Making the assumption that eBay is struggling, what do they need to do to right the ship? I really don't think this is that hard. First off, eBay has some strong assets:
- They have a large base of buyers and sellers
- They have the ability to scale their search, display, and transaction processing
And, since eBay's business model is predicated on a) listing fees and b) selling fees, if eBay has an issue, it's probably on the buyer experience side. If you have a happy buyer community, the listing fees and selling fees will follow.
I don't claim to have all the answers, but I know where eBay should start. It's Reagan's First Rule of Product Management: define their target customer! As a longtime customer of eBay, it is apparent that eBay is all over the map chasing new customer opportunities. They started off in collectibles, added cars, solicited commodity items and new products, etc. In doing so, they've lost their niche - their one area they can claim for their own.
eBay can certainly stretch their brand beyond their core (which I assume is the collectible and used item market); however, they can't do it at the expense of their core. eBay can certainly revisit the question of who their target customer segment is, and they may determine it is different than when they started. But they simply can't be all things to all people. Ask Sears. GM. Dell.
And, once you've defined that segment, no future product decisions should interfere with that segment!
As I've talked about in the past, I don't buy or sell on eBay much anymore. What used to be several transactions a month has become a transaction or two a year for the past three years. And gee that's the same time period that eBay has struggled with its stock.
Define your target market, eBay. You have the assets to win that space.