back to article eBay head honcho: Amazon drone delivery plan is 'FANTASY'

The CEO of eBay has dismissed Amazon's claims that it will soon employ drones to deliver packages as a "fantasy". In an interview with Bloomberg, John Donahoe rubbished Amazon's claims that it was about to replace its human worker drones with robots. "We're not really focusing on long-term fantasies, we're focusing on things …

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Well of course it is.

Did anyone with even a basic understanding of the science not realise that this was just bullshit kite-flying to get them in the news on Black Monday, and detract attention from stories of working practice unpleasantness in their warehouses? No? Good.

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JDX
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What would eBay know about it?

They don't post anything to anyone, that's kind of the entire basis of their business.

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Re: What would eBay know about it?

"They don't post anything to anyone, that's kind of the entire basis of their business."

true.

unfortunately it's becoming Amazons too... they have now opened the doors to any seller under the sun.. you have no way of knowing whether they are even UK based, no way of filtering non- UK sellers, etc.

Also nothing in the listings from these chinese (99% of em) sellers saying folk will get stung for import duty.

I'm surprised they've got away with it for a year or so now.

It's made trying to order from Amazon a right pain in the arse - it's easier to filter on ebay, and I get the same chinese sellers, so why go through Amazon.

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Re: What would eBay know about it?

even UK based, no way of filtering non- UK sellers, etc.

Unless you look at the "ships from" bit on the offers list of course.

I always look because I buy a lot of books and try to avoid UK booksellers if I can, as my experience has been that the majority overcharge and underdeliver when it comes to P&P.

It isn't a guarantee of course. I've bought from a vendor I thought was a stateside source only to find I was in for a delay while they shipped the item from the UK.

The main advantage to Amazon over eBay for books is that when a bookseller says "good condition" they are working to an absolute scale agreed on in the trade, whereas an eBay seller means "seems to have all the pages still stuck to the spine".

That and the Amazon guarantee, which I've needed to use twice in perhaps a couple of hundred transactions - each time involving a private individual rather than a business. Instant customer satisfaction result both times. eBay cannot offer the same and certainly does not deliver it.

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Anonymous Coward

pot and kettle

there's not better way to promote your own business than by shitting on your competition, free of charge, courtesy of media attention (ask any politician). And no better time to do that, than in the middle of Christmas SPENDING bonanza.

not that he's wrong, he's absolutely right. But let's not forget his motives :)

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I do wonder whether there might be some uses of the drone stuff Amazon are touting. I cannot see it being generally workable, but for short trips between known sites it might well work. Maybe you have a large site (or multi site complex) where you need to get a physical object from one side to the other quickly (hospitals?), it would be quicker and cheaper to use a drone rather than a human, and you could have specific landing pads for them.

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I would have thought in a situation where its your site, there would be substantially easier ways of getting stuff from A to B. If you got the space to fly a drone in a hospital for instance (really??) you should have the space from some form of track system. If they are things that are small like drugs, you could even use a tube system as employed by banks and supermarkets for ferrying around cash (or the reasonably impressive system they had in Prague http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague_pneumatic_post ).

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Actually, plenty of hospitals ALREADY use pneumatic delivery for transporting small things from department to department.

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At last...

... a retailer other than Amazon has managed to generate some free publicity...

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Yeah...but...

Don't you remember when Amazon first started? Buy a book online?! wtf are you smoking?! Why the hell would someone buy a *book* from an 'online bookstore'? It seemed like a completely insane idea at the time. Yet I know from looking at the pile of Amazon branded boxes sat outside our house on recycling day how much they have changed our lives. So delivery by drones? Why not. If anyone can, I'd imagine Amazon could.

-Matt

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Meh

Re: Yeah...but...

@Matt, I tend to agree with much of your sentiment (except perhaps that Amazon would really use drones in the end). Without this sort of less-run-of-the-mill thinking you don't get innovation. A definite "Bah, Humbug" from eBay and I say "right back at ya".

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Re: Yeah...but...

Buy a book online - what were the hurdles to overcome? Books existed, the web existed, technology to process credit cards existed, warehouses and trucks existed. All it needed was somebody to devise a working business model and take a punt. Using drones is just silly. Being possible doesn't mean it will ever be sensible,.

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Re: Yeah...but...

Did people say that?

Perhaps a few did, but I also remember people being very enthusiastic about the ability to buy online, and people pointing out how Amazon had huge advantages, because they didn't have to have the costs of shops and shopworkers, they just ship from a warehouse. There was tonnes of hype about this. On top of that was the large amount of money flowing into it - the only negative criticism being that Amazon seemed to be overvalued for a company that had yet to turn a profit back then.

Given that the concept of sending things through the post was hardly new back then (e.g., mail order), I find it odd that anyone would struggle to grasp the concept of ordering one online. Maybe some people did, but I don't remember it being the general sentiment. Some people might prefer to buy in shops, but that's still the case now (e.g., getting it instantly, or not having to deal with delivery companies for things that can't fit through a letterbox).

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To spend 10½ hours a day picking items off the shelves...

So the journo is happy at the 12 hours a security guard does keeping his office safe?

Or how about the person packing the same item into a box, day after day?

or they postman that delivers the same little packages, often in lousy conditions, day in day out?

The person that put the manual in the glovebox of a new car, day in, day out?

Some jobs are shit, but they do have a choice, they can leave and do some other shitty (and often much worse jobs), or have no money. Or they can go to night school, learn a trade and move up the world in the job stakes. Plenty of choices, some shit, some good, but just because some writer thinks anything more demanding than lifting a latte in Starbucks is to demanding (another shitty job), maybe they should the real world.

BTW speaking from experience, I used to do 12 hours in a label making plant, often getting covered head to toe in glue and paper. But I retrained in my own time, worked hard and got the fuck out of there, incidentally for a lower paid job, but which I knew had better prospects.

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Re: To spend 10½ hours a day picking items off the shelves...

Well said that man.

When I was a nipper I use to do all sorts (of legal things) for money from picking up the crap left behind after the Sunday Market to handing out leaflets on the high street.

I think we need an "International Resident Exchange Program" where we can exchange someone who is on benefits for someone who is prepared to work from another country.

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Re: To spend 10½ hours a day picking items off the shelves...

Funny how sentences make less sense when you only look at half of them, eh?

"To spend 10½ hours a day picking items off the shelves is to contemplate the darkest recesses of our consumerist desires," In the context of working in an Amazon warehouse she'd have been picking all sorts of random stuff off the shelves. She was remarking on how the Amazon picker gets an insight into all the dark corners of the customers' minds through their purchasing decisions. She's not just moaning about working long hours in a boring job.

Still, it's probably easier to just read the first half of her sentence, sneer at her choice of a career in journalism and then sneer at her while projecting your own ideas onto her.

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Anonymous Coward

It's the O'Leary syndrome

Propose some outlandish twaddle, then sit bit enjoying all the free publicity.

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Anonymous Coward

Things will go full circle.

As shops decline and more people buy online eventually some people will want to get things faster meaning Amazon and others will have collection centres or similar where people can buy and collect without waiting for the postman.

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Re: collection centres or similar

Well Amazon and others have already been courted by Transport for London about paying them to use Tube Stations as pick-up points. Not to say it'll take off (see, drone related puns are in this year) but I think that'd be a great idea. Your idea of taking underperforming shops and giving them an Amazon Collection Point in-store isn't so far fetched!

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ebay ceo is a little late. drones are everywhere for everything. there will only be more. In his own town there is TacoCopter.

He comes off as a jealous clown who missed out.

Bezos scored a PR bullseye.

oh and does anyone remember paypal outer space payments? long term fantasy anyone?

Beam me up.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Books existed ... (Was Re: Yeah...but...)

By extension, drones exist. All we need is someone to devise a working regulatory model and take a punt.

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Anonymous Coward

Collection points..

..already exist in some US cities. For example, you can opt to have your delivery sent to an Amazon Locker, usually located in a Gas Station or 7-11 and accessed by a unique pin code sent to you.

You can also have Amazon Local delivery the SAME DAY if the logistics tie up (item is at a local distribution center, there's a delivery truck heading this way). So potentially, it is possible to have an item ordered in the morning delivered in the afternoon.

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Re: Collection points..

The whole business is a classic tradeoff between consolidation and turnaround time. Consolidated delivery centers provide the benefit of lower logistics costs, but now Amazon is seeing the other side of the coin: the fact that people will pay for instant gratification (thus why big boxers like Walmart still work; for some, there's nothing like walking out, goodies in hand, and they feel the added taxes and so on are worth it to get right blanking now), meaning having warehouses closer to the customer costs money but saves time.

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