eBay’s Backroom Lobbying Operation
“As eBay has spread its innovative and influential wings across the Internet, it has also woven together a muscular and wily lobbying apparatus that spans 25 states. ‘It is a fast-moving train, and if you get in front of it you’ll get flattened,’ said one state regulatory official, who is concerned that eBay flouts regulatory oversight by persuading state legislators to take the company’s side.
“Regulators in other states also say that when they try to erect guidelines around eBay’s activities, they quickly encounter the realities of the company’s political power, raising anew the perennial questions about the proper balance among public policy, consumer protection and business interests. EBay’s lobbying tactics, meanwhile, illustrate the spoils to be won when a savvy, resourceful company combines local political persuasion and grass-roots rallying to get lucrative regulatory exemptions that allow it to safeguard its profits.
“EBay’s efforts have been remarkably successful, and the company, which has worked tirelessly to cultivate its image as a friendly neighborhood bazaar even as it engages in hard-nosed lobbying, is not shy about boasting of its victories.”
Katie Hafner. How eBay Makes Regulations Disappear. The New York Times. June 4, 2006.
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