Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Is eBay Greenwashing Their Brand?

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eBay, seen by many as the world’s largest garage sale, is trying out a new message – that buying used products (like most of the stuff sold on their site) is good for the environment. eBay is hoping to position their brand in the ‘green’ space and boost sales on the site to consumers concerned about the environment.

It is hard to argue their claim that buying used is better for the world. If you buy a used handbag, than manufacturers don’t need to harvest more raw materials or expend energy actually making it. Even Greenpeace agrees, saying “Does this pass the laugh test? I think it can.”

The objection to this position is that it required no change from eBay’s operations or business model. The site is still selling the same array of used products that it has since the site first appeared. It is opportunistic of eBay to reposition themselves as green in order to capitalize on the change in consumer sentiment.

eBay is certainly doing other things to prove their green credentials, such as giving more prominence to green products (green.ebay.com) and using renewable energy sources. These actions deserve praise, because they are exactly that – actions. Taking a 15-year-old business model and all of a sudden saying it is eco-friendly doesn’t pass the sniff test.

What do you think? Is eBay truly green?

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Written by benwisebranding

March 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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