Monday, October 06, 2008

eBay Must Have Donated Too Much To McCain-- Announces Layoffs Of 10% Of Its Workforce


Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang: The rich get rich and the poor...

I did pretty well on eBay. I raised several million dollars for a charity that cares for handicapped children and for a nonpartisan public service organization that fights for equality under the law for all Americans. I raised the money with several high profile auctions with the help of musicians and movie stars and other celebrities, from collectibles donated by Madonna, Joni Mitchell and Green Day to a ride in Krist Novoselic's self-piloted airplane. Over the years I got to know eBay pretty well and, like many major eBay sellers I grew to detest their arbitrary and idiotic regulations. Theirs weren't regulations that protected buyers or sellers. They were regulations that benefited eBay at the expense of buyers and sellers. When eBay's fascist, much-loathed payment system, Billpoint, went belly-up I hoped it would serve as a signal to eBay executives that they were jeopardizing a great business model put together by true modern day entrepreneurial visionaries, Pierre Omidyar (a French-born Iranian) and Jeffrey Skoll. Instead the visionless bureaucrats who took over eBay-- think Republican corporate hack Meg Whitman-- just bought the well-run rival that had put Billpoint out of business, PayPal, and eventually screwed that up too.

If eBay was dynamic and innovative when it began, it has stagnated and calcified of late and is now a typically Republican-run corporate giant hated by everyone who deasl with it. Except Sarah Palin... who failed to sell the governor's private jet on it but has repeatedly lied about that and made the sale that never took place part of her mythology. Oh-- and McCain. I doubt he really knows what eBay was-- or even is-- except a source of campaign contributions for George Macacawitz Allen, Mitt Romney, George Bush and, of course, himself. eBay's PAC has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars, mostly to Republicans and to reactionary Democrats from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party like Max Baucus, Evan Bayh, Mark Pryor, and Ben Nelson.

It didn't surprise me late this afternoon when the NY Times reported that eBay, which has generated billions-- many billions-- for its corporate managers and the politicians they favor-- is firing 10% of its workers as part of a strategy of "both tightening its belt and expanding its reach in preparation for the coming economic storm."
On Monday, eBay announced it would lay off 10 percent of its 16,000 workers, including 1,000 permanent employees, and pay $1.35 billion to acquire the Web payment firm Bill Me Later and the Danish classified advertising companies Den Bla Avis and BilBasen.

EBay, based in San Jose, Calif., said most of the layoffs would be in its core marketplace division, which has suffered from declining single-digit growth rates while online commerce has been growing at a double-digit clip.

The overpaid corporate hacks who conceived of the bad decisions that have caused the declining single-digit growth rates will now get bonuses for firing the workers, something the world of corporate managers considers very stressful (to the managers). What's worse is that one of the managers explained that “We are treating the affected people with the kinds of values you would expect out of eBay.” Fortunately murdering workers and turning them into dog food is still illegal in the United States... right?

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