condition, the authenticator rejected them as not authentic.

I've also been tracking an interesting difference in how eBay has handled the minimum price requirements for authentication between handbags and sneakers.

eBay Authenticity Guaranteed - Handbags VS Sneakers
Why does eBay strictly enforce minimum price for Authenticity Guaranteed on handbags, but not on sneakers?

eBay has allowed sellers to use the Buy It Now price option to gain authenticity guaranteed on sneakers that sell for far less than the $100 minimum in contrast to the authenticity guarantee for handbags where they have strictly enforced the $500 minimum price.

It will be interesting to see if eBay changes how they are handling sneakers now that they will own the entire authentication process - will they continue to allow the BIN price manipulation and authenticate sneakers that sell at auction for $0.99?

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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