eBay Discontinues Monthly Community Chat, Cutting Off Critical Opportunity For Seller Engagement

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


eBay has finally publicly announced the Monthly Community Chat has been discontinued as they move to occasional, not live chats centered around specific updates or events, missing out on critical opportunities for seller engagement.

Going forward, when there are special events or updates, eBay will open a discussion thread in the appropriate area of the community and leave it open for a week for sellers to submit questions - with answers being provided presumably after submissions are closed.

Monthly Chat Update
Hi sellers, We wanted to let you know that we’re making a couple of updates to the way we communicate site changes and topics with our sellers. We’ve decided to retire the monthly chat’s current format. Instead, we will schedule our chats with eBay staff around timely updates and recent changes. M…

We wanted to let you know that we're making a couple of updates to the way we communicate site changes and topics with our sellers. We've decided to retire the monthly chat’s current format.

Instead, we will schedule our chats with eBay staff around timely updates and recent changes. Moving forward, we will host the chats in the Buying & Selling boards depending on the appropriate topic, and you will have a week to submit your questions.

As always, our Community team will be focusing on keeping you updated and addressing any questions or concerns you may have in the meantime.

We know staying up to date is important, so we recommend attending our quarterly eBay Seller Check-In. Register for Spring Seller Check-In here. This way, you'll be able to hear from eBay executives and staff and ask any questions you may have in real time. Don't worry, we'll still be providing educational content and useful tips through our Announcements and What's New posts.

As always,

Thank you for being a part of the eBay community

Sellers voiced their opinions on the change and asked follow up questions about how this new special event format will work.

Thanks for the update! Does this mean the live chat format will be retired?

Will questions be answered throughout the week or just at the end of the week?

If it's at the end of the week, will there be no opportunity for follow up questions as are often necessary in this type of format?

Much less direct interaction.

So what's new.

About those "timely" updates............ hopefully they will be more timely than this update........

And by the way, you might update the Monthly chat page with this info.....

And, considering the many times,we've had to ask if something was a glitch or a change.......and that you've had to "check" with team......any chance there is going to be more transparency on changes? Will we know about them in advance........will you?

The writing was on the wall as community staff failed to engage with questions raised after missing the regular scheduled chat that should have been hosted this week and longtime seller and community engagement manager Brian Burke announced he is retiring after almost 25 years at the company.

Communication Breakdown: eBay Sellers In The Dark About Updates & Community Events
eBay sellers frustrated with lack of communication as they are left in the dark about critical business impacting updates & community events.

This sad state of affairs is unfortunately the very predictable outcome of changes made in 2022 to discontinue what had been a weekly, open topic chat with eBay staff and replacing it with monthly limited topic/themed chats instead.

eBay Community Chat Changes -Less Engagement & Support
eBay community staff announce weekly open-ended chat discontinued, replaced with monthly chat on limited topics.

The weekly chat had previously been the best opportunity sellers had at airing concerns and bringing official attention to issues they were experiencing on the platform. Moving to a limited monthly chat has significantly stifled engagement between users and eBay staff.

February monthly chat?
I see no monthly chat topic has been posted for February. Should we assume that means the winter update will be tomorrow or are y’all just running behind?
Who knows, they may also be taking a hard look at how relevant some of the regular meetings are here on The Community. Monthly Chat, monthly Mentors meeting, the Mentor program, etc.

I stopped using the Chat for a number of reasons ... the biggest one was that most things I presented were passed on to the Team that handles that and in most cases nothing would happen, other than a follow up status request followed by circling back if there was any news ... which rarely happened.

With the loss of 1000 employees I suspect that the process will not improve in that regard, just different people to pass things on to and possibly different people to do the circling around and back function.

There was a time when I was hopeful that Members here, primarily Sellers, would morph into a group of Influencers able to affect policy and other programs. I think many of us are just part of a loosely knit Focus group acting as a sounding board for certain topics.

In any event, change is in progress so we will have to wait and see what happens.

After a mass layoff of ~1,000 employees was announced last month, many sellers voiced concerns about increasing use of AI for critical support, trust and safety functions previously handled by humans.

eBay Layoffs Loom Large, Sellers Worry Support May Be Replaced By AI
As eBay undertakes layoffs, users worry about increasing use of AI for critical support, trust & safety functions previously handled by humans.

A seller in this week's thread on the lack of communication about the chat suggested it's possible we may see similar changes come to the community as well.

Is anyone even in charge or "managing" this place anymore? Rather than a focus group, it's felt more like a support group meeting with how we gotta look out for each other. Dealing with issues on eBay is like being in a toxic relationship, where you get gaslighted and then dealt the silent treatment.

With how obsessed eBay is with 'tech-led reimagination' it's only a matter of time until speaking to an AI is the best they will be able to do. At least an AI will have an excuse for not being able to speak about certain subjects and won't have to resort to ghosting you.

eBay has spent years touting their love for sellers and supposed commitment to seller engagement, but time and time again they make decisions that show exactly how little the really value the community of highly knowledgeable and engaged users that is right at their fingertips.

In response to discussion about seller participation and whether the community forums can still be a place to exercise influence, I posted the following:

Would there naturally have been a thinning of the herd or at least some turnover around here over the years just due to the nature of forums falling out of favor vs other social media, less users overall and other reasons? Sure, I think that's fair.

But is the shrinking number of once very active users who are no longer active also very much the obvious and possibly even intended outcome of choices eBay has made about how to run this place? I also think that is more than fair.

Long ago perma-ban purges to more recent (last few years) changes including chat schedules, official staff interactions, moderation activities and more have set the tone and course for what this community has become.

I absolutely agree the opportunity for this forum to influence policy these days is slim, but I don't believe that's a "sheer numbers" game. While the active and engaged sellers here may be a small percentage of total user base, what we lack in numbers we more than make up for in knowledge, experience, diverse backgrounds and most importantly caring, concern and desire/willingness to engage with each other and with eBay to help improve the platform for all users.

eBay had/has 100s or even 1000s of highly engaged sellers here they could have viewed as "valuable resources" and used them exactly like the influencer focus group you suggested earlier in this thread. The fact that the community holds little to no influence at eBay is 100% the result of choices eBay leadership has made and continues to make.

I see it a lot like much of the criticism a certain occasional world's richest man gets for what has become of Twitter - that platform (for better or worse) is largely a reflection of decisions current ownership has made just as this forum, any influence it may or may not have, and eBay's seller engagement overall is reflective of eBay management's priorities, internal policies, and strategic decision-making - or lack thereof.

I simply cannot take any platitude about seller engagement from eBay seriously as long as they continue down this path.

Other sellers shared that even the mentors program had recently felt like an afterthought to eBay, with last minute scheduling of their monthly meetings growing commonplace.

Longtime community member and mentor Simply-The-Best-For-You said:

It's hard to feel valued, when you feel like an afterthought & I think we can all relate to that, Mentor or not.

I couldn't have said it better myself. Are you listening CEO Jamie Iannone and VP Seller Experience Xiaodi Zhang?

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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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