Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
The Almighty Buck

eBay To Offer Health Insurance 218

Logic Bomb writes "EBay has announced it will be offering group health coverage for "full time eBay merchants". Anyone who grosses over $1000/month in sales -- at least a whopping 80,000 users in good standing -- will be eligible to buy into a typical "employee" health plan. This is a big first in the Internet world. Full details from the LA Times." And the LA Times, trying to cop a pose from the NY Times, reqs a login.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

eBay To Offer Health Insurance

Comments Filter:

  • Please, don't let our HR department find out about this.

    Flintstone Vitamins and Band-aids for everyone!
  • Hey (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sc00ter ( 99550 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:01AM (#3756582) Homepage
    Somebody make this [majcher.com] work for the LA Times :)

    • Re:Hey (Score:1, Troll)

      by BilldaCat ( 19181 )
      right, because it's never fair to give up anything for content. everyone should work on producing goods and services for you for free.

      ass.
    • Is it really so painful to register at the Times? I've had an account with them for seven years, and not once have I received anything I didn't ask for. If anything, its had benefits for me - other than the obvious FREE copy of the NY Times that you get everyday.
    • Re:Hey (Score:4, Informative)

      by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:22PM (#3757341) Journal
      And the LA Times, trying to cop a pose from the NY Times, reqs a login.
      Someone set up an easy-to-remember, stick-it-to-em login for NYTimes.com:
      Username: nopassword
      Password: nopassword
      So I took the liberty of setting up the same thing at LATimes.com. Feel free to use it, and set up the same username/password combo at other sites.
  • I wonder how they are managing to legitimize expensing the health care coverage of their "employee's" when the "employee's" are basically users on their website...

    Does eBay pay those who auction their goods? Obviously the auctioners make money for eBay, but what are the direct (from eBay) rewards to the seller?

    • I wonder how they are managing to legitimize expensing the health care coverage of their "employee's" when the "employee's" are basically users on their website... Does eBay pay those who auction their goods? Obviously the auctioners make money for eBay, but what are the direct (from eBay) rewards to the seller?


      Many companies have independent contractors that are not employees, but qualify for benefits. You see this a lot in insurance sales, consulting agencies, legal firms, etc. I think this is wonderful for eBay [ebay.com] to not only be this creative, but also to help maintain their position as the best .com auction site.

      • Basically, I was wondering what the terms of the employement (contractually or other) between the seller and eBay are, in order for eBay to write-off the health care as an expense.

        Or am I completely missing the point. Could I just simply start calling the users of www.dmarien.com my employee's?
        • Could I just simply start calling the users of www.dmarien.com my employees?


          They could all be considered independent contractors if their purpose of being a user of your site is to generate funds for your company and they have signed an agreement as such. When we sign up for an eBay account, we make such an agreement.


          Let us look at Slashdot. For them to do the same they would need to demonstrate that the funds they make are a direct result of user activity. This is not so clear in their case because while the site wouldn't make any money with no users, it becomes questionable they can determine a scale for each user's contribution to their bottom line. If they had some pay for play, those items could qualify, but the numbers would need to be staggering. Don't forget that eBay is not paying this insurance, rather the qualified members would pay their own.

        • If you are a, for example, hair stylist, you actually pay the place where you style hair a fee to style hair there. The customers pay you. Yet, some hair salons offer insurance for their stylists.

          Other industries like this include real estate - most realtors don't get paid salary, only commission. But they also can get insurance from their "employer", if it's offered.

          This doesn't seem much different.
        • Basically, I was wondering what the terms of the employement (contractually or other) between the seller and eBay are, in order for eBay to write-off the health care as an expense.

          No employment is necessary. It's a group policy. The group is eBay sellers who sell more than $1000 a month, that's all. It is not unusual to have a group policy that is not employment-related.

          What expense do you think eBay is writing off? I don't see anything in the article that suggests that eBay is paying any part of the premium for the insurance

    • Re:Legalities? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kontos ( 560271 )
      Ebay isn't necessarilly fronting any money for the seller's health insurance. In fact I see this as more of a marketing agreement.

      Ebay to Insurance company: "We have the names and addresses of 80,000+ people that spend so much time on our site, they probably don't have a real job or benefits."

      Insurance Company to Ebay: "Cool. We'll call them a group and give you 5% of the premiums that they pay for the first 5 years"

      Next Step. Big announcement.

  • by Brento ( 26177 ) <brento@@@brentozar...com> on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:03AM (#3756592) Homepage
    The important questions:

    Will they allow you to give feedback to health providers in your area?

    Can you pay with PayPal?

    Will you be able to set up a doctor's appointment for organ removal and simultaneously list the spare kidney for sale?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:03AM (#3756598)
    What happens if the reseve on your bid isn't met? Do you die?
  • by Vengie ( 533896 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:04AM (#3756607)
    I think we're seeing the eventual effects of the web that were severely disturbed by the dot-boom(bomb) phenomenon. Ebay is unquestionably _the_ online auction website and its full time merchants generate a significant amount of revenue for ebay. This further increases the incentive for many of these "marginal" merchants to go full time -- they can drop the job that they may have "just for the benefits" and furthermore, it may make dealing with some of Ebay's idiosyncracies a bit more palateable. About time! Hopefully, ebay will set a nice precedent for the rest of the industry.
  • You would think that with the way the dot com bubble has burst over the last year or two that people would know better than to trust an online company with something that important.

    I know that the chances of ebay going under are miniscule, but I wouldn't risk paying into it to have it fold and be left empty handed.
    • >I know that the chances of ebay going under are
      >miniscule, but I wouldn't risk paying into it to
      >have it fold and be left empty handed.

      Empty-handed? You pay for benefits as you get them. So, if eBay goes under, you stop paying for health insurance, you stop receiving health insurance. It works the same way with any employer...it's not as though ebay is having you to buy stock in the company as part of your retirement fund.

    • I was talking to a Consultant- a sub-con who works for himself and he was commenting on the the differences between being a salaried employee and being a contractor.

      I commented "it must stink paying for your own health coverage"- His response was that Health care coverage is nice, but not as expensive as everyone makes it seem. Actually the biggest expenses are that vacations are unpaid, and education costs are solely your own.

      Insurance companies are always looking to make money and I'm sure they give volume discounts, just like everybody else! (who actually pays $1.50 for a resistor at radio shack?)
    • Re:Can you trust it? (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What you say is true, but is the rest of the insurance industry any better? They operate on a principle that only makes a profit if they don't deliver a service. Also someone under this plan wouldn't be in constant danger of losing thier insurance by virture of bieng fired by Ebay.

      On another note, I didn't realize there were that many people who made ebay (more or less) a full time job. I imagine someone who invests that much into ebay is more tolerant of risk than most people (same could be said of all self-employed).
  • Next they'll offer vacation benefits as well...and they have some featured time shares they could recommend...
  • Ebay as a full time job..

    what a way to live!

    • Re:heh.. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by scott1853 ( 194884 )
      I live in a small town of about 5,000. There's a junk dealer that turned into a full time e-bay seller. He makes money by handling all the e-bay stuff for people in the area. People drop off the stuff they want to sell, and he takes pictures of it and handles the shipping, all for a percentage of the sale price.
    • Actually, I think it's a teriffic idea - if you can pull it off. For years, I've wished I could open up some type of online store and earn enough money with it to make it a living. It never seemed very realistic though. I don't have the starting capital to buy much inventory to sell, and I can't think of any category of product that someone else isn't already selling online for great prices.

      eBay, on the other hand, allows someone to sell an endless variety of items from a central site that's guaranteed to get more potential buyers viewing a given listing than almost any other method.

      People can and do make livings off eBay. I've seen these folks interviewed on the news before. Typically, they specialize in some sort of collectible or craft; items that have very high profit margins and low production costs.

      So no, you probably won't have much of a life if you try to live off of selling used computers on eBay... If you build you own unique furniture though, you just might have something.
  • by mercynre ( 576522 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:05AM (#3756621) Homepage
    as a small business trying to operate mainly on eBay (for credit card purposes), this is another step in proving how corporate they have become, and another step in eliminating the small sellers, which was the whole purpose of eBay to begin with, the access to COLLECTIBLES not mass-produced merchandise.
    • Trying to eliminate? I don't see how they are trying to _eliminate_ you. They haven't made your life any harder; they just have made life a bit easier for the folk that bring them a significant amount of revenue.
      Explain to me how this makes life _harder_ for the small folk? Just because it got easier for someone else doesn't mean ebay is trying to shut out small sellers.
      • as eBay becomes more and more friendly towards mass-produced selling, it becomes harder and harder for the sellers of one-of-a-kind items, such as art, to be seen or sell their items, forcing us to move elsewhere.
        • Ahh. I see. Well, I hate to adopt the "adapt, migrate or die" approach, but it looks like in that case, the solution is: 1) Shut up, go elsewhere and cope. If your typical buyers are as frustrated as you are, they'll follow you. OR 2) Explain your situation to ebay and ask them to create a special "one of a kind" forum on ebay. (I'm sure the "Art" and "Collectible" groupings on ebay are already swamped....) OR 3) Persist on ebay and get slightly lower final bids? (not really an acceptable solution...)
          • Sounds like all that needs to be done is some further subdivision of the Art and Collectible forums.

            I've had no problem selling stuff on eBay - If you list it right, it gets found in a search along with all the other stuff.

            I like the large businesses because there are some items I know I'm always going to be able to find cheap on eBay. (Cornelius kegs for homebrewing, a top for the convertible I'm planning on buying, cell phone faceplates, etc.)
  • Thats pretty cool. I just hope that porn sites start rewarding regular viewers with a Health Plan. Then maybe I'd be able to do something about my rapidly deteriorating eyesight!

  • by 3Suns ( 250606 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:10AM (#3756644) Homepage
    Don't be misled. Today is Chinese April Fools Day.
  • Numbers talk.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lionchild ( 581331 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:10AM (#3756645) Journal
    Health insurance has always been a huge game of numbers and betting on the odds. Betting on the odds that you are, or aren't going to get sick, are or aren't going to need major medical, are or aren't going to need an operation, etc. And in that big game, the more people you have on the plan, the more likely you're going to find alot of people who pay you for insurance, but don't need those things.

    An insurance company is out to make money, just like you and me, who get a job to make money (or sell things on eBay in this case.) So, if you offer them a large customer base, 80,000 people, then that's a big enough market you start to drop your prices signifigantely.

    This will be an interesting precident to set in the marketplace of health insurance. If it goes through and works, ..when will we get to have /. insurance? Any web-following then, with sufficient numbers, should be able to follow suit and get big discounts on a group plan. With enough people, you even get to have the nice and spiffy plans where you can pick the sort of benefits you want.

    Whose going to manage these benefits? Will eBay have a new department for assisting their people with benefit claims?

    Hmm...imagine if http://www.yahoo.com/ or http://www.msn.com/ were able to follow suit and offer health insurance. Anyone else think there's a web-organization that can claim more members?
    • when will we get to have /. (health) insurance?


      Going by your logic, there's no way I'm paying to be in a health gambling pool with guys who live off pizza and high-caffeine drinks, in the dark, smoking heavily and sitting down all day (and night)...
    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7@@@cornell...edu> on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:18AM (#3756699) Homepage
      I think you missed a key point - It's only sellers who gross over $1k/month that eBay is offering this too, not eBay's entire userbase.

      eBay takes a commission from every sale - So those sellers are far, far beyond even paying customers at many sites as far as the revenue they bring into the company.

      Meanwhile, Yahoo and MSN are free services, or if they charge, they don't charge nearly as much as the amounts of commissions eBay skims from the qualifying classes of sellers.
    • Re:Numbers talk.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jonathan ( 5011 )
      Whose going to manage these benefits? Will eBay have a new department for assisting their people with benefit claims?

      No -- like in any job in the US with a group health plan, you deal with the insurance company providing the coverage and not your employer.
    • Re:Numbers talk.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zathrus ( 232140 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:27AM (#3756735) Homepage
      So, if you offer them a large customer base, 80,000 people, then that's a big enough market you start to drop your prices signifigantely

      Yup. Admittedly, not all of the people eligible will opt for this insurance -- either they have their own insurance already and eBay's offering isn't better, or they apply and the insurer turns them down due to liability issues (this is why it's critical to always have health insurance in the US -- once you are uninsured for 6 months you can be declined for just about any reason... or you can be insured and "preexisting conditions" will simply be declined coverage).

      This will be an interesting precident to set in the marketplace of health insurance

      Yup... to call a seller an employee of eBay is something of a stretch, but apparantly they have found an insurer who is willing to try. Kudos. And they're willing to test some very murky legal waters here -- once you offer health insurance for these pseudo-employees, you may discover that the federal government is going to start expecting more from you -- even if it's just forms stating that these people are contractors and that you aren't responible for their FICA and Federal taxes. What about FMLA? What about disability? There's a lot more here than meets the eye in my opinion.

      Whose going to manage these benefits? Will eBay have a new department for assisting their people with benefit claims?

      In theory, HR does this. If eBay has any clue, however, they'll be using a 3rd party administration service to provide these benefits. They're the ones that actually handle the interface between employees and the health plan -- all your HR does is forward them whatever you hand HR. These are popular nowadays because they significantly reduce the paperwork that HR has to deal with.

      Anyone else think there's a web-organization that can claim more members?

      That's easy. AOL.
      • Anyone else think there's a web-organization that can claim more members?

        That's easy. AOL.

        A very good point! But, the question is, how does one get them to be considered pseudo-employee's, opposed to customers of a service? I suspect that's the hook that eBay is using.

        I have to admit, this whole idea sounds pretty interesting to me. Then again, I have a so-so health insurance company, from my own mickey-mouse company, which admittedly plays half of the monthly premiums. Certainly all this is better than a sharp stick in the eye (which would require I go to the doctor, of course). However, I know that the total cost of my plan is the same as if I was just this single guy who walked in off the street. (I just pay half since the company pays the other half.)

        I suspect that eBay won't be picking up any of the slack for premiums on this health insurance, so people might find it's not the bargin that they expect for such a potentially large user base. If anyone fits into the 80,000 user-base that eBay is talking about, I'm sure it'd be elightening to know what their potential premiums are.

    • Re:Numbers talk.. (Score:2, Interesting)

      I feel that i should pipe in how the insurance companies work here, I used to work in the IT department of a large world wide insurance company. and there is one important thing you should know:

      insurance companies lose money on insurance, they know this, they deal with this, its not a real problem.

      what they do make money on is investments

      so you ask, then why do they sell insurance?

      well then need to get capital from somewhere before they invest, dont they?

      -rev
    • Re:Numbers talk.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by PMuse ( 320639 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @11:20AM (#3756982)
      Health insurance has always been a huge game of numbers and betting on the odds. . . . So, if you offer them a large customer base, 80,000 people, then that's a big enough market you start to drop your prices signifigantely. . . .

      Whose going to manage these benefits? Will eBay have a new department for assisting their people with benefit claims?

      What an insurer needs in order to spread risk is a large pool of people selected for some criteria not related to their health/propensity to make claims. The healthy group members pay and don't claim, while the unhealthy members claim a lot more than they pay, and the system works. Traditionally, such groups have been {all employees of a given company}. EBay is a good candidate for a new type of group. What will not work is any internet community that is self-selecting on the basis of wanting health insurance. Such groups will contain too high a percentage of unhealthy people.

      EBay will be pretty limited as a precedent, I think. EBay's members have to really commit to EBay (be high volume sellers) to get covered. It's not as easy as saying, "I think I'll switch ISPs to Earthlink because I like the health plan."

      On another note, it's not trivial to offer health insurance to a national group. Most health insurers have regional networks of physicians and services. (This is partly because insurance is licensed on a state by state basis.) Some few have enough regional networks to be effectively national, but you can bet that people outside population centers are going to find they have somewhat limited choices when it comes to selecting physicians near them. EBay sellers have got to be just about the most geographically diverse insurance group ever attempted. Many, many employers have one or a few locations, e.g. a plant. EBay users don't have any locations/concentrations other than the fact that more of them will be found in cities because that's where the people are.

      Still and all, more power to 'em, I say.

    • by morgajel ( 568462 ) <slashreader&morgajel,com> on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:18PM (#3757331) Homepage
      I think I'll pass on the /. insurance.
      last thing I need next time I'm in a hospital is some troll adding "goatse" to the doctors "to do" list.

      ow.

      unless the slashdot insurance offered protection from robots. that's the kinda insurance you can live with!
  • LA Times (Score:1, Flamebait)

    And the LA Times, trying to cop a pose from the NY Times, reqs a login.

    Would you rather they post a policy against linking directly to their articles?

  • I bid (Score:2, Funny)

    by JohnHegarty ( 453016 )
    I bid $200 a year for insurance.

    Action closes 29/6/2002
  • No Reg Copy of Story (Score:4, Informative)

    by LISNews ( 150412 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:13AM (#3756664) Homepage
    Houston Chronicle [chron.com] has the story available with no register.
  • This is SO bizzare.

    I can see it now. So many more people will now be hawking their wares on E-Bay in a desperate attempt to qualify for health insurance. The volume goes up. the quality goes down...

    Oh wait, That's already happened.

  • I mean, come on, companies offer benefits to their customers reluctantly because it costs them money to do so. Most companies would rather not offer benefits, but don't want to seem cheap.

    My question is 'why is ebay doing this?' I mean it's not like they really give a damn about anyone but themselves. So the thing is what's in it for them? Obviously offering benefits is a pain, but they still are choosing to do it. I wonder why....
    • My question is 'why is ebay doing this?' I mean it's not like they really give a damn about anyone but themselves. So the thing is what's in it for them? Obviously offering benefits is a pain, but they still are choosing to do it. I wonder why....

      I don't know, could it be, ohh, perhaps.. maybe... PROFIT MOTIVE.

      Thats why companies do *everything*... no really.. *everything*.

      There is a bottom line implication for eBay, probably several of them..
      • My question is 'why is ebay doing this?' I mean it's not like they really give a damn about anyone but themselves. So the thing is what's in it for them? Obviously offering benefits is a pain, but they still are choosing to do it. I wonder why....
        I don't know, could it be, ohh, perhaps.. maybe... PROFIT MOTIVE.

        There's a pretty simple profit motive here, too. Being known as the biggest and best doesn't mean you're done. Being the biggest and best is a hard spot to keep in most fields, and a move like this increases the incentive to sell on eBay, particularly when other companies like Yahoo! are trying to get a sizable percentage of the online auction market.

        So the motive is: In order to attract sales, one must attract sellers.

        Even top dog needs to work to stay that way.

    • The 'why' part is obvious (to me). The perception in the eBay community has been that the wholesalers are taking over and pushing the independent sellers out. eBay is attempting to stem a revolt and/or mass migration to another auction site.

      It may seem like 1K/month in sales is a lot but compared to the liquidators who sell there, it isn't. eBay needs those 80,000 Power Sellers to be able to keep selling too.

      My guess is that this arrangement won't cost eBay much, if any, money from their own pocket. I saw no mention that they are going to co-pay for the insurance. But, they've made it possible for the full-time eBay dealer to get decent group insurance. Not a bad incentive to stay with eBay.
  • by fritter ( 27792 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:16AM (#3756685)
    I wouldn't do this, my friend's sister's cousin tried getting a surgeon on eBay. He seemed nice and said he had great deals on triple bypass surgery because a "friend's" practice was going under and he wanted to use up the remaining surgical supplies as soon as possible. But the next thing she knew, she woke up in a bathtub of ice with two scars on her back and a note that said "Dial 911 Immediately"!!!!
  • Dang, in too much of a hurry to go through the registration crap (-1; Didn't Follow Link) but it makes me wonder if someone's feedback rating ties in to this; could leaving negative feedback go from being an "inconcenience to doing business" to a healthcare threatening situation??
  • An interesting idea. But I'm underwhelmed considering the pressing need to reform the health system in the U.S.

    Of course, th 43 million without health insurance doesn't include those that are under insured.

    It'll be interesting if this plan doesn't add to that larger number.

    However, from a larger picture, it is good to see the new internet companies continuing to innovate and think outside the box. Competitive edge and something akin to a social-conscience.
  • HMO's are cheap (Score:2, Informative)

    by BlingBlings ( 461325 )
    If your single and just need insurance because your self-employed go with a major HMO. They won't cost you much at all, probably less than dealing with ebay's system.
    Plus you don't need to be in good standing with ebay to use it.
    "oh no sir, I'm sorry, we can't operate until you take the link to your webstore off your auction pages"

    • Re:HMO's are cheap (Score:4, Informative)

      by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:41AM (#3756796) Homepage Journal
      Self-employed purchase of health insurance is very expensive. Maybe you live in the middle of nowhere and the rates are cheap, or maybe you're smoking some really good crack ;), but in the NYC metro area, if you're self-employed it costs a small fortune to buy health insurance from anyone. HMOs and others charge much higher fees to self-employed individuals than to corporations (per person). That's one reason why there's a larger federal tax break for money spent on health insurance when you're self-employed (there's an additional Schedule (E?) that you have to fill out if you don't work for someone else's corporation). So I'm sure the "bulk" insurance that E-Bay is selling is cheaper per person than buying it alone. E-Bay's insentive may partly be for the tax benefits.
      • Re:HMO's are cheap (Score:4, Informative)

        by M'Barr ( 149352 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @12:48PM (#3757568) Homepage
        FYI: for those in NYC & NY state, there is a program that offers very inexpensive access to the HMO's. I'm not a hundred percent sure of how much the government is picking up, but it's called Healthy NY [healthyny.com].

        It is available for uninsured working individuals, sole proprietors, and small buisness owners. They each have their own rules. However, the prices are in the 180-220 /month, and covers most of the necessary things in medicine. It is offered by *all* HMO's that operate in New York State. Same coverage, different administation, and networks, yields the price difference.
      • Re:HMO's are cheap (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mesocyclone ( 80188 )
        For those of us who are a bit older, the issue with insurance isn't so much the price as it is the availability.

        Insurance companies will deny coverage to individuals, or will deny coverage for preexisting conditions, for the flimsiest of reasons. Also, there is no federal law preventing them from cancelling your insurance, or raising the rates through the roof if you get sick.

        This same "medical underwriting" applies to small businesses and associations.

        In the US, if you don't have a job, you run a real chance of losing everything in order to pay for a medical event. You can always get the treatment - you just may end up broke to get it.

        All of the federal protections on health insurance is offered only to people covered by group insurance (companies, etc.) and not to individuals.

        Oh, BTW, the insurance companies don't do this just because they are evil predators. They know that if they offer insurance without conditions, too many people will wait until they get sick, or at least until they get old, before applying. This negates the "share the risk" aspect of insurance. OTOH Company insurance, which is virtually forced on all employees, produces a crop of young and healthy people to pay the expenses for us older folks.

        Some states have pools from which you can buy insurance regardless of your medical status. Unfortunately, these are almost impossible to get into, or are extremely expensive. And given the previous paragraph, you can see why this is not an ultimate solution.
    • Re:HMO's are cheap (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fjord ( 99230 )
      It sounds like there are group systems for the self employed, but I just wanted to note that personal medical coverage is very different than group coverage. If you are healthy, then it's an option, but if you have a preexisting condition within the last 10 years, you won't be covered on it for the next 10 years, whereas with group coverage it only looks 6 months into your medical history and after 1 year you get full coverage. There are other differences (the price for one. Personal is a lot more expensive), but this was a big one for my wife and I since she has breast and thyroid cancer.
  • They probably will not cover any visits to a psychiatrist. Ebay explicitly prohibits any dealings involving drugs or shrunken heads.
  • When you do need medical attention, let's say an operation, will it be out on EBay so doctors can bid on who should do it?

    And no, they would not big higher than the previous one, but lower... ^_~
  • .Boom 2.0 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <petedaly&ix,netcom,com> on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:33AM (#3756763)
    This I feel is the start of the second Internet boom, just this one will be for real. All the companies with no hope of making a profit online are gone. The ones that are left either make money, or at least have a pile of cash they are sitting on.

    Buying your couch online is out...earth to owner, couches cost A LOT more to ship than books, and people want to sit in them first. Commerce on the web that makes sense is in. eBay is probably the first in the second stream of successful internet companies to start gaining attention.

    Can't wait to see more real profits from the internet...

    -Pete
    • No offense, but not all couches are made in your hometown. They have to be shipped at some time, probably in a large truck that still can't fit very many couches within it. That's why there a companies making a lot [hermanmiller.com] of money [ikea-usa.com] by selling furniture online or, more commonly, through catalogs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:35AM (#3756772)
    Good editing should not be visible; the story should come across as the focus of the article. After reading this exciting headline, I was disappointed to read:

    the LA Times, trying to cop a pose from the NY Times, reqs a login.

    I found myself asking these questions:
    1. Why do I need to be told a login is required? Won't I find that out soon enough?
    2. Why reference the NYTimes? Is there some campaign to have them remove their logins? I know it gets mentioned often enough on /.
    3. What's this "coping a pose" reference? A clever hip way to suggest one site copies from another?
    4. Is the LATimes copying from the NYTimes, or the other way around? Is this relevant? (That is, who is coping a pose from whom?)
    5. Is there some way that stories can just be edited for spelling, clarity and facts, and then LEFT ALONE
    6. I understand the editor has opinions (thought I'm not sure if the opinions concern NYTimes, LATimes, both, or just logins in general--odd, considering /. supports but does not require logins as well.) Could the editor perhaps clarify their opinions in an appropriate forum, like an editoral, and not a story? Or at the least be less crypting about what they mean?


    In the end, I'm left with the impression that this is just a young kid editing a web page who wants to use a clever turn of phrase he heard. It adds nothing to the story; it takes away much.
    • > 1. Why do I need to be told a login is required? Won't I find that out soon enough?

      I would waste more time trying to load a slashdotted page than reading a sentence fragment and deciding that since I'm not going to register anyway I might as well just go to the comments and hope someone has whored the story.

      I'm of mixed opinion on the reference. On one hand, it's childish and, as you indicated, is trying to be "hip". On the other hand, I'd rather have bad personality than none at all. I view slashdot as a community, not a newsfeed. If I want a newsfeed, I can check out Newsforge or C|Net or CNN's Tech section and get it there. I come to Slashdot because of the (sometimes) insightful commentary coming from people who know more than I do about a subject, and the occasional amusement from some troll who has been modded up. Sense of aquaitance is important. I don't want hemos and cmdtaco and whoever aloof from Slashdot's user base (even though they sometimes seem to be from themselves) - the site looses a lot of its appeal because it becomes just another newsfeed I'll check a few times a day.
    • Way to go, troll.
      Why do I need to be told a login is required? Won't I find that out soon enough?
      Saves me a wasted click. Why should I go to the LA Times' site, and then be turned away due to a stupid 'free registration' policy? Wouldn't you want to know if a store is open or closed before you leave your house and head for it?

      Why reference the NYTimes?
      You must be new around here. The NYT's useless policy has been mentioned many times, and people have implemented [majcher.com] trivial workarounds. And LAT has switched to this 'free registration' thing recently.

      What's this "coping a pose" reference?
      What are you, a prude?

      Is the LATimes copying from the NYTimes...
      Seeing that NYT has had this 'free registration' BS for years, and LAT just started doing this, you make the call. (I hope 'BS' is not too hip for you...)

      ....Could the editor perhaps clarify their opinions in an appropriate forum,....
      Learn to read. The italics stuff is that submitted by the submitter; the non-italics text is the editor's opinion/remarks . It is plain as daylight. Maybe you should lurk here longer?

      Oh, and by the way: welcome to Slashdot! Next time, pick a name and post using that name.

    • 1:Saves you a trip to LAT if you don't plan to register.
      2:Yes.
      3:Yes.
      4:Yes (not the other way around).
      5:No.
      6:That's what the different fonts are for. You'll get used to it if you hang around here for a while.

      I'm left with the impression that this is just a young kid editing a web page

      Welcome to CmdrTaco, Hemos, and CowboyNeil's clubhouse :)

      -
  • Not Employees (Score:2, Informative)

    by malarkey ( 514857 )
    Just because ebay is offering group insurance to this group of individuals does not mean that it's costing ebay anything. Other groups, such as owner-operator truckers have plans available to them for being members of a group.

    Chamber of Commerce plans do the same thing for small businesses. The group buying power is what helps lower the rates.

    So this insurance still ends up costing the Power Sellers more per month than most plans they would get as employees, because ebay isn't pitching in the 50-70% that many employers do.
  • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:37AM (#3756776) Homepage
    Since I doubt that most of theses sellers declare thier full income from ebay, I wonder if the IRS will attempt to use this to get a listing of thoses people.

  • TRADER: Honestly, how can you tell if you have health insurance that is good through eBay?

    eBay SUPPORT: There is a BIG GOLD STAR next to their name.

    TRADER: Oh. Okay... cool. Fine by me.
  • ...but around here they call it "Blue Cross Blue Shield" -- still, a rose is a rose, and I find my healthcare being auctioned off to the highest bidder rather routinely.
  • by nochops ( 522181 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:42AM (#3756802)
    I'm just waiting for eBay to start offering sick days and paid vacation so I can quit my day job.
  • L.A. Times? (Score:5, Informative)

    by webword ( 82711 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @10:48AM (#3756817) Homepage
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What do you think? Health insurance companies are looking for targeted groups; this one is largly male, under the age of 50, and in a rather 'soft' industry where on-the-job injuries (except carpel tunnel) are not that common.

    I could use it...
  • by jsimon12 ( 207119 ) <tzzhc4@yahoo. c o m> on Monday June 24, 2002 @11:02AM (#3756886) Homepage
    So I have to keep my account in good standing? That means if some malichious little brat decides he doesn't like me and makes up all sorts of slander and negative feedback I can lose my eBay healt insurance? Or by good standing do they simply mean paying my auctions fees? Anyone have any input?
  • Just remember that if you signed up with eBay's health insurance, you've probably signed up with the lowest bidder. :)

    - Serge Wroclawski
  • NOT EMPLOYEES! (Score:5, Informative)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @11:10AM (#3756929) Journal
    To all those wondering how auction sellers qualify as employees -- a quick "find text" in the article doesn't turn up any form of the word "employ".

    This is simply a group policy, like those you can get thru the National Association of the Self-Employed, or dozens of other small-business and "group" organizations.

    All you need for group discounts is a large group -- they don't have to be co-workers. E-Bay isn't contributing to the funds.

  • Can I claim disability or Workmen's comp if I throw out my back sending out a heavy package to a buyer? If the Beanie Baby market crashes how do I file for unemployment? If your sales dip below $1000 a month are you fired? What do I get if I spend a $1000 a month?
  • by mister7 ( 56875 ) on Monday June 24, 2002 @11:45AM (#3757155)
    Heck...if they can, so can we. Anyone with karma level x+ can apply and we can get our bulk rate discount.

    Although we would never find an underwriter that would insure this risk pool for capal tunnel and eyestrain related maladies.
  • Basically by requiring a login, it's difficult for 3rd party sites to directly link to a buried article. This maximises their site presence, allows them firm metrics on who is viewing their online content, and certainly assists their marketing department re:demographics.

    I still hate it, and so should you, but I understand their logic.
  • Perhaps this is a sign of things to come. Consider if you will, that the developers or packagers of each of 20-30 packages that make up a desktop and server linux distribution, each form small LLC's. Consider further a bunch of small consultants, small shops, that will customize the distrib, do intranets with these servers and other OS's too, etc, etc.

    Now create a shell company, sorta like ebay, whose job is the following: (a) provide hosting, and company management tools to all these folks
    (b) provide visibility, branding, and marketing (c) co-ordinate the release of the distribution (d) provide an internal market for equity redistribution and (e) provide benefits to participants as ebay is.

    The app makers get contributed on a per sale royalty basis. The consultants earn their compensation on their gigs. Each has a certain equity in the company, and contributes a certain portion of revenues ( the ebay percentage) into this shell company.

    The issue today as far as open source is concened from a business model perspective is, for example, that the Ximian developers see no monetary incentive from Red Hat's bundling of Evolution. From a free software perspective itself, this would be ok as I am sure Red Hat contributes bug reports, people, etc. But from a business model perspective this fails because the market is not so large, and each linux company is loosing money by doing stuff like packaging inhouse where they could eliminate duplication by outsourcing.

    Why not utilize a monetary model which provides benefits to the developers/packagers/integrators who put in the work in the first place? Instead we are using traditional business models in small markets and then giving the value to shareholders who couldnt care a damn. The stock markets can come later, lets give all them creative people a boost first, so that they dont have to become employees of even linux companies who all go after the same market with the same tactic..anyone think all will survive? Lets create a system where developers have the freedom to do what they love, with atleast some of the financial issues for them taken care of.

    Check out the links I put up at 3point0.nareau.com if you care..Email me at tig@nareau.com to discuss more if you find this notion interesting..
  • Now you can get insurance to cover your doctors visit to take care of what you caught from your other eBay purchases. [attrition.org]

Memory fault -- brain fried

Working...