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Can eBay Make You Rich?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the sounds-like-as-much-work-as-a-storefront dept.

235

adamlazz writes "For 11 years, eBay has been a great resource to buy or sell goods without leaving your computer. And with many stories of people getting rich exclusively from doing business on eBay, NewsFactor has decided to go in depth with these stories, and explore what it takes to really make your million on eBay. From the article: 'A tiered system designed to reward qualified sellers, the PowerSeller program is by invitation only, and has a number of criteria that must be maintained to keep the designation. At the lowest level, Bronze, a PowerSeller must average at least $1,000 in sales per month for three consecutive months; have an account in good standing; and get an overall feedback rating of 100, with at least 98 percent of the comments marked as positive.'"

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Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15654913)

If you have enough of something people want at the right price then why couldn't you get rich selling things on EBay? It's not really any different then selling things in a shop or through your own website.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15654937)

It's like anything else. It's a little bit of creativity, a little bit of business savvy, work, and time. For those of us who are too lazy to go through this route to make our way there are 9-5 jobs. There are those whose job is solely to buy wholesale and sell retail, and they've been there since the day of the trader with his horse-drawn cart rolling into town. eBay just tweaks the rules a bit.

I don't personally want to use something that could leave me high-and-dry if something goes awry, and I'm too lazy to research aspects that mitigate the risks. So, I don't eBay. I work a state-level IT job. Not a lot of reward, but not a lot of risk either, and I don't have to worry about stability.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (4, Interesting)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655451)

I was running my own business up until early this year and I can confirm it is possible to make (some) money on eBay. I have come to see eBay as the business equivalent of a hidden reef for shipping. At first glance it appears to be a good way to get to customers and make some money but once you have taken into account all the factors the profit margin is tiny. I worked out that if I did nothing but pack boxes all day I could just about turn a profit over all.

The problem is that every company is trying to grab their portion of the market and they all do it by having the lowest price. There were times when I would look at items for sale and consider bidding on them myself because they were going for less than I could get them from my supplier (and I felt I had a good deal from my supplier). Six months or a year after first appearing most companies have vanished, presumably because they have burnt through their seed money trying to grab a portion of the market.

I'm not saying this situation is wrong, it's capitalism in action and it's great for the shoppers. It is, however, causing a lot of businesses to go to the wall and using up a lot of people life savings on route.

In other news... (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655697)

I work a state-level IT job. Not a lot of reward, but not a lot of risk either, and I don't have to worry about stability.

In other news, massive layoff of state-level IT workers due to outsourcing. Film at 11.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (3, Informative)

devjj (956776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655013)

When the profit margin on the products you're selling is constant and eBay constantly raises the fees, then no, you can't.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (4, Insightful)

MrNougat (927651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655656)

When the profit margin on the products you're selling is constant and eBay constantly raises the fees, then no, you can't.

If your profit margin was constant while eBay was raising fees, you would have to be raising your selling price (so that the increased fees were not cutting into the profit margin).

In other words, yes, you can. If eBay raises its fees, then you raise your price (or reserve). If you are still unable to compete in the marketplace, then you need to figure out how to spend less capital on something else (because, if you're unable to compete, then someone is succeeding, and you need to do what they're doing).

More generally, when the market changes, businesses must change to keep up. Unless you're the RIAA/MPAA, in which case you can wave your arms around and sue people a lot.

And the answer is... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655014)

Because we vastly overestimate the intelligence of people. Some idiot sold a million pixels on his website for a million dollars, but we sit here thinking people expect something that's, well, worth something ...

Instead, all they want is pointless, worthless crap, or space on a giant banner ad site no sane person would ever visit save out of morbid curiousity after seeing an article carried by the AP. And no, I'm not about to link to the wretched thing.

Thus, the formula appears to be:
1. Invent completely something idiotic, yet popular[*]
2. ???
3. Profit

[*] These traits are entirely too compatible. For example, take Adam Sandler or Jim Carrey...

Re:And the answer is... (4, Insightful)

mjh (57755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655670)

Instead, all they want is pointless, worthless crap, or space on a giant banner ad site no sane person would ever visit save out of morbid curiousity after seeing an article carried by the AP.

Why do you care? If the thing that I want seems pointless to you, what do you care? I'd bet that you purchase some things that seem pointless to me. But the advantage of me earning my money and you earning your money is that we each get to decide what to do with it, even if it seems pointless to someone else.

Just out of curiosity, how would you propose that purchasing be done? Are you suggesting that we prevent people from purchasing what you think of as pointless crap? How would you implement that? What if that enforcement agency looked at slashdot, saw all of the -1 rated posts and concluded that this was a pointless purchase? Don't you think that you'd feel your freedom was impinged upon? Don't you think that if you enforce purchasing controls, that ALL people who aren't allowed to purchase something they want (even if it's "pointless crap") will also feel that their freedom was impinged upon?

Personally, I don't see any way of solving the pointless crap problem without dramatically curtailing individual freedom. IMHO, I'm happy to live with the problem of folks buying "pointless crap" if it means we get to keep individual freedom.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655071)

eBay allows someone to reach a very large market very quickly. If someone can find the right product cheaply and sell it on at a large margin to customers who normally pay higher margins to specialist retailers then eBay is an easy, fast and low risk (think of the bank loans you'd need to set up a high street store) way to start buying and selling.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (1)

Dawsons (986350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655124)

Perfect comment to sum the whole article up really... ebay is no different to selling items in a physical shop where the stock is on demand... what more can be said?

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (5, Insightful)

1iar_parad0x (676662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655185)

If you're bringing in $100,000+ per month in sales, you probably should get your own site. EBay is great for the 'small-time' or 'early-stage' seller. It's a robust engine that can handle heavy traffic and activity and is reasonably secure. However, if you've got sales as high as mentioned in the article, I can't imagine how EBay could provide an adequate solution for you. If you sell big ticket items, you probably want some binding contractual arrangement. On the other hand, if you have an incredibly high volume of sales, you probably want to better cater the shopper's experience and would have an E-commerce site of your own. Not to mention the fact that you'd need some internal system (even an Access database) to track all of your sales and shipping data. Maybe EBay's API allows you to do some of these things. I'd certainly be happy to hear about anyone experiences with it.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (5, Insightful)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655313)

It seems to me that some of these people that do have a high volume of sales do have e-commerce sites, but use eBay as really cheap advertisement. Most regular people look to eBay as one of the first sources when they buy stuff. If the actual sale amount is cheap, then the percentage cut eBay takes isn't much, and the listing fees are constant if you do a high enough volume, which amounts to have much reduced cost of hosting, advertising, developing, and you reach a huge audience.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (1)

pimpin apollo (664314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655318)

Ebay bids are binding contractual agreements. There's nothing unique about a computer transaction that somehow removes it from being legally binding.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (1)

1iar_parad0x (676662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655374)

A contract is only as good as your ability to enforce it in court. While legally you are correct in saying that a computer transaction can be made into a legally binding agreement, producing evidence that joe sixpack @ 111.111.111.111 is really who he says he is and collecting on that contract may be more difficult. Do I really want to bring a computer forensics expert or my sysadmin to court? Plus, tying a face, identification, and a 'physical presence' to a legal contract only adds to the legitimacy.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655375)

Companies like IBM and Sun have $billions in sales, yet they still put stuff on eBay. For certain items (eg used or referb computers), eBay is the primary marketplace.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (5, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655478)

A big eBay seller opening their own independent site could be the death of them. eBay is like the super mall, it brings in a whackload of potential customers and everyone's marketing efforts sort-of cooperate in that environment. i.e. if your competitor's ad brings in people to the mall, they will also see your store and maybe you'll get a sale too, for "free". Just as if someone's looking at one eBayer's item list, then glances down at the "related items" table they might come across one of your sales.

The prime difference when it comes to eBay, and the one that makes it horribly dangerous, is that very same easy access to other shops. There is ZERO customer loyalty on eBay, people just check your feedback once they have already found what they want. You could be selling some doodad at the same price as a competitor, but that other fellow may charge a dollar less for shipping and you've just lost the sale. People come to the real mall with a specific store in mind, then walk around the rest to see if there's anything else they want. People come to ebay with a specific product in mind, and they will compare everyone's offerings to get the best deal. It's the Walmart effect, automated and unsupervised.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655585)

If you have enough of something people want at the right price then why couldn't you get rich selling things on EBay? It's not really any different then selling things in a shop or through your own website.

Because once you start to make money, people will notice and undercut your price. Some will sell below cost, because they just want to move stuff. So unless you have something unique, with a lock on the supply, you can't keep a fat profit margin. That's the difference with shops; you're competing with the entire planet, not just your neighbours or a small group that can form a cabal.

Re:Why couldn't you get rich via EBay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655713)

I have been using ebay for years. Its a good way to make money however it is along the same lines as being a salesman, you have to have some kind of "drive" and "desire" to actually get the money out of it.

Too many people just think that you buy some magic book, start selling, and thats it. Problem is it actually takes time to really get the thousands and thousands that people talk about.

The best advise I can give is to watch. Read. Look. Have a gander at what others are doing, what products are selling, how they are sold, the prices etc then find a product and sell like stonk!

There is plenty of software to help.

I moved away from ebay in recent months and now make my money using adwords etc. I keep a diary about how I am making money online at http://blog.brightonvibes.com/ [brightonvibes.com] if any of you are interested.

No thanks. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15654915)

eBay is corrupt. I'd rather wait and see how I can make my millions with Google instead.

No. (-1, Flamebait)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 8 years ago | (#15654923)

Not you.

Re:No. (1)

360fusion (922660) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655099)

Bitter much?

Better question (5, Insightful)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15654925)

A better question than "can you get rich on ebay?" is "is getting rich on ebay worth the time, boredom, and effort?". I think the answer is no, at least for me, as there are more interesting things I would rather be doing (see sig.).

Re:Better question (0, Flamebait)

snailly (980183) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655034)

Yes more interesting things, like rehashing multiple century old thought in a blog.

Re:Better question (1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655110)

How you spend your time is your own choice. Its not like I'm forcing you to like philosophy. Get a grip.

Re:Better question (1)

bumptehjambox (886036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655361)

"Philosophy is a state of fermentation, a process without final outcome." -Esa Saarinen

Damn the internet for reviving an art from its respected and peaceful death.

is getting rich on ebay worth the time, boredom, and effort?

It keeps some of us from working in hell, the worth of that is goddamn immeasurable.

-Time can be widdled down to minutes per week with a well-planned system and some automated action.
-Boredom isn't too much of an issue unless you've nothing to do but pace around your desk while you check your stats, but thats not eBay's fault.
-Effort is fairly low, like I said; plan it all out, get a UPS account for pick-up and you can work it out to minutes per week.

Worth the effort? (2, Interesting)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655254)

A better question than "can you get rich on ebay?" is "is getting rich on ebay worth the time, boredom, and effort?". I think the answer is no, at least for me, as there are more interesting things I would rather be doing (see sig.).

It depends on what your goal is. I don't think you can get as rich as Bill Gates is by dealing on Ebay but you I know a few people who earn a living selling merchandize on sites like Ebay. If you happen to have a small corner shop that sells, say sports goods, photographers supples, new or used books etc.. you can supplement the income from your store, especially if you specialize in a niche market and cater to hobbyists or people who practice sports that are not quite as massively popular as foot ball or basketball and for which you cannot get supplies in your neighborhood sports outlet. Another new fad is used car dealers who make use of favorable exchange rates to buy used cars via Ebay but that is something you have to be very careful with since it is easy to get burned. Dealing on via an intermediary like Ebay or Amazon helps because they get a lot of traffic and because there is greater trust than if you are selling your merchandize through a badly designed homecooked website. Even so, Ebay wouldn't always be my first choice if I had to make my living selling stuff online.

Re:Worth the effort? (4, Insightful)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655279)

Well if you are already committed to physically selling and buying items as a way to make money then you are certainly right, there is no reason not to use ebay. What I was pointing out is that there is no "free" way to make money. Beyond ebay's transaction fees you must also commit a decent amount of time and energy making it work and moving enough inventory to support yourself. I think that in the eyes of many doing this kind of job is so boring that it isn't worth the money, and that we would rather be doing something else even if it pays less.

Re:Worth the effort? (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655420)

What I was pointing out is that there is no "free" way to make money.

I agree completely it's a bit like this whole daytrading fad, it's the couchpotatoe's dream, making money whilst sitting on your arse and despite the fact that you have only basic education and no specialist knowledge of economics. There are certainly day traders, professional bank or investment firms employees and some savvy amateur traders, that know what they are doing but one gets the feeling that for alot of the amateur day traders who have a limted knowledge of what they are doing day trading is really just a substitute for gambling and what keeps them going are the 'fish stories' about some garage mechanic who walked in off the street into a Daytraders Café and made 1.000.000 dollars in 60 seconds. Ebay on the other hand can be described as being: A few Intelligent people (Ebay's owners) making a ton of money off of ordinary traders of various goods (who are either supplementing their income or just making a living). The traders in turn make money firstly off of the ordinary customers who come there for bargains and tend to bid rather conservatively and secondly the people with alot more money than sense (ie. the fools/addicts bidding $500 for a PDA they can get for $300 elsewhere).

The answer is yes... (5, Funny)

pookemon (909195) | more than 8 years ago | (#15654944)

I'm sure the creator(s) of ebay are probably fairly well off.

Re:The answer is yes... (1)

cwalk (899502) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655005)

Not to mention Elizabeth Millard from newsfactor.com, she is a perfect example of people getting rich just by writing about getting rich on ebay.

Well (5, Insightful)

thealsir (927362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15654945)

There are a bunch of spammers selling tons of things in various uncontextually related categories so they get the most bid. They have polluted ebay with noise, and it seems little is being done to stop them. It makes searching for some products (especially specialized ones) such a pain.

"Getting rich on ebay" is akin to "keyword spamming with listings."

There is a group that makes money legitimately. However, that group is not insanely rich.

Re:Well (4, Interesting)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655113)

What eBay needs is a 'killfile' feature. When you've had your fill of page after page of mousepads and t-shirts in the "Sun Hardware" area, you should be able to bump the spammer right off your search/browses.

one thing I'm sure is (0)

sixpacker (687012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15654956)

we are making eBay rich. Peroid.

Re:one thing I'm sure is (1)

jt2377 (933506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655024)

if you read the article, it depend on how much do you want to make on ebay. selling on ebay will not make you rich like Bill Gates or million dolloar rich but it's a good stream of income if you reach certain status.

As a buyer it costs money if anything goes wrong (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15654972)

If anything goes wrong for an Ebay transaction and you can't settle it with the seller, you may be out of pocket for at least the cost of providing 3rd party "impartial" proof on a company letterhead that there is indeed something wrong with the item you received, and if you're outside the US, you may to have to fax it at your expense to the US. On a low value transaction, it just isn't worth it and you're not going to get your money back...and this is if you pay by Paypal. One thing though. If you pay by credit card and you return the item if its not as described (again at your own cost) you might be able to get your credit card company to issue a chargeback.

Now, the only reason that a seller can't sell 100 low value items, then ship turnips instead is that it'd affect their feedback score.

I use to buy lots on Ebay until I had a problem with a low value transaction. I'm not planning to use Ebay again.

I'm posting anonymously because even though what I am saying is true, I wouldn't want Ebay or Paypal to initiate legal action as prooving that I hadn't slandered them would cost a mint.

Obligatory nitpick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655096)

Written defamation is libel, and ebay probably doesnt care anyway.

Re:As a buyer it costs money if anything goes wron (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655117)

What were you primarily buying on eBay? The big rolls of astroturf you're now peddling here?

Re:As a buyer it costs money if anything goes wron (3, Interesting)

davetv (897037) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655172)

I ordered a 2 gig "SD" flash memory card from a Hong Kong vendor. The price for the card was $47.95 (au) ... the transaction appeared to me as $49.95 INCLUDING postage. I clicked "buy". It became apparent after accepting the transaction that the card was $47.95 and the POSTAGE was $49.95 on top. A total of $97.90. The postage was excessive considering the price of the article and I questioned the vendor by email. The only response that I received (multiple times) was "You bid - now you must pay - thanks" repeatedly. I advised Ebay about the vendor and the fact that they were breaking Ebay rules by using "Excessive Postage".

I even advised the vendor that i would engage DHL worldwide couriers and pay for shipping costs myself. The vendor responded as per above "You bid - now you must pay - thanks".

No resolution was reached.

Re:As a buyer it costs money if anything goes wron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655501)

I have a very simple rule for buying things on ebay. Don't buy them from Hong Kong!

I do find it quite annoying how some sellers manage to enter their address as Hong Kong, United Kingdom. But doing the search for items within a given distance and putting 2000 miles in seems to solve that.

Re:As a buyer it costs money if anything goes wron (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655589)

I recently purchased from a Hong Kong based vendor, and was suspicious of their credibility, so I contacted several of the recent and not-so-recent buyers to get more detailed feedback. It was only after I received that feedback, that I was willing to put my moolah on the line (about AUD 160.00)

Re:As a buyer it costs money if anything goes wron (1)

Tomfrh (719891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655654)

Sometimes you politely have to tell people to F off. That's the problem with ebay, everyone's so wussy about protecting their precious 100% that they won't neg people or tell em to get stuffed if things go bad.

YES! (4, Funny)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15654985)

Haven't you seen the infomercial? That guy's made millions! And it couldn't be on an infomercial if it weren't true, right?

Re:YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655396)

I'm going to get rich selling "Get rich quick selling guides on how to make 'get rich quick selling on eBay' infomercials" on eBay.

Get rich anywhere. (1)

theaddkid.com (983011) | more than 8 years ago | (#15654989)

It really is nothing more then supply and demand if you can get a large enough quantity of something that a lot of people want you can get rich with ebay or just selling it on your own website unless you have like 10,000 stolen ipods then you can get rich anywhere.

Re:Get rich anywhere. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655614)

"than" you ignorant $*(^%&#$ NOT "then" and stop using idiotic nonsense terms such as "supply and demand" that dont mean anything

A system open for abuse? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655000)

"Gimme $2000 or I drop your posative feedback below 98%!"

What's to stop someone from using cheap chinese labour from making thousands of bogus accounts just for blackmailing ebayers?

Re:A system open for abuse? (2, Interesting)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655320)

Nothing, really. Although ebay wants the name of your unborn first child in addition to a ton of other related financial information. If someone in organized crime wanted to do it, it would be almost trivial.
Problem is that for the rest of us - IIRC, only one feedback counts per account (per time period?) - this was different in the begining, until people started boosting their feedback with false purchases (a week? ;)

That all said, I hate the vultures on ebay who charge bullshit shipping prices and I've bid on some products with the sole intention of ruining their 100% feedback ratings with a negative feedback in the past few years. In exchange, I get a NPB or 3 on a throwaway account - something that leaves me crying at night.
I know, I know, it is ultimately a small thing, but I get a teensy weensy sense of satisfaction by knowing, no matter what they do, they will never get that 100% again.

Before the apologists chime in saying "OMG GAS IS SOO MUCH AND I HAVE TO PAY FOR PACKING MATERIAL AND THAT IS WHY SHIPPING IS $12 FOR SOMETHING THAT WEIGHS 1 POUND" - no assholes, USPS will provide (and even deliver) free boxes, packing material, tape (ok, no tape anymore, people sort of abused it, but then again, they did send you 24 rolls at a time) and will pick up your packages from your doorstep if you ship priority mail, so die in a fire. I really have no fucking patience for people who blatantly and openly commit fraud.

Besides, ebay loves the power sellers because they make tons of money on them (which is also the reason why ebay puts up with clearly fraudulent - and, may I add, quite illegal under several laws - auctions such as $12 prada handbags from Hong Kong with unlisted shipping fees. [ebay.com] And look, the seller is a power seller!
Ebay (and paypal) makes a killing on each and every single sale, regardless of whether it is fraudulent - although they don't make any money on shipping fees. I'm actually surprised that ebay hasn't started going after sellers who inflate the shipping fees to avoid paying ebay their cut. I suppose that with the paypal fees (which are basically pure profit, it isn't like their buyer protection is worth a half damn to the defrauded purchaser, it all works out for ebay quite nicely.
Sadly, because of the obvious conflict of interest, fenceBay won't be the ones who put an end to this sort of behaviour.

Actually... (3, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655593)

in the real 'beginning' feedback was not transactional.

I have a collection hobby, and I actively pursued ebay for more items of my hobby

when I saw weak or less than informative listings in their infancy I'd write the sellers, correct the name or spelling or whatever I knew about the piece to help the seller do a little better.. I have two feedbacks in my history that have no item #-- just sellers who bounced a thank you...

'course, my motivation was- folks who wanted the same series of toys would have less cash for the ones where I didn't help the sellers out....

uhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655009)

First, a little insider information. On eBay, to realize an enormous profit, you almost always need to become a Titanium PowerSeller.
This article is kind of backwards and pointless - well of course you're making money on Ebay if you're a Titanium PowerSeller ($150,000 per month in sales)!

Re:uhh (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655152)

$150,000/month in sales won't make you rich if you have $200,000 a month in expenses.

Ebay made me rich in experience! (5, Funny)

mano_k (588614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655041)

Realy, I learned a lot about the value of things by selling on Ebay!

Sell something realy good and expensive - nobody will bid.

Sell the contents of your wastebasket - undreamed of profit!

Re:Ebay made me rich in experience! (5, Interesting)

thomasj (36355) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655129)

I know, I know. It is humourous. And I laughed too.

... But there is a grain of serious truth in this: If you value a good you are selling, chances are that it is rated too high. If you sell what you consider junk, chances are that you provide more value to somebody else than the good provides you.

This the marginal law. If I have a thousand coconuts, the last coconut provides me very little value. On the other hand somebody without coconuts at all would want to give you good money for the first coconut, less for the next ones, and very little for the 100th coconut. But as economy works, there will only be one price: The price at which the seller would think the price of the last sold coconut is still fine, and the buyer thinks the same of the last bought coconut. And that is the marginal principle. If you try to sell something where the marginal value of the (one piece of) good you are selling is higher than any buyer would have of buying it, there is no provision for a trade.

So, yes, funny but more than that.

Re:Ebay made me rich in experience! (1)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655158)

Sell the contents of your wastebasket - undreamed of profit!

Not quite... but maybe you can make $1 selling a box of crap [ebay.com] .

Um... Isnt that the very definition of trading? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655471)

Sell stuff you don't want/need/like and buy stuff you do want/need/like.

 

Re:Ebay made me rich in experience! (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655705)

Why not take it to the next level? All you need is a toast grill and an ample supply of cheese...

Why does this sound like Amway? (4, Insightful)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655045)

Why does this sound like Amway?

Tiered sales .... um, hint #1. Invitation only, hint #2. Minimum sell to achieve "privileged" status ...hm.

Can't I just buy the box of soap and go home?

Re:Why does this sound like Amway? (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655121)

It's more of a cult really, where the leaders take 10% in ebay and paypal fees.

They show their "conventions" on CNBC sometimes. 1000's of middle aged, overweight women (and some men). Sadly, the thought that poped into my head was "wow, that crowd makes a Star Trek convention look like 90210."

If any other organization was taking 10% of your income, they'd be called the mob, and arrested for shaking down merchants :)

Re:Why does this sound like Amway? (2, Funny)

Frightening (976489) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655161)

Sounds like any average club party. Privileged status is equivalent to girls & cocaine on the second floor.

*reviews parent*

Or maybe you mean a whites only party?

*reviews again*

No wait I get it. You're anti-communist(TM).

*reviews again*

You're killing me here. Have mercy. What do you mean? Western politics? Oriental fairy tales? You ruined my day.

Re:Why does this sound like Amway? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655633)

Amway, Herbalife, Rainbow Vacuum cleaners, the list is endless. What is interesting is that some of these "bronse/silver/gold recruit a marketeer" schemes are banned in large parts of the world. While I am not familiar with the actual variety used by eBay it will be interesting if it will stand to the scrutiny of European consumer law. It is quite vicious on the subject in some of the member states.

Top ten ways to get rich (5, Interesting)

Skythe (921438) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655064)

My friends mum does quite well for herself on ebay. She buys clothing from op shops and sells them on ebay for higher prices, usually ironing/washing and restoring the clothes herself if needed. She makes at least a few hundred a month, cant really remember how much, but she does very good for herself for a mother of 5 kids.

Re:Top ten ways to get rich (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655144)

A few hundred a month is doing quite well? I suppose it's better than nothing, but with five kids that probably only pays for groceries for a week. Factor in the time and expense it takes to acquire and repair the clothing plus fulfill orders and you have to wonder if it's even working out to minimum wage.
 

Re:Top ten ways to get rich (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655166)

She makes at least a few hundred a month, cant really remember how much, but she does very good for herself for a mother of 5 kids.

I hope she has some other form of (non-government-provided) income! A couple hundred a month is nowhere near enough to provide for five children (Assumption 1: She lives in the US or an equivalent country, not a third-world country where a few hundred a month is insanely rich. Assumption 2: When you say "a few hundred", I assume that means "a few hundred dollars". Since you probably really mean "a few hundred pounds", given your usage of the word "mum", adjust the following numbers appropriately for the currency.)

US Federal minimum wage is $5.15/hr [dol.gov] (many states have a higher minimum wage than the federal standard). A full-time (40 hours per week) worker at minimum wage makes $206/week before taxes, or $824/mo (4 weeks in a month). While the minimum wage is supposed to be a "living wage", that full-time minimum wage worker earns $10,712 per year (again, before taxes -- while she'll get that money back come tax time, her normal take-home pay will be much less). That's just barely above the poverty line [wikipedia.org] for a single-person household. For the lady in question, her household consists of at least six (possibly seven, as you made no mention of a father/husband). The poverty threshold for a six person family is $26,800/year, which is more than twice what can be made holding two 40hour/week minimum wage paying jobs. And since "a few hundred per month" is generally assumed to be smaller than $824/mo (I'd equate "a few hundred" with "less than or equal to $500"), she's even worse off than a minimum wage worker. She's certainly not getting rich by any definition of the word.

Assuming your friend's mom's kids are grown and she has no large bills or debts (owns her own home or has a rent-controlled apartment, lives within her means, etc), then I guess it may be possible to live comfortably off of a few hundred pounds a month. If she's still actively raising her children, that doesn't sound like nearly enough to survive.

eBay is a flea market (4, Insightful)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655100)

As is the case with any flea market, there are going to be people who think like 'businesspeople' and make loads of money from the operation. But for the rest of us it's a good place to exchange cool stuff with each other easily and with less hassle than in many other markets or forums.

The trick is to figure out who the 'hustlers' are so they can be avoided like pariahs. eBay can and is a peer-to-peer environment for many of us. I get cool older/odd/unobtainable tech there and don't regret participating in the least.

Anyway, most of the 'hustle' people are similar to the same sort of people at the flea market. Their 'booths' suck.

Re:eBay is a flea market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655267)

Forgive me if I read your post wrong (maybe I did) but since when was setting out to make money a bad thing? Some people live off of it and have to eat too if they make it their profession and thus think like business people and since a lot of these people depend on repeat business, they'd be stupid to bite the hand that feeds it. Not that there aren't any stupid businessmen...

But I know I've been screwed out of more money by so called "buddies" trading with me than by dealers. There are dishonest people on all sides of the aisle.

Not what it is cracked up to be.... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655102)

I used to sell on ebay, as a full time business. In antiques, collectibles, and later on, pick ups at auctions.

While this article alerts the viewer to the hard work necessary to get a profit, I feel the title alone makes people think it's more promising than other ventures. I say no.

For me, ebay was booming goldmine from 1997-2001 for items in the mainly sub-$500 range. Back then, I generally got the prices I wanted for many items and once in a while something skyrocketed in price beyond my dreams. In fact, many items I could not sell locally for years found an interest buyer on ebay. About 75-85% of what I listed sold. Better yet, people emailed me after auctions to make offers and I often sold another 5-10% on the remaining 15-25% or so. Ebay fees were also reasonable. The one downside was the shipping. Many people don't realize it the time it takes to package 5-10 items and ship them off (my items were fragile) including filling out insurance/delivery confirmation tags by hand. It take a good chunk out of your day. Also, as paypal was not the norm back then, cashing checks or money orders took quite a bit of time. Remember, I was a mom and pop operation, I could not automate these processes beyond a certain point.

To make a long story short, what happened?

1. After this period, ebay has clamped down. Every single fee has been raised, doubled, tripled, or more in price. Items that used to cost 50 cents to simply list now cost over $2.00 to list in some cases. More and more pay-for "options" were added, which wouldn't be so bad but they had the effect of making competition stand out more - so on one level with seller's it became a cold-war style game on who could outspend each other. The "gallery option" of a small thumbnail (which is almost ubiquitous in some categories) added (now) $.35 cents PER auction.

2. This all sounds like chumpchange, but my ratio of auctions sold went down, over time, to 25-40% selling rate. Worse yet, I hardly get after auction offers, as ebay clamped down on emailing members outside the control of their system a few years back. Also, the prices I had to accept were declining and going below what I actually could get locally for them. The fees started killing me. The profit margin was killing me. The shipping was killing me (if you ever see a guy with cheap prices on ebay but expensive shipping, that's because shipping is his profit margin, ebay doesn't collect fees/shipping off of that besides Paypal).

3. Everybody pays now with paypal. It is great and convenient but another expense.

4. The downswing in sales had several causes. One of which is because of ebay's success as a marketplace, every started selling there. While the amount of sellers went up exponentially by my estimate since 2000, the amount of buyers went up only linearly, creating a glut in that market. By looking at certain listings, it also is apparent to me that many must be or take sellers that work under minimum wage of the US. Some of that is because they are foreign sellers. It's fine that they sell, but I can't compete at their undercut prices - just a fact of life. They don't have the expenses I do. It's ebay's form of outsourcing.

I know other companies that had an ebay branch that have been losing money for years by creating too many listings, dazzled by revenue, but not checking all the expenses or just hoping to "build an audience" until they become profitable (customer loyalty is not strong here if prices differ more than a few percent). One such colleague just stopped after posting over 200 auctions daily for the last 7 years in addition to his regular business (he has workers, not that he sat there posting himself). After all this time, he ran the numbers and just noticed it did not make sense. After paying his workers, he was actually losing money. (The reason he never caught this was that the workers were considered as a expense on the whole company before, not that branch - he didn't seperate expenses). He just quit.

I find that I make more money doing specific conventions targetted to my merchandise or upscale antique fleamarkets. I don't waste my time shipping, dealing with customer headaches afterwards (these are typically the people who buy a $3.00 item or less, I hate to sound cynical, but it's true), and my prices are controlled because I pay a fixed price for my venue - I don't get nickeled and dimed to death and can actually make a living.

After many years, many people who started buying online have come back to the local markets as well. They like seeing the merchandise first hand and being able to face someone.

Many auction houses I also know are going off ebay as well. The auctioneers have noticed that the prices aren't much higher than if they just listed the items in their own site and allowed call in bidding. Plus they don't have to deal with ebay/paypal and all the implications that entails besides the fees.

*Please understand my experience is very specific to my niche and I tried to accurately describe what I saw as trends selling on ebay according to those niches (antiques/collectibles/used). For quite a few years, ebay has been good to me (and I have been good for it going by my bills) and I still recognize ebay good for certain things, like getting rid of junk for a semi-decent price. I just wanted to talk to the people actually making a business out of it. (Besides, it's bad to depend on one specific venue you don't control for you business as there isn't really another other game in town. Yahoo Auctions is okay, but are only a force in certain countries like Japan, not the US. All other auctions tend to be a joke besides niche auctions.).

BTW, the article has a paragraph buried that I think people should remember:

Although it seems odd that sellers would be unaware of losing money, Kennedy notes that it happens frequently, because of the way the system is set up. Sellers might turn over a healthy amount of inventory, get it shipped quickly, and have the money in their accounts promptly, but the level of detailed bookkeeping necessary can give sellers a skewed view of their operations. They might look like they're headed toward riches on paper, but in reality, it could be the road to the poorhouse instead.

Re:Not what it is cracked up to be.... (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655310)

Worse yet, I hardly get after auction offers, as ebay clamped down on emailing members outside the control of their system a few years back.

I am sorry to hear your story it seems you worked for what you've got today. If you ever sell on eBay again, stick a piece of contact information in the package you ship so the buyers can contact you directly and bypass eBay. Just a thought.

Re:Not what it is cracked up to be.... (2, Interesting)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655489)

Well said, I too ran a mainly eBay business and found exactly the same problems. The nickle and dime death is the biggest problem. The fees are at the level where there is virtually no profit. I gave what I feel was very good service and I had people coming back on a fairly regular basis. Even so I would often be making £30 sale. By profit I mean what's left after shipping and fees. That £1 then had to pay for premises and other business expenses and provide me with a wage. I struggle to see how any business can make money on eBay anymore. It's great for getting rid of one off items that would probably end up in the bin but thats about it.

Re:Not what it is cracked up to be.... (2, Interesting)

thenickboy (171660) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655495)

One reason I never really wanted to start my own business on eBay is some of the things you stated.

It seems like you need to really work hard in order to make any real money off the profits.

The biggest kicker is that after all is said and done and you want out, you work so hard to build up a company that you can't sell. I know some people who's whole business model revolves around their future sale of their business that they worked so hard to build.

There never really seemed to have an end in eBay.

Maybe i'm just short sighted.

An easier way to get rich on eBay (1)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655114)

Advertise non-existent laptop computers or high-end bicycles on eBay. Ask for payment by Western Union money transfer, then scram. It seems to have worked for a number of people in the past, anyway ;-)

It feels good to be an eBay Powerseller! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655141)

I once became a Powerseller by adding that Powerseller logo to my html code. But the eBay-police wouldn't let me :-(

Ebay is getting rich, not you (2, Insightful)

Britz (170620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655165)

Prices are very low on ebay. For someone selling stuff on an auction site you never know how much you are going to make on an item. But you can be sure of one thing. Ebay will make more on that sale than you will.

Re:Ebay is getting rich, not you (4, Interesting)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655342)

Prices are very low on ebay

That is because they are often stolen goods.
fenceBay is the greatest thing for theives since the invention of the crowbar. It's like a pawnshop that doesn't care and finds you buyers across the country to avoid those pesky "hey, Bill, that laptop you just bought looks an awful lot like my stolen one" moments.
All for the low, low, price of about 10% of purchase price (which is actually quite good, dishonest pawnshops will charge you far more and will give you up if the 50 come looking for you)

Now, granted, some people troll fatwallet and slickdeals looking for bargains, buy up all the stock and list it before it is even delivered, but you really can't say with a straight face that ebay isn't used by a good number of theives.

however, death & taxes catch up (3, Informative)

rapiddescent (572442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655187)

Here in the UK, the HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs) have automated programs running on eBay to see if individuals are running businesses and not declaring the VAT (Value Added Tax, 17.5%) from the revenue. They target everyone, but chase up on anyone selling more than about £60,000 (US$110,000) worth of new goods, or more than £60,000 of profit on second hand goods. Also, they are keeping an eagle eye out for those not declaring the income from ebay activities on their tax forms.

See an explanation here. [thisismoney.co.uk]

Also, eBay makes UK users fill out an anti-money-laundering form and performs an additional verification once a paypal account receives £4500 (US$8300). This probably goes into the UK Gov anti money laundering and terrorist profiling systems.

Most IT folks who run home businesses should structure them carefully, because they could be subject to higher rate tax of 40% on profits plus 17.5% VAT. If you setup your ebay/paypal account as a limited company then you will only pay 25% tax and VAT can be paid as an offset percentage (agree with tax man) between 9 and 17.5%.

rd

Re:however, death & taxes catch up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655378)

Mostly right, although the following caveats apply:

1: VAT is not payable unless you're a: VAT registered, b: charging a separate VAT element in your listings. Of course if you're making more than £61,000 a year from sales then you'll be required to be registered for VAT.
2: 40% tax would only be applicable if you're already qualified to be paying the higher rate, in which case you'd be unlikely to bother selling tat on ebay. Corporation tax for a limited company is 20%.

Ebay can make you rich... (1)

Tavor (845700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655192)

In the same way the Lottery can make you rich.
It's possible, albiet HIGHLY unlikely.

Making a living on eBay (4, Interesting)

XNormal (8617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655193)

Why this focus on a few people getting rich? In general, the economic benefit of the internet is spread across many people. Customers that have a slightly cheaper alternative one click away. Suppliers that gain access to markets that they could not access effectively otherwise. The overall effect on the economy is enourmous but only a few people are getting really rich.

How many are making a decent living off eBay sales? How many people's lives have been transformed by the ability to give up their day job and do what they like while getting paid for it?

For example this artist [ebay.com] who left her job as a web designer nad is now making lampwork glass beads and selling them on eBat.

Disclaimer: I know her personally and this is a bit of promotion - but I think it's a valid example because it would be difficult for someone living in a remote place to have this kind of access to the markets that appreciate her art without eBay.

Re:Making a living on eBay (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655358)

Why this focus on a few people getting rich?

So that more people sell stuff on ebay (greed, you see). eBay would love to get more people listing stuff because they take about 10% of the purchase price.

Re:Making a living on eBay (1)

XNormal (8617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655570)

So that more people sell stuff on ebay (greed, you see). eBay would love to get more people listing stuff because they take about 10% of the purchase price.

If you don't want eBay's services you are welcome to hold an auction directly on your personal web site.

Re:Making a living on eBay (4, Informative)

AudioEfex (637163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655624)

Making millions? Hard. Making enough to live on? Not so hard if you have a mind for business and something to sell that isn't your moldy used clothes from the basement.

I do it just about every week (make a living off of eBay). I left a shitty office job with a decent chunk of savings in my bank account, deciding to live off of my savings until I needed to find another shitty office job to subsidize my writing and art ambitions.

It's a couple of months later, and with the exception of one week where I had to take a few bucks out of savings, eBay has paid for my gas, groceries, cable, etc. And the week after I had to dip in I was able to replace the money with an eBay surplus.

People complain about eBay and PayPal fees, but don't seem to get that eBay is providing the world's stage for you; it's the best damn advertising you can get. Yes, eBay has some ridiculous policies, but there are ways to work with them, and around them. For example, when I send out a package I include an enclosure with my name and website and an invitation for a future order. As previously stated by other /. posters, eBay doesn't like this because they loose out on a later fee. However, there isn't a tinker's damn they can do about a piece of paper in the package I send out saying, "Thanks so much for being a customer, if you need anything else..."

In fact, that's how the lion's share of my large orders come from. Someone buys one off of eBay, then comes back and spends a couple of hundred bucks with me, off eBay. I guess someone would say that that wasn't really making money off of eBay, but I disagree; I would never have found that customer otherwise.

As to PayPal, you just have to be careful with them. They are HEAVILY slanted toward the buyer, and their fees can be noticable. However, it is so convenient it is worth it for me. I have a PayPal debit card that I use for everything (and get 1% cash back instantly with each purchase, which helps ease the pain) and I never have to bother with money orders and checks and waiting and all that B.S. For orders under twenty bucks I don't worry about it, but I get delivery confirmation on anything above that to protect myself as much as possible.

Now, I completely realize that this could dry up tomorrow, that eBay sales and the follow-up sales won't last forever, but right now it sure is nice to be working no more than 90 minutes a day and making enough to live off of. I get great pleasure in making nice packages for people to recieve as well, and I have time to live my life instead of living in a cubicle. What it takes to make it on eBay is to understand how it works, and to know what will give you the best profits. Selling old clothes for .50 cents each from your basement is going to be more trouble than it's worth (though, somehow, you see people doing this all the time), but if you actually have a product to sell you can really make a go of it.

I guess the moral is don't quit your day job...unless you have the savings to back it up in case it doesn't work out and you have a decent mind for business and a good product to sell.

AE

Want the short answer or the long answer? (4, Funny)

SilentOneNCW (943611) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655198)

Short Answer: No
Long Answer: No, it can't make you rich.

Re:Want the short answer or the long answer? (1)

Ads are broken (718513) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655234)

Very funny! I hope you get the moderation you deserve :)

Presell duke nukem forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655207)

Presell 100,000 copies of duke nukem forever at $15 each = $1,000,000! Profit

What could go wrong?

ebay WAS good for me.. (3, Informative)

DirtyFly (765689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655213)

I Live in Portugal and used ebay as a seller from ~2000 until 2002 give or take a year.
It was a good business and a good extra income, I sold old items and collectibles that I managed to buy in Portugal for what I believe the stuff ws 'really' worth and then sold it on ebay where I coud get a good profit. The main things that made me quit Ebay were :


1) The raise of Euro - When the US Dollar was high it was VERY profitable to sell stuff on the US not only did I made some profit from the Item but the dollar value was good for me.

2) The raise of fees by Ebay.

3) PayPal - more and more peolple want to pay with paypal, and that eats profits BAD.

4) The decline of the market.


I do believe you can get rich by using ebay but, if you live in acountry where the 'money is cheap compare to USD' youll get much better quicker

Make a Million profit on ebay 2006? No way. (5, Insightful)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655266)

I used to be on ebay as a powerseller in the heydays of 1997-2001 and made a lot of money. Now, I would not touch ebay with a 12 foot clown pole. The only way you can make a profit now is if you have something that is a true collectable or very valuable or very hot. For instance, if you got your hands on 20 PS3's you could stand to make about $20,000 if you sell the day the PS3 is released. There are rich people out there for whom money is no object and you can profit off of them. The downside on ebay today is actually paypal BUYER fraud. Let's say you do manage to get your hands on 20 PS3's and put them up for $1,500 each. You will get buyers who are legitimate and very rich. You will also get a lot of scam artists who will use paypal to try and defraud you. All the buyer has to do is say "not as described" and paypal will hold the money till they investigate fully (read actually do nothing till YOU send them proof--guilty until proven innocent). Catch 22, if you don't accept paypal, then you can't protect yourself from dummy bids (someone using a zero or low fb id, bidding a rediculous amount or just simply "buy it now"-ing all of your auctions. Also, since you don't accept paypal it actually makes you look shady! Plus the public has gotten used to paying for everything immediately and if anything the people on ebay have gotten worse and worse over the years. Make a million on ebay? Sure, no problem. Take home a million profit? No way.

Re:Make a Million profit on ebay 2006? No way. (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655370)

And if the seller has a fraudulent auction, the buyer basically has no chance of ever seeing their money again, regardless of what eBay claims.

I think I see a pattern emerging here...

YoU FAIL 1t?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655268)

rep8eseNts the

The multi-informative post (1)

abscissa (136568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655270)

1. Best way to make profit off eBay: sell short :-)

2. First of all... I think "profit" is meant and not "sales". I could sell $5000 worth of cash for $1000 and easily make more than $1000 in sales per month.

3. Why do people love to collect Mammy cookie jars [ebay.com] ?

4. What in the goddamn fuck is with those stupid, stupid "Mystery auctions"... where people auction off things saying "OMG OMG!! THIS BOX COULD BE FILLED WITH UP TO $10,000 in CASH!! AND YOU ARE BIDDING ON THE BOX, ANYTHING THAT COMES INSIDE IS MY GIFT TO YOU........" Did you know there is a seperate category [ebay.com] on ebay for these? Why do people bid on that shit....

Where do i bid on the box !!!! (1)

bxbaser (252102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655354)

Hurry hurry I wanna bid on the box you could be selling 10,000 dollars in a box for $45 bucks.

Please please send a link to the box.

Re:Where do i bid on the box !!!! (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655627)

I think it is sent from some place in Kenya.

Re:The multi-informative post (1)

TrueWest175 (606770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655648)

Ebay is all about margin and volume. I sell yarn, minimum bid $16, average sale price is $19. Package cost is $8 for the goods, then about $2 to ebay and $1 to paypal. My average net/ship is $8. If I run more than 5 auctions per day, I start to get no-sells. So - I have a very healthy margin and potentially could get rich, but I can't generate enough volume. It's a trickle of money, not a flood. Still, 150 shipments/month at $8 each isn't bad. USPS provides free shipping supplies and picks up at my door. College kids will pack hundreds of envelopes for $50. It's a good deal. The weird thing is - I link to my own web site with big photos of the yarn. ON that site, I offer to sell directly for less than eBay. I have had people contact me wanting to bid on more yarn...when I direct them to the "buy direct" site, they almost never use it, even tho it's cheaper. They like the bidding process.

Re:The multi-informative post (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655657)

I could sell $5000 worth of cash for $1000
I bid $1000.01

Re:The multi-informative post (1)

Unknown_monkey (938642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655689)

You know, before I saw this post, I was going to clean out the garage today and throw away the junk. Now I will get some boxes and ebay them as "Mystery boxes".
This may actually be the way to become a millionaire on ebay.

Re:The multi-informative post (1)

abscissa (136568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655710)

The real mystery is why anyone would bid on boxes like this one [ebay.com] . What is a $3,000,000 mystery box? Does it contain $3,000,000 worth of gold and jewelery? To get just some idea of how this particular seller is profiting, just take the $50,000 cash back you get just for making a $500,000 bid. How is this person a power seller?

The question is... who has the mental disorder... the people creating these auctions or the people gullible enough to participate?

I want to know more! Where do I send my money ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655365)

I want to know more! Where do I send my money ? I have an pay pal account tied directly to my bank account, and I just got paid ! Here's my account name at pay pal, dumb@slashdot.org. If you need my other logon name (I think it's a passname)it's, dumber.

eBay is the perfect retail environment (3, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655377)

It's getting harder and harder to find a genuine used bargain on eBay, because of all the rich idiots competing against each other to give the seller more and more money. Time after time, I see people getting sucked into paying more for a used item than its new price. Just last week, I bid £5 on a "used" item, only to watch the price rise to £68 by the close of auction - for an item that can be purchased new with a full warranty and returns service from an online retailer for £11. Astonishing, but common.

There are demonstrably people out there who can't or won't google for items before bidding silly money on them, which means that they're unlikely to check your selling history either to see that you've sold a hundred identical "used but unopened, unwanted presents". That seems to be the trick; pitch your "used" item as a bargain, then watch the idiots spend more than they would on a "new" item, apparently convinced that all the other idiots bidding against them must know what they're doing.

The only thing that keeps me coming back to eBay now is the opportunity to message the winning bidders in these auctions with links to where they can buy the same item new for less, often much, much less. Curiously, I've yet to receive a response to these helpful messages that's not a variant on "FCUK OFFF!!!!!!!eleven!!!!"

Can eBay Make You Rich? (3, Interesting)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655411)

Maybe if you buy stock in UPS or FEDEX, because they look like they are making a killing.
$19 to ship a saw blade? Are you fucking kidding me? [ebay.com] (and yup, that's from a power seller)

Before the apologists chime in saying "OMG GAS IS SOO MUCH AND I HAVE TO PAY FOR PACKING MATERIAL AND THAT IS WHY SHIPPING IS $12 FOR SOMETHING THAT WEIGHS 1 POUND" - USPS will provide (and even deliver) free boxes, packing material, tape (ok, no tape anymore, people sort of abused it, but then again, they did send you 24 rolls at a time) and will pick up your packages from your doorstep if you ship priority mail. A one rate envelope ships cross country for under 4 bucks.
You can't defend abusive shipping or handling costs. I'm surprised that ebay hasn't made a serious effort to get rid of these sellers, but that's probably because they make enough on paypal fees to make up for what they don't get in listing and closing fees.

Re:Can eBay Make You Rich? (2, Interesting)

shintaro (731020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655460)

> SHIPPING IS $12 FOR SOMETHING THAT WEIGHS 1 POUND

That's small change. Try $134.97 to ship a Golf Pouch [ebay.com] which costs less than $20 to Singapore.

No (1)

permaculture (567540) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655455)

Can Ebay make you rich?

Well they won't supply items for you to sell, they take a percentage of each sale, and you have to do all the actual work yourself.

So, "No".

Unless you own Paypal.

make a million accepting money orders (2, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15655539)

You can get ripped off very easily with them, they are nearly impossible to track, and the best the banks can usually do is tell the remitter when they've been cashed. That's it.

Uh, PowerSeller is a title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15655751)

The article makes it sound like you get noticed, invited into the exclusive PowerSeller club, then you're able to make lots of money.

Actually, it's the reverse. You make lots of money, then you qualify for the PowerSeller title. There's no application, invitation, club votes, secret initiation, or secret PowerSeller handbook. Hit the numbers, and you're a PowerSeller.

PowerSellers do not get a discount on eBay fees, special deals from wholesalers, special shipping rates, or any other benefits that have any real financial value.

There are many huge profitable sellers on eBay who are not PowerSellers -- the people in the article kill themselves to give great customer services, but there are other success stories built on it's a big world, it's going to take a long time to run out of suckers who don't read the fine print and don't read the feedback.

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