If corporations could hold grudges, you can be sure eBay would hold one against Amazon. While Amazon was the first to open for business, barely, eBay has been profitable nearly every quarter since its inception. Not to mention, it's a more profitable option for sellers--and in a big way.

In the early years of both companies, there were talks of how the two could work together. When those didn't pan out, Amazon copied its competitor's format with the introduction of Amazon Auctions [since discontinued], and 'stole' a deal right off the table between eBay and startup payment firm Accept.com. 

Fast forward more than two decades, and Amazon's market share of the e-commerce industry continues to hover just under the 50% mark. eBay's roughly 6% makes for an extremely distant second place. 

Now, according to representatives of eBay, still the world's largest auction site, Amazon is allegedly poaching third-party sellers using cryptic messages, conjuring images of a playground tussle in which Jeff Bezos' brainchild needs to be told, "pick on someone your own size."

But as fiery as eBay's accusations are, the real story is in the comments of the Wall Street Journal article where the story first broke. 

"My company sells on both sites and we would drop eBay in a heartbeat if forced to choose.  Their systems are stuck in 2005, with no vision for the future."

"EBay is a relic from the past. Crying because your competition is beating you miserably is just sour grapes."

"Maybe eBay should fix their own problems instead of calling out the lawyers." 

"When you can't innovate in 20 years cry foul."

And maybe most painfully, these two simple words: "What's eBay?"

Is there some truth in the above? One other comment stood out as well, perhaps offering some valuable perspective on the matter. 

"These aren't Amazon sales reps.  They are lead generators who try to sell the leads to Amazon," said one user. 

At this point, we can't be sure. But it does seem a bit more likely, doesn't it? Honestly, after Amazon's recent wage hike, we want to believe the company's turning over a new leaf. Is it? Probably not. So while it would seem unnecessary for Amazon to go after eBay's sellers, they haven't exactly proven themselves above it, either. 

Does eBay have a shot at humbling the retail Goliath, or has the standard for e-commerce ethics already gone to the highest bidder? 

Published on: Oct 4, 2018