AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Tue Feb 19 2008 11:34:42

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

I've been hearing some sellers say that while they support the idea of boycotting eBay to protest some or all of the changes it's been making to the site, they simply can't afford to stop selling for a week. But they have decided to support it in a slightly different way: to explore other sites.

eBay's top sellers have already gone multi-channel, booksellers have always been multi-channel sellers, and it looks like more and more of eBay's smaller sellers are feeling motivated to do so as well.

There is no eBay "clone," but there are plenty of other sites to explore in various niches. Feel free to share your experiences on other venues, tips on keeping organized are welcome too.




Comments (95) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Tim

Tue Feb 19 11:38:00 2008

ioffer.com

ebid.net

wagglepop.com

onlineauction.com

These are all growing sites.  In fact ioffer.com lets you transfer your auctions and feedback over with ease.

eBay is sliding downhill.  Time to find alternatives while you can.

I have already listed on ebid.net and have bids!!!

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: UnleashedSeller

Tue Feb 19 11:58:31 2008

I created an account at ioffer.com and bidville.com last night. iOffers servers were extremely lagged and I could even navigate their site. It was frustrating to say the least. Hope they can fix it. I liked bidvilles phone verification security check. I was very well thought out and it worked great.

I will try again with ioffer today to use Mrgrabber a program that grabs your feedback rating and listings from ebay.

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: happyhourcollectables

Tue Feb 19 12:45:29 2008

Review of ioffer.com

I have been selling on ebay for almost eight years. I’m a Powerseller with over 11,000 feedback. (user name happyhourcollectables). I specialize in Comic books and related toys but sell in a wide range of categories and get most of my inventory from garage sales and thrift stores in the Seattle area.

There has been several times in eBay’s past that sellers have called for a boycott. I haven’t felt like going along for many reasons but mostly I did not think the changes were all that bad and wanted to give it some time to see how it went. I think most sellers felt the same way and the boycotts never took off or were small enough to go unnoticed.

This round of changes had made me feel a little different. At first I had the same attitude but the more I researched the changes and really got into the magnitude of them I started to feel different. I have probably spent 20 hours reading other peoples opinions from prominent sellers and experts to bloggers with a full range of experience and hundreds of comments by fairly anonymous ebayers.

In order for a boycott to really work enough people have to participate and the message for demands needs to be clear. I agree some of the changes are good while others are not so good and a few I would like a little more time to see how things go. The other problem I have with a boycott is that I make my full time living selling online and simple cannot afford to take a full week off especially after a pretty disappointing Christmas season and a slow January with sales just starting to pick up halfway through February. I concluded that even if I don’t want to leave eBay another profitable sales channel would be good for my business, and this week during the eBay boycott would be the time to do it. I decided to keep the items already in my store available for purchase but to spend the week researching alternatives and put up listings on at least two different sites.

I already sell on Amazon but because of the requirements to list on the site only about 10 percent of my inventory qualify to be listed. There is an everything else category where I could add more of my inventory but I have looked at it and it seems like a complete disaster. From the list I have put together the last couple of days I decided to open an account on www.ifffer.com.



The site boasts 16+ million items from 165 different countries and tells me there are 8650 sellers currently logged in. The ioffer format is a little different from eBay. Sellers list their items and buyers are encouraged to make offers, which you negotiate back and forth until you make a deal. A starting price is not required but encouraged. There is even an option to swap where a user expresses an interest in an item you have listed then you can look at their listings and if you find something you like you can arrange a trade with no cash involved.

The first thing that really jumped out at me when I started browsing the site were the number of obviously counterfeit items listed on the site. Features on the homepage are Louis Vuitton bags for $60.00 http://www.ioffer.com/i/LOUIS-VUITTON-DAMIER-CANVAS-SPEEDY-30-N41533-L
V-AAAAA--34411411
 , Photoshop CS3 for $170.00 (retails for 650.00) http://www.ioffer.com/i/ADOBE-PHOTOSHOP-CS3-FULL-RETAIL-US-VERSION-WIN
DOWS-PC-37844586
,  A DVD set that in the description states “ This is not commercially released on DVD in the U.S. and is recorded on a DVD-R (Recordable DVD).” http://www.ioffer.com/i/Barney-Miller-dvd-170-episodes-seasons-1-8-In-
order--35869536
. From my first hour of browsing I found about 75 percent of the items listed on the site were obvious fakes. I have had my share of problems with eBay’s VERO program http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y07/m09/i19/s01 but the result is there is a much high level of trust in the system. The problem with allowing this huge amount of fakes on their site is that buyer trust will never be there. Legitimate sellers will never be able to compete with the counterfeiters. Selling counterfeit items is illegal and can end you up in jail. It will have to be dealt with if ioffer ever hopes to become truly successful.

I also noticed a heavy Social Networking vibe on the site with options to add friends, personal photos, blogs, clubs and even your calendar. It seems like most of the serious users on site make use of these options to personalize their profile, which does go a long way to inspire trust and if someone looks at your profile they may even decide they like you and will purchase something from you before one of your competitors.  

ioffer does not charge a listing fee. They also do not charge a monthly subscription fee for having a store. Since there are no auctions, listing do not expire and stay on the site until you reach a deal with someone or you remove it. If an item sells the final value fee ranges from fifty cents for and item that sells under five dollars and goes up in stages. http://www.ioffer.com/info/fees_and_credit_policy?window=new Looking at the range of items I sell that have an average value of $17.00 the fees are slightly less. Lower price items may have slightly higher fees. If I sell a comic book for $2.00 the fifty-cent fee is 25% of my final value where it would be only 12 percent on eBay.

ioffer also has a feature called Mr. Grabber that will take your eBay listings and feedback and import them to the ioffer site. I used Mr. Grabber to import my feedback and it worked fine. This will allow me to get a good start without having to start all over from scratch. ioffer does not allow you to put any direct contact info into your listings. Since my eBay listings have my email address as well as links to my about me page and my store home page I was not able to use Mr. Grabber to import my listings from eBay without violating ioffer’s policies. If your listings do not have contact info in your description you may be able to import all of your listings and be up and running right away. I may redo my eBay template for future listings to make it compatible with ioffer’s site. The theory is that since you have the option of accepting an offer, if an item is listed in both places and sells on eBay and then an offer comes in on ioffer you can decline the offer and then delete it from the site avoiding double selling the item. Of course if your prices on eBay are already the lowest you would accept you might need to edit your listings on the ioffer site raising your prices so you have some room to negotiate.

Setting up my account was easy and only took a minute. To become a seller you either need to register a credit card or send them $20.00 through Paypal to cover any selling fees you may incur. This system seems easy enough but also it may make it easier for fraudsters to set up accounts as well. A criticism of eBay is that it is too easy for fraudulent and banned sellers to set up new accounts. It doesn’t seem like ioffer has looked at the problem either.

The listing process is much easier than eBay’s. It’s just a very short one-page form, which allows you to select a category and put up one free picture along with your description. Remember you don’t even need to set a starting price, you can keep it open and wait for offers. In your seller profile you can set your payment preferences, which includes Google Checkout, which I don’t have yet but will look into setting up soon, as well as Paypal, checks, Credit Cards (through your own processor) and Western Union money transfers (which is banned on eBay). In seller preferences you can also select to sell only in the US, US and Canada or Worldwide and there is a Block Countries list with a few problem countries as a default. The Block certain countries feature has been on most eBay seller’s wish list for years.

We all have been critical of the buggy eBay site but compared to ioffer’s, eBay runs like a top. In one day I noticed quite a few pages not loading and page loading can be slower than you are use to. When I signed up, my conformation email that was supposed to come in a few minutes took about an hour to arrive. The send again button did work to get the email right away so I did not have to wait. Also with it being the first day of the eBay boycott I‘m sure the site is getting much more traffic than a typical day so I would advise you to be a little patient.

I have not sold anything yet and with only a few items listed it is hard to rate the site overall. Looking at other sellers feedback I do see that quite a few items have sold on the site (even if you import feedback from eBay it is easy to see what’s been imported and what was earned on the site.)  I don’t think I will be able to replace my eBay income completely but I may be able to add to it and if it does get worse on the eBay site as the gloom and doomer’s are predicting, it will make my exit that much easier. Hopefully this will inspire you to look at some other options and at least give one of them a shot.

Timothy Vernor


eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Bill Schaub

Tue Feb 19 13:16:56 2008

Timothy (happyhourcollectables),

I'm in the same boat as you (though I am able to skip listing on eBay this week). I appreciate your taking the time to give your initial impressions of ioffer, one of the ebay alternatives that I am exploring.

Bill

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Roy

Tue Feb 19 13:31:00 2008

I guess I am in the same boat that I cannot completely stop all my eBay listings but I will try other venues. I have started to list on ecrater and am exploring setting up on abe.com as more and more I am selling books and reprints. abe.com isn't free or cheap but they are large and well established. I would just rather give them my money than eBay

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Steve(AKA:theweaverboy)

Tue Feb 19 13:55:00 2008

We need a site to take on eBay. They have a monopoly and they are trying to bend everyone to will because of it. I heard it on YouTube that Google could take them on. After the black eye eBay gave Google over advertising June 17, 2007 what are they waiting for? Google needs to strike back! And making their own online auction site will bring ebay to there knees in a matter of months, if not sooner!

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: ilovecats

Tue Feb 19 13:55:42 2008

We are looking to start a new AUCTION site and plan for it to be successful HOWEVER we need everybody's input for that to happen.
Come and give your thoughts and opinions.

http://www.squidoo.com/NOTEBAY

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Paula

Tue Feb 19 14:13:57 2008

I'm striking this week and also selling elsewhere. I don't think I will ever put all my eggs in one basket again!!

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Andrew P.

Tue Feb 19 14:25:36 2008

Don't forget one of the early competitors to eBay, www.ubid.com.

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: hillsbestbargains

Tue Feb 19 14:49:32 2008

I haven't cared for eBay for a long time.  I gather from my experiences that they don't care about sellers, despite their claims.  They are unresponvive to any suggestions made, although they do send you a ''feel-good'' e-mail that basically says nothing.  So why do I sell on eBay?  They serve a purpose.  Better a crummy auction website than none, right?  I keep pondering creating my own website and dumping eBay.  What concerns me is that eBay does provide traffic, after all.  But then again, a buyer has to do a search on eBay for whatever they are looking for, just like they would do in a Google or Yahoo, etc., search.  Any observations or comments on this issue would be welcomed and appreciated!  

Another issue I haven't seen comments about is eBay's latest bizarre trick.  For the last couple weeks or so eBay is running pay-per-click ads from various websites, apparently through Yahoo.  eBay rants and raves about not selling off of eBay, and has tons of rules about this.  However, if a buyer clicks on one of them they will be sent to a place that is obviously off eBay.  Worse yet, eBay is cheating its own sellers by doing this by driving traffic away!  Since one has to scroll through these ads before being able to change pages, we are a captive audience as far as looking through those ads!  Can anybody see any logic or fairness to sellers in this?

As for other auction sites, I am going to try Overstock. com since they appear to be one the best=known ''other'' auction sites.  I may even try other auction sites (within reason).  Only an actual trial run or 2 would really give the answers!  I welcome your comments and observations!!

Thanks for listening to my fussing!

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: David Cantu

Tue Feb 19 15:14:38 2008

Try using CozyBug.com it gives you the ability to build and have storefronts and sell locally and nationally. It is free to post and store fronts have a flate rate of 5.00 a month to own a store front and thats it no charges for selling products, no percentages just pay for having a store front. Love the Bug

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Just a Seller

Tue Feb 19 15:18:47 2008

I am a stamp dealer and stamps accessories dealer.
I use www.delcampe.net and the much smaller (but extremely friendly) www.stampoffers.com.
After 3 years now on both sites I found stampoffers to be more active and at the moment 5% of my yearly income comes from it, although I list there only about 15% of my inventory (compared to ebay.

When moving to smaller sites one must remember the traffic is much slower but all in all the smaller sites are more community oriented and costumers are extremely loyal.
Needless to say fees are a fraction compared with ebay (stampoffers is all round free site). Also - the "freedom of speach" is not limited and it is allowed to communicate freely with clients and to sell them directly.

I only hope these sites will grow and grow and reduce in time my dependency on ebay which I grew to dislike.

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Elizabeth

Tue Feb 19 15:43:45 2008

Many of the alternative sites are rewarding the early adopters.  Here are a couple.

At http://www.onlineauction.com you can pay a flat fee to become a founding Member - You get free unlimited listing, no FVFs, and a free store for a year. - it's $196 for the first year and thereafter it's $96 per year - guaranteed.  They include other benefits as well.  I'm bottom tier PowerSeller and paid $400 in fees to eBay in January, so this is a HUGE money saver - Thousands of $ a year!.

eBid http://us.ebid.net/ was is also running a promotion: Seller+ Lifetime 50% off. $99.99 down to $49.99. No More Auction Fees for Life.  If you signed up before you can upgrade and still get the deal.  I signed up last week and got this, they are extending the time limit (it was originally for 48 hours), but I don't know for how much longer.

eCrater is a build your own store site -- is not running any specials, but they have a really nice setup, and very friendly and helpful forums.  It's fixed price, and you have to do some marketing yourself, but everything listed is submitted to the Google shop search engine, so that's a huge bonus :-)

There are many other sites out there, and depending on what you sell you may prefer different ones.  These 3 sites have been up and running for some time and are quite robust, with a fair number of listings.  

There are very good discussions of various sites at http://www.powersellersunite.com/

If you need a way to organize your records I recommend Lynn Dralle's "I Sell" system.  It was developed back in the ol' days when many of us sold on different sites, before eBay became the only viable game in town so it is flexible - it's not just for selling on eBay.  You can check it out here:  http://www.thequeenofauctions.com/

It is going to take some time for these sites to get widespread name recognition, but as they say, you build it and they will come.  It's up to each of us to make a move that suits our particular business and bring some customers with us.  After you have set up on a new site, take the time to email your old customers and let them know where you are now.  If we all do our part and spread the word the new sites will grow and thrive to the benefit of all.  

It is a mistake to think that sales will immediately be at eBay levels when you move to a new site, but many of us are facing lower sales at eBay once the new search mode kicks in anyway.  The lower your DSRs, the further back in the search results you go.  As someone who sells china, pottery and glass and also sells internationally, my shipping costs are high so my shipping DSR is lower than I would like.  Since just one DSR below 4.5 negates 100% feedback and 4.9 in the other DSRs, I fear many of us will feel this latest change in lower sales since we will fall to the back pages in searches.

Think it through, check what sites will suit your products, make the leap, contact past customers and have some patience.  We can all make this work.  We are the ones that built eBay.  We can build other sites too.  eBay was not built in a day.  It took years before it was a household name.  Now that the trail has been blazed, it will be easy for buyers to migrate to other sites, and shop different sites before they make a purchase.

The eBay monopoly is over.  They are the top of the heap, but there are many other sites that are nibbling at their market share.  Early adopters can take advantage of the special offers available and find sites that are friendly and responsive to the occasional seller as well as the PowerSellers who want to have more control of their business.

Good luck at the new sites everyone

ANightOwl

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Frustraited

Tue Feb 19 16:21:27 2008

You know, what you larger sellers seem to forget is that these other sites are WORTHLESS to the small seller of ''as found/where found'' items, such as estate and garage sale finds. These are the items I've been selling for the past 11 years. I was a Powerseller for 5 of those years, and have 3000+ feedback, 100% positive with a 4.9 combined DSR score. Those other sites offer NOTHING, there would be ZERO sales on them. There is no place for a good seller like me to go. Sorry, but that's the truth. I'm sick and tired of hearing the comments to move and go elsewhere. It's a waste of my time. My only option is to bend over and use some Vasoline. Sorry, but that's the truth. I'm in the boycott, but let's be serious, eBay is going to really miss my 5 items this week? They are just going up next week, so what's been accomplished? Nothing as far as I'm concerned. I'm sick to my stomach over this whole mess. I feel like I've been kicked in the teeth.

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Just a seller

Tue Feb 19 16:38:18 2008

In that case ebay is still the place for you. The atmosphere here leeds to believe ebay is totally "out" but it's obviously not.
I am sorry there are no other options for you and I believe in many cases (=items) that is exactly the case.

Just keep your head up high and keep looking for alternatives. Maybe in few months time you will find sites which look un atractive now to be more relevant.

Good Luck

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Frustraited

Tue Feb 19 16:47:50 2008

"Just a seller", thank you for the kind words.

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Elizabeth

Tue Feb 19 16:54:32 2008

We have all grown used to the instant gratification of sales on eBay.

Listing on these other sites is FREE.  List, park it there, and the sales will come.  It's not like eBay where you have to pay another fee next week, and the week after...until it sells. If you only sell a few items a week in a way it's easier for you.  Powersellers, who have been used to $1000+ in sales per month are the ones who are really putting themselves and their income on the line.

I'm a PowerSeller, but not the kind that everyone seems to enjoy slamming.  I'm a stay at home mom. I have been on eBay for 8 years.  I buy stuff at Garage sales/Estate Sales and I list a lot every week.  I spend a many of hours a week on it.  I work hard for my money, and am tired of seeing 20% go to eBay/Paypal each month.  I am willing to take a temporary cut in income to do my part to build our new reality.

The only way we will succeed is to take Positive Action.  It WILL work.  We did it once, we can do it again.  The only ones who will truly lose in the long run are those who quit altogether.

ANightOwl

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: auction-guru

Tue Feb 19 17:00:27 2008

I AGREE w/ "Frustraited"
I have been a full time seller for 7 yrs w/ over 5k f/b at 99.7% +.
I have also had a prostores webstore for many months out side of eBay & the traffic there can not even compare to eBay. The only reason i'm able to afford to stick around is because my products I sell, I get so cheap that my profit margin is out the roof...
also, I have sold on ioffer.com for 3 yrs & guess what I make there a month? if i'm lucky, around 10.00....vs my silver powerseller status on eBay. so, for those who go else where, good luck & wish you the best, but I have to much time invested in my eBay store. I have already started a new & better customer service flyer that i've been including w/ all of my orders...i've done this for the past 5 yrs, but even stepped it up a nothch since the new eBay news came out a few wks ago & let me tell you....I've even gotten more great f/b to where w/ some neg. wording in my old flyer...I wasnt getting any f/b hardly at all....this can work if you want it too & believe it or not....if you have a + attitude w/ your buyers when they open the package, they will reward you the way they have me in the past 3 wks :)

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: Just a Seller

Tue Feb 19 17:00:45 2008

Frustraited:
With pleasure. Although I participate in the boycott I don't think ebay are going to miss my few items per week either.
But that's not the point, is it. It's obvious ebay is not "against" us sellers. They are only after more profits for themselves. Most of us believe they do it the wrong way that will heart them eventually, but that is also not the point.

The main thing for us is to operate in the most cost effective selling environment we can locate. We were naive in the past thinking ebay was and would be the only place.
Well, it's not any more and we should keep our eyes opened as the www scene is changing fast.
I truly beleive we should keep on using ebay but only for what sells at a nice profit (like your items). The days of "whatever I put my hands on is listed on ebay" are gone.

P.S. And please excuse my English - I am not a native speaker

eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives   eBay Boycott Leads to Exploration of Alternatives

by: paul

Tue Feb 19 17:39:41 2008

eBAY NEEDS TO LOWER FEES...LEAVE FEEDBACK ALONE...RIP OFF AND LIES...FEES ARE NOT BEING LOWERED...FEES ARE UP 60% IN SOME CASES,,TOTAL RIP OFF

Click to view more comments
1 2 3 4 5  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.