Ebay To Launch Ebay Ink Blog in May

Posted on March 11, 2008

eBayEbay is going to be getting a new blog named Ebay Ink. Fortune reports in an article and interview that eBay has hired Richard Brewer-Hay to be the blogger of Ebay Ink. Brewer-Hay was previously with PodShow.
Unlike eBay's existing blogs and forums, which focus on more traditional (and sanitized) corporate communications, eBay Ink aims to give readers a peek inside eBay's internal operations. Brewer-Hay has pledged to write unbiased entries about what he observes as an all-access employee of the $7.7 billion dollar company.

Though eBay Ink is not a direct response to the recent seller boycott and frustration over ongoing changes, eBay's communications team says that a forum for frank discussions is long overdue. "There hasn't been one place where investors, industry analysts, employees, [eBay] buyers and sellers, and PayPal and Skype users can talk to someone from the company, or listen to someone from the company discuss what changes mean from a high level," said company spokesman Jose Mallabo.

Brewer-Hay was hired in January and has spent the past two months learning the ins-and-outs of the corporation. Fortune Small Business got first crack at him; below are edited excepts of our conversation about his ambitious mission and why he believes eBay Ink, launching in April, will change the dynamic between eBay's top executives and its user community.
Ina Steiner at AuctionBytes writes that the new blogger has never sold anything on eBay. He also has yet to reach out to auction bloggers.
eBay will launch a new blog in April that it told Fortune Small Business would be an unfiltered link between users and the company. Two things just jump out at me. First, the newly hired blogger has never sold anything on eBay. And secondly, while he says the first thing he did when he got to eBay was to meet with industry bloggers to find out "how we can work together," he has never reached out to AuctionBytes.

Other industry bloggers who linked to the FSB article do not mention having heard from him either: Randy Smythe, PowerSellers Unite and Tamebay, for example.
Richard Brewer-Hay does admit in the Fortune interview that has never sold anything on eBay but his wife has bought and sold a number of items. Brewer-Hay also said in the interview that his blog posts will not be edited by eBay corporate.
FSB: Your blog will be linked from eBay's PR webpage. How much influence will eBay have on what you write?

RBH: My words go straight up onto the blog, unedited.

It's got to be transparent. There's got to be an authenticity to it, an honesty to it, otherwise there's no point in doing it in the first place. I'm going to open up my e-mail to questions from folks. People can comment, too, and comments are going to be open. You're going to get the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It kind of goes back to what I was saying at the beginning. They hired from outside the organization. I have no prior agenda with any of the execs or people in the company. I'm still in the process of getting to know them. I haven't met a lot of them yet. That's a big, important thing.

The other thing is, this is my job. There are no other jobs that I'm doing. Some corporate blogs are just side gigs for existing employees, but I'm doing this 100%, day-to-day.
The blog will launch in April. They appear to be in desperate need of a blogger. The official eBay blog does not appear to have been updated since October, 2007. Ebay is also facing a growing problem with disgruntled sellers. Sellers starting striking when eBay raised listing fees. Sellers are planning another boycott on May 1st. This is probably an issue that Ebay Ink will need to address when it debuts in April.

Marketing Vox also has an entry about eBay's new blog.