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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 304 - February 05, 2012 - ISSN 1528-6703     15 of 18

Sellers Choice 2012 Marketplace Ratings: Half.com

By Ina & David Steiner

February 05, 2012

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In January 2012, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 7,200 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 16 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Customer Service:


Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Year Established: 1999
Description: Fixed Price; Books, Textbooks, DVDs, CDs
More Info

This is the first year Half.com made it onto the final Sellers Choice Awards list. It came in thirteenth place with an overall rating of 5.5, earning its highest marks in ease of use (6.7) and its lowest marks in profitability (5.1).

Half.com is a fixed-price marketplace for media items that eBay acquired in 2000. Sellers report it's easy to list items, but only those that are already included in its database/catalog, and there are many reports of low sales on the site. It appears to be a place where sellers put their book, CD and DVD listings on cruise control with no ongoing maintenance required.

As with other media marketplaces, some sellers complain about shipping reimbursements, stating they are not enough to cover shipping costs. Sellers also complain that it takes a long time to receive payment for sales.

Wrote one seller, "Excellent, except they don't have a very good catalogue for template automatic listing, and they do not monitor who is listing - vendors are price-gouging and out of control."

Reader Comments - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly:
Very easy to use. NO listing fees. Can leave items listed for years until it sells! Just a nice site to use.
Have sold over a hundred books on half.com, and easily as many CD's, and a few DVD's as well; very, very simple process, no listing fee, no time limits to have to worry about it - your item sits there until someone buys it, and the only charge is the very reasonable percentage they charge at the time of sale. Have recommended Half.com to several friends and would do so again.
It is extremely easy to list on half.com. I can be done with some items in as little as a minute. They provide you with stats about pricing which is invaluable, but the site has gotten over shadowed in recent years. I used to make more money/sells a few years back than I do now. I preferred this site over ebay back then.
Have sold more books and DVD's here than anywhere. Great place to do this.
Nice interface and easy to sell items, considering the seller only has to enter bar codes for the items to sell. Hard to believe this is an ebay company.
This site is great for selling used college textbooks. It is easy to list and I got some items sold quickly. The problem is there is a lot of competition, so if that was the case, I would list it on eBay and offer priority mail shipping and it would sell right away. The way they do shipping with giving you a fee, but not paying for the actual shipping seems a little confusing. Hard to tell what profit you will make. Also sending the payment directly to my bank a couple times a month is kind of frustrating. But no Pay Pal fees! Yes!
This is part of eBay and I have found it to be very helpful in the selling of books, movies, games. Easy to sell and buy and you don't have to figure out the shipping as it has already been programmed in with your items. If you have an eBay account and have bought/sold, then your feedback and sellers ID is shown for others to see that you're a seller on eBay, too!
Used this site some to sell books and worked pretty well. Unlike Amazon that keeps your funds for 30 days, payment is quick and easy as it uses the eBay software.
Half.com has been a good location for me to sell thus far. Fees are upfront and fair. Shipping reimbursement is sometimes a little on the low side and leaves the seller with more shipping cost than is charged to the buyer.
Easy to use. Fees are ok. Again this is owned by ebay, so it's all about the fees. They really need to re-evaluate the shipping fee structure. It is not enough for some items!!! Good deal if you own a store and your items are on both half.com & ebay!
If you have books - sure - they sit around now in the recession and the final fees are high. But if you only have books - it is cheaper than Amazon.com
Even though the site is owned by Big Bad Ebay, they still provide a fair selling floor for the small vendor. Much better for selling media than Amazon.com.
Great site if you have books that can sit and wait to be sold. I like that they are pulled into Ebay search to gain exposure.
Probably best for reselling old textbooks and some out of print books. Very difficult to understand the postage refund policy. Easy to list with bar code. Competition is so huge that it's nearly impossible to sell ordinary books.
It's an ebay company. UGH But - no fees unless you sell. Good for SKU sellers without insertion fees. I'm not sure lately how well other sellers are doing on half.com? I find sales random and a bit unpredictable. I'm interested in what other sellers think about half.com.
They will delist my items and don't give a reason that I understand anyway? As easy to use as Amazon, just don't sell as much there. I will say they now have one of the best shipping interfaces out there!
I have had good luck with books and CDs on Half.com but the user interface is clumsy and it is difficult to list items. Still, what I have listed has sold if the price is right.
Don't like that they tell me how much it is to ship an item. Sometimes it doesn't cover the true costs.
Half.com is great but (competition from) Amazon killed it. Nobody shops there anymore. I have many listings and haven't sold anything in a very long time through half.com. But listing by isbn or upc is very easy and convenient and my favorite way to sell things! Not too much effort involved. But no one buys from half.com anymore.
Very little protection is offered for sellers. Items may sell quickly, but profit is low. Common items have no profit at all, and shipping allowances were too small. They did not communicate that no protection is given without delivery confirmation, and dc is not included in the shipping allowance.
Hasn't been improved ever. Not given enough for shipping. Not able to change that if a book is large and heavy. Big sellers low ball prices, manipulate price then buy small sellers books. I had it happen to me. I have to manually watch the prices constantly to keep this from happening.
Very low profitability on half.com. I only list books here that are not acceptable on other sites.
Well, the fees are 15% and the allowed S&H many times is not sufficient - books do not sell well except text book and classic lit - probably a place where students and antiquarians shop.
I actually use Half.com as the place I put stuff to be sold that I am in no rush to sell. I kind of lost interest in it as my main selling place once Ebay bought it. NO particular reason why.
Half.Com takes something like a fourth of your profit, the only good thing about it is you can list your books and forget about it. The worse thing about it is, I once sold a book and didn't know that Half.com didn't email you when you have a sale. I had to return the money since I was very late in sending the book.
The flat rate shipping & handling charged many times cuts into the profits made by sellers. Half.com prevents the Seller from charging actual shipping charges that are higher. Unlike the parent site, eBay, the site is not easily found unless you know of its existence which is one of the reasons I would hesitate to highly recommend it.
Takes forever to get your money when you make sales through them. Have to cover the postage and then wait 2-4 weeks for the money to show up.
No listing fees are the only reason I sell there. Their catalog has lots of errors and they accuse the seller as listing wrong when it is actually their catalog that is wrong. Sends warnings and deletes listings when it is their fault. Never a response if you reply to their warnings or item deletion e-mails.
Like Amazon, half.com only lets you sell items in their database. This is a problem for me since many of the items I sell are not typical "retail" items sold in most stores. For this reason, I have far fewer listings on half than I do on other sites. Even considering the smaller number of listings, I have VERY few sales on half. It's nice that they don't charge listing fees (if they did, I would be gone!), but their fees are high, considering the rate of buyers that I see. Also, I do not like the fact that my money is not immediately available to me (often for as long as a month after I am required to ship the item).
Like ebay, Half.com offers a large audience of potential customers, but it also places considerably more power in the hands of buyers than in the hands of sellers, especially in regards to feedback. Also, the delay in receiving payment - including shipping fees - for items sold on the site can cause out-of-pocket expenses to rack up quickly when multiple items are sold.
eBay needs to advertise and promote this more. I sell on it and perhaps have, in more than a year, sold 2 books. Trying to find half.com, one has to go through their alphabet search...if a buyer doesn't know about it, then they will never know about it unless they stumble onto it.

Sellers Choice Awards
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the EcommerceBytes Blog.

About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of EcommerceBytes.com and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.

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