eBay is set to announce Q4 2022 earnings February 22nd at 5 PM Eastern.
Honestly, Q4 2022 was one of the slowest I can remember at eBay, both in terms of announcements, new features, and updates as well as many sellers reporting sales were down considerably.
It will be interesting to see how that reflects in the earnings report on Wednesday. In the meantime, take a look back at some of the highlights from Q4 2022 and what's been happening so far in Q1 2023!
Leadership Changes & Corporate News
Of course the big news is eBay recently announced layoffs that will impact ~500 employees globally with CEO Jamie Iannone spinning the move as part of his intentional strategy, saying "this shift gives us additional space to invest and create new roles in high-potential areas."
But before the big layoff news there were some notable departures and arrivals at the company.
Head of Customer Service Nancy Vega left the company in November, after less than a year in the position, and was replaced by Ty Baker, a former Customer Service exec at Comcast and DIRECTV.
Head of Innovation & Research Product Management Gadi Mikles also departed in November.
VP Investor Relations Joe Billante left in December to take the CFO position at email protection and security company Barracuda Networks.
And in February, eBay lost GM eBay Authentication James Hendy and Director Vertical Merchandise, Bob Means, who was the public face of many of eBay's trading card, toys, and collectibles efforts including eBay Vault and eBay Live shopping.
eBay is also facing their first unionizing efforts with authentication workers at eBay-owned collectible card game marketplace TCGPlayer seeking to form a union with the support of Communication Workers of America.
CWA has filed multiple NLRB complaints on TCGPlayer workers' behalf, alleging management has engaged in unfair labor practices and coercive action.
CEO Jamie Iannone expressed regret over supporting the American Rescue Plan that lowered the threshold for 1099-K reporting, citing the negative impact the legislation will have on small sellers in an op-ed for Fortune.
eBay also acquired AI powered compliance company 3PM Shield ostensibly to help fight counterfeits on the platform - but my initial testing of the software doesn't bode well for the tech led reimagination of the platform.
The ongoing criminal and civil cases against eBay related to the 2019 cyberstalking and harassment of the publishers of EcommerceBytes have continued, with shocking details about a toxic corporate culture revealed and increased scrutiny of ex-Chief Communication Officer Steve Wymer's San Jose political ties.
As former eBay security personnel report to federal prison to serve their sentences, questions about corporate accountability still linger.
eBay Promoted Listings
The changes to promoted ads in search that Director of Product Search Ads, Pravesh Katyal talked about at eBay Open still haven't made it into production yet, but we have seen eBay testing a new ad type that places an ad for featured stores in prominent, above the fold placement on competing listing pages.
eBay is also testing inserting Promoted Listings in buyer watch lists with some dark pattern ux design that could cost sellers additional ad fees.
An eagle-eyed seller noticed recently that some lucky sellers didn't have any Promoted Listings ads shown on their listings at all. eBay says it was a "bug" that has since been fixed.
Events, Updates & New Features
Unfortunately, there's not a lot to report for Q4 or so far in Q1 for new features or exciting updates.
eBay did release a Winter Seller Update this month, but it was basically just a fee increase and not much else.
Q4 holiday marketing efforts for the US were squarely focused on only a few key verticals, leaving the vast majority of sellers on their own to make the best of this most critical shopping season.
eBay is testing a new Quick View option for stores that allows buyers to add to cart without ever viewing the listing page. Sellers are concerned it will lead to more returns.
The new eBay International Shipping program is off to a rough start with technical issues and concerns about how to block items that are prohibited in certain countries.
eBay shut down their free native Shopify app effective December 31, 2022 and pushed users to paid 3rd party solutions for a "better seller experience."
And eBay has started telling users they must provide a cell number that can receive text messages in order to sell on the platform - landlines and VOIP are no longer accepted.
Sellers in the eBay community made the very valid observation this unannounced and apparently undocumented change could be problematic for a 27 year old marketplace with average user age skewing toward the 50+ range.
Will this new requirement drive even greater losses of active sellers from the platform?
Vertical Focus Strategy
The eBay Vault appears to be struggling to gain traction with early adopters and problems with the photo and listing services included may be one reason why.
eBay has launched Guaranteed Fit for car parts but sellers worry they'll end up paying the price when eBay's fitment functionality doesn't live up to its promises.
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.
In 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, eBay sellers still continue to have intermittent problems with being able to see item view counts.
eBay's search functionality has had multiple major breakdowns recently, with one whole day where every search on the site returned 0 results.
And most recently, a massive billing snafu charged sellers tens of thousands of dollars in listing fees for the Gallery Plus add on feature in error.
That's it for the pre-earnings recap - stay tuned for full commentary from an experienced seller perspective on eBay's Q4 2022 earnings call this Wednesday!