Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Death of Ebay

I think I started to sell my hand made rosaries and necklaces on Ebay about 1998. That was the year my mom asked me what I would like as a birthday gift, and I chose to take an adult ed class at the Sag Harbor High school in jewelry making. At that time, Y necklaces were all the rage, and what is a Y necklace but a rosary with a clasp. I made so many necklaces, one adult woman couldn't wear them all. An Internet friend, Mary P I think it was, told me about Ebay and I became a seller.
Back then, Ebay was a lot more fun. Listing fees were ten cents, or may-be even less. The final value fee was a smaller percentage too.
If your item sold, you could make a windfall and Ebay shared the profit with you, which was only fair. After all, in what other way could you have such a vast exposure to your auction? You couldn't.
If your item didn't sell, it didn't matter. All it cost you was a dime.
As they say, nothing lasts forever, and Ebay began to change. The listing fees became higher and the final value fees for things that did sell got higher also. Ebay sellers grumbled, but chalked it up to the cost of doing business, and business was being done.
But the world was changing now too. First the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in NYC. The result of that was businesses and industries that never recovered. Jobs were being sent over seas or south of the border and Ebay was affected with more sellers and less buyers. I know that there will be those who argue with this assessment of mine, but I'm reporting it the way it affected me.
Now selling wasn't as much fun. There were more people selling what you were, or a close enough to it, and less people buying. Auctions usually ended lower than they had in the past. Because the listing fees were so much higher than when Ebay started, a failed listing cost on average at least 50 cents and often more.
I took a rest from Ebay this summer. I haven't decided if I'll return for the Christmas season or not yet. I don't mind Ebay profiting when I do, but when I don't sell anything, I do mind Ebay still making money off of me.
Today I got a letter from Ebay. In the near future, checks and money orders will not be an accepted way of paying for items paid for on Ebay, no matter what the wishes of the actual seller are.
Ebay will also dictate how much can be charged for shipping on many categories. The alternative is to use the Ebay shipping module where the buyer can see what the actual cost of shipping will be. That would be good in theory, if the Ebay shipping module actually worked reliably and consistently. My experience has been the opposite. Outrageous shipping that was calculated has led to irate e-mails from would-be buyers that never returned, probably thinking that I was a shyster. I belonged to many Ebay sellers groups that had members that experienced the exact opposite, shipping quotes that were much too low. They made the sale all right, but lost any profit they had made because they had to make up the difference between the charged shipping and the actual shipping.
It's really a shame that Ebay's success has led to so many bad judgements which has caused so many long time buyers to stop selling on Ebay.
I remember when Ebay was fun.

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