eBay Q4 2022 Pre-Earnings Countdown & Highlights

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


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."

eBay Announces Layoffs Of 500 Employees Globally
eBay will be laying off 500 employees globally due to the “macro-economic situation around the world”.

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.

Adrian Fung was promoted to Global Chief Marketing Officer and boomerang rehire Blair Ethington rejoins the company as VP Focus Verticals.

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.

eBay TCGPlayer Workers Continue Fight To Unionize
TCGPlayer workers’ union efforts continue with letter to eBay board & additional NLRB coercive action complaint.

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 CEO Jamie Iannone Regrets Support For American Rescue Plan
eBay CEO Jamie Iannone lobbies to increase 1099-K threshold, citing impact on small sellers in Fortune op-ed.

eBay Ventures made two new investments in Q 1 2023, UK-based luxury resale outlet Cudoni and digital fan experience platform Notable Live.

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.

eBay Acquires AI Powered 3PM Shield To Fight Counterfeits & Boost Compliance
eBay has announced an acquisition of AI assisted compliance software 3PM Shield to fight counterfeits on 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.

Convicted eBay Cyberstalkers Serve Time, Will Execs Face Justice?
eBay employees convicted in cyberstalking case report to prison, but corporate accountability questions 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.

New eBay Promoted Display Ads For Stores Seen In The Wild
Is eBay testing Promoted Display ads that will promote competing stores in prominent listing page placement?

eBay is also testing inserting Promoted Listings in buyer watch lists with some dark pattern ux design that could cost sellers additional ad fees.

eBay Promoted Listings Intrude On Buyer Watch Lists
eBay continues to try to monetize every pixel on the site, now pushing Promoted Listings ads into buyer watch lists.

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.

Why Do Some eBay Sellers Not Have Promoted Ads On Their Listings?
Some eBay sellers have no competitor Promoted Listings ads displayed on their listings - how did they opt out?

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.

eBay Winter Seller Update 2023 - More Fees...And Not Much Else
eBay’s Winter 2023 Seller Update - more fees but where’s the added value?

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.

eBay Stores Quick View Bypasses Description On Way To Checkout
eBay adds Quick View feature to stores allowing buyers to Add To Cart & checkout without seeing description.

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.

Problems With eBay’s New International Shipping Program
eBay is starting to rollout new International Shipping program & some sellers say it isn’t going smoothly.

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."

eBay Is Shutting Down Shopify App
eBay is shutting down their native Shopify app effective Dec 31, 2022.

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?

Should You Be Required To Have A Cellphone To Sell On eBay?
eBay sellers perplexed by unannounced change requiring a textable cellphone number to sell on the site.

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 Vault Problems - Incorrect Title & Missing Info Hurts Resale Value
The eBay Vault is supposed to include professional photo & listing services - are they living up to the promise?

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.

eBay Launches Guaranteed Fit For Car Parts - Will Sellers Pay The Price?
eBay touts Guaranteed Fit for car parts - will sellers pay the price for eBay’s not fit for purpose fitment charts?

Technical Issues

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 0 View Count Error 11-10-22
eBay sellers are once again facing a technical issue that has wiped out all view count history from their listings.

eBay's search functionality has had multiple major breakdowns recently, with one whole day where every search on the site returned 0 results.

eBay Search Broken 2-3-2023
eBay search is completely broken, returning 0 results for common keyword searches.

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.

eBay Gallery Plus Fee Charged In Error 2-15-23
eBay fee update implementation goes wrong, charges some sellers Gallery Plus fee 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!

Liz Morton Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

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!