eBay is set to announce Q3 2022 earnings November 2nd at 5 PM Eastern. Take a look back at some of the highlights from Q3 and what's happening so far in Q4.
Leadership Changes & Corporate News
eBay lost another longtime technical leader in August as VP Engineering Seller Experience Scot Hamilton quietly departed the company to take a role at Amazon tackling last mile delivery as Vice President Planning and Routing Technology.
VP Stores Tom Pinckney and VP Core Product Engineering Mark Weinberg moved on as well.
eBay's Board of Directors saw some turnover as well saying goodbye to Kathleen Mitic, Chair of Corporate Governance & Nominating Committee, and welcoming Aparna Chennapragada.
There were several boomerang rehires this quarter, most notably Xiaodi Zhang returns to lead Seller Experience after a 10 year stint at 1stDibs.
Gene Cooke is also returning as VP Collectibles and Aaron Carámbula makes his eBay debut as VP User Experience Design.
eBay announced two acquisitions this quarter:
Collectible card game marketplace TCGplayer - deal was originally slated to close Q1 2023 but eBay just announced it has been completed today, October 31, 2022.
And myFitment to enhance parts and accessories listing experience.
eBay CEO Jamie Iannone and CFO Steve Priest once again joined Eric Sheridan for a fireside chat at Goldman Sachs Annual Communacopia Conference in September.
And a recent job opening shows eBay is looking for help finding a corporate strategy - so I gave them some thoughts from an experienced seller perspective. 😉
Speaking of jobs, while eBay has not made any official announcements about a hiring freeze, there has been a very notable drop in open jobs in the last 4 months, indicating at the very least there may be some quiet belt tightening in certain regions and areas of the business.
The total number of open job positions has fallen from 696 to 350 since July 5, 2022.
Total Changes - breakdown by region:
North America - 509 down to 237
Europe & Middle East - 109 down to 92
Asia Pacific - 78 down to 21
There have also been some interesting changes in the careers page in the last 24 hours - it looks like eBay is trying to make it harder to track the status of open positions at the company. 🤨
The criminal cyberstalking case against 7 eBay employees who harassed and targeted online critics of the company continues to wind down with more sentencing hearings scheduled this week.
Civil litigation against those 7 plus ex-CEO Devin Wenig, ex-Communication's Director Steve Wymer, Progressive F.O.R.C.E. Concepts, LLC and eBay Inc. is ongoing and as more details are revealed, more questions about corporate accountability are being asked.
eBay Promoted Listings
GM of eBay Ads, Elisabeth Rommel had teased new Cost Per Click ad options coming in the second half of the year, but so far we've yet to see the Promoted Display ads that were supposed to begin testing in September or the Offsite Google Ads product that briefly appeared in July only to be removed shortly before the Q2 earnings call.
For now sellers still have the Promoted Listings Standard cost per sale ads, Promoted Listings Express for auctions, and Promoted Listings Advanced CPC for search.
Promoted Listings Advanced has expanded to cover the top 4 slots in search and Pravesh Katyal, Director of Product, Search Ads hinted at more changes to placement coming soon in his presentation at eBay Open 2022.
In the absence of new ad products, eBay appears to have settled on a strategy of rapidly increasing the coverage of existing ad products, causing some users to question if eBay isn't sacrificing buyer experience in the process.
In addition to more placements in search, eBay is now stuffing 100+ competitor ads on every listing page - a baffling move that CEO Jamie Iannone says he believes is actually an improvement.
Weary sellers, the proverbial frogs in the slowly boiling water, are feeling the heat as the ratchet effect requiring greater ad spend just to retain a fraction of previous visibility takes its toll.
Some have even begun to question if we can trust eBay's ad attribution models - a valid concern, especially with some of the very strange issues being reported with Promoted Listings impressions and views.
Events, Updates & New Features
The annual eBay Open seller conference was held in September - mostly a pre-recorded affair with very few new or exciting announcements.
Despite 3 half days of programming, the only new announcements were:
- Picture limit will be increased from 12 - 24 images, coming sometime in November.
- New International Shipping option that will be slowly rolling out over the next 12 months.
In his closing statements, Jordan Sweetnam said he's proud to say eBay connects sellers to 138 Million buyers around the world. What he didn't say is that's less buyers than they had back in 2018. 🤯
eBay also dropped the Fall Seller Update in September which again didn't contain much new or exciting - just officially announced the picture changes and new international shipping and touched on some regulatory changes for the UK and France.
While there aren't a lot of new things being added, there is one important one being taken away - eBay has decided to shut down their free Shopify app effective December 31.
Sellers who used the app to push listings from their Shopify stores to eBay, sync inventory, and manage orders will now have to rely on expensive 3rd party apps and some may choose to stop selling on eBay all together.
eBay Germany introduced Flexi-Kapital loans which are repaid as a percentage of sales, allowing sellers to have lower payments during slower sales times.
As eBay continues to roll out Spendable Funds to allow sellers to use sales proceeds for purchases on the platform, they've made some important updates to the Balance Terms and Conditions.
Vertical Focus Strategy
eBay is still working from CEO Jamie Iannone's focus vertical strategy playbook but progress in growing the verticals seems to have slowed significantly.
They launched authenticity guaranteed for fine jewelry in July, in partnership with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Three months in to the new program, sellers are frustrated with rejections and concerned the longer shipping and handling times could negatively impact holiday sales.
eBay dropped the minimum price requirement for sneaker authentication all together - now only certain models of certain brands will be authenticated, but eBay doesn't say which ones, leaving both sellers and buyers guessing as the requirements change constantly.
They've also increased fees for sneakers between $100-$150, introduced a new shipping program where eBay charges buyers a flat $14.95 for shipping and provides a FedEx label "at no cost" to the seller, and changed the terms of seller protection for items sent to authentication.
Unfortunately, eBay has been less than forthcoming with details about the new shipping program and seller protections.
The myFitment acquisition was supposed to help with efforts to improve the buyer experience in the all important Parts & Accessories vertical, but longtime Motors sellers question if it can really help overcome fitment and compatibility challenges.
eBay is rapidly dropping the minimum price for trading cards to be submitted to the eBay Vault but lack of transparent pricing may be holding back user adoption.
eBay expanded the demos for it's live streaming feature to Handbags and Fashion, but it still doesn't support auctions and doesn't appear to be close to being in the hands of regular sellers any time soon.
Check out a video clip of eBay Live in action 👇and compare it to competitor Poshmark's recent release of Posh Shows beta.
And for the holidays, sellers wonder if eBay's marketing efforts will reach beyond the vertical category focus.
Shipping, Fulfillment, & Cross Border Trade
eBay is replacing its current Global Shipping Program with a new eBay International Shipping option that it promises will save seller's on fees and provide a hassle free international returns experience.
eBay Fulfillment by Orange Connex is coming soon to the US market, according to Giovanni Fiorilli, Dir Product Management, Shipping.
eBay recently launched CPaSS, a new shipping platform for Asia Pacific cross border logistics.
And a new partnership with Enterprise Singapore is offering subsidies and fee incentives, selling limit increases, dedicated account management, market insights and more in an effort to boost SME exports from Singapore to the US.
There are too many technical issues on the site to give an exhaustive list, but here are some of the most recent ones impacting sellers.
eBay search has struggled for years but recent changes seem to have made it worse with autocorrect gone wild showing completely inaccurate results.
Wires are getting crossed somewhere causing users to see bid notifications and items in carts from other user's accounts, raising some serious security concerns.
eBay's new modern messaging system has failed and been reverted back to the old system for many users.
And ironically, on the eve of eBay Open, Managed Payments experienced a massive meltdown with sellers not receiving payouts from September 17-18.
It was a bit of a flashback to when Ex-CEO Devin Wenig infamously said at eBay Open 2018 that technical glitches are unacceptable and really pissed him off.
Interestingly, eBay has since blocked that YouTube video from being embedded or shared on other sites, but you can still watch it here.
Current CEO Jamie Iannone did not face the same tough questions, because his segments for eBay Open were entirely pre-recorded and he wasn't actually there to engage with sellers.
Maybe now that Chief Technology Officer Mazen Rawashdeh is back from sabbatical, he can get to work on that tech-led reimagination of the platform Jamie's been promising us for 2.5 years.
That's it for the pre-earnings recap - stay tuned for full commentary from an experienced seller perspective on eBay's Q3 2022 earnings call this Wednesday!