Looking for an alternative to eBay? Or a useful additional place to show off your sale items? eBid is an excellent choice.
eBid is an online auction site that provides a venue for selling by auction (bids), fixed price, or auction with a "snap it up quick" buyer price (called BuyNow) attached. It's easy to use, free to join, has great offers for upgrading and extremely reasonable fees. The community is friendly and supportive, the management listens to its users.
Is there no down-side? Well, of course there is - no site's perfect, any more than any person is. So there are occasional glitches on the site. The good news is that these are openly reported and rapidly fixed in a forum provided for the purpose, and the site owners actually drop in to the forum and take part in discussions when it helps. The site's smaller and younger than some you might have tried (and bigger and older than others, of course!) so it's important to be realistic in your approach. You probably won't get the foot-traffic here that you would with some of the big players, so it's best to start auctions at a realistic level rather than assume that you'll get enough bids to push the price up to true market value. If you prefer low starts, there's a reserve option.
eBid is partnered with Google Shopping, so any item with a "buy now" price attached that meets Google's own rules is uploaded automatically for you, increasing item visibility massively.
There are a number of questions that regularly get asked that it's useful to have the answers to before you decide; sadly, many people never ask them until later, which can cause bad feeling. So let's address the main ones now, and I hope it's soon enough for you!
No, eBid does not do a great deal of advertising. No, not that many people - prior to signing up - have heard of the site. But word of mouth is achieving much, along with Google visibility and the enthusiasm of eBid's existing members. People who join first, and ask questions afterwards are inclined to appear on the forums demanding massive advertising campaigns. Well sorry, but there's no sign that's going to happen. But there's nothing to stop you advertising your own wares, eBid shop, or the site itself. The bottom line is: it's cheap to join, cheap to list, cheap to sell... and that sort of bargain isn't going to fund a massive ad campaign any time soon. You need to be realistic about that, and if you think marketing is essential have your own plan. Effectively you're renting a market pitch, now promote yourself - the market owners have a different agenda.
Yes, and then again, no. It really is free to join, yep! (And easy to, did I mention that?) However, if you stick with the free membership you will have to pay to list. Not much, but fair's fair - it's not a charity, right? If you go for one of the subscriptions (and see my advice below about that), then you can list for free. It's worth noting, though, that the free listings don't have a thumbnail picture in the search results list - to achieve that (and I highly recommend it) you'll want to go for the Gallery upgrade. Great news is, it's only 2% of final selling price - there's no listing charge. If it doesn't sell, you've not spent a penny / cent / brass razoo. Free listing, cheap selling.
Membership of eBid is essential to buy and sell. As mentioned, at the basic level it's free. If you just want to buy, you simply register and away you go. You can register as part of the buying process, though it can get a little confusing, so you might find it better to register in advance or while browsing to save tripping over the process mid-purchase. Many sellers will include a link in their listings to "join here" - a good route to get signed-up while you're still thinking about purchasing, and the seller will get "buddy points" (loyalty rewards) so they'll really like you for it.
To sell you will need to register as a seller, which will involve some financial information even if you go for the free level - this is a security measure to ensure you're recording legitimate information, to keep the venue safe to use for all concerned.
If you go for the seller + upgrade (provides better per listing prices and additional benefits such as integrated invoicing) you need to decide on the duration of your membership (weekly, monthly etc) and be aware that a subscription means a recurring charge - so you stay a member, and pay per chosen period, until you choose to either cancel or go for lifetime membership.
The subscriptions currently offered are:
If you want to try the site before committing massively, the shorter subscriptions are an excellent way into the site (remember, they keep running till you cancel or upgrade). A little known bonus is that (at time of writing) eBid will reduce your lifetime joining fee, if you go for it, by the amount you've already paid in subscriptions. And since the half-price offer currently running is available for 24hrs after any upgrade, all you have to do is try for a while, and when you're ready go for the next step up, then immediately choose lifetime. The step-up qualifies you for the lifetime half-price deal, and your previous payments are deducted from what you owe - you can't lose! If, of course, you find the site doesn't work for you, simply cancel your subscription (via the upgrade page, slightly confusingly!) and you can call it quits.
To the best of my knowledge the definition of "lifetime" here has yet to be fully tested, but yes it really does mean lifetime. Nobody who's paid for lifetime seller + membership should ever have to pay another penny in membership. Of course, the Dalai Lama might need to make special arrangements.
I strongly recommend that you explore the forums (click top right on the site), the site and other relevant pages out on the web (maybe Facebook for example) before you commit to paying for a subscription - it's much better to come into a new site armed with as much information as possible so that expectations are realistic and you've a good grasp of how to use the site before you start.
The help section here offers a number of How-To Videos (HTVs) that you might find give a useful insight into how the site operates. I hope so, I made most of them!
Additional information, by Kimbo!
I've been selling on eBid since 2008. I first joined the site as a free member in 2004 and explored the selling side, before deciding it wasn't quite what I was looking for at that time (a little too quiet, and too little known). In 2008 I returned, started selling, and quickly got back my lifetime fee. I now provide various technical support services for eBid sellers, both free and business, and sell a variety of items from listing templates to books and gifts. I buy too!
In late 2010 I took on the role of eBid Newsletter Editor, this a freelance position and I am not an employee of eBid - just an enthusiastic supporter who's happy to be part of the team in a small way.
In addition to my free (www.ebidhelp.com) and commercial sites (not listed to comply with eBid rules) I also offer a couple of Squidoo lenses (just information pages really, if you're not familiar with Squidoo) that you might find helpful.
My Tumblr Blog is more geared-up for registered sellers and looks at the detail of selling successfully on eBid.
If you are looking for instructions on how to perform specific tasks on eBid, such as setting up your shop, please use the FAQ & Help button in the menu on the left.