Two very important facts the reader of this article needs to know before you press play and hear Devin Wenig’s admission during an interview with CNBC’s Jon Fortt.
As of 2016, although it’s been widely known by main street America since the bottom of the financial market crash in 2009 that the American governments statistics on unemployment and poverty rates are highly inaccurate (Inaccuracies in the Census), it’s finally quietly been revealed that less than 50% of the American population actually participates with American Census surveys. Basically the American government is quietly admitting that their numbers are severely inaccurate, with the highest inaccuracies occurring between the years of 2010 and 2016. Why am I writing about skewed unemployment and poverty rates in an article about eBay?
eBay doesn’t provide information on the number of full-time American sellers they have on their site but in 2006 ACNielsen, on behalf of eBay, found that approximately 1.3 million sellers around the world use eBay as their primary or secondary source of income. In 2015 there is an estimated 6.7 to 9.7 million families around the world who use eBay as their primary or secondary source of income..
The Admission: Wenig admits that eBay sellers do not get what they pay for: “listings aren’t getting seen on eBay because of the sheer number of listings and its lack of structured data”.
It’s a bold statement and one that the FTC needs to look into. It is a known fact that Americans are suffering. American families are being devastated financially while eBay CEO’s boast billion dollar salaries and Chinese based manufacturers who skip the middle men and undersell out from under, directly to the public are being given top priority. eBay, with the help of Cassini Search Placement, and now Artificial Intelligence (AI), will only always produce Chinese products to the eyes of consumers while admitting to suppressing American based products and small American businesses.
In 2016 the average monthly rent or mortgage cost for the average American is just less than $1500/month and the cost of basic survival is $3500/month. Many American based sellers have experienced a drop in monthly salary from an average range of $10,000.00 -$2000.00 to a range of $1000.00 if you are lucky, to as low as $100.00 monthly. Utter devastation.
eBays small American business owners have joined Walmart employee’s in line for welfare, food stamps and low-income housing. China on the other hand, is spending 33 million on new infrastructure and has experienced a record-setting boom in sales of luxury goods and vacation packages.
Myself as an eBay business owner, I once grossed an average of $6000 to $10,000 per month and was able to provide a full-time job to one employee, as well as ensured continued employment for my suppliers, most of which were local, and all were located in my state of residence. Unfortunately in 2016 my average gross eBay income is $600.00/month. I am permanently unemployed, on food stamps, and at 50 years of age, supplement my income with a $8/hr part time job. The money I am currently earning is entirely spent on the cost of living. No clothes, no entertainment, no ice cream treats. Rent, utilities and $25 a week for food. Try and eat healthy with a budget of $25. As opposed to preparing for my golden years and retirement I will be living hand to mouth and working for the rest of my life, through my elderly years and until my death.
My once full-time helper is also permanently unemployed and has moved back home with her parents where she is now a burden to her elderly parents, living on a fixed income. My suppliers can no longer depend on my income to pay their employees, and have eliminated most of their full time positions thus confirming that when one small business makes or loses progress, an entire community makes or loses progress
Seeing that eBay culture has always been a mirror of what’s happening in mainstream American culture, multiply my personal experience and my local communities experience by 9.7 million and here Mr. Devin Wenig, is all the data you need.
In light of Mr. Devin Wenig’s admission, I have filed a sent the admission along with my complaint to the Federal Trade Commission:
Devin Wenig admits in an interview that items are not being seen because the search engine is not able to show all of the items it has listed on the site. He says he is building the worlds largest catalog (with products that don’t belong to him) but offers no solution in the interim. The current search program called “Cassini” filters products out of search results based on a number of of criteria, one of which being a vendors sell through rate. Since our products are not being seen, it places a fair amount of vendors at a devastating disadvantage.
What’s even more striking is that a vendor with a 100% feedback rating and “Top Rated Seller” status is supposedly being given higher placement above vendors with lower ratings, yet we continue to see Chinese based manufacturers with subpar feedback ratings and NO “Top Rated Seller” status at the top of best match search results which is the default setting.
To further complicate things for certain vendors, eBay has contractual agreements with Chinese manufacturers that assistance with and often free warehousing space within the United States. This same agreement is not being made available to American vendors or any other vendor who is not based in China. It is especially a disadvantage for American vendors because if a shopper intends to filter out Chinese based manufacturers via searching by geographic location, and they choose the option of shopping only in America, the real American vendors’ products are again being suppressed and the Chinese products being stored state side are the only products being shown to shoppers. The precedent of, “most popular” has already been set by the featured Chinese items because they had already been favored prior to being shipped to America.
The Sherman Act states it is against the law to prevent free and unfettered competition but this is exactly what eBay is doing. The rules of trade outlaws every contract eBay has offered to Chinese manufacturers but haven’t offered Americans (or any other country) in a definite conspiracy in restraint of trade.
The catalog; Mr. Wenig states he is building the worlds largest Catalog. This requires vendors to provide a manufacturers MPN and UPC codes, however, the majority of American vendors do not have access to such codes because our products are vintage, used, and (or) rare and do not have such codes. Those of us who sell such products are being advised by eBay to write “does not apply” in the space the MPC & UPC codes are to be entered on the “Sell Your Item Now” form, thus ensuring our products will be excluded from the catalog and search results.
Mr. Wenig states, “listings aren’t getting seen on eBay because of the sheer number of listings and its lack of structured data” yet his attempts at designing a more “functional” search filter continues to exclude the very vendors who made eBay popular which are the vendors who sell collectables, rare, vintage and used products.
A vast majority of American based eBay sellers are a part of the permanently unemployed population, are temporarily unemployed, under employed or have started an at home based business when eBay made it a viable option back in the late 1990s’. Most have depended on their incomes generated by the sales from their eBay products for their very survival. That source of survival is being illegally pilfered out from under us in a bid for Chinese dollars.
There is no question that eBay is a for profit business, however, when compared to the profit potential eBay has by allowing vendors who aren’t based in China to have their products seen because by standard of practice, those products sell for a higher dollar amount and generate more final value fee’s..