The Amazing Online Flea Market


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At a loss for what case I would want to write about for this week’s blog post, I turned, of course, to Google. Now, for what I wanted to type in…I felt that all semester long we have been studying organizations that have more or less f****d up in terms of their ethical and moral responsibilities to society. Maybe it was time to analyze an organization that is a good example of living up to certain ethical ideals, as Paper 2 outlines we can do. So, I typed in the scholarly search of “ethical organizations.” The first few hits that popped up dealt with a list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, as chosen by The Ethisphere Institute, a New York City think tank. The selection, open to every company in every industry around the globe, gives its winners a chance to broadcast their ethical ways. It is not a ranking, so they are all equally winners. I scrolled to the 2012 results and looked at some of the names – Target, Timberland, General Electric, Gap, Hasbro, Ebay…wait, Ebay??

This struck me as a little strange. I don’t have any reason to personally suspect Ebay of being unethical, but to land on a list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, you have to go above and beyond what is required with regards to corporate responsibility. According to Ethisphere, “to be recognized, a company must not only promote ethical business practices, but also go beyond the legal compliance minimums and reshape industry standards for the future.” Does Ebay really fit that billing? I have used Ebay a handful of times with no problems but you always hear stories of people who were scammed or something of that nature. In addition, Ebay offers little to no restrictions on the kind of goods obtainable on its site. The lack of company restrictions on what is for available for sale raises an ethics question in itself. So my potential paper 2 topic will deal with Ebay’s ethics and whether it really deserves the recognition of one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

In the meantime, check out Weird Al Yankovic’s Ebay Parody Song:

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3 thoughts on “The Amazing Online Flea Market

  1. Do you think that more regulation on sellers by the company could contribute to this? I noticed the last time that I was on Ebay that they had all sorts of “rules” in place. For example you can’t sell anything for over a few hundred dollars if you don’t have enough positive feedback.

  2. I have been scammed before on eBay. That’s why I stopped using it. My last transaction was three years ago, when I won a brand new movie for 10 bucks, paid for it, waited a week and half, only to find out that the account I bought it from was deleted. I reported it to eBay and they did nothing to reimburse me. I was done after that. Amazon is defiantly the way to go because you can buy from the website itself and individual users as well. Although I lost out on the whole bidding aspect, I’ll happily pay more to guarantee that I get exactly what I bought. If eBay wants to survive, stiffer rules/regulations need to be in place.

  3. Well first place to start is what are the criteria of the Ehtisphere? That is a dumb name, to me.

    Like, the whole Who’s Who racket. People PAY to be included. Life advice… few people are impressed by being listed in a Who’s Who….

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