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Post Info TOPIC: eBay Playing, And Losing, The Retail Prediction Game

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eBay Playing, And Losing, The Retail Prediction Game

eBay Playing, And Losing, The Retail Prediction Game

Written by Evan Schuman

March 6th, 2012

For many years, Microsoft top brass entertained Silicon Valley by predicting when it would release an important application and never getting the date right. Many other ISVs did the same thing, but Microsoft was the master. Microsoft played Lucy to the medias Charlie Brown. Unfortunately, the company never figured out the huge downside to predicting software releases. eBay CEO John Donahoe is trying to bring back some of that old Microsoft humor.

In Donahoe's case, he has been trying to predict what major retail chains will do. Back in July 2011, he confidently told investors that eBay would announce a major retail trial by the end of 2011 - that was Home Depot, which wasn't announced until January 2012 - and that 2012 would bring 20 national retail trials. Last week, Donahoe slashed that figure almost in half, now saying that 10 to 15 retailers will be offering PayPal in-store this year. Asked to explain the different numbers, he told a TV interviewer: "We tend to under-promise and over-deliver. So no, I wouldn't say we're scaling back at all."

Setting aside the fact that he didn't answer the question, this is impressive spin. Donahoe had been promising 20 and he's now scaling it down to 10 to 15, which means he's now promising 10. That's not under-promising. It's over-promising. And it's not over-delivering, because none - beyond Home Depot - have been delivered yet. If Donahoe announces 28 retailers next week, that would be over-delivering.


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Exposing the sleazery of ebaY and PayPal


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