Net Neutrality Debate: eBay Seeks a Better Deal for Itself Than for Its Users, Says Industry Analyst

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eBay rose to become one of the leading Internet giants by fostering an online auction community based upon the principles of free and open competition. Yet the recent e-mail from CEO Meg Whitman to the eBay community urging support for net neutrality legislation advocates for a new, government regulated marketplace for online access. Chairman Scott Cleland wonders about eBay’s real motives: “Could it be that eBay is focused on getting a better bandwidth deal for eBay without consideration for their millions of users?” Chairman Scott Cleland believes it’s time to closely examine the political and economic motives behind the e-commerce giants’ support of restrictive and cumbersome net neutrality legislation.

“eBay and the Internet giant elites do business in the rarified air of 80 to 100% gross profit margins. If the company truly looked at the world through its earthbound users' eyes, it would see that eBay users have long toiled away in the "two-tiered" Internet world that they look upon with such disdain” says Cleland.

In his blog post (, Cleland concludes that eBay should know that its users have long had the competitive choice of using the slow-lane, "dirt road" of dial-up (still used by ~35 million American households), and the faster lanes of different types of broadband (now used by over 37 million American households.)

Today’s Internet users live in a competitive world and pay the competitive rate for bandwidth every day. According to Cleland, this competitive multi-tier world which eBay looks down upon - actually serves consumers and eBay users quite well - providing more access choices, faster speeds, and more mobile access to the Internet than ever before. Cleland continues: “eBay users know if they want more bandwidth available they can choose to buy it. In many instances dial-up users transitioning to broadband are paying less than they did for their dial-up. All of eBay's users seem to manage just fine without a regulated rate for bandwidth. Why is eBay so scared of competition?”

About is an e-forum created to promote a rigorous debate on the merits of network neutrality legislation and regulation. is funded by a wide range of broadband telecom, cable, and wireless companies who believe the best way to guard a free and independent Internet is free and open competition, not more government control of the Internet. To learn more about and network neutrality visit:


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Allen Abney
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