A Sad Ending . . .
Back in the late 90s I discovered eBay, this fantastic world-wide yard sale where I could find things I couldn't otherwise locate. Jibber-Jabber? Found it. Relatively rare book? Found it. Chanel backpack? Found it. These things were all used, albeit in good condition, but lovingly pre-owned nonetheless. And I was OK with that; someone's trash was my treasure. It was a completely new way to shop for me (and I suspect for everyone else as well). I wasn't able to touch and feel the things I wanted to buy, but I had descriptions to read and lots of pictures to look at, and I could make pretty decent choices based on that.
Then I had an epiphany: surely if I was willing to buy used items, then perhaps there were other people who would line up to buy my used items! And I was right. Lots and lots of people, and eBay was the facilitator -- the venue -- that brought us together. Life was good, I sold lots of things, made lots of people happy and I was happy with my customers. To be sure, it wasn't perfect, but it was good.
Then the changes began and were so numerous, I can't list them all, and really, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that it is now 2010 and the eBay experience is terrible for everybody. The influx of sellers from China with bootleg and cheap junk has clogged the searches so that buyers have to wade through pages and pages of junk to find what they're actually looking for (try searching for an Apple Ipod Charger and time yourself to see how long it takes to find one actually made by Apple).
Sellers, on the other hand, no longer have the ability to leave feedback for buyers, are pretty much required to accept PayPal as preferred payment (you cannot say you accept money orders, but can accept them if the buyers asks first), are forced to take returns on items for just about ANY reason, and a whole host of other bizarre rules. For example, as part of leaving feedback for a buyer, you can leave Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) with stars from 1-5, with 5 being the best. eBay tells buyers that a 4-star rating is good, which sounds great until as a seller, you're told that any less than a 4.6 average on your DSRs will result in your ability to sell being restricted or suspended. Oh, and eBay owns PayPal. The worst result of all is that now sellers have such a distrust of buyers, transactions are tense and just plain no longer fun.
I'm sad for what once was. Yes, yes, I know things inevitably change, but my old eBay didn't have to change into this. It's like having an ex with a bad drug habit; you hate seeing them like that because you still have some feelings, but you know to keep your distance. These days, I no longer buy there and I sell only once in a while. I've moved on to new (and hopefully greener) pastures.
. . . and A New Beginning
So there I am a few months ago, wondering how I was going to extricate myself from this toxic relationship and I did some checking up on Bonanzle (www.bonanzle.com) which touts itself as "everything but the ordinary." I'd been there a couple of times to look around, but there seemed to be some real buzz so I dug a little deeper.
I liked what I was seeing.
Searches were easy to conduct and it was easy to use as a buyer. Most important, the community was helpful and really seemed supportive of each other. So I set up shop as a seller.
Now before you go on thinking I've fallen head over heels with my new beau, it ain't all rosy . . . yet. For one thing, Bonanzle lacks eBay's traffic, so sales are slow (the Google feed helps). Bonanzle's got a little ways to go toward building its brand name, but with eBay defectors coming on board every day, it's happening little by little. For another thing, because Bonanzle doesn't have nearly as many members as eBay, there are some things you won't be able to find . . . yet. When sellers of those widgets sign up -- and believe me, they will -- they'll bring those widgets with them. It's only a matter of time.
Go. See for yourself. Take a stroll through Alice Underg's. And feel free to browse my fellow Bonanzlers -- you might just find everything but the ordinary.