eBay Q4 2023 Pre-Earnings Countdown & Highlights

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


eBay is set to announce Q4 2023 earnings February 27th at 5:00 PM Eastern. Take a look back at highlights from Q4 and what's happening so far in Q1 2024!

Leadership Changes & Corporate News

eBay announced a mass layoff of off 1,000 employees in January, as CEO Jamie Iannone steadfastly proclaimed his strategy is working, while also being forced to admit "overall headcount & expenses have outpaced the growth of our business."

The layoffs brought new attention to eBay's in-house authentication initiatives, raising questions about the costs and risks associated with increasing labor-centric operations.

eBay Layoffs: Tech Jobs in Spotlight, What About Authentication Operations?
As eBay undertakes another round of mass layoffs, growing labor-centric authentication operations are curiously absent from the conversation.

Iannone will likely face challenging questions about the future of eBay's strategy on the Q4 call as Chief Business Strategy Officer Stefanie Jay has reportedly resigned following the layoffs.

If true, was she chosen to be the sacrificial lamb in an attempt to appease stockholders and minimize PR fallout for the company's performance?

eBay Strategy Faces Uncertain Future, Potential Leadership Shakeup
eBay Chief Business Strategy Officer Stefanie Jay has reportedly left the company amid mass layoffs, cost cutting pressure & uncertain Q4 financial results.

Despite Iannone's assertions that the "strategy is working", new job postings reveal eBay may be seeking fresh ideas, with a possible pivot back to a wider consumer-seller focus.

Other recent notable departures include Head of Business Development, Kohl Perkins, who left eBay after 7 years for Walmart Marketplace, Chief Operating Officer eBay UK Cristian van Tienhoven and long-time Seller Experience, Community Manager Brian Burke.

eBay Seller Experience, Community Manager Brian Burke Departs After 25 Years
Longtime eBay seller experience and community engagement manager Brian Burke is leaving after almost 25 years at the company.

Burke's departure after almost 25 years was followed by an announcement the monthly eBay community chat has been discontinued, raising concerns that eBay may be pulling back even further from already meager seller engagement efforts.

eBay has finally named new leadership for Sneakers and Streetwear, promoting Director Global Strategy and Operations Jonathan Gunawan to General Manager Global Sneakers.

eBay Looks For New Leadership For Sneakers & Streetwear
eBay on the hunt for new Global GM Sneakers & Streetwear to reinvigorate category as vertical focus strategy evolves.

That change was clearly needed as analyst Chris Burns at ARCH-USA recently revealed troubling reports that several sneaker industry consultants were ghosted by previous eBay Sneakers leadership and eBay did not appear to have a great understanding of the concepts that were pitched to them to help ramp up their involvement in sneaker culture.

The layoffs also brought renewed attention to eBay's corporate culture and priorities as well as seller concerns about increasing use of AI for critical support, trust and safety functions.

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.

Those concerns would appear to be well founded as recent promotions and job title changes show the importance of AI and the changing face of Global Customer Experience at the company.

eBay has agreed to pay $59 Million to settle DEA allegations regarding pill presses sold on the site, in historic fourth-largest controlled substances act settlement in history and first against an ecommerce company.

Litigation brought by the EPA regarding dangerous chemicals, prohibited pesticides and emissions-control defeat devices sold on the platform continues to wind its way through the legal system, with eBay citing Section 230 defense in efforts to get case tossed out.

eBay has also been found criminally liable in connection to the 2019 cyberstalking of journalists Ina and David Steiner of EcommerceBytes, and agreed to pay a penalty of $3 million - the civil case in this matter against eBay, ex-CEO Devin Wenig, ex-Comms Chief Steve Wymer, ex-SVP Global Operation Wendy Jones and others is still heading toward a 2025 trial date.

eBay Criminally Liable For 2019 Cyberstalking, Will Pay $3 Million Penalty
eBay found criminally liable for 2019 cyberstalking of Ina and David Steiner of Ecommercebytes, will pay $3 million penalty for six felony offenses.

The deal also requires eBay to undergo enhanced compliance monitoring for 3 years, including a specific focus on Mergers and Acquisitions due diligence, disclosure and risk management.

eBay Compliance Monitoring - What Does Cyberstalking Have To Do With M&A Due Diligence & Risk?
eBay’s deferred prosecution deal with DOJ raises question - what does Mergers & Acquisitions due diligence have to do with cyberstalking scandal?

That may be a nod to broader due diligence and disclosure concerns raised by eBay's acquisition of trading card marketplace TCGPlayer, which led to the formation of the first US labor union in eBay's history and sudden departure of Chief Accounting Officer Brian Doerger last year.

eBay is dragging their feet on bargaining with TCGUnion-CWA, despite the National Labor Relations Board finding merit in multiple unfair labor practice charges filed against the company.

A group of eBay/TCGPlayer sellers has banded together to air concerns about eBay's acquisition of the collectible card game marketplace, treatment of unionized workers, alleged retaliation against their selling accounts, and anti-competitive practices in a letter sent to Iannone, TCGPlayer CEO Robert Bigler and eBay's Board of Directors.

Sellers Accuse eBay TCGPlayer Of Anti-Competitive Behavior & Retaliation Following Acquisition
eBay TCGPlayer sellers air concerns about acquisition, union busting, alleged retaliation, & anti-competitive practices in letter to CEO & Board.

Mystery still surrounds 2022 consumer fraud incident noted in eBay's Q3 2022 10-Q report as new reports have emerged shining light on years long multi-million dollar triangulation scheme using over 500 fake PayPal and eBay accounts.

Mystery Shrouds 2022 eBay Consumer Fraud Incident Revealed In Recent 10-Q Report
Mysterious 2022 consumer fraud incident tucked deep in eBay’s latest 10-Q raises questions about disclosure & transparency.

And finally, Workday CFO, Zane Rowe, has joined the board in a move eBay says will bring "significant expertise in finance, strategy and technology development" to the company.

Workday CFO Zane Rowe Joins eBay Board Of Directors
eBay announces Workday CFO Zane Rowe will join Board of Directors, bringing “expertise in finance, strategy & technology development” to the company.

Updates and New Features

eBay is lagging significantly behind in their AI initiatives, continuing a long history of unfulfilled tech innovation promises.

Artificial Hype? eBay’s History Of Unfulfilled AI Promises
Are eBay’s AI efforts just hype? A history of unfulfilled tech promises & misexecution does not bode well for the company’s latest gimmicks.

Their image recognition capabilities for product search and discovery continue to provide inconsistent results, the AI description generator had rough launches on both mobile and desktop, and the promised "take a picture and let AI do the rest" Magical listing experience has yet to be seen live in the wild, apparently stalled in employee beta testing.

eBay Teases Magical AI Listing Creation Using Only An Image
eBay teases magical AI listing tool to create listings using only an image - will it live up to the hype?

Meanwhile smaller competitor Mercari has already deployed their image based listing toolPoshmark appears poised to beat eBay to the punch as well and Shopify and Amazon have both introduced conversational AI shopping assistants for buyers.

The final design for phase one of Ebay's new View Item Page design has been chosen after 9 months of testing with phase two planned for sometime in 2024.

eBay Quietly Unveils Final New View Item Page Design
eBay’s new View Item Page design has been finalized after 9 months of testing, with silent pre-holiday launch - get your first look here!

eBay continues to rollout changes to the feedback experience, changing sort order from "most recent" to "most relevant", allowing buyers to add publicly viewable pictures with their feedback comments left for sellers and adding a "verified purchase" label to remind users feedback on eBay can only be left by buyers and sellers who participate in transactions on the platform.

eBay Feedback Shows Verified Purchases - But What Does Verified Mean?
Sellers spotted another change to eBay feedback pages today with test showing “Verified Purchase” for transactions that received feedback.

Updates to Price Guide and Collection beta are underway for the first time since it launched in August 2021, providing enthusiasts with more ways to organize their card collections and access new features for the eBay Vault.

eBay Updates Price Guide & Collection Tool For Trading Card Enthusiasts
eBay is making updates to Price Guide & Collection tool, providing more ways to organize card collections & access new features for eBay Vault.

eBay added AI caption creation and scheduling functionality to Social sharing tool in November, but major scheduling delays and lag time negates the purpose of this critical user function.

eBay Social Sharing Scheduler Has Major Delays, Negating Purpose Of Critical Functionality
eBay’s social sharing tool experiences major scheduling delays & lag time, negating the purpose of this critical functionality.

Marketing & Promoted Listings

eBay hoped to entice sellers to try out Offsite Ads beta with a promise to "reach new buyers during the busiest time of the year, while saving" with a $100 ad credit.

eBay Entices Sellers With $100 Offsite Ads Credit, But Watch Out For The Fine Print!
eBay entices sellers to try Offsite Ads with ad credits & promise to “reach new buyers during the busiest time of the year” - should you sign up?

As other marketplaces put holiday marketing plans into motion, eBay made it clear once again sellers were on their own to drive seasonal sales at ever increasing costs for Promoted Listings ads and seller-funded discounts.

Holiday Hustle: eBay Sellers Grapple With Rising Ad Costs
As competitors put holiday marketing in motion, eBay makes it clear sellers are on their own to drive seasonal sales with Promoted Listings ads.

What started as a clever anti-big game marketing campaign, turned into a masterclass of how to flush brand reputation and goodwill down the toilet for both Liquid Death and eBay after DUDE Wipes claimed the winning bid for ad space on Liquid Death packaging and Liquid Death backed out, alleging "technical issues" on eBay's side prevented some brands from bidding.

Liquid Death’s Cheeky Ad Campaign Gives eBay Alternate Route to Super Bowl Season Visibility
eBay may not be running an ad in the big game, but they’re still getting attention thanks to Liquid Death’s cheeky anti-Super Bowl ad stunt.

Buyers are confused and concerned by a new eBay advertising ploy suggesting items "you might also like" in a post-purchase pop up, leading to increased cancellations and chargebacks.

eBay Post-Purchase “You Might Also Like” Pop Up Ads Increase Cancellations & Chargebacks
eBay buyers confused by new advertising ploy showing items “you might also like” in post-purchase pop up, increasing cancellations & chargebacks.

Payments & Fees

Sellers who utilize eBay Seller Capital loans were unceremoniously informed that eBay is no longer partnering with LendingPoint, providing no advanced warning of this important change to the lending program.

eBay Drops LendingPoint, Pivots To Funding Circle For Seller Capital Loans
eBay abruptly ends partnership with LendingPoint , will use Funding Circle for eBay Seller Capital loans, in sudden unannounced changed.

Efforts to end unpaid items on the platform have taken one step forward and two steps back as eBay finally provided details on changes to immediate payment for seller initiated offers, but previously available settings to require immediate payment for auctions have been quietly removed.

eBay Quietly Removes “Payment Method Required To Bid On Auctions” From Sellers’ Buyer Requirement Settings
eBay’s efforts to solve unpaid items stall as option to require payment method before bidding on auctions disappears from sellers’ settings.

eBay has released their Winter 2024 Seller Update and the big news is the per order transaction fee will be increasing from $0.30 to $.40 for orders over $10 across all categories, starting March 15.

eBay Winter Seller Update 2024 - Increased Transaction Fees, Unpaid Offers & More!
eBay releases Winter 2024 Seller Update including per order transaction fee increase from $0.30 to $.40 on orders over $10 across all categories.

The costs of increasing regulation add up and eBay is passing them on to sellers as part of the latest business seller update for the UK and some EU countries, effective April 8.

eBay Adds Regulatory Operating Fee For UK & Some EU Countries
The costs of compliance & regulation add up & eBay is passing them on to sellers in the UK & some EU countries with new Regulatory Operating Fee.

Final Value Fees will be increasing across the entire jewelry category (excluding watches, parts and accessories) months after expanding Authenticity Guaranteed for Jewelry to the UK market, mirroring similar changes that were made when jewelry authentication was introduced to the US.

eBay UK Increasing Final Value Fees For Jewelry To Subsidize Authentication Program
eBay UK announces final value fees for jewelry category will be increasing, effective March 7, 2024.

eBay also appears to be testing out the possibility of fee free selling for private (C2C) sellers in the UK with a special invitation promotion for zero selling fees through April, including no listing fees, no fixed $0.30 per transaction fee and no variable Final Value Fees.

eBay Tests Fee Free Selling For Private UK Sellers With Special Promo
eBay UK tests zero listing & selling fees through April for private sellers in special invite only promotion.


eBay sellers experienced a strange issue that caused shipping rates to fluctuate before USPS rates officially went up in January, possibly related to programming changes being made to accomodate finally offering cubic rate shipping.

eBay Will Finally Support USPS Cubic Rates With January 21 Postage Update
eBay reveals USPS Cubic Rate labels will finally be available to purchase through to platform with January 21, 2024 postage update.

Sellers continue to pushback on eBay's efforts to pressure them in to offering discounted shipping rates, saying the company should consider lowering fees if they are concerned about items on the site not being price competitive.

eBay Cold Calls Sellers With Nudge To Reduce Shipping Costs For Buyers
eBay cold calls seller to “encourage’ them to pass on discounted shipping rates to buyers.

That's it for the pre-earnings recap - catch up on our coverage of Q3 2023 earnings and stay tuned for full commentary on eBay's Q4 and full year 2023 results from Value Added Resource!


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!

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