Things change over time. We live in a world where online consumers all over the world are growing exponentially more sophisticated and knowledgeable on the choices they have - including the non-obvious ones they can manufacture/conjure. But, pioneers who become dominant players sometimes think they know it all and can let their foot off the pedal. They forget that dissent travels virally and far quicker and more robustly than positive sentiment. Additionally, as the adage "necessity is the mother of invention" is as true today as it ever was, arrogant, dominant players provide reasons for alternatives and substitutes to arise.
(Wikipedia is a great source of information which I shall credit with some of the info in this review.) Ebay and its powerhouse offspring (that is fast outgrowing its ageing parent), Paypal, seem to be guilty of the above. (One cannot talk about Ebay without referring to Paypal, Ebay's "unfair advantage".) Notice how they change rules unilaterally without consultation with or regard for those who contribute so much to their success - e.g. requiring every seller in Australia and UK to accept Paypal; and taking away the rights of sellers to leave negative feedback for buyers, no matter how criminal or perverse their behaviour. Some of these rules could well fall foul of unfair contract laws - but with their deep combined pockets and army of legal minds, they are understandably not particularly perturbed by individual action. When Paypal moved from the UK to Luxembourg in 2007, they removed themselves from the relatively conscientious and onerous jurisdiction of the FSA and with it, the English, Welsh and Scottish courts.
Ebay and Paypal may think that they are too big to fail, but the welter of disenfranchisement among its user community remains very much a reality. (There are websites dedicated to the downfall of these monolithic entities.) To Paypal's credit, it has not just survived but thrived whilst others e.g. BidPay and PayDirect, have bitten the dust. For all intents and purposes, Paypal is a monopolist that is getting bigger by the day. Perhaps it's time the M&MC checked it out.
I have been an 'ebayer' since early 2000 but am now looking for alternatives. Ebay and Paypal are very friendly to buyers but sellers (especially newbies) have a tougher time. I have noticed that some superb sellers I have often bought from in the past - who have had thousands of feedback - are no longer on ebay. Happily, I have managed to track down their own websites... When there are problems, getting through to Ebay/Paypal can be a grind. There are times I have called during their office hours only to hear (after having laboriously obtained and entered the PIN number, etc etc) "your call cannot be taken at this time..."!! Messages left verbally or through their messaging system (and email) not infrequently get lost in transit (or translation??).
Even though Ebay/Paypal are huge organisations, a bit of personal touch from well-trained and empowered staff and some situation-specific flexibility (followed by fine-tuning of their systems) would certainly pay dividends in improving customer affection, referrals and loyalty (which immensely reduce cost of sales).
I rate Amazon far above Ebay. I think I shall sell my ebay shares and buy Amazon...