Why I Think eBay’s New Logo Change Is A Mistake

Ah, eBay, that site full of auctions and deals that seems to have grown with the internet since it was founded in 1995. eBay has given millions of people a chance to earn a little extra income, and some people have even made careers and businesses out of selling things online with eBay’s service. This is all great, but eBay is still a business like any other. That means it has to deal with branding itself just as much as any other business does.

Fellow CEM contributor Ben did a great story on the 2012 Olympics Logo and how experimentation with your brand or logo can backfire. To many people, the logo of a company represents the brand. I like to think there’s a difference between a logo and the concept of a brand, but it’s not very important for what I want to get across today.

eBay Unveils its First Logo Change since 1995

If you didn’t hear, eBay unveiled a new logo earlier this month amidst a lot of other news that somewhat buried the story. eBay is the next in a short list of big names adopting new logos. Microsoft recently announced it was changing logos as well. eBay isn’t planning on full adoption until the fall, however.

Logo changes are not a new thing. Many big companies have had a history of pretty successful changes in their logos and their brands over the years. One in particular that I think eBay could have taken a few pointers from (which I’ll explain later) is Coca-Cola, which Ben examined pretty in depth.

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But eBay reps claim that their logo now represents, as the company President Devn Wenig stated, “our connected and diverse eBay community.” I get it eBay. You’re building your brand. You want to look more contemporary and official. You’re a serious marketplace for everyone on the web to buy and sell what they want.

eBay Took the Uniqueness Out of its Logo

In its attempt to “modernize” and look more contemporary, eBay took away from its logo that funky alignment that set it apart from other tech logos like Google and Microsoft. It seems like eBay thinks it has to change its logo in order to rebrand itself as a modern marketplace. I don’t think that’s the case. In fact, I think they took the easy road; they almost sold out, in a way.

Let’s be honest, Google has already cornered the market on multi-colored letters and the straight-and-organized look. Even though eBay came before Google, no one can deny that the Google brand and logo have far surpassed the reach of eBay’s. You don’t hear anyone saying, “you should eBay that!”

Honestly, whenever I look at that new logo, I get confused. Confusing customers is not a great first step in introducing them to your brand. My thoughts immediately move to: “Shouldn’t it say Google in colorful letters? Why does it say eBay? Man, they sure look like they are copying Google.” I think eBay should have found a way to update their previous logo, not depart entirely from their cool and creative old look.

Take a look at what Google, Kodak, Microsoft, MasterCard, GE, and Walmart have done in the past with their logos here. They managed to keep the soul of their logos while building their brands. The modern Coca-Cola logo has barely changed over the years and it’s one of the most recognized symbols on the planet.

One thing to learn from eBay’s new logo

If you run a business, it’s important to have a logo. It’s a part of building your brand. A logo is especially important for an online presence as well. Make sure your logo captures a key value or characteristic of your business or your products. I’m not an artistic person, but there are plenty of designers out there that can help you out!

When you make a logo or update yours, do your customers a favor—don’t make it look in any way like another big company’s logo. At best, you’ll confuse or turn off prospective leads; at worst you could get into some trademark trouble.

Do you think eBay’s new logo looks too much like Google’s?

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 26

  • Great article – totally agree with all the points made, especially that they have lost all the uniqueness from their logo.

  • I was on eBay just today. I was looking at some tracking info for one of the products I bought. I refreshed the page, and then the new logo appeared, along with a change of some various icons. For a second, I thought my browser took me to a different website. Then I realized I was still on eBay, and I was dumbfounded as to why they chose such an ugly and boring-looking logo. They want to express diversity? How in the world does a straight lined, single font, unimpressive logo represent diversity? Their other logo was already really diverse! What the hell eBay?

  • BRING BACK THE OLD LOGO! Nothing was wrong with the old logo, or more to the point everything was right with it! It was a perfect representation of an idea that eBay is a marketplace for buying diverse things from cars to old theatre programmes, that you would be able to find whatever you are looking for or sell what you’ve got. As someone who has used the site for years I feel really let down. Why didn’t they ask their community what they thought first? Why is it that companies feel the need to change logos or worse still the layout of a website or the packaging of your usual shampoo so that you give up in frustration and buy a completely random one! They are now not only satisfied with taking our money but also OUR TIME! Companies are out of touch! We as consumers do not want ‘new and improved’, but with everyone’s increasing time constraints original and dependable!

  • I think ebay are crazy to do this with their logo. Do they not test customer reaction to any changes they make – they rarely do when they make changes on their auction site so I suppose is the same for the logo aswell. Ebay as a site has for a longtime lost their uniqueness as an “exciting” auction site by catering only to business sellers – i suppose their logo has now lost the uniqueness aswell now. Is one more nail in the coffin i think

  • I guess we’ll have to see if the backlash is big enough for eBay to consider changing it again or if they will remain stubborn and just stick with it. For a company like eBay you are all right, we expect something more than what they are offering for their logo now!

  • I have to agree with you on this. I DO NOT like the new logo, its now boring, and not unique at all… all one font, looks like some lame still in high school graphic artist did the work… and even that gives it too much credit. Now the logo does not separate them out from the rest.

    Ebay, your better than that…. now show it.

  • You make excellent points, Patrick! Of course, I don’t think they needed to shy away from modernization completely. There were certainly ways they could have modernized while still staying unique. I would love to see what designs they dashed for this extremely boring change.

  • Someone was probably paid thousands to come up with that new logo. It must have taken them at least 10 seconds to open up Microsoft Word and choose the first font in the list.

  • I’m not sure that the new Ebay logo brings Google to mind immediately, but there is something inherently familiar about the new logo that I can’t quite put my finger on. I feel like I’ve seen something like this before, very similar. It is almost so comfortable to look at, I don’t give it a second thought. Not like the old logo. There was more texture and character there.

    Not a switch worth raging about, but definitely worth observing how consumers react to the change!

    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • Completely agree. It is weak, average, poor, and specially BORING, nothing new.. I loved the old eBay logo, what was the necessity to change it? I don’t understand.

  • I am a big eBay fan but this new logo is very poor. If they paid a design agency more than $5 for it, they should ask for their money back. I could have done better in my lunch break wearing a blindfold. A BIG disappointment since it has no design flair, no message, no soul. In short, it devalues a great brand to a school web site logo. Somebody should resign – it’s that bad. If anybod working for eBay reads this – take some responsibility and do something about it! Bin it and try again.

  • Agree with everyone here. The original logo was unique, quirky, and easy to recognize at a single glance. Now it’s just another boring corporate logo with an uninteresting choice of font. If eBay’s goal was to lose their identity by this “re-branding”, mission accomplished.

  • I searched and found this article because I was wondering if I was the only one that noticed this horrendous new logo and if I was the only person with that opinion. I’m glad to see that others agree with me. WTF were they thinking??

    I thought Pepsi misfired badly when they changed their logo a few years ago – I still do, but it apparantly hasn’t hurt them much. I don’t know if this eBay change will hurt them either, but it doesn’t make them look any better in my book. I think that if they wanted to “mix it up” some, they could have tried a semi-random mixture of typefaces in the same general alignment and colors. But what they’ve done is just bad – it totally throws the baby out with the bathwater.

  • I can’t quite put my finger on why (as I’m not a designer) but to me it seems like the logo has DEvolved rather than Evolved.

  • Have you heard of the old saying “people are creatures of habit.”??? Change upsets most of us, we like seeing or doing things the same way all the time.Perhaps it creates an illusion of constancy in our lives.

  • ebay has gone corporate, which I guess reflects the fact that ebay is no longer somebody selling stuff out of their house but completely taken over by wholesalers… their customer base has changed. It’s just unfortunate that they had to announce so obviously that their priority has changed and is de-emphasizing the individual, flea–market sensibility

  • I don’t know why, but the old logo made me want to use ebay and spend money on their site. It was just fun, unique, and almost made me feel like a kid again in a toy store whenever I was on the site. The new logo is dull and boring and I can already tell I’m going to avoid the site now, only buying things that are of dire importance I can’t get anywhere else. Oh well, I guess they don’t have very intelligent marketing people there. You don’t fix something that’s not broken dummies. Why do businesses make such bad decisions like this? It’s like they just can’t leave well enough alone things that WORK and don’t need adjusting!

  • the logo has not been updated on mobile apps yet (android atleast)
    so when i went on to my computer i noticed the new logo.

    I was trying to log in, and i thought i had entered a phishing site. it showed it was a secure webpage but that logo kept throwing me off. after reloading the page several times and going back to, i decided to google “ebay new logo” and now i see i was not being phished, it was just ebay fail.

    going back to my phone now, try to enjoy the old logo while i can!

  • The old ebay logo had style, dash & panache. The new logo is the simple font of infant school script. It looks rather like the logo for a toy shop.

  • It’s so bad. I thought I was on spoof site. I understand if they didn’t want such a messy logo but why not just straighten it out a bit with the same font? I betcha someone got paid far too much for this stupid logo. Yet another reason I have stopped selling and buying off eBay. They ruined it and the logo was the last thing they ruined.

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