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October 27, 2005



EBay forces sellers to list only things they have, and otherwise follow basic seller rules. I recently bought something on eBay for $15.00, a price I normally don't think worth the hassle of an auction. It's a slightly out of date cell phone accessory, and I ordered it twice from on line stores only to get "oops, sorry, we don't have it afterall" emails. That doesn't happen on eBay.

My interest in free auction listings, as a buyer and a seller, is pretty minimal.


I think Ebay's advantage is customer base and efficient transaction process. Once I list my item in craigslist, I feel like living in a dark box, I have no idea who & how many visitors are interested, afterwards we have to discuss on the payment, shipping or delivery, etc. While all of this is not a worry on ebay.
Price wise usually the power sellers like to mark their goods 10% or so below marketing price, although frequently I can find a better deal through extensive search, sometimes they just hope buyers are not that prepared & educated. But for used goods from smaller seller like Mr. hong who offers garage sale price tags, there is no competition.
Ebay does pay google to have their listing shown up on the first page, although to me it's pretty useless.
In China, Ebay is struggling with a strong competitor which offers free listing, I have no idea how Ebay lost customers from acquired to taobao, so Yahoo's example may just be a history.


I agree with your point about free office suites, but I think the analogy is a bit loose. I've yet to encounter any decent retailer who is willing to appear extremely cheap in front of customers. I mean there's no such thing as free rent on Main Street. And it doesn't reflect well on the health of a business if the merchant goes looking for the cheapest way to sell something online.

My money says Google and Craigslist will duke it out over every used futon and old pair of bowling shoes in the land. EBay is where the serious folks will be, for the foreseeable future.


I generally agree with that view but why consider the doomsday scenario when reality is exactly what you allude to; lower growth rates, better user experience and more value-added services. In essence a company defending its turf against a formidable foe.

I have no doubt that auction-application-technology will become a non-factor, the question remains what would it take for the entrenched eBayers to move on? One key thing would be disenchantment with the marketplace. eBay is now turning into a SuperMall with commercial-class players staking the landscape. In middle of the road to higher priced items, 80% of the time, you will be dealing with a pro (a store, a reseller or even a manufacturer of goods). These guys dictate to a great degree how eBay evolves.

If you raise the argument that Google for all intents and purposes is a one-product company then it's most definitely less so than eBay! Which brings us back to the question: if you wanted to own one of these two, would you buy eBay over Google?


I am trying to sell a grand piano for $39,000. I am using Craig's List, Ebay, and have placed an ad in the NY Times Classifieds.

So far, Craig's List has generated the most interest. I have had 2 contacts from Ebay and none from the New York Times.

Craig's List is free, Ebay cost about $6 for the 10 day listing and New York Times cost $125 for one Sunday.

Do you see where this is going? Now, Google is going to be operating a classifieds service.

Steve D

this is quite interesting:

Microsoft worked closely with eBay through the eBay Developers Program to enable Office Small Business Accounting 2007 users to list and sell items on eBay from within their accounting software. Working with PayPal, Microsoft will provide two new payment services: Invoice Payment Service and Merchant Processing Service, both within Office Small Business Accounting 2007

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