Monday, December 11, 2017
 
Digital Age Commerce: Craigslist is for Buyers, Ebay for Sellers

RESTON, VA Feb. 23 (DPI) – Now comfortably removed from when we placed $100 newspaper classifieds to sell $150 bicycles, perhaps it’s time to do a serious examination of the stuff-selling platforms in this digital age. The conclusion? Craigslist is the best place to buy, Ebay to sell.

Why? Craigslist, for all the risks of its unregulated forum, focuses on and encourages local transactions. As such neighborhood and cross-town transactions tend to favor the buyer, since 1) the seller is generally limiting his market, and thus the number of potential buyers, and 2) the seller, by choosing Craigslist over Ebay and other platforms, is more eager to simply unload the item than seek top dollar.

Craigslist, a private company that is tight-lipped about its users and transactions, won’t confirm traffic and volume on its site. But it appears to dominate the online business for classifieds, including job classifieds, a paid service for major metro areas.  Transactions based on total dollar volume in the US, conservatively, are in the tens of billions, comparable to the auction site Ebay. Moreover, Craigslist, as of spring 2015, was getting 55 million page views per month:

http://www.statista.com/statistics/228632/page-visits-of-craigslist-within-the-last-month-usa/

The auction site Ebay, a public company, reported nearly $18 billion in sales in 2014:

http://www.statista.com/statistics/266195/ebays-annual-net-revenue/

Ebay favors sellers for several reasons: First, it focuses on being a global marketplace, enabling sellers to achieve top dollar. And the auction process tends to force action and emotional involvement on the part of prospective buyers.

But a major problem for buyers on Ebay, and one that is rarely discussed, is the ease of manipulation of its auctions.  While Ebay of course prohibits shill bidding and tries to police it, the mere format of its auctions makes shill bidding tempting for an unscrupulous seller.   Its “Enter a Maximum Bid” feature invites shill bidding – friends and family using accounts unrelated to the seller can continually monitor the so-called maximum bid, add to it, and thereby force up the bids of legitimate bidders.  For buyers on Ebay, it is very much caveat emptor.

Finally, as shill bidding appears to be a chronic problem on Ebay, its site has scant information about it:

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/seller-shill-bidding.html

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