A blog on eCommerce, Social Commerce, Comparative Shopping Engines & Business

By Hendrik Laubscher

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Why Facebook should buy eBay

I have been thinking about an article I read on PYMNTS regarding Facebook  and its Bay Area almnus eBay. There are a few things at play here which needs to be unpacked – who can acquire eBay, eBay’s decline and does Facebook make sense for eBay’s shareholders.

Pierre Omidyar started AuctionWeb that would become eBay and be a shareholder darling in the early 2000’s. eBay was an catalyst that put online auctions in front of millions of customers who looked for long tail items. Items such as Omidyar’s well documented broken PEZ holders (which turned out to be a myth), stamps, baseball cards and more was the items that drove eBay’s growth. The eBay alumni are found all over the ecommerce ecosystem in various senior roles and some have become investors into ecommerce.

Investors have been unhappy with eBay since John Donahoe took over from Meg Whitman but eBay as a commerce giant died the day they split from PayPal. Donahoe joined the PayPal board and Devin Wenig has been trying to grow a business that has lost its identity and key staff.

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The return of the giant called eBay

When I see the words eBay in my mind the first thought that comes to mind is the marketplace concept in which users can list their second hand goods in either a “buy-now” or auction environment.  It was the element that placed eBay on the map and subsequently provided a launch pad for them to raise capital to buy shopping.com (comparison shopping engine), paypal.com (payment gateway) and stubhub.com (live event ticketing platform).

Many people are not aware that eBay is also in the classifieds space through their Kijiji group who have the popular South African classified provider Gumtree in their stable. The point that I am trying to make is that they have a multi-channel platform to capitalise on the entire eCommerce value chain.

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