Cultural ignorance and eBay Australia

As part of an international community, whether you sell, teach, or learn online – you need to take the culture and current events that affect people in other countries into consideration. Especially if you’re providing a service or trying to sell to them.

One would think that a huge organisation that’s supposedly built on facilitating communications and sales would have this down pat.

Apparently not, from the theme eBay Australia is using on the home page of the eBay Australia site (screen shot taken Sunday, 5 November 2006).

At this time of year I was expecting Christmas – like the US eBay site. But nope, not for us Aussies.

The online marketing people (or whoever the bright lights were) thought a spring theme of “Rain, rain go away” would be the go.

Considering we’re in drought conditions in Australia – this is a demonstration of a complete lack of market knowledge at best and at worst a slap in the face to those suffering from the drought.

It’s worth looking at beyond this major faux pax on the part of a huge, successful multi-national.

Consider the people with whom you interact online. How much do you know about them? Are your communications and interactions going to engage – or offend? eBay’s mistake can give us more to consider than the breathtaking ignorance of the people responsible for the Australian web site.