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eBay Cancels eBay Live While Amazon Sellers Gather in Seattle

July 14th, 2009 by Skip McGrath

eBay Live to be replaced with smaller regional events dubbed eBay On Location

Lorrie Norrington, President, eBay Marketplaces announced that eBay’s annual convention, eBay Live, has bit the dust.  The last eBay Live was in Chicago in June of 2008. At that event, Norrington announced that eBay Live 2009 was cancelled but that eBay would resume holding eBay Live with an event in Orlando in August of 2010. Yesterday’s announcement confirmed several rumors that eBay would also cancel the Orlando event.

eBay’s announcement stated that eBay On Location is:

“…a new program that will bring eBay fun, learning and networking to cities around the country in 2010. eBay: On Location will kick off in Orlando in February, replacing the previously announced August date for eBay Live! Many sellers and buyers have told us that although eBay Live! is a terrific way to learn and network, they would enjoy more local events that don’t require costly travel. eBay: On Location will provide just that – an easier way for you to come together, learn about eBay from experts and each other, network and, of course, celebrate. Our goal is to provide eBay: On Location within a day’s drive for as many sellers and buyers as possible. eBay: On Location will deliver a compelling experience that will be easier on your wallet and require less valuable time away from your eBay business.”

Norrington also announced that eBay will celebrate its 15th anniversary with an On Location,  “family friendly event” in eBay’s hometown of San Jose, CA. on August 15th.

Karen and I have attended every eBay Live since the first one in Orange County, CA in 2002. Although I will miss it, I think this is a good move for eBay. In this economy, sellers would be reluctant to spend $1000 or more per-person that it takes to attend the event when you factor in travel, hotels, meals and the cost of the event itself.

eBay needs to repair its relations with sellers and a series of smaller events that allow more personal interaction with sellers could be a good step. I just returned from a small Amazon event in Seattle (see next story below) that set the perfect tone for the type of event eBay could hold.

Just before I posted this, a Wall Street Journal reporter called me about eBay Live. Here is a link to his article: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/07/14/ebay-live-is-going-going-gone/

Amazon Sellers Gather in Seattle

I spent last weekend (July 11-13) at a conference of Amazon sellers put on by SCOE (Sellers Conference of Online Entrepreneurs).  This was a highly fun and informative event attended by 250 independent sellers who sell on the Amazon.com platform. The event was not sponsored by Amazon, but Amazon provided speakers and a visit to Amazon’s headquarters, situated on Beacon Hill in Seattle that offers a breathtaking view of Seattle, the Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Mountain Range.

Compared with the last eBay Live in Chicago and reports I have received from other eBay events, , I was struck by the positive atmosphere and genuine mutual respect that Amazon employees and Amazon sellers have for each other.

The event was focused, upbeat, and contained valuable learning opportunities for sellers. The keynote address was given by Peter Faricy, Amazon’s VP of Seller Services. Peter drove a very clear stake in the ground when he made it clear that Amazon values, and wants more, independent sellers on the platform. His statement: “Amazon is a customer driven company and we consider our sellers to be customers too…” drew wide applause and set just the right tone for the rest of the day that consisted of several excellent seminars and feedback sessions put on by the 25 Amazon employees and executives who attended. The next day’s visit to Amazon’s Headquarters provied a 2-hour Q&A with top Amazon executives and managers.

If you would like to learn how new sellers can get started on Amazon, go to Amazon Services.

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