Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Is it really "My"Space now?

So apparently MySpace banned even mentioning Revver (video sharing service) on MySpace for competitive reasons. So is it me or does this and the past banning of YouTube go diametrically against "MySpace"'s namesake? MySpace's success is driven by its community of users, probably moreso than any other company including eBay. Playing Big Brother (especially if the reason is for competitive reasons) will undoubtably alienate some material number of users.

Obviously eBay has its own policies for users on our site, but for the most part these policies are meant to reduce buyer confusion, secure user privacy/trust and eliminate fraud. Almost all of our sellers' view item pages have links to 3rd party services, many of which are competitive to eBay's own transactional tools. Heck we even redirect buyers to sellers' own checkout flows if they opt for that.

In my humble opinion, user communities are driven by five factors - 1) a shared purpose or goal 2) trust between members 3) communication between members 4) repetition of interactions and 5) freedom of expression. The last point is the most tenuous to maintain. If a some subsection of users disallow members to express themselves freely, ultimately those members will disassociate themselves from said community and form their own. If the actual platform for communication (i.e. MySpace or eBay) disallows freedom of expression for an individual, that user will abandon the platform. Sometimes constraints to this freedom are put in place to ameliorate the larger community (i.e. no $#%! words or vitriolic statements against a specific user), but force-feeding a particular solution prior to even launching its substitute, while banning its mere mention, doesn't sit well.

eBay went down this road before with Billpoint and Paypal. The community voted with its feet and we hopefully have taken the hint. Let's hope MySpace will as well...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heck we even redirect buyers to sellers' own checkout flows if they opt for that.

It would be nice if that included the ability to combine shipping on multiple purchases. Without that feature few sellers are willing to use it. They opt to use eBays version since it can combine for them.

I'm looking foward to combined shipping being added, will be glad when it is.

2:19 AM  
Blogger Ro said...


Its a great idea that we're looking at now. Appreciate the feedback.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous GLP (previously C) said...

I'm with you... surprised?

Sharing of information is lacking in most companies and people like us will look to get as much information as possible to make an educated guess/conclusion. What are these companies afraid of? What is it that they do not want us to find out?


10:23 AM  

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