Problems on the Auction Block
eBay is the biggest auction site on the internet. This has generally worked well for people. More sellers provide more products to buyers. More buyers are better for sellers. But eBay has taken unfair advantage of this near market monopoly.
Over the last several years eBay has regularly increased fee percentages. For example, if you are a seller and your item ends at $150, then your ending fees will have increased over 40% in the past years. Most recently the final value fee changed from 5.25% to 8%. eBay has tried to hide this by lowering insertion fees, but the overall fees have increased dramatically. eBay also owns PayPal now and takes a cut from that transaction too. See this Fee Calculator for exact fees.
No greater service has come with these fees. eBay still has rampant fraud. Invariably people will email me as a seller asking me to end my auction early in exchange for their paying me early. It’s a Nigerian Prince type scam.
Buyers are still regularly defrauded by sellers who have built up a good reputation by numerous bogus low-cost auction transactions.
eBay has also made things bad for sellers by not allowing them to leave negative feedback for buyers. That’s right. You can leave feedback, but it has to be positive. I recently sold something on eBay and the buyer just didn’t pay. I can’t leave that person negative feedback. eBay has said that this is so that sellers do not have an unfair advantage. But all this has done provide an unfair advantage to buyers.
Because of eBay’s arrogant attitude toward its customers, it is time for them to get a real competitor. The nature of an auction is that it needs lots of buyers and sellers to work. So it would be easiest for a big company with existing traffic to offer auctions.
Google is the biggest kid on the block. If they started auctions, eBay would be forced to lower prices. However, eBay is Google’s largest customer for its ads. Google has also been slow in moving into the content business, afraid to scare off its advertisers who might be competing with them. Still, Google could easily compete with eBay.
Yahoo gave up on their rival auction site about a year ago. It was odd that Yahoo search engine didn’t feature their search results over those from eBay. Still, Yahoo has many content sites and could try again to advertise a new auction site on its other websites.
Amazon’s Selling on Amazon could be a strong natural competitor. It sells at a fixed price, but has higher fees than eBay. Amazon also has a payment system that is somewhat of a PayPal competitor, but it costs even more and is difficult to use.
An unknown could also compete. But these sites have to do things like offering fixed-price auctions for fear of not enough bidders. Etsy is for selling handmade goods. ePier is a small and simple auction site. Overstock.com also has an auction site.
Someone should step up. There are numerous forums with people complaining about eBay’s fees and behavior. People are getting fed up and are ready for a real alternative.
2 Replies to “We need an eBay competitor”
There are many good venues standing in the wings….waiting patiently. iOffer, onlineauctions, epier, ebid, etsy, wigix, blujay, ecrater, overstock just to name a few. They are accumulating plenty of sellers – the one ingredient needed is BUYERS. Until sellers actively solicite their current ebay buyers and ask them to come to this or that venue then Ebay will continue to rule the roost. I always tell sellers to find other venues BUT don’t forget to tell your BUYERS where they can find you! Sooner or later it will happen. Buyers are already beginning to complain that they can’t find their favorite sellers anymore. These are the very people who are that necessary missing ingredient. So, sellers…don’t just leave…contact ALL your buyers, let them know where they can find you – give them an incentive (perhaps offer them a percentage reduction in price or free shipping). Rome wasn’t built in a day and it wasn’t free…..get with it and start moving your buyers off that awful site!!!
Ebay is raking up fees to try to make a profit and not caring or realizing that in doing so they are losing money by flooding out the sellers. It has bene bad for a while and it has gotten worse. Now if you want to sell a $20 heavy item to a european or something and shipping naturally is much higher they take shipping $ into the equation (so 8-12%!!! + paypals crazy fees!) of $50 and your only seeing the $20 profit. Thats 15 ish for your item + paypals (50) take and then your time and packaging costs.
And if your a good little citizen and pay your taxes can you scream rape rape rape rape?
Its down right crazy and a damn shame ebay is a huge contributor to googles revenue because it will take a giant like google to end this madness.
The moment another alpha lion comes into this terrain the pack will tear out ebays throat and gratefully accept new rulership. FACT.
As for the buyers – they will go where the sellers and deals go. Right now ebay only has sellers because there has been no real consenus as to where to go (which is how you wind up with your hundreds of unheard of sites who despite fair policies have an epic fail)
If your a stock investor I certainly wouldn’t have a buy and hold strategy with ebay because they are a temporary fixture in our world. Like blockbuster,movie gallery, and the good old vhs player.