Stormy, Meghan, and Auctions

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:34 pm Post subject: Stormy, Meghan, and Auctions

Hi folks.

I got a bunch of calls in the last couple days about Stormy, why she rolled off auctions, did she leave the company, and who Meghan is. Stormy is a brilliant street-fighter whom I move around the company to dive into our biggest problems and opportunities, usually with a few analysts in tow. When we decided to do mass advertising she wrote our radio and TV ads, produced those commercials with Sabine, and buys our airtime. She also took over customer service and brought it to #4 in the country in about a year.

Stormy came into auctions in late September, and within a few weeks had pretty much diagnosed the problems (disparate treatment for small sellers, and the subscription plans that made listings so cheap that we got far too many listings starting at artifically high prices, which smothered everyone’s sell-through-rates and destroyed all of our economics). She suggested the plan of going back to a listing fees for everyone, and the other changes we made to level the playing field among sellers. She also realized cut our costs in auctions dramatically, so that the tab became an economically viable proposition for us.

As you must have noticed, things have turned around dramatically in the last few weeks. Listings have dropped almost as far as we wanted them to; we see that the sell through rates are many, many times higher than they have ever been on our site; page views/auction have soared, etc. Once it was clear that these changes had pushed things in the right direction, I moved Stormy on to other duties (developing a new source of revenue for us, while maintaining our customer service and branding departments). We handed the reins to Meghan.

Meghan is a terrific young woman whom you will be getting to know better (I have asked her to create a forum like mine: you will see her picture up tomorrow, I hope, and will probably never check in mine again). She shares my and Stormy’s belief that some basics had been forgotten on this auction tab, and that simplification is good. She has a small, tight team now that has things under control. Our customer service and content review is managed by Jason, a wonderful fellow we hired some time ago with solid experience at eBay, and of course, Joe P handles our relations with the largest sellers.

Incidentally, Meghan now reports directly to me, and I am really enjoying watching these changes take hold. i know that I made a few abrupt moves on the controls some weeks ago, because we wanted to start off the new year right. I am sorry about that, but we are very glad we did, because every auctions metric that we care about has turned around sharply. Stormy can be proud of the decisions she made, as Meghan can over the auction tab she now commands.

So please, never doubt that you are in good hands with Meghan. We have returned to first principles, adn they seem to be working.

Here is a question: it is our hope that by getting conversation rates up as they are now, sellers will gradually realize that they can list more items (I think the average seller now lists more than a dozen at a time). I expect they will experiement, increasing the numbers bit by bit, to see what our traffic supports. I also expect, or at least hope, that as word starts getting out into the eBay community, a few more sellers may come try things. And lastly, I get the impression that some eBay groups are sticky, that is, that some sellers will bring dedicated buyers when they come.

How realistic does this sound?

Respectfully,

Patrick

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