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Is There Life After eBay?

By M A Dorman
Posted Saturday, November 13, 2004

Almost all sellers recognize that eBay is where the traffic is. And in auctioning, where the traffic is, the money is also.

So why bother with any place but eBay? Because eBay is also the place of highest fees and not always the best place for your items.

Not all of your products may be best suited for listing on eBay. The ROI is just not attractive for items with a small margin. Then too, eBay limits your ability to attract potential buyers to your web site so that you can up-sell or cross-sell. Their restrictions and myriad rules narrow your opportunities and may even cause you to be unwittingly suspended from that site!

If not eBay, then where? There are many other avenues or venues for auctioning, selling, generating leads, gaining exposure, and converting inventory to cash. Let's talk about other auction venues first.

There are literally hundreds of auction sites, sales sites, and classified ad sites, many of which are free to list on. Some few are even free when you sell. Of course, most of the upgrade features are extra and are to be paid for by you.

Let's start with those other auction sites. These are generally allotted into layers or tiers based on number of items listed, number of members and/or traffic density.

There are only a few second tier sites. These are considered second tier since they have size, name recognition and some appreciable traffic - thus better sell through rates.

The first one that should come to mind is Yahoo Auctions. Listings are only 5 cents and there are occasional Free Listing Days (FLD). A small core of loyal members prefer it to eBay, citing lower fees and good sell through rates.

Next is Amazon Auctions. Listing is still free, but the final value fee (FVF) is steep, particularly for those lower cost or low margin items. Again, a small core of loyal members find it a good place for upscale books and items where the FVF doesn't cut quite so deeply into the profit.

Below this level are the third tier, general sites. These sites come and go although a handful have been around for several years without making the big time. Each has a loyal group of followers or boosters. Most are free to list with a small or medium FVF.

Some of the current third tier sites are: ePier, SellYourItem, TopNotchAuctions, AuctionSaloon, Bidroo, PriceFire, and Bidway. Due to lower traffic, most sellers set their opening bids at an amount that is acceptable if each item gets only one bid. Most sites have options for free relisting of unsold items for a set number of times.

Lastly, there are niche sites for specialty items appealing to a specific group of buyers or collectors. Each site has a personal touch with a good core of loyal followers. Many of these sites are also free to list with a nominal FVF.

Niche sites include those catering to folks wanting pagan items, toys, Snoopy/Peanuts collectables, guns, cookbooks, beads, and books. Some sites are ePaganAuctions, AuctionWitch, Nuts, JustBeads, and PixieToys. Again, the upgrade features are paid and free relisting is a desirable option.

The majority of these second and third tier sites allow links to your web site, your own banners and general promotion of your company. Each site is different, so read the house rules before you list.

Listing at these other sites can accomplish several objectives: free parking of items that don't do well enough on eBay to warrant the listing fees, better prices in a niche market when the right buyer comes along, and greater seller name marketing of your web site or company.

Lastly consider the old admonition - don't put all your eggs in one basket.....

About the Author
M A Dorman is a verteran of the on line auctioning and sales venues, specializing in Books, Martial Arts Gear, Collectibles, and Business & Industrial goods.