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Is it Worth Selling on Ebay? The New Internet Sharecropping

So alot of people ask me why I don’t sell on Ebay? Or perhaps, why don’t I sell more on Ebay (Because I rarely sell on Ebay, and if I do I expect to at a loss)?


The reason is simple actually.


Worth Selling on Ebay?
Is it Worth it To Sell On Ebay?


Because Ebay/Paypal are basically sharecropping the hard work of the modern day internet retailer and liquidating any profits through exorbitant fees and forced use of their Paypal payment method (You can establish a credit card processing account, however there is almost no conversion with these methods and are subject to approval by Ebay).


So why do millions of people use Ebay?

Well, because it’s simple, the barrier to entrance is almost nothing, and of course you have the immense user base that feeds off the necessity of the internet sharecroppers.


For every 5 new Ebay sellers that see a negative balance in their bank account (after all is said and done), and therefore have no chance of paying their overdue vendor invoices or ridiculous Ebay/Paypal fees and just close up shop, there is always 10 more people that see immense dollar signs in their future because they think that making sales “just to make sales” is a good thing.


Would you call that a working business model?


Well, I sure wouldn’t.

Well, I can tell you not only from personal experience, as well as in-depth talks with other personal business friends and vendors, that they have seen it all too much in the past few years. Where the sellers open up strong, and “see results” of cash flow but then when it’s time to Pay the Piper, it’s just a loss (so blame those before you, if your vendors don’t extend any credit or terms to you!).


I have seen a handful of people that do a substantial amount of business in the realm of internet sharecropping, but at the end of the day they are left with 5-7% overall in profit from the hundreds of orders they shipped, just to have it as a tradeoff for the month due to chargebacks, lost shipments, hidden shipping overages from UPS/FEDEX or buyer’s remorse or just plain old fraudulent activity. So after it’s all said and done, was it worth it?



I would say time and time again, a resounding NO!


So why do people sell on Ebay? How do you make selling on Ebay worth it?


Here are a few ways to net some decent profits in 2013 and beyond:


1- Buyout some hot product, that you know won’t be around anymore or will be discontinued in the no-so-distant future.  (This requires some very intense buying/product history and only suggest it to the well seasoned. As this can put you in the hole rather quickly)


2- Liquidating Inventory (If you are looking to clean house, and want to generate some cash immediately from stock on hand, and you don’t mind losing a minimum between 20-30%, then game on!)


3 – Handmade authentic Product – Technically what Ebay was originally built for! (Though honestly, for handmade goods you may be better off on Etsy, because I feel their marketplace as a more wholesome institution.)


4 – Some Digital Goods – (Domains, Ebooks, Websites, though if you look around, you will be able to find some other worthy venues as well nowadays).


5 – Selling Personal Items & You want to Have a Online Garage Sale! (That’s right! If you are looking to become a minimalist, and want to offer your worldly personal possessions at a fraction of the cost, then you can sell all your useless stuff. As one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.)


And that’s about it.


But what about brand loyalty or exposure?


Well, if you intend on competing with yourself, and have your own website (or perhaps plan to build your own..which I highly suggest) and start listing to just to get some brand awareness from the  Ebay audience, I would definitely price the product higher on Ebay  because what is the point of going to your site, if they can just buy your low priced products on Ebay?  Because in reality, The Ebay audience, SHOULD NOT BE YOUR AUDIENCE.


Though overall, you are liquidating your brand, and paying more to sell your items. But for some reason some internet users still feel “more secure” with Ebay purchases nonetheless. Though to me, it’s an online garage sale. So if you decide to do it, you might as well as make the prices higher and if they sell, then you can be a happy camper and know that you didn’t lose too much more.


So after reading this, do you think it’s worth it to sell on Ebay? Well, don’t let me discourage you, because you will do what you want, but since what I do is offer professional advice on internet marketing and sales, I would just run in the other direction from anything outside of option 1 from above. Which again, is very risky, and should have some type of backup plan in the event you have misjudged.


Ebay is No way
Ebay is No Way for the long haul.


So now, that Ebay has such a large market share, and everyone has fed the monster and now you perhaps are thinking about joining the bandwagon, the question is, “what’s your share”?





David has been business building both online and off since the age of 18. He currently finds himself consulting about online marketing and branding for businesses of all sizes. A fan of everything nerd, he’s an advocate for healthy eating and living and enjoys mentoring people looking to grow their business as well as themselves.

David Scarpitta is a Los Angeles based online marketing guru and business developer for both online businesses and offline brick and mortar, B2B and B2C products and services.

A founding member of Get Found Marketing, you can contact him directly at any time for whatever is on your mind.

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