Ebay is gradually descending into becoming a flea market. I knew this would happen and posted about it a year ago. Too bad.

It used to be place to find anything and operated by 99% honest sellers.

Price pressure has pushed a lot of real good sellers out of Ebay—fees, fees, fees. Shipping costs have gone up. Way up. Paypal fees, listing fees, and after sale fees eat up margin.

I used to run a thriving coffee business online. I built the customer base by selling at a very low margin on Ebay. Once a customer, always a customer. Costs drove me out of the market. That and time. I couldn’t afford to work three hours to make $5.

Now Ebay is dominated by big sellers, many selling directly from China. The prices are insane. I’ve bought things like ear buds for my I-Pod for 99 cents with $1.00 shipping.

The trouble is, you can’t sell anything of REAL value at a flea market. Even a Rembrandt won’t command $5 surrounded by $2 shoes, knock off purses and memory cards with crooked, mis-spelled labels.

There’s a huge opportunity here. Start a new auction site with standards. NO FOREIGN SELLERS. No quantity sales. You’ve seen the Ebay items with “over 1,000 available”. That’s not an auction, it’s a dumping ground for knock offs and possible stolen goods.

I recently could a couple of very nice leather fanny packs. I wanted them for cameras. The damn bags won’t go around my 38″ waist—not even close. The leather bags were $3 each. I bought 2. Shipping was $5.99 each and NOT refundable. So, I’m out around $20. The seller doesn’t care. Sure, she’ll refund the $3 but I pay the shipping BACK and don’t get my $5.99 EACH refunded. Smart. What pay $6 to ship them back to get $6?

Better to just avoid Ebay unless the item is VERY, VERY cheap.

Which is my point.

Would someone please start up an alternative to Ebay?  Do it right, with standards, and you’ll be a huge hit.

Chris Reich wants an alternative to Ebay