11 Alternatives to Boycotting eBay


Last night I posted on the eBay discussion board "eBay Stores" an article "Alternatives for those who can't Boycott". This morning eBay "unfortunately" removed it because they thought it was "Encouraging others to violate eBay policies or the eBay User Agreement." The notice from eBay neglected to identify which of my 11 suggestions might be a violation of eBay policy.

Here is a reprint of the article.

For those who are unable to boycott, here are some other things you can do to try to help.

1. Spend the time to make a small microstore for yourself and move 10% of your inventory there. Think of it a growing your skills while hedging your bets.

2. Ask your Republican party friends to explain Meg's statement that eBay ethics are Republican ethics. Give examples like eBay’s practices of enforcing secret unadopted laws, anti-free market activity, reading people's mail, telling buyers that a 4 DSR is good and then punishing sellers who get 4 DSRs.

Ed. Note: In her article of March 23, 2008, Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times, reported Whitman's remark as so:

Whitman said she and McCain share a philosophy of scaling back the role of government, a point of view partly shaped by her eBay experience. "The eBay model is very Republican in its essence -- it's about making a small number of rules and getting out of the way" while not "overtaxing the community," she said.

3. Learn how to accept Google Checkout. Learn how to give your customers a choice.

4. Write a letter to the Attorney General of your state explaining why you think that eBay and PayPal are abusive and warrant law enforcement scrutiny.

5. Call eBay support on the phone to resolve a basic problem that has been on your mind. Keep them on the phone as long as it takes to produce an answer you can use and that you understand. Then get 3 of your friends to do the same thing, each of them getting three of their friends to do it, and so forth. If you call the 800 number and get put on hold all afternoon, that's ok - wait your turn but keep the phone line open. If they can't explain it, politely ask to speak with a supervise who might be a better explainer. Repeat with another question.

6. Pay off your eBay account every day. By credit card (not a PayPal card), preferably American Express. This will help eBay remain solvent during the Boycott.

7. Help eBay shareholders by sending factual letters to investor chat rooms and letters to the editor of financial pages outlining ways that eBay is shrinking their business. Because eBay's duty is truthfulness to these same shareholders, you can be certain that eBay will appreciate your fellowship.

8. Write a letter to your legislative representatives explaining how one practice or another of eBay or PayPal seems beyond the pale of the American Way, especially if it seems they have jumped through some loophole (like in the banking laws - why is PayPal allowed to act like a bank without being regulated like a bank?), and ask if the loophole shouldn't be closed.

9. Add to each of your listings a small box explaining to customers some aspect of eBay's behavior that will be harmful to them. For example "Did you know that eBay will take 21% (or whatever) of the sale price of this item? With fees like that, no wonder it costs more to shop on eBay than in other places." Or, "Did you know that PayPal withholds your payment from the seller for 21 days? No honest merchant can stay in business if they aren't paid. Maybe this is why there are so many dishonest sellers on eBay."

10. Make sure you yourself feed your items to GoogleBase. Then email Google and tell them that eBay is feeding your items to Google without your permission, that they are spamming Google and hurting you, and ask them to remove all GoogleBase entries that point to your items but that you did not feed yourself. Why does this matter? Because eBay is cluttering the advertising space for your item with garbage entries, and its hurting your business.

11. If you know someone who works for eBay, put a bumper sticker on their car (preferably their fanciest car) that says "I Work for eBay". Or "I work for eBay (My Maid Sells on eBay)".

The possibilities are endless.