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Life After Ebay…

Naturally, since beginning this jaunt into ecommerce, I’ve had my head firmly lodged up the ass of research, and let me tell you, the buzzword of the day is –

Multi-chaneling.

It means to diversify your options, do not put all of your proverbial eggs in the theoretical basket. It is also defined, in ecommerce terms, as removed thy heiney from ebay’s greedy grasp.

For all you bargain hunters, there are legions of sellers who are no longer using ebay to hock their wares. So where do you find these fabulous goods?

Let me tell you….

Froogle, otherwise known as Google Base. On the google home page, click that “more” link on the top right of the window, then hit ‘froogle’. What this will give you is a search engine (what google is best at) of all products for sale online at that particular moment. Google has announced they will be moving this little window to the front page, renaming it Google Base, sometime before the holidays.

Cons: Products must be submitted to Froogle/Google Base for inclusion. Google’s ‘bots do not surf the ‘net looking for your next big bargain. Also, sometimes the links to a specific product listing do not work, especially in the case of ebay. I don’t know why, so don’t ask.

ioffer. The search function is not as thorough as I’d like it to be and it’s not as convenient to complete payment for a transaction as ebay, but there are no fees on items listed on ioffer lite, anything under $4.99 until the end of the year. Also, it’s not an auction format, but set price, and you can negotiate. As a seller, you can post something “or best offer” and let the fur flying begin.

Yahoo. Not just the shopping, they have auctions too! Sellers like it cuz there are no fees, but I’ve heard numerous seller complaints of NPB or Non-paying bidders. According to the auction watch on PowerSellersUnited.com, yahoo is actually second to ebay in terms of listings. That says nothing about the conversion rates, ie. the rate at which listed auctions sell.

Personally, I just started listing at yahoo and haven’t had a single nibble. This was after however many months of fighting with their identity verification process. Yeesh.

But while on the topic of the PSU auction watch, anyone interested in buying or selling online should check it out for information on all the major online market venues.

Overstock – yes, they have auctions too, not just big merchant sellers. However, their fees are only second to ebay’s. I’m registered but have yet to list anything. I’ll let you know when I do and what the outcome is.

Bidville – I’ve been listing here periodically, and only had a couple of bites so far. Mind you, I only utilize these sites to drive people to my store, so it is possible someone purchased from me after seeing a listing there. No insertion fee, 5% final value fee (Or whatever they call it)

Although not listed on the chart, there’s also Amazon. A couple of years ago, I liquidated a bunch of books I had here because they were running a sale on a month of their seller’s program. Otherwise, their fees do add up in a big fat hurry, and honestly, I’m not certain anything outside of books, cds or dvds does very well over there. It’s be interesting to hear someone else’s opinion on it.

There are many, many other venues out there, many of which you find listed somewhere on PSU. Bidfind and Bidhopper are actually search engines for online auctions, but much like Froogle/Google Base, they only list what they’re given and don’t troll on their own. However, it might still save you time if you’re looking for something specific rather than browsing.

Support the independent business owner. We all know by now that big corporations aren’t helping us out – Enron, Exxon and the $400 million dollar parachute, outsourcing, etc.

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