Reuters reports today that eBay will be cutting some staff in what a company spokesperson calls a “globalization and centralization effort.” The number to be cut is less than 1% of eBay’s workforce, the spokesperson said, which could be as many as 150 people, as eBay has around 15,500 employees, according to Portfolio.com. With recent news that eBay dumped its partner ValueClick in favor of handling its affiliate network in-house, it looks like eBay is focused on making a lot of improvements in advance of its Q1 earnings call in April.
Despite a seller’s strike over increases in fee listings, Wired reports that eBay’s doing very well, though Don Reisinger at CNET’s News Blog argues that’s because eBay’s got no competition. Reisinger writes that eBay’s decisions over the last few years have made the company forget its core service as an auction site:
eBay is an auction site much like Christies is an auction house. Do you see “Buy it Now” features promoted at the Christies auction? Can people attending the auction make VoIP calls during it? Do they really want buying advice?
eBay has lost its way and the only reason it’s able to enjoy these profits is because there’s no company out there that’s willing to compete on such a grand scale. But why not? eBay is obviously worried about the future and auctions are still a viable way to buy products. If a company came along that finally revolutionized online auctions, the entire landscape of the business could be changed forever and eBay would be long forgotten.
EBay’s CEO Meg Whitman is leaving at the end of this month, and with eBay’s new focus reportedly being on platforms and distributing its content, I think that might be the revolutionary push the company needs to restore its past glory.