eBay's non-neutral two-tier Internet model via Buy.com deal

eBay sellers are complaining that eBay's change in its business model discriminates in favor of Buy.com with a special no-fee selling tier and also violates eBay's longtime commitment to a "level playing field" -- per an article in the New York Times:  

  • "Many believe that eBay has violated the sacred tenet of the “level playing field,” which its founder, Pierre Omidyar, established as one of the company’s basic principles."...
  • "“As an independent seller, I felt betrayed,” Mr. Libby said. “I’ve paid eBay many hundreds of thousands in fees over the past several years and believed them when they talked about a level playing field. And they just plain and simple are going back on their word.” “There is fair, and there is outright stabbing you in the back,” he said."

As an ardent free market proponent, I strongly defend eBay's freedom to price discriminate, and offer more than one selling tier in their Internet model.

  • A diversity of demand produces a diversity of supply -- that's one of the things that free markets do so uniquely well.

However, given eBay's self-serving, hypocritical, and sanctimonious support for net neutrality and a one-tier Internet, I must spotlight eBay's outrageous, indefensible, and anti-competitive double standard between its own business practices and eBay's position to make eBay's practice illegal for eBay's competitors. 

  • Let's remember that eBay is an unregulated monopoly controlling 95% of the online auction market, per Jupiter Research in the New York Times last year.  
  • Let's also remember the exact words then eBay CEO Meg Whitman used in a 2006 letter to all eBay users in order to defend eBay's support of net neutrality:
    • "A two-lane system will restrict innovation because start-ups and small companies -- the companies that can't afford the high fees -- will be unable to succeed, and we'll lose out on the jobs, creativity and inspiration that come with them."
      • Such inspiring rhetoric... too bad it is meaningless because eBay has chosen to throw its "start-ups and small companies" under the bus -- they won't be able to afford the relatively "high fees."

Bottom line:  Those in glass houses should not throw stones.

  • And hypocrites should not get sanctimonious, its pathetic, embarrassing and unbecoming.