Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Unhappy eBay Sellers Start their Own Auction Sites

One interesting reaction to all of the unrest at eBay, is sellers leaving eBay and starting up their own auction sites. The motivation isn't initially to compete against eBay, but mostly to sell their own product without the fees and restrictions of eBay. The first such site was bidtopia.com which was created by former eBay sellers "Bargainland".

Ina Steiner recently spoke with Paul St. James, the founder of Bargainland, on his plans. "When asked why he suspended his sales on eBay, St. James said, "I can't define it as any one single point. It was kind of the aggregate of quite a bit. It felt like eBay was distancing itself more and more from the large volume sellers and, in particular, the as-is, 99-cent, No Reserve type seller. It seemed like to us they were trying to get more into the sexier, cleaner Amazon-type space."

"St. James ceased selling on eBay - at least for now - and has moved his auction business to his own site at Bargainland.net (http://www.bargainland.net/), which he launched about 3 months ago. "

It isn't likely that they will ever be major competition for eBay but taking control of their business has opened the door to additional revenue streams and expansion of their business model.

Likewise, eBay's recent changes have forced another large seller to take a similar tack. Bruce Hershenson of eMoviePosters has recently announced that he is creating an auction site to sell his own product and is working with other sellers to help them lessen their dependance on eBay.

Bruce wrote a very impassioned letter to Ina Steiner of Auctionbytes explaining why he decided to do this. Hershenson said; "eBay has miscalculated in my case. I have to examine how much I pay eBay per year, and what I received in return for that money. I have concluded that I can do far better opening up my own auction on my own site. Unlike many other sellers, I had my own business for 10 years prior to starting on eBay, so I am now reversing the process I started in 2000! At that time, I moved my entire business ONTO eBay, and in 2008, I am moving my entire business OFF of eBay."

I recently wrote a post entitled "eBay's Death by a Thousand Cuts" and these two stories add to the message of that post. At some point, the best and brightest sellers on eBay, will get smart and move elsewhere, maybe to Bidtopia or maybe to their own sites. After awhile it will take its toll on eBay's business.

Just my 5 cents! (thanks to Tony P. for pointing me to the link for Bruce's letter)


Tony P. said...

WOW, I am humbled... and impressed! Thanks for the credit - I thought you might like it.

I am impressed with your ability to take a mere email link and turn it into a well-written blog commentary within, what was it, 30 minutes?! WOW.

Now, try this one: World Peace. I'm timing ya!

Randy Smythe said...

Tony P.

World Peace? Not possible. Most humans are basically good but there are enough assholes in the world to make World Peace impossible.

How was that?

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