eBay Authentication Service in Trouble

In the fall of 2017, eBay announced it would launch eBay Authenticate later that year with handbags. Within a year, the company expanded the program to watches and jewelry, and by 2020, it added sneakers to the service.

With over four years of experience dealing with authenticated goods, it would seem eBay should have the resources and capabilities to handle authenticated products efficiently. But a look at the Twittersphere shows that may be far from reality.

And it’s not just sellers that are complaining, even buyers are frustrated with the eBay Authentication service.

It only took one search term and one minute to find these examples and that is sad. I’ve seen comments like these for weeks now on Twitter, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Even today, eBay admitted on its official @ebaysneakers Twitter account that it has fallen behind authenticating products in a timely manner.

eBay Was Not Ready for Expanding its eBay Authentication to Sneakers

What is really incredible here is that eBay is not new to the authentication game. As stated earlier, the company launched the program back in 2017 and only last year added sneakers. Since then, eBay has pushed and promoted the authenticated sneaker program, including last month for International Women’s Day, but appears to have been completely unprepared for it.

It almost seems eBay rolled out an expansion to its program mostly in response to StockX, which has garnered a lot of attention and funding, hoping to quell a flight of sellers to a niche platform specifically build for running an authentication-based marketplace.

And today, among all the turmoil with the eBay Authentication program, eBay announced it would go on a national promotional tour to showcase its program.

None of this makes any sense! All eBay is doing is giving more buyers and sellers an excuse to flee eBay because the company wasn’t really ready to manage the program.

With more niche marketplaces receiving significant funding and exposure, eBay is at a crossroads as it has to take them more seriously. Individually, they may be picking at one or two popular eBay categories, but collectively, they could become a significant threat to eBay’s core marketplace.

eBay cannot continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. It’s a shame that despite changes at the top, the company continues to find ways to shoot itself in the foot.

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2 Comments

  1. Good piece here.

    It’s worthwhile to note that although eBay have acknowledged the backlog issue on a one-to-one basis via their @askeBay social support team (“We’re experiencing an explosion in demand for sneakers!”), that we’ve seen eBay have not properly acknowledge this issue in any meaningful way.

    Rather, eBay will tout their Q1 “massive sneaker sales” spin citing the millions sold and mind-blowing GMV as some sort of success for their loss-leader authentication strategy, but will fail to mention the countless irate buyers swearing-off eBay forever due to their miserable customer experience.

    1. Thanks man, totally agree with your points here, eBay should have the resources available to make this a slick operation, but instead are allowing a negative experience for buyers and sellers alike.

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