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When you've been an observer of eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) for many years, you often have moments where you take a step back and say; What happend to eBay's _____ ? With eBay the list can get pretty long.

What happened to eBay's ______ ?

  • eBay Express - They shut down the UK site and have put the other sites on cruise control. I call it "milking the asset". eBay doesn't commit any resources to Express, so it has to grow organically and eventually they will just shut it down.
  • Half.com - Half has been on cruise control since they decided not to shut it down in 2004. Once again, they are "milking the asset". Had Half.com not been successful with Textbook sales twice a year (August/Sept and January,) they would have shut it down years ago.
  • StumbleUpon - eBay acquired Stumbleupon a year ago and still nobody knows why.
  • ShopVictoriously - This was an ad campaign that was supposed to identify eBay as the fun place to shop and win. I always thought it was a bad campaign and it appears to have gone the way of the Windorphin.
  • eBay Neighborhoods - eBay's attempt at social networking has really not done much. The Coffee Drinkers Neighborhood has the most members with 4,179 members.

What about StubHub? Why has it not been expanded to additional regions? I would think the UK and Germany would be perfect fit for a roll-out.

Many of these sites and ideas start out real promising, but when eBay does their ROI evaluation they find that growing them will cost more money than they want to spend and require resources, so they get put on cruise control.

What is the old saying? "If you don't grow you die!" In many ways this is the same thing that has kept eBay's marketplace business from growing because they aren't investing enough in the business to make it grow. They continue to milk the asset and even though they have made some significant changes in the marketplace this year, they aren't radical enough to reinvigorate the business.

So, 10 years down the road will the question just be "What happend to eBay?

Disclosure: None

Source: What Ever Happened to eBay's _____?