Tag Archive for 'ebay'

eBay drops listing fee for 5 items every month


Finally some good news for occasional eBay sellers like myself, eBay is launching new fee structure where you are “forgiven” the listing fee for the first 5 items you sell every 30 days and the closing fee is calculated as 8.75% of the closing value or $20 total for first 5 listings (whatever is less). Not a big deal if you sell small stuff but can mean significant savings for more expensive auctions.

eBay has been long under fire for favoring big sellers and many have been fleeing to Amazon and other alternative auction sites. As the result May months page views for are down 32 percent from a year earlier according to this New York times article. This last move is clearly in the right direction but will it save eBay?

List 5 items every 30 days— pay NO Insertion Fees (via Lifehacker)

Last-minute eBay auctions

lastminute auctions screenshot is a tool for eBay bargain hunting that I somehow managed to miss. The website is not new (I found the first reference dated back to 2005) and the user interface is a bit awkward, but it does the job fine if you are OK with some rough edges (I know, I am a perfectionist) ;-) provides a new way to hunt for great bargains on We search current offers on for auctions which meet our strict simple criteria:
1. The auction ends in 1 hour.
2. The price is currently 1 dollar or less.

Auction title, current price, expiration, number of bids, and shipping charges are crammed in a very compact list for the auctions that satisfy the criteria above. You can also narrow your selection by category or search stuff by title.

I gave it a try today and already found some “cool” stuff like this Atari monitor for $0.50 - pack 3 in a stack and you could use them as an artsy bar-stool. ;-) Seriously though, for the most part the auction details are accurate when clicking through to eBay and the only problem I potentially see with the site is that a reserve price if set can throw a monkey wrench into your bargain hunting efforts.

Are you an eBay junkie? What tools do you use to find your treasures?

Related reading:

Life without eBay. The survival kit

If you go to the Seller Central at eBay forums, it is hard not to notice the very long and active discussion titled “SIGN THE PLEDGE - NO SALES FEB 18-25!”. After all it gathered over 5000 replies! The sellers are threatening to boycott the auction site in response to the higher fees and other changes that the company announced earlier this month. One of the things the sellers are particularly vocal about is that eBay will make it impossible for them to leave feedback about buyers.

I am not a regular seller on eBay but once in a while I will go there to get rid of the old stuff I don’t need any longer. eBay is great because of its popularity. eBay’s user base is so huge and diverse that oftentimes there is simply no other place where you can find people interested to buy your stuff, especially if this is something unordinary. There is not question that eBay administration is well aware of this. Ever since the site became popular the seller fees kept going up and the latest change is just another iteration.

Will the sellers boycott cause eBay any considerable damage? I doubt so. Will eBay prosper if they keep the policy of hiking fees? Randy Smythe at SickingAlpha wrote an excellent overview called eBay’s Death by a Thousand Cuts where he claims that August of 2006, when eBay had the last fee hike, is much different than today. Sellers have many more options now than back then, so do the buyers.

eBay alternatives

Whether you sell or buy, support the boycott or not, here are a few alternative venues to consider. Each of these websites below is good in their own way, many are cheaper for sellers, some are free. I will go through each and will sum up what I know about them from my own experience (as a seller and a buyer) and you are welcome to add your own story in the comments.


Craigslist is a great place for free local classified ads. Consider it a huge internet newspaper. You place an ad and people start emailing you. The bad part is that the ads are mostly in free format and it is pretty hard to find anything. Also, there is no buyer/seller protection or feedback system of any kind. It is up to the participants to settle the deal. Not surprisingly the place is notorious for being full of scam.

Amazon Marketplace

Amazon sells many items alongside it’s own merchandise. These are third party sellers, other companies or individuals. The information on the item for sale is limited, so buying used is a problem. Amazon seller fees vary depending on merchandise and are about the same or higher than on eBay. The good thing for buyers is protection. The deal is settled with Amazon acting as a proxy and the money exchange hands only upon a successful completion of the transaction.


Overstock started out in 1997 by selling surplus and returned merchandise. These days the company sells new as well as surplus items and has pretty active online auctions section structured similarly to eBay auctions. Their fees seems to be much lower though and I am seriously thinking to give them a try next time I have something to sell. (an eBay company) is not technically an eBay alternative since eBay owns the website but still it is a very popular marketplace for used books and videos. The prices even on brand new items are VERY low and I urge you to check them out before buying retail. As far as selling stuff goes, seller fees are generally lower than those of eBay and transactions are done though directly. specializes in liquidating excess inventory and has very specific variety, mostly the stuff a corporation would sell. Have to see it to understand what I mean. The sellers are big companies like Sony, Motorola, and Dell. All auctions start at $1 and go without reserve. I have attempted to buy from uBid on several occasions but hasn’t been successful to get a fair price. I do know however people how got very good deals at uBid.


LiveDeal is a local classifieds site, similar to Craigslist but with some of eBay features. I previously compared them to eBay and CraigsList. They have focused more on local listings ever since they got acquired by YellowPages. I have never used them though and cannot comment on the quality of the content. One thing that throws me off is the banner ads plastering all the pages. Yak!

SitePoint Marketplace

SitePoint MarketPlace is arguably the most popular place to sell online property, websites and such. I never sold or bought anything there but I do come to the place once in a while to pick up ideas. I believe they charge $20 per listing. Another option to consider is Digital Point Marketplace, but the place is somewhat messier in my opinion.

Less popular websites

Many of these sites are small startups that don’t offer a great variety of items for sale or have limited functionality compared to eBay. Besides small inventory, another problem I have with them is that each website looks different and it takes a while to figure out where things are. Here they are with some stats (taken from this CNN Money article). eBay numbers are also listed for comparison.

  • iOffer: 75,000 sellers (~1 million users), 16 million items
  • OnlineAuction: 50,000 sellers, 11 million items
  • eCrater: 33,000 active sellers, ~1 million items
  • BidVille: 25,000 active sellers, ~1 million items
  • (eBay: 250 million users, 113 million listed items)

Opportunistic bargain hunting with TypoTrawler

How about a cool half a million from a single sale? Oh well, this looks like it was a hoax but the guy will sure get his a few grands out of this deal. In the interview here he already boasts about six figure offers he received for the bottle.

Finding misspelled auctions and profiting from them is what TypoTrawler, a new website launched last week, all about. However unlike these other typo hunting services that require you to know what you want, TypoTrawler is much less restrictive in the way that you just need to select a set of categories to match your appetite and TypoTrawler will take care of the rest.

No, it won’t find you a half-a-million bottle of ale, at least not right away, but it will certainly make your life easier. All you will have to do is stare at the thousands of auctions scrolling in a constant stream and try not to fall asleep.

TypoTrawler Screenshot

Alright, jokes aside, I think I like this new ajaxified web2-ish creation from the team who also brought us TypoTracker. All auctions I see on the screen do have typos (which potentially can result in a bargain) and are presented in a chronological manner (those ending sooner come first) which is very logical.

Social features? You’ve got it!

Vote auctions up to improve the chances of the items show up on other users screens. Although I don’t see why I would want anyone else to know about a gem I just discovered. It is really in my interest to keep things low profile. In fact, many would probably be tempted to use the down button to bury things they find. For that same reason I would suggest showing the number of bids next to each auction to suggest the amount of activity the auction has attracted. Popular auctions with many bids will likely be of no use.

Business plan? Quite simple.

Each of the links you click has an affiliate code and the website creators are getting a share from your sale. The team is actually very straightforward about it when they talk about it on the FAQ page.

The idea of TypoTrawler, like many websites, is to make money. Every time you click on an item, a little cookie is stored on your computer saying that it was us that linked you to eBay. If you proceed to buy the item, we get a small commision from eBay.

Hey, I just spotted a typo in this statement! Now I am almost sure that the people behind this had issues with their spelling in high school which in turn helped them to come up with the idea for TypoTrawler. ;-)

What do you think about TypoTrawler? A useful tool or a time waster? Leave your aye’s and nay’s in the comments.

Trezr sold on eBay for over $30K

I am back from my trip to Ukraine digging through the news I missed while on the move. This interesting bit has just attracted my attention: Trezr, the deals site I reviewed in the past, has sold on eBay for an impressive $30,100.01.

The auction (link) started on July 5 with initial price of $1.00 and gradually attracted bids over the 6 days period (I am sure this coverage at Techcrunch helped to float the price).

Trezr launched in October, 2006 and failed to ride the social revolution other deal sites enjoyed. It sports impressive design and some interesting features (profit sharing and a widget) however fails to implement certain key features a successful deal site must have. I have been following Trezr in my monthly list which it dropped out of in February when its Alexa rank fell above 100K threshold.

According to the auction description the website traffic at the time of sale was mere 4,000 visits and 7,500 pageviews per month and the service had 900 registered users. Other interesting details: Trezr was written using Ruby on Rails and is hosted on a dedicated server ($950 a year expense).

Trezr screenshot

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