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Old 04-22-2010
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Default Amazon vs Ebay

After 3 years of selling on Amazon, I finally got the dreaded blocked account. I'd love to tell you why they blocked me, but it's so secret they'd have to kill me if they told me. The email said I might have done something wrong. I think Amazon Alliance might be run by the intellectually challenged.

I have been trying to find the time to move from Amazon to Ebay anyway so they sort of did me a favor. I moved 1/3rd of my inventory to Ebay/Half.com last Friday-Sunday and am discovering some things I thought might be informative. Here is the scenerio...

I moved 700 listings to an Ebay store and another 250 to Half.com. My Ebay account is stellar and always has been. One of the little secrets of Half.com is you can have your Half inventory show up in Ebay searches if you meet certain criteria. So, the first "knock" on Ebay is always the charge for each listing. Granted, with an inventory of 3000 items, that can get pricey every month. However, you can list on Half.com for free, just like Amazon. You get a two-fer: your listing is on Half.com plus it shows up on Ebay. I list everything on Ebay as a fixed price "Buy-It-Now" item with no auctions.

After less than a week of selling, here are some tidbits I learned:

1) My average daily sales on Amazon at full inventory was 25 sales a day. My average on Half/Ebay for 5 days is 19 sales a day. While what is left of my inventory is not going to triple my sales, so far I am selling about the same as I was on Amazon.
2) Based entirely on actual data, Amazon charged me 22.5% of every sale I made. Ebay charges me 15% and Half.com 13%. The Ebay percentage is inflated as I added in the listing fees for all 700 items, so the actual percentage will be less. But, based on these numbers, it is obvious Amazon is gouging sellers.
3) Again, based entirely on actual data, my average sale price and profit per sale is quite a bit more than what it was on Amazon.
3) Complaint emails from buyers are almost non-existent. I get more inquiries before the sale, but not a single one so far after the sale.
4) My Amazon feedback was 96% positive. My Ebay feedback is still at 100%, though I did get one neutral.
5) The overall effort it takes to list on Ebay was much harder. Listing on Half.com is as easy as Amazon, but has no SKU. But, pulling, packing and printing labels is much, much simpler with Ebay through Paypal multi-order shipping.
6) The last and my most favorite reason for liking the move....the stupidity factor is much lower from Ebay buyers. I sell computer and video games. Many Amazon customers can barely write an email I can decipher and my cats all read better than Amazon folks do. I always wanted to tell some whiners to stop buying Call of Duty games and try a good Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade game. :D

While many say that Amazon outsells Ebay, some even claim 10 to 1, I've never seen that huge of a gap. Of the 3000 items I had on Amazon, about 1000 of them were priced at < $1 and 750 were priced at a penny. Last year, I moved all of those to an Ebay store, offered free shipping and charged $4.77 each. I averaged about 8 sales a day...for what was junk on Amazon. And, to boot, I made about $2 on Ebay per sale compared to .20 cents per sell on Amazon. You will definitely sell more on Amazon, but what you sell and what you make from it are definitely not worth it.

Now, factor this in: you have to sell more on Amazon to cover the higher fees. I know the excitement of seeing 30 orders pop up in one day. But, I do this to make money, not sales. I can sell, pack and ship 4-5 items less a day and make the same, or better profit, when I do it on Ebay.

For those that haven't sold on Amazon, remember this: Amazon is very unfriendly to it's sellers. Every email you get from them is threatening. While Ebay can smack you with some, I rarely get anything from Ebay, and have never gotten an email threatening to kick me off. I think the "Welcome" email from Amazon even threatens to ban you! I can't say how the Ebay suspensions work, but I do know how Amazon treated me. I never received a single warning. I never received so much as a hint it was coming. I was sitting at my desk packing orders and received the nasty little suspension email from them. Maybe Ebay is just as bad, but from what I read, they at least warn you.

Amazon also pays cash to buyers for lying. I know, that sounds extreme, and it is...a bit. But, a buyer can tell Amazon you threatened them with plagues and Amazon believes them. There is no story too wild for Amazon to not believe. They get their money back every time. Period. They might not be able to read or write, but some Amazon buyers know a good threat will get them free stuff. They threaten you and you either have to refund or roll the dice on what they'll tell Amazon. If you refuse, they file a claim and get their money anyway. So, is it any wonder that buyers spout all manner of lies knowing the worse they make you sound, the more likely they are to get free stuff?

Ebay at least encourages buyers and sellers to communicate. It might end up the same in the end, but you stand a fighting chance with buyers on Ebay. You have lost every dispute on Amazon from the moment the buyer emails or files a claim. You have little if any recourse.

I can go on and on...as you probably already figured out. But, from the start, Amazon treated me like a piece of gum on their shoe. Remember, I was paying over $35,000 a year in fees to the goobers and they still treated me like that. Maybe if you sell 500 items a day, Amazon might treat you better. But, I would warn sellers to go into selling on Amazon with the attitude that it's temporary. I've read many, many horror stories of huge Amazon operations shut down in the blink of an eye without so much as a hint to why.

I came to these boards the day after I was suspended thinking I might need to get back on Amazon for a while to honor some commitments. Less than a week later, I know I can do as well on Ebay/Half as I did on Amazon and honor those commitments. So, I won't be using the book or the tips on how to stealth Amazon. I'll try paying $35,000 in fees to Ebay this year and see what they treat me like! :D

Last edited by Opus; 04-22-2010 at 12:07 PM.
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The complete step-by-step guide to get back to selling today!

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Old 04-22-2010
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Thank you for such a nice report!!
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