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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Feb 9 2014 21:48:09

Exclusive: Alibaba Subsidiary to Launch eBay Rival in U.S.

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
eBay's rival in China is backing a new marketplace set to launch soon in the U.S. Alibaba's new subsidiary 11Main.com has been onboarding third-party sellers since the fall with the help of Auctiva and Vendio, two eBay listing tools acquired by Alibaba almost 4 years ago. Through those acquisitions, Alibaba gained 250,000 eBay sellers that accounted for an estimated 5 - 10 percent of eBay listings.

Alibaba and 11 Main declined to comment for the story in tomorrow's Newsflash newsletter, but EcommerceBytes has spoken to some sellers who are participating in the pre-launch. One such seller said he was excited about the new marketplace because it could be a viable competitor to eBay, "When I hear that the biggest internet presence in China is behind this, that's an attention getter. That makes it real and different from all the other competitors. They have the money and time to make it work."



Alibaba benefits when sellers use its product sourcing marketplace to sell on eBay.com. The fact that its subsidiary has chosen this time to launch a marketplace in the U.S. may say something about how those sellers are faring on eBay, which has chosen to focus on large brands and retailers.

Smaller sellers have found it increasingly frustrating to sell on eBay as management shifts its strategy to focus on the sale of new goods by retail giants. While many eBay sellers sell on multiple channels, eBay could take it as an affront to learn that one of its largest partners, Auctiva, is helping power a rival marketplace.

The biggest challenge new marketplaces face is gaining access to shoppers. 11 Main and its merchants have an edge over most startups since they can promote the site to their existing customers.

You can read the full story in Newsflash, along with a pre-launch screenshot of the homepage. Let us know what you think of the 11 Main marketplace, which is set to launch soon in a special invitation-only preview before its official launch. Would its lower fees (3.5% including shipping & handling) entice you to try it?



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Perminate Link for Exclusive: Alibaba Subsidiary to Launch eBay Rival in U.S.   Exclusive: Alibaba Subsidiary to Launch eBay Rival in U.S.
This user has validated their user name. by: Puck
       
Sun Feb 9 22:37:31 2014
Huzzah!
Perminate Link for Exclusive: Alibaba Subsidiary to Launch eBay Rival in U.S.   Exclusive: Alibaba Subsidiary to Launch eBay Rival in U.S.
by: Small Guy This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 10 00:06:14 2014
There is a huge customer base waiting to be served.  11Main will have to make good strategic moves to re-capture those who left Ebay.

I hope Auction Bytes will keep us informed and quietly and ethically help 11Main in an way they can.

We live in interesting times.
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by: pfft!! This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 10 00:38:37 2014
I hope you'll keep us updated Ina.  And I ALSO hope at some point they open up invites to others of us (like ME) who'd LOVE to open up shop there.
But will they be open to collectibles and antiques?
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This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
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Mon Feb 10 01:21:02 2014
While I'd love to see a thriving alternative to eBay auctions, I feel that Alibaba is one of the main movers behind all the Chinese sweatshop junk being sold on eBay and now Etsy.  Sorry, giving it an American sounding name won't change the fact that boat loads of goods will be flooding it from China and all profits will be going to China.
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by: Carol This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 10 02:00:38 2014
It will be very interesting to see the details of this new site (fees, who qualifies, etc.).  

Lots of ebay sellers are waiting for a VIABLE alternative to ebay.  With the information available at this point, it's certainly not possible to tell whether this is that site.
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This user has validated their user name. by: Jessy
       
Mon Feb 10 03:05:18 2014
Over the years stricter policies and higher fees have left many sellers asking the question, “Where else can I sell my items besides Ebay? Our wish finally came true, thank you.
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by: NullApps This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Feb 10 03:10:23 2014
If Vendio and Auctiva represent around 10% of eBay sellers how come nothing ever came out of Auctiva's own marketplace they created years ago?  I remember when it launched, I remember hearing something about it a year later, and then I haven't heard anything since.  And doesn't Alibaba have Taobao?  Why not just bring that to the US?
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by: FurryFriend702 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 10 03:25:27 2014
If there's no charge to list movies, books and CDs, 11 Main seems more of a challenge to Amazon than Ebay.

Alibaba is a huge publicly traded company and has the resources to take on Ebay and Amazon.
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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 10 03:25:28 2014
Satirically speaking, I would say   this is just what all us small individual sellers need, another huge Chinese market place opening up in the U.S.  
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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit
       
Mon Feb 10 03:33:32 2014
I would like to be optimistic about this but feel my inner cynic thinking the US marketplace will be completely flooded with chinese cheap carp. However, as long as my items are visible and sell, I would be satisfied. I am sure ebay sellers are chomping on the bit to get away from ebay.
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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset
       
Mon Feb 10 06:55:03 2014
Same thoughts & reservations others here have mentioned - have to wait & see.  
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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Mon Feb 10 07:54:24 2014
Are you listening eBay?  You might want to reconsider how you have been treating your small "mom and pop" sellers since you know who became CEO.

These same sellers have been looking for options.  Stop biting the hand that feeds you.
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by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 10 08:41:28 2014
Forget about Ebay, this announcement spells out doom for Etsy.  Chad & Co. took a big gamble last October when they opened the doors to the vast hordes of Chinese and Asian resellers and those merchants have pretty much taken over Etsy.  If you are looking for genuine handmade or vintage goods, you have to work your way through page after page of mislabeled, sometimes counterfeit new merchandise that somehow is allowed to be sold as either handmade or vintage.  What many sellers have predicted is coming to pass:  no way can Etsy compete with the Big Boys any more than the little mom and pop stores could compete with the malls back in the day.  There's still a way out for Etsy and that is to come clean and get back to its roots as the premier site for handmade, vintage and supplies.  Otherwise, it's going to get lost with Ebay, Amazon, Ali Baba and Ali Baba Lite.
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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset
       
Mon Feb 10 08:45:55 2014
In the full story (follow Ina's link in the post) the quote “11 Main is also actively encouraging sellers to consider lowering their prices since its selling fees are lower than eBay's.” jumped out at me. It is found in the context of 11 Main’s lower fees.

My brain immediately flashed “WALMART” in large font all caps  when I read that quote.

Will there be similarities in how 11 Main treats Mom & Pops and how Walmart treated them?

Deliberation has only just begun, verdict is still out, waaay out.

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by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 10 08:46:20 2014
Does it really matter that this is a China based company when ebay sold it's sellers out to china long ago and so has every other large retailer.

I do think it is a great thing in that it will take away a LOT of sellers from ebay as long as they do not do the same things ebay is doing to their sellers such as high fees, ZERO seller protection and flooding it's buyer base with scammers.

A company that is going to actually compete with ebay MUST be BETTER than ebay, although does not take much anymore because ebay is such a HORRIBLE place to sell these days.

However, I do suspect Chinese sellers will always get the search advantage over US sellers, which will hurt the business platform over all.

People are not going to go from one nightmare market place (ebay) to another.
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by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 10 09:24:29 2014
I am not going to welcome this because I believe it will flood the US market even further with Chinese junk. Us workers have been hurt by this even more
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This user has validated their user name. by: Al G
       
Mon Feb 10 09:25:03 2014
My first thought is from the buyer's perspective. After all they do pay the bills.

And that question is - is there anything for me here? Now I have to go to another shopping site to find my "cargo".

The buyer knows where they can find what they want right now. What is the incentive for the buyer to take more time on an unfamiliar platform when they know what they got now. Price? That's about the only thing going. How much of a price difference will make the shopper a convert?

Now from the seller's side.
As Vinnie down the street once said "fuh-get-a-bow-tit" - now I have to take the time to interact with another selling platform of unknow qualities.
How  many of us have tried the 'alternate' sites with even a modicum of success. Yes, I realise that given a large enough seller base, someone will be quite successful and word will get out of that fact. But for the most part, I would be suprised if any new platform would provide more than 5% in sales off of the main platform (whether it is on eBay, Amazon, or your own web site).

Now to state the obvious:
The reason eBay works for most sellers is that when it was created it filled a need. Ebay beat out Yahoo Auctions for various reasons & became the dominant factor. Working from strength, it opened the field to fixed price sales. At that point, you had market dominance.

Other sites scrambled to get a piece of the action and were successful after a fashion - they specialised in niche markets. It works for collectibles, vintage and uniques. It does not work for mass-consumables. Witness Wal*Mart's dominance over other retail B&M stores. Sure you have others (Target, K-Mart/Sears ,etc), but they are pale in comparison. Nordstrom & Nieman Marcus does NOT compete however - they have their niche and the buyers know that. Still using the Wal*Mart analogy, please note that the place now is responsible for about 25% of all supermarket goods sold in the US (scary), and eBay is trying to use that leverage to nose into other horizontal markets.

So where does that leave Alibaba? You need to get your nose inside the tent somehow. They apparently are offering price points for the seller as well as taking advantage of eBay's somewhat dismal reputation (among sellers).
Will the "sheeple" follow? My answer is yes-but only if they perceive an advantage. Look, for me when I go shopping online, I'll head to Amazon if it's widely available, to a manufacturer's site if not, to specialised selling platforms for similar goods (electronics comes to mind) and eBay if I want collectibles (sorry Etsy fans, I have enough tchatchkes).

So where does that leave me as a seller of collectibles? Unfortunately sitting on the fence. Do I have the time to invest in a new platform? Maybe. Will my buyers go there? Who knows. I know where my repeat buyers look - right where they bought the last doo-dad from me.

And, as my radical '60s upbringing "spidey sense" is tingling, THEY are not in it for my benefit. If they were, those guys are long gone and replaced by the oligarchs coming out of (give them the) business school.

Hell, you can't even find a good commune anymore!

Peace, love & Cherry Garcia.
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by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 10 09:30:40 2014
Honestly I think enough people are so tired of ebay and their antics, many sellers will try to list on this new venue no matter what, if they are accepted.

HOWEVER---

Don't hail it as the "answer" yet.

I remember back in 2007 when we ALL said "Oh if only they could get rid of Meg" everything will be better.

Oh REALLY??

NOT
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by: HarmonyGroveAntiques This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Feb 10 10:06:46 2014
We were invited by 11 Main to sell on their site and we only sell antique and mid-century furniture.

We too see this as more of a threat to Etsy. Our Etsy sales have gone into the crapper whereas Ebay sales have been doing quite well.

We are always welcome to listing our things elsewhere as long as it is easy. It should be extremely easy given their Auctiva parentage. Sign us up!
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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Feb 10 10:09:41 2014
In the good ol USA, Spanish has become the second language. I have been saying for years now, forget Spanish - make Chinese the second language. As China will soon own a big chunk of this country.  
Most massed produced items are made in China or an Asian country. Doesn't matter what store sells it. How much of the American car is made overseas???
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