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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3153 - September 16, 2013 - ISSN 1539-5065    2 of 3

Despite Its Dominance, Some Sellers Seek eBay Alternatives

By David A. Utter
EcommerceBytes.com
September 16, 2013




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From its first now-Internet-legend sale of a broken laser pointer, through its modern day economic strength, eBay proved itself the dominant online marketplace for sellers. Company CEO John Donahoe spoke glowingly of its Q2 2013 results, where it saw $51 billion in commerce volume, a 14 percent rise in revenue, and a 12 percent GAAP earnings per share increase.

The outside opinion seems equally favorable. SunTrust analyst Robert Peck said of eBay: "As we noted in our initiation piece in July, we were optimistic on the opportunity in front of eBay and think management has done a phenomenal job on execution over the last 3 years, turning around eBay's core. We remain optimistic on eBay's goal to become the omni channel partner of choice, but feel the next leg of growth could be more challenging than the previous one."

Part of that challenge noted by Peck could come from among eBay's user base, the sellers who populate eBay's listings with a myriad selection of products. eBay at times will tweak and adjust policies. But a company with as many customers as eBay will always find someone dissenting with those changes.

At Fred Miranda, a site with a focus on photographers, one forum poster wants to move on from eBay despite having been a member since 1997. But a request for alternatives brings only suggestions for sites like Craigslist and Kijiji, both of which are more of a classified ads-type business.

Another issue raised by the anyone-but-eBay voices concern's eBay's payment processor, PayPal. Finding an alternative site to eBay that also offers a different option for paying for items proved a challenge in a discussion on Pink Fish Media. One poster suggested Discogs; another pointed out the buyer "won't get far there without PayPal."

Plenty of companies would like to be an alternative to eBay. Etsy comes to mind, but it serves a niche of vintage and handmade goods sellers. Bonanza touts its service as an additional choice for bringing in listings from eBay (and Etsy).

It may be that the next big idea on the internet will be the next generation of an online marketplace, likely one with multiple payment options, fully usable on smartphones and tablets as well as desktop PCs, sufficient buyer and seller protections, and the ability to offer or accommodate seller tools. Until then, eBay looks like it will always merit consideration for sellers.

About the author:

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to media@davidautter.com and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.

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