After I got back from a fun night out having drinks with some friends (we're on Eastern time over here), I found my inbox overflowing with comments from a bunch of Techdirt followers unhappy with my ORC post from the other day. There were more than 30 comments in total â€” I wish I could publish them all but many of them are riddled with expletives. There are a bunch of good ones, so check them out if have a free five minutes (these people certainly do). My favorite is published below but here's a snippet: "You seem to be a patsy, I hope that you are deluded enough to actually believe what you are saying instead of having your soul slowly eaten away by lies you spread to others. Peace."
That's just awesome. And classy!
Most of the Techdirt followers were unhappy that I moderate comments. Hey, the reason we are here (even if it is a poorly made website as one of them said) is to have an open forum. But it is company policy to moderate comments before they appear on the site for this very reason â€” I don't think it's right to give individuals a forum to be inappropriate and unprofessional.
I want to clear up a few things.
1. I DO NOT work for the National Retail Federation. Security Director News is a business-to-business publication that reaches more than 30,000 security practitioners and I am its editor-in-chief. Our readers include retail loss prevention executives. So I look at this issue from a practitioner point-of-view.
2. I do work regularly with NRF and Joe LaRocca, who is a great guy by the way. I even spoke at NRF's LP conference last year. But I am not affiliated with them in any way.
3. One comment asked "Who buys perishables from eBay? Not saying it doesnâ€™t happen, just that you deserve the results." A quick search on eBay just netted 1,181 results for baby formula.
4. "Are you trying to state that organized groups of of individuals are commiting (their spelling error, not mine!) theft and then auction their items online? Furthermore, how is a site, especially one as large as eBay, supposed to check each and every item that appears on their site? Have you ever auctioned anything? Do you know anything about the process?"
Yes, I am stating that organized groups are stealing large amount of items from stores, including baby formula and razor blades, and auctioning them online. There are currently 1,485 razor blade items listed on eBay. I'm not saying all of those are stolen, but it is a fact that razor blades are one of the most commonly stolen items by ORC gangs.
And yes, I have auctioned items online and it is a pretty easy process. To prove this, I just registered with a fake name, a P.O. Box address, the phone number of my hair dresser and a e-mail address I just made up on Google. It took all of five minutes. Also, I set up another account with the same exact information, just a different e-mail address. That took another five minutes. I created a PayPal account in another five minutes and I already posted my item. Here it is. So yes, I do know something about the process.
5. "In what way are the sites supposed to collect this information you speak of? As someone who has sold items on eBay I can tell you that it would be next to impossible for them to do so, and expecting, or attempting to force them, to so is ludicrous. to say the least."
I respectively disagree with this. As I just pointed out, I was able to sell an item that I don't even have in my possession. Retail stores employ loss prevention professionals to police their items and facilities. They do this to protect their assets, their bottom line and their customers. Why shouldn't eBay do the same? Well, let me go a bit further. eBay does. It said earlier this year it is doing â€œmore and moreâ€ (sorry for the annoying quotes but I am a journalist so I am trained to attribute direct quotes) to combat counterfeit and stolen products on its web site. It also said it invests more than $20 million each year for this initiative.
Hey, $20M is a LOT of money. But Paul Jones over at RILA told me that when eBay states they spend $20 million policing their site, that is not near the percentage that retailers spend protecting their assets. A recent survey on LP spending shows that retailers spend 0.62 percent of their sales on LP efforts. So letâ€™s say, eBay is a $7.6-billion company and spends $20 million, then it is spending roughly 1/3 or 0.26 percent of sales. And one other thing: Jones said in his extensive LP career in which he served in roles with Sunglass Hut, Limited Brands and Lenscrafters, he was never contacted by eBay regarding any potentially counterfeit or stolen items on its site.
I was talking with Nancy Kyle, president of the Retail Merchants Association of New Hampsire, yesterday and she said 60 percent of items listed as brand-new-in-box or brand-new-with-tags are stolen or counterfeit.
6. "For your information, Mr. La Rocca (no space, just pointing that out) is Vice President, Loss Prevention, National Retail Federation. Perhaps you've heard of him. Then again, you'll probably deny that, too, and claim you've never heard of him or seen this testimony." I think I've already addressed this one. It was just fun to read again. I was actually invited to be at the hearing, but we were shipping our October issue so I had to settle on watching the webcast.
7. "This really comes across as an attempt to squash the competition by placing *unfeasibly* onerous restrictions on them." Again, I respectfully disagree. I view the ORC legislation and the e-fencing legislation, which is what the testimony was directed toward, as a way to bridge the gap between retailers and online auction sites. Both parties must work together to reduce organized retail crime and e-fencing, and that is not happening right now.
8. "Online marketplaces like eBay are just that - marketplaces. You should not hold them responsible for what other people sell. If I run a flea market, am I responsible for all the merchandise that gets sold there each weekend?" Actually, many police departments have teams that work specifically on cases in which stolen or counterfeit items were found at flea markets or pawn shops. It is easier to track these cases because there is an actual contact person on site, while online marketplaces offer up a level of anonymity. Kerton, thanks for the polite comment by the way.
9. "The original discussion most definitely pointed to individuals being the ones committing these crimes. Not organized crime. You seem to focus solely on organized crime, when all of the quotes clearly demonstrated otherwise." You have to remember that LaRoccaâ€™s comments came in testimony before the House Judiciary Committeeâ€™s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security for the hearing on three organized retail crime bills â€“ H.R. 6713, the E-Fencing Enforcement Act of 2008, sponsored by subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott, D-Va.; H.R. 6491, the Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008, sponsored by Representative Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind.; and S. 3434, the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill. His comments were developed to support these bills; you can't take the ORC component out of the argument.
10.If these bills were to pass, I can understand the concern that retailers would abuse the system. Many comments said that. But I have spoken with many LP executives and all they want is help from online marketplaces to reduce this $30 billion ORC problem. Saying that legislation opens the door to abuse is like saying handing out condoms at schools will automatically make kids go out and have sex.
11. "Ebay should'nt be blamed for shoplifters selling stuff online, the retail stores must avoid getting robed in the first place... and, besides that, if the thieves publishes the items online that's a good way to identify and catch them." I wish it was a good way to identify and catch them, but my eBay experiment shows that anyone with a e-mail address, a phone, a fake name and a P.O. Box can set up an account and sell online with little or no policing.
12. "Mike rules, LOL. And you suck. must be why you have zero comments cause everyone else said the same thing, so you idn't approve them. Ha ha haaaa." Now, that is just funny.
Labels: ORC, response, ridiculousness
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posted by Rhianna Daniels at 10:27 AM