Tuesday, April 07, 2009

eBay Chooses The Big Over The Small

So I've got this buddy who is selling some new car parts on eBay. No funny business going on here, he's a classic eBay seller. His auctions are direct and to the point. See, nothing flashy or tricky about them:

Yet in nearly 30 cases, he's had auctions like the one above canceled by the manufacturer. They can do this directly and without providing any explanation under the following rule:

Intellectual property rights owners can request that we remove listings that they claim, under penalty of perjury, offer an item or contain material that infringes on their intellectual property rights. These rights can include trademark, copyright and other legal rights. For example, the item being sold may bear the rights owner's trademark (such as a logo on a designer purse), but may not be an authentic product.

I get it, if you're selling generic shoes as Nike shoes, Nike should be able to shut you down. But what if Nike decides they just don't want you selling Nike shoes?

Well, they can invoke the above clause and yank your auction. Apparently there's nothing eBay can or will do about it. My buddy called eBay and was told simply: the VeRo program will allow any manufacturer to say if someone can sell their item or not. End of story. If someone knows otherwise, I'd love to hear it.

I find this to be outrageous. It boggles my mind that the manufacturer has this kind of control. If I were eBay, I would fight tooth and nail to keep the millions of small sellers doing what they do best - selling. Since when do the Nikes of the world need an advocate? Where's the love for the folks who made eBay into a powerhouse?

I have to see this as a sign that eBay has lost touch with it's community. I can't imagine they can stay on top with that kind of attitude for very long.

Here's to not losing sight of who you should be fighting for.

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