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  #1  
Old 08-28-2011
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Default Opinions wanted. How would your perfect eBay alternative be like?

As you may have noticed, I've been quite "inactive" for the past few months. Now, that has it's reason. I'm currently working the development team of a reliable eBay alternative.

First of all, I'm not going to use this thread to promote the project. That's not my goal. My goal is to get opinions from eBay sellers on what you would expect from a reliable eBay alternative.

Obviously, traffic (which then turn into sales) is an important factor. This part is taken care of. It won't be an empty site launched, but real products from real sellers (chosen before the launch in a beta program) already available in every category, and we also have the backing of several investors for a massive online and offline (print, media) advertising campaign.

But first things first. What would you expect from such a website? Obviously it should have the "feel" of eBay, so that the transition for eBay sellers would be as easy as possible, while still having it's own identity. With "feel" I mean in terms of functionality. For example, if eBay has the seller information on the top right of the listing, we would also have it in the approximate same location, so that buyers wouldn't have to learn an entire new website.

But what other features would you expect? Things that eBay is missing that would make buying and selling more easier and more fun. Different communication methods with buyers and sellers? Easier functionality of some features? Or even new features not available on eBay?

As for payment gateways, we won't be forcing sellers to use PayPal only. We certainly recommend to use PayPal, because it's the payment method of choice for eBay sellers and buyers, but we'll also allow Google Checkout and the sellers' own merchant accounts.

I'm happy to say that we'll also be focusing equally on sellers and buyers, not just buyers like eBay does, while suspending sellers left and right. While suspensions of bad sellers are inevitable, there will be a process where the customer service first reviews the sellers before suspending them.

And there will be real people sellers can contact and work out their problems, without having to wait for days or weeks for an answer while suspended.

Obviously if there are 500 items sold and none of the buyers has received anything after a month, the account may be suspended, but there won't be suspensions like on eBay for example when someone listed a $5 garden gnome on a brand new account, or because someone listed 30 items at once with only 5 feedback.

Other than that, I'm looking for any kind of recommendations.

Again, I will not advertise the site here. And I won't even tell you if you PM me. This is not about advertising, but about gathering ideas. This is your chance to get your ideas out there and to help build a better auction website.

(To aspkin: Feel free to move this thread if you believe it's in the wrong forum).

Looking forward to your comments.

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Old 08-28-2011
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My suggestion is that you shouldn't make separate site for each major country (like US site, UK site etc).
Instead, make one global site.
When the buyer searches for an item, he can choose the country he wants the item shipped to, and items that are not shipped to the country he chose will be filtered from the search.
I think that makes selling and buying more easier, as there is only one site to look at.
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  #3  
Old 08-28-2011
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Thank you for your suggestions

What we're definitely looking at doing are different languages. Users from the United States, UK, etc. would be shown the website in English, while from Spain in Spanish and from Japan in Japanese, etc. With the possibility of changing the language, of course.

As for country-specific websites, we haven't gone that far yet, although all domain names for all countries around the world have already been secured But the initial plan would be to roll out the website in one version for all countries.

But wouldn't it be attractive to buy from an Israeli website in your local currency (shekel) instead of US dollars or Euros? Or would you feel comfortable enough to buy in US dollars or Euros only, even though you're faced with the exchange rates?
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I think in ideal world and on paper eBay will be really good, BUT! You just need on Your website to be fair and allow all stupid things that on eBay can make problems for all of us:

Unwanted selling limits for new accounts, immediatelly limitation if sales start too fast, unfair limitations for any 1st, 30 or 90 days, IP address checking, etc.
Also allowing for one user to own many account as he want.

In other words - You must to be not policeman who see in every customer potential criminal as eBay, but friendly company and then it will be Your first step to be really alternative to eBay. And new features and functions You will find in marketing way in process anyway!

I wish You good luck in You good work!
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What do you think about a system like in ioffer, which converts the currency of all items automatically?
The idea of a website for each country may be attractive, but what about the sellers who ship worldwide? On one hand their items should appear on all local websites because the sellers ship to all countries, on the other hand the item's price will be in a different currency then the currency of the website it appears in.
So a system to convert the currency is necessary anyway, and then the localized websites will have no point.

Another thing I suggest, is to have a live chat customer support. That makes the life easier for all members if they require help.

I really hope you will succeed and wish you a good luck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate View Post
I think in ideal world and on paper eBay will be really good, BUT! You just need on Your website to be fair and allow all stupid things that on eBay can make problems for all of us:

Unwanted selling limits for new accounts, immediatelly limitation if sales start too fast, unfair limitations for any 1st, 30 or 90 days, IP address checking, etc.
Also allowing for one user to own many account as he want.

In other words - You must to be not policeman who see in every customer potential criminal as eBay, but friendly company and then it will be Your first step to be really alternative to eBay. And new features and functions You will find in marketing way in process anyway!

I wish You good luck in You good work!
Definitely. I can see where eBay is coming from with the limits and suspensions. No doubt there are some bad sellers out there who need to be stopped, but I believe that the majority of people who sell online are still good people. eBay is becoming too buyer-focused and is killing the sellers that made them what they are today.

Having been an eBay seller myself for many years now (you can see my posts going back) I've had all these problems myself as a seller, with suspended accounts and all. I've had to go stealth to make a living and support my family. In the past 2 years, I have the eBay system beaten and haven't been suspended anymore, but I have my own tactics to keep me alive. Honest sellers shouldn't have to do that, go stealth just to make a living and not be suspended for life.

A big part of this project is definitely making life easier for sellers, and also less worrying. I know how it feels to wake up in the morning, and the first thought being to check my email to see if my accounts are still up or if I've been suspended from eBay.

And sellers should be definitely welcome to have multiple accounts, one for buying, one for selling antiques and another for selling used car parts.

Thank you for your thoughts, it will definitely focus on being easy and worry-free for sellers

Quote:
Originally Posted by ben23 View Post
What do you think about a system like in ioffer, which converts the currency of all items automatically?
The idea of a website for each country may be attractive, but what about the sellers who ship worldwide? On one hand their items should appear on all local websites because the sellers ship to all countries, on the other hand the item's price will be in a different currency then the currency of the website it appears in.
So a system to convert the currency is necessary anyway, and then the localized websites will have no point.

Another thing I suggest, is to have a live chat customer support. That makes the life easier for all members if they require help.

I really hope you will succeed and wish you a good luck
That is actually already in development. Currencies converted depending on your country. What's a bit tricky is that it can only "estimate" the price, especially for PayPal sellers, as PayPal has their own exchange rates which change several times every day. But a good estimate can be given.

Live chat support is definitely on the list of features. We may even go so far as to offer a live-support option between sellers and buyers, so that when you're online you can talk with potential buyers and close the deal right there.

Another thing I'll have to add is that we'll initially have fixed-price listings only, and introducing auctions once the user base has grown to a large number. The reason is that the traffic to the site has to be established first through fixed-price items, because it doesn't help sellers if only 1-2 people bid on the auction and they end up selling it for a lower than expected price.

And the best feature of all, is that we're expecting to make the site free of fees forever for the first X number of sellers. That means that the first X number of sellers will never pay any fees to list, and neither fees when the items are sold, sort of as a thank you for being there in the beginning and helping it get started.

Thank you again for all the feedback and suggestions. It's good knowing that a project like this has the support of sellers
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Old 08-28-2011
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You have some good ideas.

The problem with other sites though is that they dont have the 15yrs of growing pains in thier past yet. Yes these sites can use what ebay has learned and go from there but ebay is molded by laws, etc and other BS that affects them.

I am sure that their goal isnt to simply catch people and suspend them. I am sure you are fully aware that they probably hate suspending people that make them money. They do it becuase they have to. Those rules while BS to most of us are probably really thought about by tons of people and board room meetings prior with lawyers and such before anything is put into place.

If you can keep up with all the things they have learned and hire someone that knows the insides of issues they have learned they dont tell us about then it might work.

I know mine is only one opinion but ebays rules are molded by the activity that has been done for 15yrs. now. Just like the US gov. All of us have a say in what goes in the books as rules and we all mold what does and doesnt get into law.

Really just works like evolution. The environment molds how we are and look.

Get all good sellers and buyer and rules are slacked a bunch. When people start screwing up then they must tighten. That is exactly how ebay has worked.

One small example.

Feedback used to be just feedback. You didnt even have to have a transaction with someone to post feedback for them. You could just pick joe blows user ID and post a neg for him. Just like that.

People abused it and they had to change it. more changes later we have DSR's in place. Later it will be totally different than what we see now. And that will be only decided on how people treat the system from now till then.

I hope you succeed for sure. I would do anything to help out as well. Good luck
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Old 08-29-2011
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I agree that countries should be separated. It bugs me to no end after weeks-months of negotiating fair price for a product after buying 100+ pieces and then a month later you see a foreign seller offer the product direct from home country at practically same price or lower.... Probably a ⊗⊗⊗⊗, but they are not restricted in any way to sell that item...ugg
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Please keep the ⊗⊗⊗⊗ and copycat items off of your site and I for one will definitely be on. Scammers and foo-foo sellers are the reason Ebay is like it is now IMO
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You should live by the rule "Don't fix what's not broken"

If a seller is selling a lot and in a high risk category, that is fine. As long as they aren't getting bad reviews.

Of course it's hard to find out who won't get bad reviews, since it obviously takes a couple of weeks for the buyers to receive the product and leave a negative.
So I guess you still need selling limits at least for the first month so nobody tries to sign up and make a fortune in the first week before getting caught.
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Old 09-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingRay View Post
I am sure that their goal isnt to simply catch people and suspend them. I am sure you are fully aware that they probably hate suspending people that make them money. They do it becuase they have to. Those rules while BS to most of us are probably really thought about by tons of people and board room meetings prior with lawyers and such before anything is put into place.
True. It will be a hard task to keep the good people separated from the bad people. I guess suspensions are inevitable in order to keep it a safe place and scammers away, but we want to make it easier for sellers and try not to have them suspended. There will be a dedicated team reviewing sellers. For example if someone suddenly sells 100 items up from 10 items last month, instead of doing it like eBay and having them suspended and fax in all their identification and statements, we want to talk with the seller and find out more about him/her. If they are a real store, have an existing website, etc. give them a chance to talk about themselves and their goals instead of just suspending them.

We might make it a safer place if we require new sellers to use PayPal, AlertPay or MoneyBookers, while after a certain number of positive feedbacks, they are allowed to use their own merchant accounts or checks, etc. What do you think about that? It's a huge risk to allow sellers to use their own merchant accounts from 0 feedback, but it might be a good compromise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newjerseymax View Post
I agree that countries should be separated. It bugs me to no end after weeks-months of negotiating fair price for a product after buying 100+ pieces and then a month later you see a foreign seller offer the product direct from home country at practically same price or lower.... Probably a ⊗⊗⊗⊗, but they are not restricted in any way to sell that item...ugg
Definitely, there will be an easy way to find products only from ceertain countries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrannyT View Post
Please keep the ⊗⊗⊗⊗ and copycat items off of your site and I for one will definitely be on. Scammers and foo-foo sellers are the reason Ebay is like it is now IMO
I agree, but it's a tough one. How do you know someone is selling an original or a ⊗⊗⊗⊗ ? Suggestions are welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hrad View Post
You should live by the rule "Don't fix what's not broken"

If a seller is selling a lot and in a high risk category, that is fine. As long as they aren't getting bad reviews.

Of course it's hard to find out who won't get bad reviews, since it obviously takes a couple of weeks for the buyers to receive the product and leave a negative.
So I guess you still need selling limits at least for the first month so nobody tries to sign up and make a fortune in the first week before getting caught.
Yes, there might be initial selling limits, but not ridiculously low 10 items per month like eBay. What we want to do is work with every seller so that they are able to sell without worries, while buyers are still protected. Rather than having everything automated like eBay, we want to do it more personal.

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Old 09-03-2011
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@Imjustme - I really do wish you all the best with this - if you can get it right and get the right exposure - and most importantly of all attract the buyers - then you could be onto a real winner.

One question - when you become a multi billionaire will you still drop by and talk to us mere mortals?:D
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Old 09-05-2011
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Originally Posted by GrannyT View Post
One question - when you become a multi billionaire will you still drop by and talk to us mere mortals?:D
Long way to go, I don't even want to think about that. But of course, I'll still be around like always. After all, we're working on creating a better place for sellers, and we're all sellers

Another question: What do you think of something along eBay's "Best Match" option? I've read in quite a few places that sellers hate the "Best Match" option. What alternative would be a good choice?
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Old 09-05-2011
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I think you are in a perfect position to create a fantastic selling portal - I wish you much luck in the future.

Most of what i'd suggest is covered already - it sounds great & personally i'd give it a try.

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Old 09-06-2011
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sounds good but i think us foumers should get a free pass

weeeeeee!!!!!
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Old 09-06-2011
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When are you thinking of launching? Will you have an 'adult' section - I've got some 10 year old stock I would love to shift!!:D

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Old 09-06-2011
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The best alternative would be if a major player offered them some real competition.

It would have to be a company on the scale of Google or Amazon or even Wal-Mart.
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Old 09-07-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imjustme View Post

What do you think of something along eBay's "Best Match" option? I've read in quite a few places that sellers hate the "Best Match" option. What alternative would be a good choice?
I think the 'best match' option is unfair - especially as its eb's default, a lot of buyers can't be bothered to scroll, or not even tech minded enough to sort the list.
How would your algorithm determine what the best matches are? Will it be based on seller popularity or Title & Details/Category text?


The things that i'd like to improve on eb (apart from the obvious ): Stores ad's longer.
Free images - with a limit of course.
Easier & clearer - "View seller's other items" link.
Free listing templates - or cheaper ones.
Other payment options.


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Old 09-07-2011
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there will never be a perfect ebay alternative without a huge amount of cash flow,if there was a perfect alternative it might start good but would change when it gets big and dosent care for its users
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Old 09-07-2011
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I've done some investigating into feedback from when eBay implemented "Best Match" and it seems that it's really hated by most sellers, due to the fact that listings are not given equal exposure. In the end, equal exposure can only be given in one way, which is through "Ending Soonest", as old-fashioned as it may seem. eBay used to be loved by buyers and sellers alike, before they implemented all the changes and focused on big sellers only. I think what we'll focus on is going back to what eBay once was, and focusing on the average seller, real people, instead of big sellers.

Obviously, big sellers are also very welcome but everyone should be given equal exposure, whether they are big or small.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrannyT View Post
When are you thinking of launching? Will you have an 'adult' section - I've got some 10 year old stock I would love to shift!!:D

6 months is probably most realistic. The beta version might open sooner. And yes, there will be an adult section.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MR GTB View Post
sounds good but i think us foumers should get a free pass

weeeeeee!!!!!
That depends on aspkin, the owner of this forum, when the time comes. I've said from the beginning that I'm looking for ideas and suggestions, not to advertise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmoe View Post
there will never be a perfect ebay alternative without a huge amount of cash flow,if there was a perfect alternative it might start good but would change when it gets big and dosent care for its users
I agree that a large investment in promotion is needed and we already have the backing of investors which most start-ups would be jealous of. I think eBay got onto the wrong track somewhere when they stopped caring for sellers, which sealed their downfall. Obviously, eBay is not dead, far from it, but they're losing what they once were, which is a loved-by-all and fair marketplace for everyone. Most sellers are also buyers, which is why it's important to take care of them.

Last edited by imjustme; 09-07-2011 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 09-07-2011
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^^^of course mate,and i think you are getting some good feedback,i am sure you will be always be able to rely on this forum for solid ideas and suggestions

good luck
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Old 09-08-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imjustme View Post
As you may have noticed, I've been quite "inactive" for the past few months. Now, that has it's reason. I'm currently working the development team of a reliable eBay alternative.

First of all, I'm not going to use this thread to promote the project. That's not my goal. My goal is to get opinions from eBay sellers on what you would expect from a reliable eBay alternative.

Obviously, traffic (which then turn into sales) is an important factor. This part is taken care of. It won't be an empty site launched, but real products from real sellers (chosen before the launch in a beta program) already available in every category, and we also have the backing of several investors for a massive online and offline (print, media) advertising campaign.

But first things first. What would you expect from such a website? Obviously it should have the "feel" of eBay, so that the transition for eBay sellers would be as easy as possible, while still having it's own identity. With "feel" I mean in terms of functionality. For example, if eBay has the seller information on the top right of the listing, we would also have it in the approximate same location, so that buyers wouldn't have to learn an entire new website.

But what other features would you expect? Things that eBay is missing that would make buying and selling more easier and more fun. Different communication methods with buyers and sellers? Easier functionality of some features? Or even new features not available on eBay?

As for payment gateways, we won't be forcing sellers to use PayPal only. We certainly recommend to use PayPal, because it's the payment method of choice for eBay sellers and buyers, but we'll also allow Google Checkout and the sellers' own merchant accounts.

I'm happy to say that we'll also be focusing equally on sellers and buyers, not just buyers like eBay does, while suspending sellers left and right. While suspensions of bad sellers are inevitable, there will be a process where the customer service first reviews the sellers before suspending them.

And there will be real people sellers can contact and work out their problems, without having to wait for days or weeks for an answer while suspended.

Obviously if there are 500 items sold and none of the buyers has received anything after a month, the account may be suspended, but there won't be suspensions like on eBay for example when someone listed a $5 garden gnome on a brand new account, or because someone listed 30 items at once with only 5 feedback.

Other than that, I'm looking for any kind of recommendations.

Again, I will not advertise the site here. And I won't even tell you if you PM me. This is not about advertising, but about gathering ideas. This is your chance to get your ideas out there and to help build a better auction website.

(To aspkin: Feel free to move this thread if you believe it's in the wrong forum).

Looking forward to your comments.

Sounds exciting!

Allow money orders as payment. This will help the poor people keep their families afloat since they often have bad credit.
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