Thursday, January 20, 2011


Well, the holidays are over and listing fees are back on eBay.  I took advantage of their free listing promotion for several months before Christmas and had a really great selling season.  Now I'm paying 25 cents for everything I list for over $1.00, and I'm watching my account balance go up up up.

The thing is, 25 cents alone is not a big deal.  But now for every listing, I need to add in that 25 cent fee to my price, plus the 9% final value fee that would come out of that extra 25 cents, so really I'm adding more like 27-28 cents per listing.  Okay, that's not bad if my yarn sells right off the bat, but what if it doesn't sell the first time around?  Then I have to list it again for ANOTHER 25 cents....and so on and so on until it sells?  So either I'm adding another 27 cents to the price every time I relist (which can really add up for 2 skeins of yarn per listing), or I'm eating the cost and losing money, or I'm starting out with a higher price to give my listings a little bit of padding in case I need to relist, which I hate doing because I want to offer the best prices possible!

It's very limiting for a small-time seller like myself.  I'm not knocking eBay at all...they are a business and none of us have to sell there if we don't like the terms, plus they've really helped me jump start my little craft supply business, and I'm grateful to have that venue to sell through.  But during that free listing promotion, I was on eBay constantly.  I was able to start my yarn auctions at my rock-bottom prices.  I made money, eBay made money off of my sales...there seemed to be a lot of action and constant activity.  It seemed good all around.  Now, maybe it didn't do eBay the good that it did me...and maybe that kind of promotion wouldn't benefit them now, during the post-holiday slow-down, but if they were able to keep me selling there more than anyplace else, then that was probably the case with a lot of sellers, and that means that they were keeping both sellers and buyers at their site and away from other on-line retail sites.  And the key to sales is keeping your customers from going somewhere else!

Now, with the 25 cent fees back, I've really slowed down my listing activity and I've turned more toward Etsy, which ALWAYS has had low listing fees, long listing periods and low final value fees.  I love Etsy and I'm pleased with the sales I've had there (plus extremely grateful that I'm allowed to sell supplies there)...but I'm kind of an action junkie...I love the faster pace of eBay and the auction format.  Even if I don't make a fortune (my hourly pay stinks, btw, lol), I crave that constant activity.  I want it all, actually.

I'm looking into other sites to sell on.  I tried eCrater years ago with my handmade items, but it didn't pan out.  I don't know how my yarn would do there.  I joined Bonanza recently, but minutes after I registered, I started getting all these instant messages on the bottom of my computer screen from other members welcoming me.  That was nice, I guess, but soon after, I received a warning from my virus software that someone was trying to hack into my computer.  I couldn't figure out how to turn chat off on Bonanza, and I haven't been back since.

I just hope eBay reconsiders their fee structures to keep smaller sellers like myself there.  25 cents a pop is significant when most of your listings are between $2.50 - $5.00.

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