I have developed an alternative to ebay. Well maybe that is an exaggeration as ebay is a great site that I use it everyday to buy and sell and fund the promotion of my own auction site. Maybe now is the time for new sites to rise on the shirttails of ebay. Niche sites that are robust, trustworthy and most of all focused on the needs of a particular group of people.
Why is this possible now? Well auction software is evolving everyday to become low cost, easy to install and above all a pleasant experience for buyers and sellers. We use rainworx - software that just wasn't around a few years ago. A problem that I learnt at cost.
Back in the dot com boom days I created with a few friends a company inside one of the then Big Six consultancies called waterexchange. A UK based company facilitating the buying and selling of tangible and intangible assets associated with the water industry. We spent literally millions of pounds developing bespoke software with a company called Moai to facilitate trades in abstraction licenses and the materials and tools used in the water industry. So much money in fact that the company was essentially insolvent - couple this with a conflict of interest with our host' company it was time to move call it day. Although the website waterexchangeuk.com still exists.
It we started now we could exploit the functionality of rainworx and get things off the ground for a few thousand dollars. Indeed that is what I have done with energybook (wxtrade.com) a site focused on green energy and sustainable living. It's free to use for a start and can host auctions and classifieds as well as trade sales and reverse auctions. So will my new site be a success and a rival to ebay?.. Well you will need to be the judge.
But what I can say is that software is no longer the barrier and the success of the site will hinge on advertising and promotion. And so back to my first contention for if there are to be any successful rivals to ebay it will be in the niche area where users and promotions can be concentrated into a story of success. Beware ebay the niche players are growing and ready to take a slice of the action.
You'd need very deep pockets to try and compete with EBay now.
An Australian site called Oztion.com.au is giving it a try, and have certainly picked up a lot of new users due to EBays recent changes which include
- Fee Increases
- Banning the sale digitally delivered goods
- compulsory payment by Paypal (They're trialing this in australia - before intending to roll it out to the rest of the world)
So - if you can raise a couple of hundred million or so for starters, you may be able to go into competition with them.
a site in nz called trademe.co.nz has done very well - young guy who founded it sold for about $700k to the main newspaper group - he was taking too much advertising away. He only manged it though because ebay decided to skip NZ !
There is absolutely a market for an viable ebay competitor. Many ebay sellers are seeking options insight of the recent changes taking place there. The stage is set for a competitor to take the stage. Sellers are more than willing to make the move and are trying the existing options. Myself included, a 8+ year seller, disgusted with the recent changes.
However, the existing ebay competitors have so far shown themselves to be lacking in savy, poor site design, poorly thought-out policy, and in a few cases weak security. Worst of all: they are lacking in traffic from viable buyers. No buyers = sellers close shop and move on.
Convincing buyers that you have a great marketplace that is safe and easy to use is the real hurdle. One that will take real marketing muscle and $$$.
I have been finding alternative sites to Ebay.
One of our TV stations did what they called an exposure of Ebay. It informed all that Ebay was loosing traffic and income. I can not say that it has made any difference. Ebay are convinced they asre right.
Australia had a Federal election in December 2007 The exixting Government put their head in the sand and would not take any notice of the people voting for them.
In due course they were dispalced.
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