I don’t want to jump on the Skype-skepticism train that’s been going around, but Russell Shaw over at ZDNet — who writes a blog about VOIP — points to a story from TheStreet.com that suggests the eBay-Skype marriage could be less rosy than either company hoped it would be (or should be, for $4.1-billion). According to the story by Jonathan Berr, a group of eBay’s power sellers say they don’t have any real interest in using Skype to contact or be contacted by prospective buyers.
The group of about 900 sellers, who are members of the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance, don’t see the VOIP service as a compelling feature, according to the group’s executive director. “Skype doesn’t give me a capability that I already don’t have,” Jonathan Garriss told TheStreet. “It’s not something that is going to change the way that the eBay sellers in our group are going to run the business.” That might come as a bit of a shock to eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who has been selling the benefits of the merger of Internet telephony and eBay’s auction service. It might also come as a shock to some of those who have been defending the massive acquisition based on the idea that sellers will adopt Skype.
Russell points out that PESA isn’t just a group of malcontents, but one that “collectively accounts for a cumulative annual total of more than 70 million eBay transactions and $1 billion in transaction volume.”
Andy Abramson has some info about another Skype problem: the “Borg-like eBayization” of the company, which could be draining away some of the management style that accounted for the company’s early success. This is a phenomenon that my friend and fellow tech-blogger Mark Evans has also mentioned.