Communication Breakdown: eBay Sellers In The Dark About Updates & Community Events

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE 2-16-24

eBay has finally publicly announced the Monthly Community Chat has been permanently discontinued.

eBay Discontinues Monthly Community Chat, Cutting Off Critical Opportunity For Seller Engagement
eBay has discontinued monthly community chat, calling into question their commitment to seller engagement & discussion.

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.

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.

What do you think of these changes to how eBay engages with sellers in the community? Let us know in the comments below!

Sellers are frustrated with ongoing lack of communication and engagement as they are left in the dark about critical business impacting updates and community events.

For the second month in a row, eBay community staff have failed to communicate about the monthly chat. In January, a notice of postponement was posted only after a seller asked why the topic had not been disclosed ahead of time like usual and so far there has been no notice of anything pertaining to the February chat, which would normally be taking place today at 1 PM Pacific/4 PM Eastern in keeping with the previous "second Wednesday of the month" schedule.

Last month's postponement prompted speculation that the Winter Seller Update may be imminent, as did this week's lack of communication, but neither of those predictions came to fruition.

eBay January Community Chat Postponed, Winter 2024 Seller Update Coming Soon?
The eBay community chat for January has been pushed back a week, raising questions about whether a Winter Update may be coming soon.

Yesterday's eBay for Business podcast revealed that longtime Seller Experience and Community Manager Brian Burke will be retiring after almost 25 years at the company, which would certainly have been perfect timing for a "bon voyage" chat for sellers to share well wishes and memories from interacting with Brian in the community and at seller events for over two decades.

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.

eBay has not given advance notice of seller updates for many years, despite the obvious goodwill it would generate amongst sellers who practically begged for a heads up so they can clear their schedules and devote time to reading and understanding how changes will impact their businesses as well as participate in discussions with eBay staff in the community about the updates.

Our attempts to get any updates or information about the chat today or a possible impending seller update have been met with the silent treatment from eBay staff who have been signed in and actively engaging in other threads in the community since yesterday.

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?

devon@ebay kyle@ebay elizabeth@ebay - 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?

All quiet on the western front and also in Australia, UK and Canada so....doesn't look like there is going to be an update today.

devon@ebay kyle@ebay elizabeth@ebay - is there going to be a chat today? Even just an open topic session or "bon voyage" party for brian_burke@ebay ?

At the very least, it would be nice to get an answer about the chat today - that is something that is not normally "secret" and usually planned in advance with a consistent schedule (with the exception of last month.)

The blues have been active and responding to other threads in the community in the last 24 hours so it would seem unlikely there is some emergency or something that has caused all of them to be unable to either answer here or post an update in the chat section to advise whether or not there will be a chat today.

Even if they had originally been planning for an update today and it got postponed for some reason they can't just open the chat up to general discussion or post a notice saying there won't be one today.

As usual, the choices eBay makes about "seller engagement" continue to baffle me when there is so much low hanging fruit/little things they could do to improve the dialogue and seller trust.

Other sellers chimed in to share their frustration with a years long downward trend in communication, support and seller engagement.

Just tossing this into the mix: Seller Check In, apparently the first of three this year (remember when they were monthly?) is March 7th. No detailed agenda just yet, but it does say:

"We’re kicking off our seller event series with a focus on product updates that make your eBay business more efficient.

Plus, the fashion team will be here to discuss trends and some exciting customer experience enhancements."

So, presumably between now and March 7th, there might at least be some product updates and "customer enhancements", at least in the fashion category (perhaps the next Focus Category?). My guess is, any Winter Update will be sometime between now and the 7th. But who knows?

As I've been saying for years, it would be much appreciated if ebay would give us some advance notice for the Updates, so we could set time aside to review it the day it comes out.

Yep, and if it was planned for today, but had to be postponed, well, that's a great opportunity to say : "We were going to release it today, but we had to postpone it until (fill in new date)"

As you say, there are all these little, easy things ebay could do to improve seller trust and enhance dialogue, but this company seems determined to do the opposite. Given the highly competitive environment existing today, you'd think the sensible approach would be to do everything they can to engage their sellers in a positive way.

I've noticed that for some time. This company demonstrates an aggressive stranglehold on communication between employees and users (and even employees with other employees) that I have not seen anywhere else.

The simplest questions go unanswered; releases are dumped into Production with no announcement or even in-house training (e.g. for Customer Service or community reps, who are often as baffled as everyone else); problem reports go unacknowledged (notice how few topics in the "Report eBay Technical Issues" group show the little logo of an eBay reply).

Even the Community contacts here who forward user issues to the various "teams" get stonewalled when it comes to followup or resolution.

I've said it before on here, eBay's communication is nothing more than PR. It's a joke on any other level. None of them know how eBay functions. Even the tech team doesn't know what is going on since it's all outsourced to different countries (confirmed by their Jira logs they mistakenly forwarded to me when conversing). And it is proven to be PR without a doubt when they will literally work to silence reproduceable issues rather than get them addressed and/or be honest and up front about them.

Another longtime community member suggested the community staff could be reeling from internal disruptions caused by the recent reorganization and layoffs of ~1,000 employees globally at the company.

I suspect that there might be some internal reorganizing and restructuring with regard to the eBay Support Team for The Community pursuant to the group that has been let go from the company.

February may wind up being a wash for some things ... we're still waiting for confirmation on the February Mentors meeting. It may wind up getting pushed to March, who knows.

That would certainly be understandable and I'm sure many community members would be very empathetic if that is the case - but since none of the regular community staff members appear to have been directly impacted, there's no reason they couldn't have taken a few minutes to simply post an announcement to that effect.

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.

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 the layoffs were 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 today's thread about 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 fail to do even some of the smallest, most mundane things that would foster dialogue and seller trust - like taking a couple minutes to post an announcement on their own forum when a regularly scheduled event is obviously not going to take place as regularly scheduled.

If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. ~ Admiral William H. McRaven

There is so much low-hanging seller engagement fruit well within eBay's grasp - they just have to care enough to reach out and grab it.

eBaySeller UpdatesCustomer Service

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!

Never Miss A Headline!