EBay was the site of social activism this Sunday when over 40 million users were employed in a bid against a sales tax legislation that the federal government has initiated. The contents of the emails were persuasive in nature. They urged the users to in turn write emails to senators in Congress. They were to beseech the congressmen to revoke the law which was passed recently and known as the “Marketplace Fairness Act”.
The real reason behind the lobbying was that this act is a grave injustice against small-time e-commerce sites online. Before the passing of this act, only the merchandisers who were physically present within the borders of the state were taxed. But now those who happen to have an online presence too will be taxed. The Senate is all set to deliberate on this act. Merchants who make less than a million dollars in profits will be overlooked.
According to Reuters, Donahoe’s argument was to the point. Those who make $10 million in extra-national profits and had less than 50 workers should be exempted too. Especially Amazon.com came under critical attack since it is the major competitor of eBay. Donahoe wrote to the eBay sellers that “This legislation treats you and big multi-billion dollar online retailers – such as Amazon – exactly the same.” It is rumored that Amazon produces more than $10 million every one and a half hours or so.
This is a massive populist effort begun by eBay. It will have an effect on Congress as voting begins on the act. Such mass activities have been undertaken before. In 2006, when Meg Whitman was the CEO of eBay, there were many emails sent about another issue. Then it was about the neutrality of the Net. The battle to keep the Internet a free zone was fought with tools of influence and persuasion.
It is an altogether different situation and maybe eBay will be the loser in this race against the clock to undo the act. People who are going to be affected by the act are already thinking of downsizing and running a family owned business instead of keeping so many employees. One such person is Wayne Johnson, who is an eBay user who has sales of $2.5 million on a yearly basis. He is planning to start lean thinking by showing the pink slip to eight employees. “I could do that business with just my son and me” Johnson said.