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US Launches Criminal Probe in eBay-Craigslist Trade Secrets Case

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-don't-want-to-be-on-craig's-other-list dept.

The Courts 59

angry tapir writes with an article in Tech World about the longstanding spat between eBay and Craigslist expanding from a civil case into criminal case. From the article: "The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into whether eBay executives broke the law and stole trade secrets while sitting on the board of Craigslist.org. The investigation is centered on the activities of eBay executives who managed the Craigslist relationship between 2004 and 2007, a period when eBay morphed from a US$30 million Craigslist investor, with a seat on its board of directors, into a direct competitor in the lucrative online classified advertising market."

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Uh... (0)

autocracy (192714) | more than 3 years ago | (#37397678)

What the hell could EBay have possibly stolen from Craigslist? The site only charges for job postings in a few cities, and that's an easy and publicly declared business model. The webpages are statically generated on a periodic basis, and that's as dumb-down simple as it gets. Unless Ebay walked off with Craiglist's super-secret-neverf-get-spam-through implementation (which I don't think they have), I don't get it.

Craigslist is nothing special, just simplicity done right.

Re:Uh... (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37397710)

Craigslist is extremely special. Very few people do simplicity anymore, and very few people do it right. Craigslist is a great example of what the rest of the web should be.

Re:Uh... (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#37397786)

Their website is ugly as sin and a mess. They aren't the only the site on the web that does just one thing.

http://www.wired.com/entertainment/theweb/magazine/17-09/ff_craigslist [wired.com]

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37397956)

right, but what about craigslist?

Re:Uh... (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398036)

Their website is ugly as sin and a mess. They aren't the only the site on the web that does just one thing.

http://www.wired.com/entertainment/theweb/magazine/17-09/ff_craigslist [wired.com]

No irony there... Other than the slow loading, ugly site, with pop-over adds to close before I could read it. Give me craigslist over wired any day.

Re:Uh... (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398524)

I couldn't agree more. What if a government held the same world view? That would be awesome.

- Dan.

Re:Uh... (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398568)

There are people on Slashdot who don't use ad blockers?

at least a few (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 3 years ago | (#37399816)

some are called subscribers.

I'm not one, but for some reason, I've never felt the need to block Slashdot ads.

I even have a little box appear that offers me the option to opt out of ads because of my supposed 'contribution' but I've never felt the urge to tick it.

half the time I wonder if it's a trap, some times I think it'll take me to the subscription sign up page, but mostly I feel like the occasional ad (which may be relevant, may not) that catches my eye is not such a 'annoyance' or detriment for what I get in exchange being here.

tanstaafl

Re:at least a few (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#37400118)

I have a slight moral conflict.

I want to support companies who produce content for me. I know many providers make money off ads. But enough ads are full of malicious code that I feel I need to block ads from a security standpoint. I usually block everything but Google Ads.

That "super-slow-loading" Wired page that someone complained about loaded for me in less than 3 seconds. I made the initial post at home, and just loaded it from work where it isn't in my cache. Ad blockers work wonders.

Re:Uh... (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#37408342)

... is ugly as sin ...

yes, i agree, Sin is ugly. The whole concept of sin, is just plain ugly. It sounds like a word that would get made up to further the power of some religious cult. And that makes it very ugly.

Of course, the things that are called "Sin" is rarely ugly. It just feels that way because you got people telling you non stop that "Sin" is bad, and if it feels good, then it's probably "Sin".

But that isn't because Sin is bad, it's because those people don't understand that that Sin is natural and healthy, so they call it ugly.

That's a Bit of a Hyperbole (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#37397802)

Craigslist is a great example of what the rest of the web should be.

Why impose a false dichotomy of simple versus complex? Craigslist is an extreme. The rest of the web should not be extremely simple as some people prefer complex controls. Some solutions, by definition, are inherently complex. Glancing at my tabs, Yahoo Fantasy Hockey and Google Docs would not be at all usable if they were implemented in a Craigslist sort of way. They could truly be reduced to their basic elements, not use GWT or AJAX or whatever and just get by on the marriage of function and function. But they don't.

Craigslist succeeded because it was providing a simple solution to a simple problem. Add bidding or payment to your system and I think you'll find that complexity is a necessity. Do I wish more sites implemented a more simplistic approach? Yes, of course. But to suggest that it is a shining example of what the rest of the web should be is design and UI nonsense.

Look at Facebook, extremely clean and simple compared to MySpace but so was Friendster. Facebook grows more and more complex everyday yet a Craigslist-style social networking site isn't going to unseat it because Facebook usually picks its complexity wisely (or has so far). I enjoy a little complexity, hell, I'm posting on Slashdot not Reddit ...

Re:That's a Bit of a Hyperbole (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398042)

So thats why the most popular sites on the internet-- Google, Craigslist, Wikipedia-- are or have been moving towards clean, simpler designs?

Re:That's a Bit of a Hyperbole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37398060)

Yeah, Google's been getting simpler and simpler since ARGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Re:That's a Bit of a Hyperbole (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398106)

Yes, because Gmail has always been super simple and uncluttered. Oh wait.

Wasnt just talking about their homepage, which falls under the present-tense clause of my statement.

Most Popular You Say? (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398094)

So thats why the most popular sites on the internet-- Google, Craigslist, Wikipedia-- are or have been moving towards clean, simpler designs?

I think in your mind they're the most useful. But Wikipedia lies behind Facebook, Yahoo and a number of other complex UIs [google.com] . Craigslist is number 37 on that list. You also don't define what "clean, simpler" means in terms of UI. It's part magic and part science so until you can tell me what makes wikipedia cleaner and simpler than, say, a bulletin board system I can ask why we're not all recording articles and editing them in some sort of encyclopedic bulletin board system.

Re:That's a Bit of a Hyperbole (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398186)

I think that the OP is painting with a broad brush, but what the rest of the web can learn from Craigslist is that you should let the content of your site drive its design, rather than shoehorning the content into whatever gizmos seem coolest.

Certainly there is content that needs some complex underlying technology to be presented at its best. Your example might be great ones, I don't use them, but I'd say something like Gapminder.org [gapminder.org] fits as well. But for every one of those there are probably 50 sites that would benefit from being simplified. Slashdot would. I just ordered some dress shirts and can say that Biased Cut [biasedcut.com] , at best, makes dumb use of whizzy gadgets. I encounter far more sites where the gadgets just get in the way, or slow me down, than I do ones that are too simple.

Re:That's a Bit of a Hyperbole (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398440)

you should let the content of your site drive its design, rather than shoehorning the content into whatever gizmos seem coolest.

Thank you for demonstrating what Rule #2 of IT is all about: never let the web designer design your web page.

Web designers, by default, will give you the wildest, flashiest, monkey-punchiest web page they can manage to show off how l337 they are without regard to whether the site is usable or offers the visitor a good experience.

We all made fun of Geocities pages which were nothing but a cacophony of blinkin lights, yet, we have no problem with accepting the same from current pages, claiming they are new, modern and "interactive".

Fuck interactive. I don't need to see a video of a bunch of smiling people for you to tell me about your product.

Re:That's a Bit of a Hyperbole (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398380)

Not every site could take it to the extreme that Craiglist does, but every site could be improved by removing a lot of clutter.

Re:Uh... (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398112)

Ugly?

Re:Uh... (1)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398552)

Craigslist is extremely special. Very few people do simplicity anymore, and very few people do it right. Craigslist is a great example of what the rest of the web should be.

Although I agree with you in principle, I think craigslist could be more aesthetically pleasing without sacrificing simplicity. I find I've gotten used to the ugliness of the site and have just tuned out the bad aspects; also, I frequently use text-only interfaces, so such an experience becomes normal. It's wise to keep in mind that our judgment is colored by our experience, and try to view interfaces through the eyes of others. We shouldn't forget young users, those who have never used a command line interface, or those that grew up on software from the late 90s and 2000s just because we've been in the game longer. For them, it's simple *and* ugly, and there's no reason it has to be both ways. The site has gotten a tiny bit more pleasing to the eye over the past few years, but I think they can do better. Wikipedia, as an example, does a great job of simple and pleasing to the eye.

Re:Uh... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398710)

Although I agree with you in principle, I think craigslist could be more aesthetically pleasing without sacrificing simplicity. I find I've gotten used to the ugliness of the site and have just tuned out the bad aspects

Really now, is Craigslist any uglier than, for instance, Slashdot? In what world is plain text ugly? God forbid you people ever read a book.

Re:Uh... (1)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 3 years ago | (#37400484)

Really now, is Craigslist any uglier than, for instance, Slashdot? In what world is plain text ugly? God forbid you people ever read a book.

I didn't call plain text ugly. There is more than that involved; take any Wikipedia article, turn off the images in your browser and try to think about the layout in general...a lot of work goes into MediaWiki to make that all happen. Craigslist stays stagnant in that regard, preferring the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" maxim. Although that isn't the worst philosophy to apply to design, we wouldn't have any browsers at all, or any Web, with that mindset. And so what if slashdot is cluttered and ugly? Stay on topic. Don't be a prick and try to paint me as some idiot who doesn't read books. You don't know who you're talking to.

Re:Uh... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37403324)

take any Wikipedia article, turn off the images in your browser and try to think about the layout in general...a lot of work goes into MediaWiki to make that all happen

OK. I see content in the middle, separated into sections with a larger header. Navigation on the side, top and bottom. Looks a lot like Craigslist actually, except that Craigslist only has navigation on the top and bottom of its listing pages. I wouldn't call either of them ugly actually. What exactly should I have accomplished with this exercise?

Re:Uh... (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 3 years ago | (#37400546)

I tried reading a book once, but apparently it's batteries were dead and I couldn't figure out where the hell to plug it in..

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37398574)

I used to love Craigslist, and was one of the people who helped spread the word about Craigslist before it was as widely known.

In the past couple years, though, I've had nightmarish problems posting items for sale on Craigslist, i.e. items which seem to post successfully, but don't actually show up in the category list (a phenomenon apparently known as "ghosting"). I only learned of this after reading about the experiences of others users having the same problems. It seems Craigslist itself is of no help when it comes to such matters, and never replied to any of my inquiries about this.

You also have the problem of extremely small image size unless you host your own images, which apparently can be one of the things which can trigger the "ghosting" phenomenon (using HTML code setting off a flag, I guess).

Then you have the problem of virtually every post you make getting responses from what I assume to be email harvesters asking "Is your item still available?". I've had to start asking people to give me some information when replying to my ads to prove they're actually local.

In Germany, Craigslist is far less popular than the eBay Local site [kleinanzeigen.ebay.de] , which sucks, because I hate eBay as a company, but at least their local site is free like Craigslist and has a much better interface.

I still use Craigslist (when it allows me to) but between it and eBay, I have to say I'd love it if serious 3rd contender came along.

Re:Uh... (1)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398652)

Every website layout and design I came up with from 1998-2001 was the same as Craigslist. Its not 'special,' its just USEFUL.

Re:Uh... (1)

autocracy (192714) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398660)

I suppose I mis-stated myself. They have nothing special in the trade-secret sense; ostensibly nothing that can't be derived from looking at their website.

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37398974)

Craigslist is extremely special. Very few people do simplicity anymore, and very few people do it right. Craigslist is a great example of what the rest of the web should be.

Wow I take it you've never used Craigslist? When it first started off it was okay but last year I posted something for sale and got carpet bombed with scam e-mails. I used the Craigslist e-mail which in theory is anonymous but they used the Craigslist service to spam me. I even got contacted by a guy offering to buy the item for more than I was asking. He tried to pay for it with a check drawn on a college back east. There were in the end two banks and three states involved. The final check was for twice what the asking price was and he wanted me to send him the balance in the form of a money order. I wound up contacting the FBI since it was an interstate scam. They said it was so common that they didn't have the man power to pursue it. Basically the law didn't care. I contacted both the banks involved since the bank issued the check, even overnighted it, as well as the college that would have been scammed out of the money. None of them cared. No wonder there's so much crime of the sort. If I was stupid enough to fall for it the college and bank would have come after me and not the scam artist.

The whole point is Craigslist is mostly a hang out for spammers and scam artists so I'd avoid it like the plague. If the whole web was run that way as you suggested it'd be a useless nightmare. At least Ebay doespolice the scammers. There used to be a lot of pirate software on Ebay but they got rid of it all so as much as I hate them they do police their site. It's okay to buy from but it's a sellers nightmare. I'd never post anything for sale again. I lost a bundle the last time.

Re:Uh... (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 3 years ago | (#37399740)

regardless of how special you think Craigslist is, what does it have that could possibly be a trade secret?

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37402580)

Craigslist has been a waste of my time, every time. Every item I tried to sell second hand (rather than just throw away) I had to waste my time with dozens of idiots who either assume I'm a dealer by the indepth technical questions they ask (uh hello, if I were a dealer, the items would be 3x as much instead of some person trying to get rid of something more environmentally than tossing it plus a little cash), break appointments to see the item without calling (90% of the time) and never hear from again, or ask things already answered in the listing. Not to mention the "I'm intererest in your item" nigerian scam mailers.

The only thing special about Craigslist is how 90s it is. The way it makes localities is stupid and biased against the suburbs, why not make it zip code based and allow me, as the buyer/seller set limits on what I want to see and sell to? For a fridge, I'm going to restrict it to a 20 mile radius, while for a set of good kitchen knives, I'm willing to buy from whereever if the seller is willing to send it.

eBay is stupid in its own way, but it's not as much a waste of time. About the only thing I look up on craiglist anymore is some services like lawnmowing or repair, or where to find free stuff like pallets.

Re:Uh... (1)

randyleepublic (1286320) | more than 3 years ago | (#37407024)

Craigslist are also pricks. They threaten legal action against anyone who aggregates their listings. Why? Who does this hurt?

Re:Uh... (3, Informative)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37397920)

Methods for metric analysis, which is the core of Craigslists' valuation. They do a really good job at understanding who is coming to their site. This would be of interest to anyone looking to build an online community.

I had been waiting for this to come down. Something told me the board of CL had mangy ethics and I could see how this was a conflict of interest.

Re:Uh... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398062)

I thought no business cared about the individuals any more. At least that is the feeling I get when I listen to the 25th recording of how valuable a customer I am to them... Could also by why I am on craigslist so much.

Re:Uh... (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398252)

EBay was oddly pretty open [craigslist.org] about this when they acquired a stake.

"The reason we did this minority investment really was for learning purposes: it gives us access to learn how the classified market online works."

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37438224)

I wish the government would find something better to do besides wasting taxpayer money on this. If anything, this should be a civil matter taken to court, and even then, our courts should simply dismiss such frivolous claims. No sense in wasting government resources on such petty issues.

But I suppose political grandstanding is important.

Say what? (1)

spamking (967666) | more than 3 years ago | (#37397766)

Craigslist has a board?

Re:Say what? (1)

index0 (1868500) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398172)

What I find funny is there seems to be a shortage of CEO type workers. Why were board members from one company need to be board members in another company?

Re:Say what? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37399642)

Because back in the early days of the internet, when Pets.com still roomed the land and Yahoo’s claim that they would dethrone E-Bay, E-Bay was looking for other options then selling Pez dispensers. Not know what was coming next they look for new opportunities.

They found Craigslist employee who had gotten stock and wanted to cash out – and bought in. Now they’re stuck with it.

Their like a devoiced couple who both live in the same home – with Craig claiming the house is not worth much at all and E-Bay not willing to sell at Craig’s low price. So they snip at each other.

Craig has stocked the board with his friends – which he can because he owns the majority of the company – and E-Bay gripes about fat compensation checks to Craig and management.

Craig is not interested in a IPO (Where E-Bay could dump their stock on the open market). Nor is he interested in commercializing the site [banner ads, etc] to squeeze every last penny – making it hard for E-Bay to sell to a private equity firm or something like that. Nor is he intrested in raising the funds to buy E-Bay out.

eh gross, but better pictures and description? (1)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 3 years ago | (#37397792)

Pretty sure you would get arrested for posting Craigslist type services on Ebay. Never seen those services offered on Ebay!

US Launches in my pants (0)

slashpot (11017) | more than 3 years ago | (#37397834)

I have a Criminal Probe ..... in my pants!

eBay claims (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#37397872)

That they invented the online auction, when in fact, BBS's did this LONG before the internet arrived. I guess idiots are all over.

IBM - Intel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37398038)

IBM did the same thing to Intel in 1982, when IBM purchased 12% of Intel [randomstuff.org.uk] IBM purchased 12% of Intel. At that time, IBM raided Intel; and started to make it's own competing processors. It then went to AMD and had them "second source" CPU's for their PC. Then -- In 1985, IBM started making it's own processors.

This would be a classic case of stealing trade secrets.

There has always been a "watch out", that savor might not be there to save your company, but rather to take what it can and leave you high and dry.

Re:IBM - Intel? (4, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398306)

The difference is that Craigslist was not (and is not) a publicly traded company, Intel was. Ebay got the shares in Craigslist by buying them from a disgruntled (former?) employee of Craigslist. The number of shares entitled Ebay to a seat on Craigslist's Board. Craigslist has since changed its rules concerning selling shares to prevent something similar from happening. At the time, there was evidence that Ebay was trying to buy Craigslist. When that plan was thwarted/abandoned Ebay started to build a competing classified ads section.

If only eBay *had* followed Craigslist's model... (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398158)

God! eBay is a nightmare to use, is covered with graphics to slow it down and has one of the worst user-interfaces I've ever had to deal with. But worst of all, they force all seller-buyer interaction THROUGH ebay.com -- you can't email each other, you can't pay with any method except paypal, etc., etc.

Craiglist, on the other hand, is easy to use, clean interface, pretty much text-only, fast, and forces the buyer & seller to deal with each other OUTSIDE of Craiglist, so transactions happen much more cleanly, 99% of Craigslist sales are local, done via emails and phone calls, and it's all cash.

I only *wish* eBay had "stolen" from Craigslist. Maybe then eBay would be a use-able website instead of the incredible mess it is, filled with Romanian scammers and identity thieves.

Re:If only eBay *had* followed Craigslist's model. (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398288)

Relevant rant: eBay Patents 10-Click Checkout [blogspot.com]

Re:If only eBay *had* followed Craigslist's model. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37398494)

Really? Most of the stuff I buy of ebay isn't local, and I have no desire to talk to some guy half way across the country about I want to buy. I certainly don't have any desire to meet anonymous strangers in a parking lot to exchange goods. Ebay is an auction site and is necessarily more complex. Craigslist is classified ads and therefore simple.

Re:If only eBay *had* followed Craigslist's model. (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398742)

eBay's online auction site is not a competitor to Craig's List, so your comment is pointless whinging.

eBay's classified ads business -- *is* a competitor to Craig's List and has pretty much decimated newspaper classifieds (and Craig's List) in many areas outside of the US. At the moment they are hosting over 4,000,000 ads in Canada, 1,000,000 in the UK and God knows how many more around the world.

And, incidentally, it's quite well designed. Or at least the version I use is (it varies from region to region).

Re:If only eBay *had* followed Craigslist's model. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37399130)

eBay DID steal from Craigslist. Go to www.kijiji.com and notice you get redirected to eBay classifieds. Now check out www.kijiji.ca. It's Craigslist with pictures. I'd been used to using Craigslist in the States, and then I moved to Canada. They apparently don't have much market penetration here (chalk it up to having no marketing employees), and everyone uses Kijiji. There are nonstop Kijiji tv ads. I took a look at the site and thought to myself, "Huh, it looks like a Craigslist ripoff." And then I found out it's owned by eBay, and that they founded it not long after they joined Craigslist's board. Hmmm...

Break eBay! (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398244)

Personally, I'd like to see eBay's grip on the online auction market go away. I say if they did steal trade secrets, break eBay down so that another potential online auctioneer could conceivably get into the market.

Yes, I know, there are currently no competitors out there. But I am also positive that, give the opportunity, Google or Apple or even Yahoo! could make an investment into an online auctioneer OR develop an in-house alternative. Hell, it could be the one thing that saves Yahoo! - or at least reinvigorates it.

Re:Break eBay! (2)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398332)

It's the opposite. eBay has been trying to get into the classified ads business for years. During the same years referenced in TFA, they tried to buy out Craigslist's biggest competitor in Europe. When the owner refused eBay came out with their own clone.

Re:Break eBay! (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 3 years ago | (#37399018)

Maybe I should have been clearer - I understand what is going on with this case. I know eBay wants to get into the Craigslist model of doing business.

What I am saying is that this is a perfect opportunity to break some of eBay's monopoly on the online auction market -- IF they are proven to have stolen trade secrets from Craigslist, then why should they not suffer? If an individual steals trade secrets, and is proven guilty, then they are dealt with harshly. Just because eBay is a company does not - and should not - preclude them from being dealt with harshly; harsh enough to make them stutter-step in the core business market and provide an opening for a competitor.

Re:Break eBay! (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#37399710)

Personally, I'd like to see eBay's grip on the online auction market go away. I say if they did steal trade secrets, break eBay down so that another potential online auctioneer could conceivably get into the market.

Yes, I know, there are currently no competitors out there. But I am also positive that, give the opportunity, Google or Apple or even Yahoo! could make an investment into an online auctioneer OR develop an in-house alternative. Hell, it could be the one thing that saves Yahoo! - or at least reinvigorates it.

There are a lot of competitors. Most are smaller sites you never heard of (problem #1). But they offer better deals than eBay - cheaper fees, accept any payment (problem #2).

And we're not even getting to the whole almost-scammy pay-to-bid sites that advertise "get an iPad for $30" (which are actually legit - the winner did get an iPad for $30 ending bid... but getting to that point is scammy).

Problem is, eBay has critical mass. Sellers hate it, but sell there because there are lots of buyers. Buyers hate it because there are no deals, but go there because there are lots of sellers.

The smaller sites I've seen the most common complaints were "I've been lowballed", "eBay gets me higher bids and more money", "items never reach the reserve," and "buyers are cheapskates and bid half of what eBay gets." Which of course happen because fewer buyers, and the ones there are are looking for deals (probably to sell on eBay for a profit).

And that's the problem - the smaller sites use lower fees to attract sellers, but the sellers expect eBay style bids from the fewer bidders out there. The smaller sites can't attract bidders because the sellers refuse to sell below eBay pricing, and well, buyers would rather just visit eBay and pay eBay prices, than visit eBay and someone else for the same price.

(Anyone who doesn't know, eBay got big because they were well known for deals - cheap prices on all sorts of stuff. After the dotcom crash, eBay hit critical mass and the average selling prices went up and the deals were gone. Now it's practically full retail pricing.)

Earlier I mentioned that payments were a problem. They are. If you're a business, it's not too much of an issue since you can get a merchant account and accept credit cards. If you're a small time seller, merchant accounts are much harder to come by, and the end result is you pretty much have to accept Paypal. Because one sure way to discourage a buyer is forcing them to get off their ass, go to the bank or post office to get a cheque or money order, then mail it off and wait up to two weeks for you to get it. Then another couple of weeks for it to clear. Then the item ships and 6-8 weeks later you get the item. And this is the internet age, not mail order.

nothing to steal? (1)

plurgid (943247) | more than 3 years ago | (#37398482)

puttin' strings into databases, retrieving them,
and html formatting them!

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta

Craigslist not a saint... (1)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | more than 3 years ago | (#37400176)

While I loathe eBay and use Craigslist as my primary buy/sell stuff site, CL has really been pissing me off lately. They attack and shut down aggregator sites, yet provide no easy way to search several local CL sites. If CL had an advanced search to simply type in a mile radius from your location to search, then there wouldn't be a need for aggregators. They refuse to implement this, yet still shut down aggregators.

I use Craigslist frequently for hard to find items, like parts to restore classic cars, uncommon engines and engine parts, rare transmissions, buying classic cars, looking for older inboard boats, and other things of this nature where the items I'm seeking are not common. I need an aggregator as I'm willing to drive anywhere from 200-1000 miles depending on the rarity and value of waht I'm looking for, as well as how long I've been looking. I'm not going to drive 1000 miles for an air conditioner, a refridgerator, a grill, wrenches, power tools, or other stuff like that which is relatively common and can easily be found locally if I opt to buy used. The bottom line though, is an aggregator is required to make Craigslist useful... That and my employer appreciates that by using an aggregator I spend less time searching CL at work.

As for eBay, I have a carburator I want to sell and figured eBay might be quicker to sel lthan Craigslist. I checked their fees and it would cost me $29 to sell. That's absurd! I would have to raise the cost by $29, plus add a disclaimer that if paying with PayPal please add 3% to the total price to account for PayPay (owned by eBay) fees. These costs would have to be added to price I want, pushing my price somewhat above the average market price for that carburetor, which means it might not sell at all and I'd be out the $2 insertion fee. So I quickly decided to not sell it on eBay and instead listed it on Craigslist as well as a couple automotive forums that I frequent.

Re:Craigslist not a saint... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37406602)

I would have to raise the cost by $29, plus add a disclaimer that if paying with PayPal please add 3% to the total price to account for PayPay (owned by eBay) fees.

And you'd get your account suspended for doing so!

eBay's payment surcharges policy [ebay.com]

Re:Craigslist not a saint... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37458768)

www.searchtempest.com

informa7ive DICKDICK (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37401432)

Moans an3 groans

DOJ butt out (1)

Only a-z,A-Z,0-9,$_, (2368852) | more than 3 years ago | (#37403086)

Why is the Justice Dept spending taxpayer's money getting into the middle of what is basically a private dispute between the two companies?

Re:DOJ butt out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37403844)

Why is the Justice Dept spending taxpayer's money getting into the middle of what is basically a private dispute between the two companies?

Because when companies gain a monopoly by cheating it hurts taxpayers the most.

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