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eBay Alternatives Part 1: eBay’s Glory Days

April 21st, 2007 by shawn · 3 Comments

eBay used to be cool. It used to be a lot more fun than it is these days. It used to be a place that had a sense of community and informality. But eBay’s glory days are over I’m afraid.

Don’t get me wrong: eBay is still the place to buy and sell online – I know that; there’s no disputing the fact that out of all online marketplaces eBay is the most accessible, has the most users, and has the most products available to purchase. So I’m not saying that it’s a dead venue for buying and selling. What’s I’m saying is that eBay has lost some of the good things it used to have – it’s best days are over.

I can look at eBay from the perspective of both a buyer and a seller. I’ve been an eBayer since 1999, which gives me a good sense of many of the changes they’ve gone through.

I have not enjoyed the fact that eBay insists on raising certain of their fees. It can be expensive to sell on eBay when compared to other auction sites. Unless I’m going to list my item with a .99 opening bid, I can end up paying some pretty high fees pretty fast. As a person who has run a home business selling on eBay and worked in an eBay drop-shop, I see how much a business can end up paying eBay over a month; the average eBay user doesn’t feel the sting if they are selling a couple of items occasionally.

If eBay isn’t already earning enough with the fees they charge for listing, listing features, and final value fees – they earn a lot more with PayPal. That’s fine; I don’t fault them for charging for the service – what I object to is that they don’t allow me to use certain other services (specifically the excellent Google Checkout payment service).

As far as fraud, I have been the victim of fraud on eBay from my buyers more than once in the last seven years. Once it was someone who paid via PayPal and then disputed the charges with their credit card company. I have found out how surprisingly little eBay can (or will) do to investigate or enforce any repercussions – even when I called my personal PowerSeller rep.

Ironically, I’ve also seen eBay pulling valid auctions that supposedly were in conflict with their policies – and I’ve seen them leave auctions running for items that were obviously illegal. I think eBay must hire uncaring temps to enforce their auction policies, and I don’t think they’ve ever trained them to follow consistent standards. It looks to me that auctions are pulled according to the whim of the person in charge.

I’m not alone in my frustration with eBay – you might be aware that there are many other sites devoted to documenting the faults of eBay and VeRO. There are others out there who think eBay sucks.

The problem comes down to this: eBay has the online auction gig pretty well locked down, so they can make the policies they want, and they can be as dysfunctional as they want to be because the masses will still use their services and pay whatever eBay demands.

The solution? Both sellers and buyers need to migrate to other venues – and they do exist.

eBay was never perfect. But I can remember times that eBay was a lot more fun, more innovative, and just plain better in my opinion. And the glory days are over. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article in which I’ll explore the other options you have as a buyer or a seller.

[tags]bill cobb, ebay, auction, paypal, meg-whitman, vero, ebay complaint, ebay lawsuit, online auction[/tags]

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    Tags: Ecommerce · Running a Business

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    Comment by Benjamin
    2007-05-03 15:37:23

    A great alternative is http://www.alltheauctions.com!
    This is a new auction site with great deals and products.

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    Comment by shawn
    2007-05-03 17:23:06

    Looks like a nice site; good luck. I hope our readers at least go check it out and hopefully support you. Thanks for the comment!

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    Comment by Johnny
    2008-04-06 20:55:02

    Heres a page which you may find helpful. There are over 350 eBay alternatives that you can use instead.

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