Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bonanzle Just Keeps Rolling Along!

Each week I follow-up on the Bonanzle story, I am more impressed. In a short amount of time the Bonanzle team has grown the site exponentially. Still not large by most standards, but their growth rate is quite impressive.

As of this post Bonanzle passed 11,000 user registrations and has nearly 450,000 items listed. 

Over the last month:
  • They have added international shipping capability.
  • Buyer wish lists.
  • Expanded categories.
  • New Servers to handle the increased traffic load 
  • Just in time for Cyber Monday they have launched Booth Coupons for sellers.
  • Daily sales in Nov. have risen by about 250% over average daily sales in October.
  • What is in the future? An affiliate program and customized user recommendations will be launched in the next month.
According to CEO Bill Harding; "At Bonanzle, the key to making sales is to be an engaged part of the community.  It is no coincidence that many of our most successful sellers are also active forum posters, bloggers, and multi-channel Bonanzle promoters."  

Traffic is on the rise according to Harding; "This week will be our first week to break 1 million page views for the week.  It's been extremely active, but the new servers are handling it admirably and I expect it to continue to be a great shopping season for our sellers."  

I really enjoy following the Bonanzle story as they develop into a real viable alternative for eBay sellers and those just starting out. Traffic is on the rise, products and features are in place and sales will follow.

Just my 15%

25 comments:

Rich said...

"I really enjoy following the Bonanzle story as they develop into a real viable alternative for eBay sellers and those just starting out. Traffic is on the rise, products and features are in place and sales will follow."

Let me know when the "sales will follow" part kicks in. I feel no sense of urgency to jump into yet another newbie alternative. I did sign up though and have test fired the place. A good infrastructure.

Is there some huge CLAMOR among BUYERS for another place to BUY?

Is a "lack of alternatives" the problem?

The eBay pie is undoubtedly being cut up in the martial fashion of "death by 1000 cuts." Meanwhile, at present, Bonanzle is a nice site with few sales.

Just sold a vinyl record set on Amazon. Whatever you can sandwich into their site will sell, eventually.

Randy Smythe said...

Rich,

Sales on Bonanzle are not huge yet, but they are growing each week so the trend is nice.

It is very similar to the way eBay grew in the early days until the buyer caught on and eBay became the marketplace.

Bonanzle still has to compete with eBay and Amazon but they are targeting the product that is leaving eBay and doesn't fit on Amazon so they have a shot.

I think Bonanzle will follow a very similar path to etsy.com

Anonymous said...

More and more, I'm getting used to Bonanzle and really like it. After years on Ebay, it's hard to switch over. I'm still on Ebay full time, but I work on my Bonanzle store a little every day.

With the diamonds coming on board at a seemingly faster pace, buyers are going to want a place like the old Ebay. Hope it will be Bonanzle.

And I just bought some merchandise from a seller on Etsy. Was very pleased!

permacrisis said...

A very high proportion of the Bonanzle community are the folks who, originally, lit the ebay fire. They were members since 1997 or 1998 and in some cases, the text-only days. You WANT these people in your corner, and by and large the 'also rans' did not have their vote. Bonanzle does.

On top of that, the buildout of the site is well prioritized. Bill Harding et al have made very good choices about what to leave for later and what to build NOW.

The impression that I get is that as Harding builds his team, he will go out of his way to surround himself with people who are the antithesis of ebay management.

And based on decisions and choices he and Mark Dorsey have made thus far, I trust the future selection of that personnel. They might even pick an expert or two from within the seller base, something I'd applaud.

It's true they still need to make Bonanzle a household name, well it already is one in about 11,500 households! Why they are not up on Powersellersunite as of yet, is a mystery worthy of Scully and Mulder.

Anonymous said...

I love Bonanzle! It's my new best home away from home in online selling and beyond. The crfew who cares for the site and the people is so REAL, the place is hopping with new folks and growing at a rate I have never seen in over 25 years of doing online web sites and internet running. Look for Bonanzle to be BIG BIGGER and BIGGEST before it's all said and done.

jamiro

Anonymous said...

If you build it they will come! And they are!!

Bonanzle is a fantastic site, where else can you haggle prices with instant chat? OBO is one of the things I like the best at Bonanzle. It just brings the FUN back to online shopping.

Bonanzle will soon be a household word!

Spread the word!!

OctoberMoon

oshun spirit said...

When I signed on in August there were only 266 sellers with booths, today there are over 3860! As #267 I've had the good fortune of having a front row seat to watch what can only be described as a phenomenon!

Sales have picked up dramatically since we've become searchable in google, and the community works dillegently to ensure each others success by providing technical assistance, listing and marketing support, and an atmosphere of trust and goodwill.

Therefore, its a a buyer's paradise as well!

nightgirl said...

I had been a small eb@ay seller since 2000 and I quit selling in Jan 08. eb@y SCARES me! It's not a safe place for sellers any longer.
I tried several other selling sites in the last year and NONE compare to Bonanzle! NONE.

I have sold close to 100 items in the last couple months and am having FUN again selling online.

Bonanzle gets better everyday! I'm glad I'm there.
TAKE THAT EB@Y!

KTal Arrow Earth said...

Bonanzle is a train on the move. Cars just keep hooking to the next and growing larger & larger. It is hard to stop a train & there is no cabose in sight. But the engines are not low on steam and are on top of every bump on the track. Bill & Mark we know you can, we know you can. This is a community that is no going to let anyone become sidr tracked. My vote is Bonanzle!!

Anonymous said...

Bonanzle is definitely a story to follow, and we have since August. Does not go without wondering what new and exciting enhancements are in place each few days, to make the Bonanzle site easier for users - at the same time maintaining the platform simplicity.

Enhancements often include suggestions made by the community. Bill fits all into an already busy schedule.

There is never any guessing with this site. Bill's blog and "what's new" update is there for the users to read. We liken the blog and "what's new" to a personal diary that he shares with us. Where else would users receive this kind of information?

We tripled our sales in three months on Bonanzle, versus sales on another site in eight months. Not a bad start at all, for a new venue!

Cleo

ms.pat said...

I'm happy with Bonanzle. In fact, I just blogged on it myself tonight. I've made more sales there then on Etsy. Never as much as on Ebay in its heyday but I think that will come. Most sellers can't seem to get a foothold at Etsy - many have to list the same item almost daily to keep it in the listings close to the front page. On Bonanzle you can list free and then wander around and chat with other sellers right in their booths. Its great networking because its sellers buying from sellers who start the ball rolling...then gradually they get their customers to come on over and take a peek. I think its a great site and very refreshing. Best of all - it isn't making money in spite of itself like ebay did - every dollar made on Bonanzle has to be worked for to get...so it won't ever have a management that is so full of themselves they think they know it all - that alone is very uplifting ;-)

Renagade said...

Bonanzle has given this seller a renewed excitement in selling. I have tried other eBay Alternatives, but they paled in comparasion to Bonanzle.

Great Community Sprirt and a Fast, streamlined site ...together WILL make Bonanzle a "household" name!

And yes, sales ARE happening...just sold several items, including a Vinyl Record to Japan!

Anonymous said...

Bonanzle overloads slower connections (1/3 of internet users) and older browsers. The site's complex drag and drop shopping cart, required user registrations (shoppers don't want to remember another password!) offer and chat systems make it not only unrefreshing, but a danger to completely turn off buyers. The onslaught of fake and counterfeit products eBay has been sued aggressively for (search jewelry for "tiffany" and handbags for "Coach" and you'll see) then the recent influx of illegally pirated movies should make Bonanzle end up near the likes of I-Offer if they don't get in there and monitor the site listings.

Bonanzle has 11,900 members in 6 months, and about 2500 seller booths.
A perspective on the "growth" of Bonanzle:
The nearly failed Overstock auctions had 1/2 million in a year and look at how they turned out.
Etsy runs between 50-100K new members monthly.
Amazon and eBay have over 80 billion members, and both have that many new registrations in a day. eBay has over 500K stores, and Amazon has as many seller accounts.

Bonanzle will not grow the same way eBay did... They are not unique as eBay was. eBay had room for growth, Bonanzle has left itself growth-handicapped. What more could they possibly do to the site to make it more attractive and convince more sellers to join and spend time with now?

And last... Any site that allows it's sellers to advertise for it without reward is not worth anyone's time. eBay allows it's sellers to advertise, but gives store referral credits and affiliate commissions to those who do. Amazon allows associates to advertise their stores through Amazon, and earn 4-15% back from each sale. I really don't think that they would accept ad campaigns, like I saw last month on Bonanzle, without being involved though. That is what killed the chance I gave them, when "legal reasons" kept Bonanzle from supporting it's own members attemps at running a web ad. Members collected several hundred bucks, bought the ad, and likely saw no benefit. It doesn't work that way.

My final analysis...
The site is flashy for buyers, but not friendly to buyers. Bonanzle is overhyped for what you get, and you may be better off just finding your home on a real alternative like Pricegrabber or Amazon for new products, Etsy for handmades, and Rubylane for antiques, and use them all purely for customer acquisition. Or, you could use 10 of these dime a dozen flashy, fun sites to advertise your real business on your own terms with your own customers on your own site.

P.S. A real flea market exists in nearly every county in America. Try it, you may be surprised at your results and stop wasting your time on these so called "eBay Alternatives."

Anonymous said...

Edited for the previous post:
Amazon and eBay have over 80 million members.

Randy Smythe said...

Anonymous,

Well, you have some points but your conclusion is in question. Who know what the future holds for Bonanzle or eBay for that matter.

I don't think anyone is saying Bonanzle will be another eBay or even an etsy for that matter.

The future is in question but it also hasn't been written yet.

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill said...

Anonymous,

Fact check police reporting for duty:

About 15% of users currently use dial up, including a non-trivial amount of our users. With decent browser caching enabled, our dial up users have found Bonanzle's performance consistent with other highly interactive Web 2.0-y sites.

About 5,000 users registered for Bonanzle in November alone. The number has increased exponentially every month since Bonanzle's launch.

Overstock.com required more than $2 million to build their user base, Bonanzle has required two magical nickels rubbed together. We have used neither venture nor angel funding to attain our present successes... it has been a completely user-driven movement.

Our listings are regularly policed by ourselves, our technology, and our user base. That said, with practically half a million items having been posted in the last couple months, chances are that not all 500k are offered by savory sellers. But the number of defrauded buyers on our site relative to the number of sales has been infinitesimal, because the vast majority of the items are legit, and the vast majority of our buyers possess the iota of online experience required to know not to buy from a seller with no feedback selling $5 iPhones.

You're welcome to your opinions, which I won't bother disputing. But for others who haven't made up their minds, judging based upon your inaccurate and incomplete facts would result in misleading conclusions.

Bill Harding
Completely Unbiased Founder
Bonanzle

Bill said...

And oh yes, you don't have to register nor remember a password to buy on Bonanzle. Not sure where you got that fact from...

Fact check police now clocking out.

Gaz said...

Randy

You said -
"At Bonanzle, the key to making sales is to be an engaged part of the community. It is no coincidence that many of our most successful sellers are also active forum posters, bloggers, and multi-channel Bonanzle promoters."

That worries me slightly. As a business, when I use online sales venues and channels, I am paying to use the core function of bringing buyers to my products, where they can then decide to buy or not.

Much has been said this year about the interferences that eBay have undertaken to disrupt that core function - Best/Worst Match, DSR-based visibility (without fee adjustment), popularity-based search and so on.

If the only way to acquire eyeballs on Bonanzle is to have a high profile in the community side of the site, then is the site a sales channel or a social networking site?

I've been experimenting on facebook with the ShopIt add-in and with facebook pages for sites and businesses, even running adverts within the site to trial their effectiveness, etc. Trying to acquire sales on social networking sites is hard work - people are there to socialise, not to shop.

In the early years of eBid when it was one UK site, the forums were exceptionally busy - in fact most sellers were in there socialising instead of maintaining their offerings, but it worked due to its simplicity. Back then, every forum page had a side bar that showed newly added listings that refreshed with every page refresh, and a footer that showed almost closed listings that refreshed the same way - people could see what was new and what was closing out, and it drove bids. When eBid removed that from the forums, sales collapsed - just those two single panels probably drove more sales than anything else related to the site.

As a multi-channel vendor with a clutch of my own sites and selling on 3P channels (ebay etc) - I am becoming seriously perturbed, not to mention overworked with all the social networking now required just to get eyeballs on the product.

Something, somewhere, has gone seriously wrong with the methodology of ecommerce, and with the experience of buyers, who now seem incapable of finding their own backside to scratch it. It makes me wonder how much longer it will be before they cannot even find their own noses to pick, despite them being in front of their own faces.

Disclosure - I am severely jaded - average daily sales on eBay for Q4, in 2005 were $1000, in 2006 $800, in 2007 $500, in 2008 $5 (yes - five)

Ever the optimist - I seek new homes for my products.

Gaz

mtd8004 said...

Wow, I'm shocked. This is the first negative post I've seen about Bonanzle. For the most part the posts I've read seem to be more of an internal PR campaign rather than independent reviews of the site. While Bonanzle seems like a decent alternative for buyers that want to spend lots of time promoting their sales themselves. I would prefer to use sites that do the work for me, otherwise I might as well just send traffic to my own site and not pay the extra commissions.

I primarily use sites to sell my own personal used goods. I recently found Tag Sell It, which suits me pretty well. It may or may not be right for new/bulk sellers though.

Matt

Bill said...

Matt,

I see your point about the almost unanimous commenter enthusiasm for Bonanzle playing like some kind of manufactured PR campaign.

In one of the funnier manifestations of this phenomenon, there was a post on Mashable about a month ago that mentioned Bonanzle as a good eBay alternative. About five of our users spotted it almost immediately and left some enthusiastic comments, to which one commenter said something to the effect that he "was not impressed by the creators of Bonanzle blatantly recruiting their friends and family to act like excited users of the site." :)

Of course, that really got the users worked up -- I think one of them posted it in our message forums, and within the next few hours, about 50 more rosy comments about Bonanzle were posted to the article. On one hand, it was great press for us, but on the other hand, I'm sure that many long time buyer/sellers were rolling their eyes, thinking "Yeah, right... I'm sure it ain't that great."

Needless to say, I don't have nearly enough friends or multiple personalities for the enthusiasm to be of my creation. I can see how it might seem cheesy to some critical minds like your own, but our users have simply found something that they really like, and they want to share it with those who don't haven't heard. I imagine the same sort of thing happened with many of the current ecommerce gorillas when they were younger and more novel.

Bill

Henrietta said...

I would bet money that this antagonistic anonymous is the same person who left Bonanzle with his knickers in a wad about two months ago proclaiming 'I built you and I will destroy you, you will be out of business by the weekend.'

The same person commented anonymously on my WP blog but entered his url (leading to his website and then his eBay store.) Since this directly contradicted what he had previously posted, egg on face syndrome occurred.

It is amusing and can be read
here

Henrietta said...

@ mtd8004 you said "While Bonanzle seems like a decent alternative for buyers that want to spend lots of time promoting their sales themselves. "

I am assuming you meant sellers who want to spend time?

That is what successful sellers do.

On Bonanzle you do have the ability to run Google Base feeds, to use analytics and other tools just like the big boys, the professionals on eBay do, it just costs less on Bonanzle.

Sellers on eBay or anywhere else including their own websites who do not educate themselves as to best merchandising practices and then utilize them, get buried in the pile.

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