Business, Technology Security

eBay Security Guards Shun Free Publicity


There was a lot going on at the Santa Clara Convention Center today. We were there for the GlobalFoundries Tech Convention. Two other visible venues were also in progress. The tamer of the two was a regional bridge tournament. That?s an old fashioned card game, unrelated to bridging the technology barrier. The other activity which is probably of more interest to our readers was an eBay gathering.

During a break from the GlobalFoundries presentations, we wandered over to the eBay section, thinking we might pick up some info that our readers could enjoy about the popular auction site. The girls at the front desk had no clue what was available, but were personable and at least shared the agenda with us, and an ad for a charity auction taking place. A glitzy Bling Bra was being sold to benefit the Susan G. Komen cause, breast cancer.
Looking down the length of the corridor for possible fodder for a short article, we were attracted by the advertising structures standing in the hallway. Stacked, multi colored cubes reached about six feet high, topped by the well known eBay logo. All this reporter wanted was to snap an on-location shot of the d├ęcor. But two adamant security guards, a positively buffed Hunk named Keith and a rather round, formidable, unsmiling, fellow resembling The Incredible Hulk, took their jobs way too seriously. I could not pass the roped barrier to get a photo without the proper "badge". My GlobalFoundries badge with PRESS designation didn?t buy me passage for a quick photo.

eBay On Location 2010A couple, however, passed through the security-manned barrier ? without a proper badge as far as I could see. I was told that the man had a special notation as an escort for the lady who wore no entrance-providing identification. Hmmm, an escort service operating right under our noses at an eBay convention. That doesn?t hold a candle to the Porn Convention that?s held down the hall from CES in Las Vegas each year.

In contrast to the WELCOME TO eBAY sign in their lobby, I got a very unwelcome reception when I offered free publicity for their company in the form of press coverage. Thus, I have little to report about their event. I guess their former employee, Meg Whitman, who is running for governor of the State of California on her own dime, doesn?t need the company that spawned her notoriety to be friendly to the press. Nowadays, she certainly isn?t shunning the press herself in her run against Jerry Brown, who has already held the highest California office once before.

Hulk, the bulldog security guard, reported that his supervisor had refused our request to allow the Press to photograph their digs. Makes us wonder what high level secrets we might have discovered in that forbidden hallway. As eBay celebrated their 15th birthday, we were challenged to crash the party, since they refused to politely approve our request for a photo op. Sigh, we missed the opportunity to "enjoy networking with fellow sellers and eBay employees while enjoying music, food, and fun in the Mission City Ballroom," as their ad stated.

We also missed out on how to start our own eBay store, didn?t get a signed copy of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, nor did we get the chance to learn how to reduce costs and grow our sales volume ? all indicated on the brochure. It promised coaching by the marketing and digital technology coach John Jantsch who was to give a spiel on using Twitter and Facebook as tools to grow your business. Another book signing slipped through our fingers ? Duct Tape Marketing. And finally I?m shedding crocodile tears for not having the opportunity to purchase yet another book, The 100 Best Things I?ve Sold on eBay. Looks like they were trying to sell books like hotcakes. Well, GlobalFoundries was trying to sell wafers, so I guess there?s a connection somewhere in there.

At day?s end, we aren?t sold on eBay ? they were a bit too Press-Unfriendly for this reporter. Rules, rules, rules; no badge, no snapshots. And I didn?t have no stinkin? badge; so sad. Did the security staff adhere to the letter of the law, but miss the spirit of the goal ? to make eBay not only a user-friendly, but a press-friendly market place as well? Then again, try contacting their PayPal service when they withold money from your start-up business… as friends from wtfJeans found out the hard way.