When I was in college back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, eBay was all the rage. I jumped in on this rage by selling items I found by going to yard and estate sales. (My best deal was a set of 4 glass tea cups I won for $0.25. When I was taking my box, the auctioneer yelled back to me telling me that I bought all four boxes for that quarter. I ended up selling each set on eBay for $40 meaning before fees, I made $159.75).
It was the perfect part-time job for a college kid. I spent little money at the yard sales, sold them online for a profit and either used the college post office or the one next to the grocery store to ship the items out. I don’t recall exactly how much I made, but it covered me enough to be able to live meet my needs throughout college.
Fast forward to 2012 and I would still use eBay from time to time to sell some things, but not like before. The reason being was because of how the sellers really don’t have any protection and the higher fees. Just the other week, eBay announced yet another restructuring of its fee schedule. They claim that all of these changes are for the best (which every company does), but many users have been deterred, including myself. I have since started to look for eBay alternatives and have come up with three possible options.
Most everyone knows of Craigslist. Every city has a Craigslist for them where you can post virtually anything you want to sell or give away for free. The best part about Craigslist is the fact that it is 100% free. Whatever you sell your stuff for is what you get to keep. Unfortunately, there are some downsides to Craigslist.
The main downside is the work involved. You need to post your ad and then field phone calls and or emails from prospective buyers. Then you need to meet them. Just coming up with a time can be a hassle depending on your schedules and locales. Add to this that many times, people will try to lowball you. If you are selling an item for $20, they may tell offer you $5. I’ve seen people meet up and the buyer saying he only has $10 for a $50 item and wanted to know if he could still buy the item. This is very frustrating.
Another downside is that the sale is local. With eBay, you sell to anyone throughout the world (or US if you refuse to ship internationally). With Craigslist, you are only selling to your local region. This means you might get less for your item than you otherwise would have.
The final downside is the people. This might sound harsh, but some of the people I’ve met on Craigslist aren’t people I really feel comfortable doing business with. You don’t know this though until you meet them. I’ve had a few interesting experiences and will only meet people in public areas like outside of a heavily trafficked store.
If you visit this website, you will notice that the layout is eerily similar to its main rival. But the name itself should have clued you into the fact that this auction site is an alternative to eBay. There are many great features to Ealtbay, including:
- You don’t have to use PayPal as your payment method
- Items list for free
- Final value fees are much lower (1% versus 9-13%)
- You can sell items that are legal to be sold (currently eBay restricts certain items from sale)
The main downside to Ealtbay is the lack of traffic. Because of this, you might have a more difficult time selling your items or even getting the price you want for them. It will be interesting to see how traffic to the site changes over the next few months now that eBay has once again angered it sellers.
eBid is another online alternative to eBay. eBid is larger than Ealtbay, but smaller than eBay. The site has close to 5 million live auctions as of this writing. The great thing about eBid is that the seller fees are again much lower than eBay (3%) and there is a good flow of traffic for the average auctioneer to make some sales.
They also offer a lifetime membership that allows you to pay one-time and not have to worry about fees going forward.
Now for the bad news. I’ve read a bunch of reviews about eBid and they are either very positive or very negative. The negative reviews say that the positive reviews are from company staff members and to stay away. I have not used eBid personally, but would recommend that you do your own research before bidding or selling anything on the site.