eBay’s Decision Provides a Valuable Back-Up Lesson

ebay-blogsAfter years of providing sellers and other interested parties with space to blog about products, services, or whatever was on their minds, eBay has decided to discontinue the blogging platform hosted by their company, effective Otober 31, 2009.

Bloggers and sellers are quickly weighing in on this change, mostly with criticisms about eBay’s decision and their beliefs that the firm cares more about making money than making space for random content.

I first learned about eBay’s blogging platform through a 2007 article published in Entrepreneur Magazine. The story explained how anyone could set up a blog, free of charge, to promote their business and gain traffic from eBay’s network.

The idea of routing a piece of eBay’s massive traffic my way, even if I wasn’t involved in auction selling, was enough to convince me to start a blog in addition to maintaining my self-hosted blogs.

My statistics proved eBay’s ability to generate a decent amount of traffic without any self promotion, and though I don’t know how many sales resulted from it, my posts were consistent in exploring the topic and providing relevant reasons to visit my sites.

In its farewell message, eBay encourages bloggers to “…print out or save your blog entries before we close this section of our site.” eBay’s blog discontinuation may not directly impact your business, but it does bring up a valuable lesson in treating your intellectual property as a premium commodity and vital part of business growth.

What would happen if the blogging platform you’ve chosen, whether hosted by Blogger, WordPress.com, or self hosted, disappeared without warning and you had no back-up program in place to capture posts?

Your content would no longer be available for redevelopment into:

1. Case studies
2. Special reports
3. Traditional books/E-books
4. Presentation topics
5. Frequently-asked questions and answers
6. Tweets
7. Web site articles
8. AdWords campaigns
9. Squeeze pages
10. Webinars/Teleseminars

How would you replace all the years of expertise shared with readers who follow, comment, and recommend your firm?

When writing each post on eBay, I immediately saved the content within my computer organized in this manner:

Intellectual Property – eBay – (article name)

That made saving the content easy, so there’s no need for me to copy every article written since 2007 before it’s deleted.

What’s your plan for maintaining a record of your online property, or have you yet to put this procedure in place?

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Shirley George Frazier About the Author: Shirley George Frazier is chief marketing officer at Solo Business Marketing, a professional speaker at worldwide business and marketing conferences, and author of Marketing Strategies for the Home-Based Business: Solutions You Can Use Today. Shirley twitters at @ShirleyFrazier and blogs at the Solo Business Marketing Blog.


Shirley George Frazier Shirley George Frazier is recognized worldwide as an expert on business startup and marketing strategies. She is president of Sweet Survival LLC, a firm dedicated to reducing the overwhelm of starting a new business by educating new and current women entrepreneurs on successful systems and techniques. Her expertise is available at 5StarExperience and ShirleySpeaks.

9 Reactions
  1. Shirley,

    Before this post I was actually thinking of just writing my articles, pages etc directly into WordPress.

    Currently I write them in word then copy them across, so I have a copy which is included in my daily backup. Although it takes a bit more time, you have convinced me to stay with what I am doing.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. It looks like eBay is concentrating on the core of the exchange of buying and selling. At the moment they are trying to sell Skype, having a legal battle with the company. My guess is that the main players in the blogosphere will continue to be Blogger, TypePad and WordPress.

  3. This article has really made me think. I write my articles within WordPress and don’t save copies elsewhere. I guess I need to look into taking steps to protect myself now, not later.

  4. Shirley,

    Thank you for alerting us to this move by eBay and your warning to back up our intellectual property. It is very disheartening to lose years worth of articles, but it will happen to any of us if we don’t take the steps you’ve suggested of copying or backing up.

    Thanks again.

  5. My first reaction would be to ask Ebay why they’re doing away with a valuable source of content. Is hosting really that expensive? My interpretation is that they are indeed moving further and further away from the small sellers that made them.

    Secondly, backing up your IP is one of those oft-overlooked, easy to put off tasks that you just have to buckle down and do one day. In the event you forget though, search engine caches might help you recover some of your data as well.

  6. I did not know Ebay had a blogging platform. It would not have occurred to me to even check for it.

  7. That is very interesting. Bloggers remain very independent and businesses have not been able to have success is leveraging there influence into a profitable business model.

  8. It’s one thing feared by the internet marketers, but I’m sure everyone was prepared from the beginning making blog content in this article.