When most people think internet auctions they think Ebay. What many auction fanatics donâ€™t realize is that Ebay is not the only place out there to find the elusive â€śITâ€ť.
Ebay well deserves the brand name they have worked to build. They have come a very long way since Peter Omidyar founded the company in 1995. The once small auction site has moved from a lowly person to person auction venue to a huge multi-billion dollar conglomerate of companies operating worldwide. Has the growth been good for Ebay? Of course â€“ especially if you were one of the early stockholders. Has it been good for the consumer? Maybe so, maybe not. Trying to be all things to all people has brought many changes to the core auction business. Not the least of which are the recent moves to â€śdownsizeâ€ť Ebay stores and place an emphasis on new items over old (i.e. Ebay Express). In short, it is becoming much harder to find that elusive collectible piece and much easier to find brand new off the shelf items.
The savvy auction buyer has discovered that that if you canâ€™t find it on Ebay there are many other auction type alternatives available on the internet. And with those alternatives come many bargains and tough to find items. Frequently, since sellers incur much lower fees on non-ebay sites, the starting bids are much lower. There is also considerably less traffic, so bidding wars are also unlikely. Buyers are also finding that a great many sellers on the lesser known sites are small business people who also sell on Ebay (or have moved to another site from Ebay).
Two of the larger alternative sites are Yahoo Auctions and Bidville Auctions. Each site now boasts over one million listings and from all appearances both seem to still be growing. But thatâ€™s just the tip of the iceberg. There are literally hundreds of sites offering online auctions in one form or another, with many general interest sites averaging between 75,000 to 250,000 listings. These numbers pale next to Ebays average of 12 million or so a day but are still quite respectable.
Yet another great alternative for online auction buyers are the much smaller specialty auction sites. We have found auction sites specializing in nothing but old postcards, wicca, beads, guns, and even taxidermy. Many of these sites tend to be quite busy and appear to have a steady flow of customers and listings.
Many of the alternative sites lack the bells and whistles that buyers have come to expect from ebay. While most require their sellers to register with them before listing, not all have feedback or rating systems in place for sellers. Due diligence is necessary, as it should be when purchasing from any online venue. Check out your seller with whatever tools the site makes available. Its also wise to pay when possible with Paypal or a credit card so there is some recourse should a purchase go bad. Take the time to read and understand each sites policies before bidding, as they all are just a little bit different.
In many cases, what separates alternative sites from Ebay is simply exposure. Most donâ€™t have the millions of dollars to spend on print, TV, and search engine advertising. Many rely strictly upon word of mouth and scattered links throughout the internet. We have listed a great many sites in our auction directory for several years, and are still finding new sites each week. A good place for buyers to start in seeking alternative and specialty auction sites is through the search engines. Many are buried quite deeply, but they are out there. As both a buyer from many non-ebay sites and a seller on a few others I can attest that the extra effort required can be well worth it.
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Visit our Internet Auction Directory at at http://www.auction-lynx.com for hundreds of alternative auction sites and resources.
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