An Open Letter to eBay – RE eBay Education Specialists Stripped of Certification

eBay Education Specialist Program Ends Danna Crawford 700x500
Though a few others have reported on this eBay announcement first, I wanted needed to take some time and really process the news that eBay has not only discontinued its “Education Specialist Program” but informed instructors that we are no longer able to use the title.

This move by eBay has caused more than a few shock waves that have thundered through its community, leaving a number of us wondering why more supportive choices for education specialists were not made.
Yes. Some of the shock waves are because this could negatively impact education specialist’s income. It might affect mine. However, in all fairness and full disclosure, I almost 100% certain that this change will not affect my bottom dollar.

Those of you who know me know that, for the most part, I drink the eBay Kool-Aid. Over the years, eBay has been very good to me and my family. Through eBay, I was able to transform from single, broke mom of 3 to a successful entrepreneur.
Many personal and professional milestones I’ve hit in my life so far are because of being a successful seller on eBay and teaching others to do the same.
For these gifts and many more, I will always be grateful to eBay. But, for now, the Kool-Aid isn’t quite as sweet as it once was.

What I am truly saddened by is eBay’s stripping us of a title – of certifications- we earned and training materials we paid for.
Even if you take away the fact that monies we paid for the training to become eBay Education Specialists has gone down the tubes, we worked hard to earn the designation of “eBay Education Specialist”.
It’s a title I’ve been honored to have for over a decade.
It’s a goal I’ve urged every student to attain.
Just to get it out of the way, here’s what we paid for training:

  • The Basics of Selling on eBay: $169.00
  • Beyond the Basics $129.00
  • eBay Stores: $89.00
  • Business Consultant Program: $249.00
  • Yearly Renewal Fees: $86.00 (Business Consultant)

So, $636.00 of training fees plus yearly renewal fees aside, riddle me this eBay – why couldn’t those of us who earned our certification have been grandfathered in?
Why wasn’t there some kind of remuneration, selling fees credits, eBay gift certificatesomething, anything?
Instead, here’s the “see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya” notice posted on eBay

eBay Education Specialst Letter 750x635
– image credit: eBay.com

Sigh.
As Forest Gump would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

A Tribute To All eBay Education Specialists

Below you’ll find my history as an eBay Education Specialist and of the program itself. I wrote it partially for myself, much like a personal journal that you want to be able to look back on with good memories in the years ahead.
Perhaps more importantly, I’ve written it for all my eBay Education colleagues.
Though we’ve enjoyed personal and professional gains via eBay’s good graces, we have been eBay’s evangelists and champions for more than a decade.
I know how many thousands of eCommerce and other online entrepreneurs you’ve inspired. How many small businesses you’ve helped get off the ground. How many lives you’ve touched.
This my tribute to you.
Also, I’d like to thank former eBay employee, Sharon Guldner.

Sharon Guldner eBay University 200x260
– image credit eBay

Sharon was one of the lead creators of eBay University and the Education Specialist programs. For almost 10 years, Sharon managed eBay’s train the trainer program as well as developed curriculum and training modules to scale the eBay University program.
She has been sorely missed.
Before our profiles are 301 redirected to landing pages that better benefit eBay, take a screenshot of your eBay University profile. Keep it in a folder on your computer. These were good times you may want to remember.
Here’s mine…
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Danna Crawford eBay University Education Specialist 700x500
Who remembers when the program first rolled out in 2004?
Back then it was only $99 to become an education specialist. But there was more to it than just paying the price. You also had to take a test. The program was managed by The American Research Institute.
(article continues after image)
University eBay Original Education Specialist Program 436x486
I was already teaching eBay on my own and didn’t see the need for spending money to be in the program. I was also confused that the program was not actually owned by eBay so, over the next few years, I carried on teaching using my own curriculum.
While growing my eBay business, my personal life was changing. My twin girls left for college and my grandmother moved in with me and my husband. With two children in college and my grandmother depending on us, I had to take my business to the next level.
In February 2007 I signed up for the Education Specialist program. By then, the price had increased to $149.
Anyone could take the courses, but to be eligible for the test you had to:

  • Have an eBay account
  • At least 5 positive feedback for items that had been sold in the last 60 days.
  • Have a positive feedback rating of at least 98% or higher.

I had been a seller since 1997 so I was in luck that I met those requirements (*smirk*)! The next step was to take a test. I flew through the questions without a problem.
eBay University Teaching Selling Basics Diploma Danna Crawford 1200x1000
It was one of the highlights of my life when I got my first student feedback!

Aug. 5, 2007, 12:19 p.m.
I learned more about buying and selling on eBay in this class than I learned in the last year on my own. The class was exciting, interesting and motivating. The instructor has a vast knowledge of eBay, answered all my questions, and willingly shared her insights with me. I am looking forward to using the knowledge and insights gained in this class.

I even became a featured instructor on the website (which was later managed by “Power U” a third party provider for eBay)!
Danna Crawford Featured eBay University Education Specialist 625x500
In June 2007, eBay held an event in Boston called “eBay Live”. I had never been to one before because of always putting my children first. That’s mom code for “couldn’t afford it”. LOL
So, when this opportunity came I signed up and my life was never the same! I met so many amazing people at that event and the networking opportunities were mind blowing!
eBay Live 2007 Danna Crawford 705x670
At this event there was a special dinner hosted by eBay for those that were part of the Education Specialist program. We were served the best Lobsters in Boston.
Sharon (the gal I thanked earlier) was the keynote speaker. Her heartfelt words were so inspiring that I wanted to do my best to continue to help people and grow my business at the same time. She was a true motivator for me to be the best Education Specialist I could be!
Soon after that event I received a phone call from our local college here in Ocala, Florida. They found me on Google while looking for an Education Specialists in our area.
I was flattered that they wanted me to teach at the College of Central Florida because I felt I was not “college professor” material. I had only been teaching people in my home by doing one-on-one instruction. In fact my first student was my best friend Debbie! And now today she is a successful eBay seller!
But, I had been so inspired by Sharon as well as others I’d met at eBay Live in Boston, I decided to go for the interview.
All I could think about was “What will I wear?” LOL
I hadn’t been to a job interview in many years because I owned my own business selling on eBay since, so I was very, very nervous. Heck, I didn’t even need a job but I wanted to investigate what it was all about!
Long story short, I started teaching eBay classes a few times a month! This lasted for a few years until there was an administration. Isn’t that always what messes things up? 😉
Moving a couple years ahead…
The highest level of the Education Specialist was to become a “Certified Business Consultant Trained by eBay” aka “Certified Education Specialist”.
The fee was $249.00 and the test was intense. It took me most of the day to complete it but once I did I was over the moon on August 2009.
eBay Certified Business Consultant Diploma Danna Crawford 1200x1000
At the time there were only 28 of us in the Country so I was very proud to be a part of it and to take my business to yet, a new upper level with this program.
eBay soon invited me to speak at their events starting with Orlando and then Philadelphia, Las Vegas and San Jose. I was always so very honored and proud to represent a company that I believed in and a program that I knew to be of the highest standards.
I can never overstate how thankful I am to eBay for the invaluable experiences and opportunities I’ve been afforded by the company. Though I am not and have never been an eBay employee but, rather, an eBay entrepreneur these many years of working with and learning from the eBay staff has set the foundation of who I’ve become today.
For almost 19 years I’ve been an eBay Power Seller and, now, Top Rated Seller. My mantra to clients and something I still tell my children is, “Always expect the unexpected. Change happens. And when it does just roll with the punches, readjust, and get on with things.
Some punches we take in life and business are a little harder to roll with than others. For me, this is one such time.
But that’s, OK. I just bought a great makeup set on eBay and it’s covered my black eye pretty well!
As they say, everything old becomes new again. While I’m sad to relinquish my rights to use a certification and teaching materials I bought and earned, I’ll just go back to doing what I was doing before there ever was an eBay University.
In fact, I’ve already started. I’ve begun creating my own teaching materials and curriculum.
This time, though, I’ve got 16 years more experience to offer my students and clients.
If you would like to benefit from all my years as an eBay selling coach and trainer, just click on the picture below and let’s get started!
Danna Crawford eBay Training Consulting CTA 700x300

Comments

  • Jennifer
    February 18, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Danna I signed up to be an education specialist back in 2004 but I did not do a whole lot with it. I did teach a few people to sell on eBay but I didn’t continue to renew year after year. I wish I would have because now people are asking for my services and I do not have any curriculum or handouts or anything. Is that something that you offer? I am looking some kind of training materials to use other than just my knowledge from selling on eBay since 2002 and also being a power seller and top rated seller . I mostly teaching people one-on-one that’s what I’m most comfortable with.
    Your story is very inspiring. I have an illness that does not allow me to work outside the home full-time and I do have a daughter with autism that I need to be there for. I’m at a point where I’m selling on eBay but there are times when I need more money when I should go back to work but I really can’t. I think consulting work I’ve been hesitant to before because I actually did not want a lot more competition! Ha ha. But now I see how it can help others.
    Please let me know if you can help me with some training materials. I’m really not good at writing things up I’m better just talking to people face-to-face so I’m kind of at a loss here.

    • Danna Crawford
      March 1, 2017 at 9:29 am

      Thanks Jennifer for your kind words. I may have some content I can share with you. I will send you an email. Best, Danna

  • Katie
    September 1, 2016 at 3:07 am

    This was a very well said and effective article in my mind. I too have built a career in teaching many classes through local libraries, college universities and adult education centers since 2006. I was very upset to hear the program was being discontinued without a clear explanation. I am very proud of my accomplishments and the MANY MANY MANY people I led to becoming eBay sellers. I enjoyed every bit of my experiences with the Educational Specialist program and was grateful of the accomplishments I made and the friendships I developed. I still have a feeling of resentment with eBay on the way they handled communication regarding this issue. Best of luck to you Dianna and thanks for taking the time to post this article.

    • Danna Crawford
      September 1, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks bunches Katie for your kind words. I am still going strong with my workshops and I encourage you to keep doing the same. All the best, Danna

  • Sharon Guldner
    June 2, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Danna, I am very sad to learn about the Education Specialist Program being discontinued after we all worked so hard to build it. I say “we” built it because I could not have done it without the amazing talent and perseverance of all the Education Specialist instructors! When you say I inspired you, I think the opposite is true. You inspired me! You were always so professional, willing to help and gracious in providing feedback to make the program better. Thank you for writing this heartfelt tribute to the program that changed so many lives, including mine. Keep on teachin!

    • Danna Crawford
      June 2, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      Thanks so much Sharon for the post. I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to know you and I wish you all the best for continued success. Thanks again, you made my day!

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