For those of you in the United States who have a business selling on eBay or have dreams of someday becoming an eBay seller, check out the new documentary about eBay on CNBC.
The show is called “The eBay Effect – Inside a Worldwide Obsession (view trailer here - WMV file).” It features David Faber, a CNBC commentator who has done some excellent documentaries previously, including one on Wal-Mart.
My husband and I watched the program because we are fans of CNBC and Faber. And we both enjoy “ebaying” now and again. We expected the show to be good – and it did not disappoint.
It is a balanced look at eBay. You’ll see fascinating behind-the-scenes footage of eBay. For instance, eBay’s real-time monitoring center where they track what is happening on the site, is positively awesome. I dare you not to be impressed.
Faber gets access to various eBay executives for the documentary, including founder Pierre Omidyar, who wrote the original eBay application over a single weekend, and the CEO, Meg Whitman. My husband and I were both highly impressed with Whitman. She has a pleasant way about her, and she met questions head on, even the tough ones. “No weasling around them like most public-company CEOs,” said my husband. And an ordinary person could actually understand what she said.
Of course, there was a lot of attention placed on eBay sellers, both positive and negative. For instance, the show profiled several success stories of entrepreneurs who have done very well for themselves creating businesses for themselves, selling on eBay (a military Mom with young children who needed a home business, a disabled woman, a rural family that runs their business from their homes).
You also get the other side, too, including considerable footage of disgruntled sellers and those who have complained about lack of customer service. It’s important not to ignore or discount those who are unhappy, because their concerns are very real. Even eBay admits that they need to focus on providing better customer service. My only question about those sellers who are disgruntled is whether they are selling as much without eBay as they could with eBay.
There is also a frank look at fraud with an expert hired by CNBC, who makes a rather compelling case that eBay could be doing more to prevent fraud. The expert spots fraud patterns in a matter of a few minutes’ time. (And did I detect a rather defensive tone by the head of eBay Security during his interview???)
A couple of quick factoids:<ul><li>Half of eBay’s revenue is coming from outside the United States.</li>
<li>The company had 130 million registered users as of the filming of the show.</li></ul>The eBay documentary is running periodically right now on CNBC TV. Check here for the program schedule. Here is another review of the show by the Wall Street Journal.