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Why am I not writing about eBay much lately?

Posted Saturday, September 17, 2011, at 10:49 AM

I have had a few folks inquire why I slowed down writing about eBay lately. Of course, I just posted about a glitch, but after getting these inquiries I realized that I HAD dropped off and will try to do better.

I am still teaching, although not many of the classes are local. I am getting better responses from surrounding states, so I go to the demand.

We are VERY restrictive with selling for other folks, but get requests almost every week. This is an opportunity for someone, but I can not find any eBay Trading Assistants in the area that are not booked solid. (Our apologies to those we have declined)

Debbi and I are also still actively selling, so between my "day jobs", classes and selling, time is tight. Regrettably, I have even slowed my gardening WAY down.

In fact, last night our garden club members asked if I was going to stop. The answer was no, I just needed to get my time scheduled and under control. Of course, that is much easier said than done.

But, back to eBay. The one constant thing with eBay is change, so keeping up with that can be challenging, even for full time eBay employees. I was talking to the "Dean" of eBay University last week and even he was unaware of some things that recently changed. I strongly doubt that any one person knows it all.

I am surprised that during this downturn in the economy and resulting budget crunches for many of us, more people are not turning to eBay or some method of selling to make ends meet. We find eBay is still the best place to sell, so while eBay can challenging, annoying, difficult, etc., the venue still brings customers to our virtual door.

We have tried six other selling venues so far and NONE compare to what eBay produces.

Maybe it is the products we sell. We are split between a line that Debbi crafts and collectibles. Rarely do we sell something new.

Amazon seems to be the second venue of choice, but if you think eBay makes you jump through hoops, the "river" is not any better and in some ways even more restrictive.

Etsy has proven to be a competitor in the art and craft area, but eBay sells enough to keep Debbi busy every day, so no need to change just to change. Then there is Artfire, but I do not know the sales track-record on them yet.

Speaking of sales track-record, that it the key for us. We have found sites that are more responsive to our questions, less expensive, (if not free) and easier to work with, but after three plus years, we have not sold ONE item! I love'em but selling is what we are doing this for, not just to meet friendly webmasters.

Speaking of time, and things that need to get done, I have plenty today and was just reminded by Deb that I probably need to get working on them. More later, but don't hesitate to write your thoughts, comments, questions.

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So far, you are 101% right EM. I do intend to try them out, but it has not happened as I planned.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Sep 22, 2011, at 12:45 PM


You didn't notice anything unusual about those comments? They were all advertising their site. That was it. Marketing Director (bidStart) and addoway.com. I would be surprised if there was any discussion.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Thu, Sep 22, 2011, at 11:05 AM

Hmmm, got to think about that.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Sep 21, 2011, at 8:31 AM

"Come back guys. I really want to have discussions".

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 3:04 PM

For some reason that sounds just like something unique lies would say. )))))..

-- Posted by Blessed Assurance on Tue, Sep 20, 2011, at 8:49 PM

Come back guys. I really want to have discussions.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Sep 19, 2011, at 3:04 PM

Hey folks, I am actually 'tickled pink', well...quite happy, that you spoke up. I hope you follow this post for a few days to continue the dialog. In fact, if you respond, I will carry much of this dialog to some LinkedIn and Facebook forums in which I participate.

I am a registered member on both of your sites and in all fairness, have not listed there yet. I knew bidstart was strong on stamps/postcards and knew that you were venturing in to collectibles. addoway has a nice look and "feel" to it and I just checked you out again and was pleased with what I saw.

Since I have not listed with either you yet, nor do I know anyone who has listed there, I cannot comment on anything directly, but I will make an effort to do some things this week.

On each of the 6 prior sites (actually 3 are still current) I list between 100-150 items and have kept them on for over three years. For the first six months or so I would check and tweak things every other day, but eventually the inventory sat stagnant.

Regrettably, I do not have extensive time to help develop a new selling venue when another one is making me money. I do not expect INSTANT sales equivalent to eBay, but SOME sales would encourage me to put more time and effort into the site. If I sold 1 item in the first month, I would continue.

I am not against multi-channel selling. That is what I was hoping for with the first six, but so far....

Selling handmade items on etsy or artfire, stamps and post cards on bidstart and miscellaneous collectibles on addoway just does not sound time efficient. If eBay was not in existence or not performing, then three or four separate venues might be what we would do, but....

I will list on your sites and keep them going for at least six months. I will also let my readers know how it is going. If I succeed, they will know it.

If not, it may not be a reflection on your sites as much as the products we are selling, but they will at least know about the experience.

Some of the sites really gave me great service. They were friendly (and still are) and very interested in helping. Other sites were helpful, but restricted or difficult to create a listing and one just never 'clicked' at all.

Again, I look forward to your comments.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Sep 18, 2011, at 9:52 AM

Hey Steve,

Come check out Addoway.com when you get a chance. Would love to see you list your items on there too. We have an eBay and Etsy importer too. Thank you.

-- Posted by addoway on Sat, Sep 17, 2011, at 4:22 PM


As the marketing director for a marketplace (bidStart.com -- we only do collectibles) I have to take issue with one thing that you commented on:

"We have tried six other selling venues so far and NONE compare to what eBay produces."

That statement, while factual, is part of the problem. What it says to sellers is that, if their sales don't quickly match what they see on ebay then sellers should just not bother with other venues.

The problem with that is a vicious Catch-22. We're the top stamp site on the Internet. We got there because our sellers had realistic initial expectations and hung in during the lean times to grow the category into a winner. Now we have sellers there that do more sales with us than on ebay and many others that don't see on ebay at all.

In postcards we went from having 11,000 cards last year to 1.5 million now and, as an example, one seller in that year sold 38,000 cards for $200,000 on a site other dealers thought couldn't provide sales.

Sellers have an option. They can either sit back and wait (endlessly?) for another venue or venues to magically match ebay sales or they can get out there and help create these options for themselves. Starting out with the expectation that you foster above helps none of them.

Another thing is to support multichannel selling. On our site we have an ebay-approved full store sync. You can sell on both sites (and more) and keep everything in full sync with no concern for duplicate sales of one-of-a-kind items. The point is that during the growth period what's wrong with extra income from multiple venues? One will always be first but the extra income helps the seller and the economy (the seller above who made $200,000 hired more staff to support the sales).

And if you only make a fraction of your sales from ebay it's still extra as long as the effort is minimal. I don't turn my nose up if I see a $100 bill lying on the ground. I expend the energy to lean over and pick it up. Why wouldn't sellers do the same for themselves?

Again, my concern with your comment is that it fosters an impossible cycle of unrealistic expectations and frustration. I hear people complain about ebay every single day and yet they do nothing about it because of similar thinking to this comment. It's like the overweight person who constantly complains about their weight but refuses to stop eating poorly.

Lastly, you talked about finding sites where they were everything you wanted but the sales weren't there. I wonder what you did to help foster those sales. On our site we provide a number of successful marketing options to drive sales to your store but some sellers won't use them thinking it should all happen magically.

Sure, there are some services out there that simply will never have traffic but if you're on a service that has sales for others and you're not selling then the problem may not be the venue.

-- Posted by Agrajag on Sat, Sep 17, 2011, at 2:44 PM

One more quick thing, REALLY!

Have you noticed the ads for eBay on TV lately? FINALLY!

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Sep 17, 2011, at 10:52 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.