Nelz's Blog

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eBay Has Jumped My Shark

eBay does have a place in the world, but it has lost all appeal to me.

I am not an online retail business. I am not a brick-and-mortar business looking to expand into the online world. I prefer to deal in cash, and I’d rather just deal with someone locally. I am just a guy who had an extra Nokia N95 lying around[1], and wanted to get a fair value for it.

Having had nothing to do with eBay for the last couple of years, I logged into my old account. I had 8 positive feedbacks, but as a purchaser only, since I had never actually sold anything there. I put up my ad, asking for a fair price compared to other listings for the same item.

Whoops! It seems I never updated my address since I moved to the Bay Area, so it listed my item as being for sale outside of Denver. I never did figure out how to update it… And that is part of the problem. I am a software engineer, and I am very web literate. However, every time I tried to use their UI to update or fix anything, I was completely frustrated. Nothing seemed to work. And, when I accidentally posted an interaction with a potential buyer where they included their phone number, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to remove it from my listing. I did some searching in their help documents, and I thought I found a document explaining that I couldn’t remove those posted interactions for some kind of integrity reasons. Frustrated, I emailed their Customer Service, and was told that I could remove them, and that I just had to go to the seller modification page or somesuch… But every attempt I made to figure out how to remove it failed.

Meh! I don’t need that crap. Luckily, my auction ended without anyone[2] bidding on it.

So, what did I do with my Nokia N95? I sold it via Craigslist, and it was a breeze! This was the second item I’ve sold on Craigslist in the past year, the first being a Toyota Tacoma. The interface is basic, but functional. In both instances I ended up getting my asking price from a local buyer, and I couldn’t be happier.

[#1] - The Nokia N95 is a cool phone, with many advanced features. (Though, they could benefit from getting some iPhone UI designers… Every feature seemed 2 more button clicks away than they needed to be…) It was just that my main usage is for text messaging, and I hate "predictive text" on a 10-key phone… Give me QWERTY over a 10-key any day! I ended up "downgrading" to a Palm TREO 680.

[#2] - The one thing that is common between both eBay and Craigslist is the buyers who try to talk down your fair asking price. When selling my truck, within 7 hours of posting my ad I had 6 appointments to look at the truck. The first guy, who I told that I had 5 appointments after him, tried to convince me to sell the truck to him for 10% - 15% less than I was asking. Here’s a tip to buyers: If the item you’re trying to buy is that popular, you’re gonna have a hard time convincing a thinking seller to take you seriously.