Shoestring Theory

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Planned eBay strike starts Monday; no one cares

February 16, 2008 at 10:19 pm by thetheorist

Aaaah, he's cute.
Mr. Fluffy Toes avoids the temptation to cross the picket line. Pic by fweez on flickr (CC license)

The plan for members to strike/boycott eBay has been floating around since the day eBay announced the new changes to the site. I hadn’t posted about it as: a) I don’t think it will accomplish anything and b) I’m not impressed by the arguments in favor of a strike. There’s an awful lot of disaster rhetoric floating around which genuinely turns me away from having any feelings of solidarity with the strikers. Disaster rhetoric boils an argument down to the absolute worst possible outcome, ignoring all other facts and facets of a situation.

I’ve already addressed most of the rhetoric in previous posts on the changes. But, as an example, I keep seeing the 60-66 percent fee increase figures thrown around. The truth is that this is a moderate fee increase for many sellers and a decrease for a few. The disaster rhetoric of the strikers focuses on the imaginary eBayer whose fees are increasing by huge amounts. Imaginary martyrs don’t impress me.

Besides, eBay sellers attempted strikes previously and ranted just as angrily then as they are now. Every time major changes are announced, sellers threaten to strike. I wish them the best of luck with it this time, though my sales will be up just like always.

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  • 1 AtTheBat Feb 17, 2008 at 1:33 am

    It’s definitely a boycott, not a strike, whatever takes place. While some sellers might consider eBay to be their workplace, this is no more true than saying that they work for UPS or Federal Express. The root of the problems with eBay is that many people buy into the idea that sellers are working for eBay, rather than sellers being customers of a valuable but not entirely unique service. A great number of people will accept far worse treatment from an employer than they ever would from any business they patronize. To consider oneself an employee of a company that hasn’t hired you is akin to making a pledge of love to someone who is apathetic. It might provoke a response, but not necessarily the one that is desired.

    I love the passion that is alive within many of the businesspeople who use eBay. Some seem to have forgotten that they are just that, businesspeople. If they feel that boycotting eBay is the best long-term strategy for their business, then I wholeheartedly endorse their decision, while endorsing the rights of everyone else who does not make the same decision. Therein lies the greatest beauty of eBay and other auction sites; It is your business to run how you see fit. Just don’t delude yourself into thinking that everyone shares your perspective, regardless of your perspective. If everyone had shared the same perspective, eBay wouldn’t exist.