eBay Crowdsourcing to Rally Against New Tax Bill

“Power in numbers.”  We all learned the phrase as little kids when we were taught how to deal with bullies.  Now, eBay is looking to utilize that idea to combat a new bill allowing states to tax online transactions.


As we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, crowdsourcing has become a valuable and increasingly used tool.  The Internet played an integral part in the investigation of the Boston Marathon Bombings, spreading news quickly and making pictures of the suspects available almost everywhere online to help identify the suspects.  Google even set up a check in to allow those near the blasts to report they were okay.  eBay plans to use crowdsourcing a little differently, but hopefully with the same successful end result.

The Marketplace Fairness Act is likely to be approved by the Senate this week, and will move on to the House of Representatives where it will have a harder time.  In an effort to have this bill thrown out, eBay CEO John Donahoe sent out an e-mail to all eBay customers requesting them to contact their local representative and seek a postponement on action of the bill. 


eBay and Amazon are the online marketplaces that will be most heavily effected by the new online sales tax.  eBay hosts a series of small business that make their primary income by selling goods through the website.  Amazon is known for it’s low online prices and that is its chief advantage over retail stores. 

Donahoe’s urge to take action will hopefully resonate with the eBay faithful.  Unlike Amazon, which is an online retail giant, eBay is host to several small businesses that will be adversely affected as well as several users who rely on the low prices on eBay’s forum.  As we’ve seen, crowdsourcing can do wondrous things.  Personally, I’m hopeful that “power in numbers” will be enough to throw out this bill. 


6 thoughts on “eBay Crowdsourcing to Rally Against New Tax Bill

  1. This was a very interesting topic and blog post. I have never heard of a company crowdsourcing in order to get a bill postponed. I don’t know if I like crowdsourcing used in this way. People will most likely write their congressman just because eBay told them to, and will not take into account the purpose of this bill and what the positives are for the government. I feel that the bill could do some good because eBay and Amazon have a huge advantage in the market and it hard for other companies to compete. But obviously eBay does have the right to do this crowdsourcing, and I believe it is a good move as the bill would hurt their business greatly. The blog post was great and was very relevant to what we are talking about in class.

  2. This is a great relevant article relating our eBay discussion to crowdsourcing and the current political issue over sales tax being charged to online sites. To get some more information I looked at this article: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/amazon-fights-ebay-over-online-sales-tax-90497.html. I was interested in the article because it explains that Amazon and eBay used to be “friends” with a mutual interest against Congress’ attempts to pass the tax bill. However, this relationship ended when Amazon decided to change its mind. The company had opened localized distribution centers which forced them to figure out sales tax issues with individual states. This process has proved to be cumbersome and Amazon now welcomes the idea of a universal sales tax to end the difficulty of organizing the individual states’ sales taxes. eBay still refuses to support the bill because its business deals with small businesses who cannot afford the sales tax it would entail. I think it is interesting how the company viewpoints have evolved and look forward to seeing what happens if the bill gets passed.

  3. This development of a tax bill concerning e-commerce will be really interesting to see how it affects the online market for goods and services. It will be interesting to see how this affects small businesses vs. big businesses and their sales, whether online stores such as Amazon and eBay can keep competitive pricing vs. physical store sites. I guess we will just have to wait and see how this all plays out.

  4. I imagine that the millions that use ebay will not be all too happy about getting taxed on their transactions because they will personally lose money, so there will be a huge outpour against this bill. We have seen crowdsourcing do some amazing things in the past, so I have no reason to believe that they cannot make a miracle happen again here. The user bases for both ebay and amazon will be deeply upset if this bill goes through, so I think that there discontent with this bill should be enough to at least get it postponed. This was an interesting post that I liked, but I would have liked to be able to read a little more about it.

  5. I wasn’t even aware this was happening so I found this blog post very interesting. Depending on how much this new tax is, it could have a huge effect on these companies and even make it worthwhile for customers to go into the store. One of the main advantages ebay and amazon have over brick and mortar stores is their lower prices so this online tax will severely hinder them. However I believe in the power of crowd sourcing so I’m hopeful that this bill will be revised.

  6. When I think of who will lead the charge against this bill, Ebay is not the first name to jump at me. Nonetheless it is still a massive online retailer with a huge amount of online sales. I wonder where Netflix fits into this. Does streaming content online to users merit being an online sale?

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