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Yardsellr, a Wonderful Complement to eBay
Free market competition is the catalyst for capitalism. Its basic premise is that the market is determined by supply and demand with little or no government control.
As an online seller, primarily based on the global market behemoth, eBay, I consider free competition to be a healthy and vital aspect of worldwide commerce. Just as a wise investor is better prepared for stock market fluctuations by having a diversified portfolio, a savvy Internet entrepreneur knows that a business plan involving multiple online platforms has a better chance of survival, growth, and long term prosperity.
In the last two months, I've experienced a sharp decline in traffic and, consequently, eBay sales. Having learned from many trials and many errors, I've learned to adopt a proactive stance whenever I encounter potential business problems. I thus called eBay Customer Support on three or four occasions to ask about the significant lull in the action.
The reason I called multiple times to ask the same question is in keeping with the strategy of diversification. I wanted to get the perspective of several different people who work for the same company because, quite frankly, I would then be better prepared to sift the corporate public relations response from the truth of the matter .
The problem is that these eBay customer reps have been well trained to stick to the party line. So, while I received different answers, each response was just another facet of the same theme--We feel your pain. No, eBay hasn't changed or done anything to divert traffic. Maybe you need to tweak your listings. Oh, by the way, thank you for being a great seller on eBay!
But, eBay, up until a month or so ago, I was having multiple sales each day. Now, I'm getting 0 to 1 a day. I haven't changed a thing. In fact, I've done a pretty good job of promoting my eBay store on Twitter, Facebook, in my personal blog, and on HubPages. (I wanted to be sure to plug our favorite writing site, of course.)
That's great! It could be the time of year when everyone is enjoying the nice weather or traveling. It could even be part of the general slowdown in spending just prior to, during, and for a few weeks after the filing of income tax returns. Hang in there...I'm sure it will pick up soon. After all, you know how the economy's been down.
Hmm...as a seller, I'm just as much a part of that economy as a buyer is. And, by the way, I haven't noticed eBay modifying its fee structure to accommodate sellers during this down economy. In fact, eBay is currently mandating a higher standard for buyers. And why the greater percentage of non-paying buyers lately? More importantly, why have you rendered sellers powerless to do anything about it?
Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm a seller, too, as well as a customer representative, and I've experienced similar things.
Ah, but you're definitely not motivated to bite the hand that feeds you. Totally understandable.
On and on, ad nauseum...
The bold italicized paragraphs above are my Walter Mitty fantasy responses--you know, the things I'd really like to say while realizing, deep down inside, that diplomacy is the better part of valor.
That said, I want to make it very clear that I am very grateful to eBay and that I would be the first to give a testimonial about how this global marketplace has made a significant and positive difference in my life.
Life is challenging for everyone. Rather than rant about the obstacles, it's definitely healthier for each of us to explore our options.
To that end, I want to share with you a little bit about one such option I discovered not too long ago and with which I am beginning to enjoy some success.
ITEMS I'VE SOLD THUS FAR ON YARDSELLR
YOUR FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD YARDSELLR
Allow me to introduce you to yardsellr.com. Yep, that missing second e is indeed intentional, part and parcel, perhaps, of the contemporary trendiness of catchy dot-com enterprises that are purposefully misspelled. Why? Well, I'm surely no expert when it comes to marketing, but my gut feeling is that a misspelled word subliminally irritates a reader to the point of prompting a second look. That's the cognitive hook!
I also like the utter simplicity of its name. It appeals to the common man or woman by virtue of its friendly invitation--Hey! You're new in town, aren't you? We'd love to have you join us! We're having a great time today! Welcome to our yard sale!
Yardsellr is like an eBay for Facebook . When I consider the individuals chiefly responsible for developing the Yardsellr concept, I'm not surprised. CEO Daniel Leffel was a former manager at eBay; VP of Marketing Jed Clevenger used to run the paid search team at eBay; and VP of Community Rachel Makool once ran the community team at eBay. In addition, the San Francisco-based online venture is financially backed by Accel Partners and Harrison Metal. One of the chief investors at Harrison Metal, Michael Dearing , is also a former SVP of eBay.com.
One can only wonder how the conversation might have gone one day at the proverbial water cooler at eBay.
Psst...well, looks like CEO Meg Whitman is stepping down. Now might be the perfect time to take that bold leap and start a more seller-friendly global marketplace. Are you guys in? Well, okay, then...don't forget your parachutes!
Yeah, yeah, I know...I'm doing the Walter Mitty thing again. Hey, it's my Hub, right?
In any event, I'm thankful for free enterprise and our capitalistic society. Even if we are headed towards a more socialistic government, recent history suggests that even socialist world powers appreciate and utilize the free market system.
That said, yardsellr.com will continue to grow at a phenomenal rate. With all due respect to Facebook, Yardsellr may very well be the only financial venture as of late that is doing quite well for the gargantuan social network.
Sellers list items in categories called blocks (again, in keeping with the neighborhood concept). Examples of blocks include guitars, Star Wars, Coca-Cola, collecting lunchboxes, jewelry, ballet, and even individual towns (so far, I'm the sole resident of the College Place block).
Personally, I've begun duplicating some of my eBay listings on Yardsellr. At the time of this writing, I have about 40 listings. I've sold five items in about a month's time (reflected by the photos in this Hub). Yardsellr allows me to list my items free of charge. When an item sells, there are no final value fees. And get this--even though I've opted to be paid through PayPal rather than by check, there are absolutely no PayPal fees! Unbelievable!
Another great feature is that Yardsellr serves as an escrow party. The buyer pays Yardsellr first before the seller is even notified that there's been a sale. This virtually prevents the occurrence of the bane of eBay--non-paying buyers.
My responsibility as a seller is to ship the item out fast and send a tracking number off to Yardsellr. With the first sale, the wait to get paid is about five business days. After that, the wait is about two days.
The only drawback I see--and it's really a minor one--is that Yardsellr is not yet hooked up with the USPS. eBay has built-in software that enables sellers to print mailing labels (with discounts for sellers who meet certain qualifications), and I've found this to be a great and economical time-saver. With Yardsellr, I have to do the old-fashioned thing and stand in line to purchase postage and delivery confirmation without a discount. Even so, given the overall advantages, it truly is a small price to pay.
Yardsellr is growing at a phenomenal rate of about 20,000 or more members each day. Approximately 100,000 members actively comment about transactions or items on a daily basis. (Disclaimer: Admittedly, these statistics are about two years old, and the numbers may be much larger at this point.)
I've presented the seller's point of view. How about the buyer?
By liking a block, buyers receive an ongoing stream of new items right in their Facebook feeds. This action functions as an opt-in social marketing feature. As Leffel puts it, "You can't be social commerce without living fundamentally in it."
Instead of charging sellers fees to list items, Yardsellr charges buyers fees of approximately ten percent on their completed purchases.
But a brilliant strategy is in place that rewards buyers and thus potentially compensates them for the buying fees.
This motivating facet that sets Yardsellr apart from eBay is the unique incentive for buyers called Photons . With Photons, users can enhance their purchasing power. Photons are like money with the conversion rate being 100,000 Photons equals $1. They can be used towards any Yardsellr purchase. A built-in treasure hunt on Yardsellr enables both buyers and sellers to win up to 1,000,000 Photons a day by looking for $ signs. In addition, users can gift Photons to each other. If I notice, for example, that an individual loves my item (so indicated by a heart symbol), I can present him with a gift of 100,000 Photons. He then can use the Photons in any way he so chooses. Yardsellr sends a note to the buyer reminding him that karma dictates he use the free Photons to buy the giver's item, but that buyer is not bound by any hard, fast rule.
When a purchase is made with the use of Photons, the seller will still be paid the full price of the item. Sweet!
Wisely, the founders of Yardsellr implemented the depletion of Photons over time. This serves two purposes: 1) It keeps both buyer and seller actively engaged in Yardsellr commerce, and 2) It protects the Yardsellr bottom line.
IT'S GREAT TO HAVE COMPLEMENTARY OPTIONS!
At the end of the day, it's wonderful to have a variety of options at one's disposal. Personally, I don't see eBay ever having to feel threatened by Yardsellr, and vice-versa. Instead, each can serve as a complement to the other.
For me, searching for other venues on which to sell my various items was motivated by low traffic periods I occasionally experience on eBay. Rather than complain about the situation, I wanted to proactively engage in finding solutions.
To that end, I believe I hit pay dirt with the likes of Yardsellr.
At the very least, it's given me a boost of confidence to discover that sexagenarian can be synonymous with resourcefulness.