Not long ago Ebay was a bustling platform filled with sellers from across the globe with a variety of wares to choose from and equally anxious buyers ready to bid it all to win the most sought after technology or designer accessory at deals you couldn't find anywhere else on the internet. I know all too well the experience because I have been on both sides of the platform on ebay as a buyer and ultimately a seller. Ebay was an incredibly exciting experience for many to score top deals on all sorts of items known to man and apparently some unknown to man as well (remember cheese curls shaped like the Virgin Mary). Not only was it a buyer's dream but sellers reportedly earned a full-time living selling on ebay, achieving the work-from-the-beach life that has long been coveted by many. It was these things as well as my experience selling a T-shirt that I had bought at an outlet mall in the wrong size that led me to aspire to the great Ebay dream. It was then that I got a glimpse into the many factors that eventually made Ebay no longer a favorable place for sellers and a very unprofitable venture for merchants.
Back in the day Ebay seller fees, while they seemed minimal at signup, would eventually add up over a period of time. Also, the lower prices that sellers had to resort to in order to keep up with the increasing competition made the profit margin rather small, if existent, for merchants. After trying to sell a few other items over a period of time the increasing listing fees, Paypal fees and other associated Ebay fees made me finally put up my Ebay hat and decided that if ever I was to get into the ecommerce business again I would much rather open my own online store than join the rat race of Ebay.
It has been a few years since my Ebay days and I had a feeling that it was no longer what it used to be but it wasn't until I attempted to sell an item on Ebay recently that I realized how much of a ghost town Ebay has become. First of all, I did a search for a few items and I know from the ridiculously low prices that many of the sellers could never be making that much of a profit. Second of all, I noticed that Ebay seems to have had a takeover from big commercial stores using the platform to sell what would be their "clearance" or "overstock" items. This automatically puts the small business merchant out of the game as there is no way to sell a well-known brand name item at a discount when the actual company is selling their own product on Ebay.
It appears as though Ebay has made efforts to lure sellers back in by offering free listing fees for the first 50 items listed within a month. Not a bad deal I figured, so I listed five items for sale and much to my disappointment the most views I got on any one item was 4 which I know back in Ebay's heyday would have been hundreds of views within a single day.
Ebay is definitely not what it used to be. Other former and long-time merchants still trying to survive on Ebay feel the same way as can be seen from the various discussions on Ebay forums. Ebay is a prime example of how much internet business can change within a few years. I still remember when hi5 used to be "the" social netowrking tool and I was skeptical to join Facebook. Internet applications can change based on demand, availability of more improved applications from competitors or management decisons. In the case of Ebay, the corporate decisions that were made resulted in an unfavorable and unprofitable platform for small businesses trying to compete which ultimately lead to what I believe is the death of Ebay.