I hope you don’t mind my “opening the vault” as it were and resurrecting these old posts that pre-date this blog. I think it’s interesting to go back and look at these old posts both to see what has changed and also to marvel and how much hasn’t changed. Sometimes eBay makes huge changes and it feels like everything is different but, when you look at it, everything is pretty close to how it always was.

This post comes from April 25, 2006. eBay had just introduced eBay Express which was the first time I really started to embrace Fixed Price listings. I was always (and still am in many ways) an auction girl and I would always much rather let the market decide the value with a free for all auction rather than set a Buy It Now price.

I use Fixed Price more now than ever before and definitely more than I did even a year ago. The “why” behind that is two fold: Firstly, with the fee change, unless your listing starts at under $.99, fixed price insertion fees are cheaper and secondly, with the downturn of the economy, auctions don’t always have that many eyeballs. I’ve noticed that since I got my Top Rated badge, I can ask more for an item with Fixed Price than my competitors without the badge and actually get it. Who am I to turn down more money?

I also love Best Offer which lets me sort of throw a price out there and see what sticks. I like starting the haggle/barter process with a price that I set to give them a guideline. I feel like Best Offer is basically an auction in reverse and sometimes you win the Best Offer lotto and someone buys it for a price you only set as wishful thinking.

But all that said, everything I’m complaining about in the post below is still exactly how I feel whenever something sells via Buy It Now or Fixed Price. ­čÖé

You know what else- I still think eBay Express was a good idea. I have many friends and relatives who just cannot get their head around the idea that eBay is not just auctions and having a portal that was basically like “no bidding!!!” was a great idea. I blame marketing and interface more for the lack of adaption, I really think the idea was sound. And while they have somewhat integrated that interface into the current search, it isn’t quite as foolproof as the Express design was.

I don’t care who makes fun of me, I really liked eBay Express as a buyer, even if I’m a weirdo about Fixed Price, as you are about to learn….

Original post:

eBay launched eBay Express today. eBay Express is designed for the retail customer who doesn’t want to be bothered with bidding, sniping, shilling and all the other niceties that make eBay auctions what they are. Buyers can pay via PayPal (which annoyed many a disgruntled seller who had to then upgrade to a PayPal business account) and only Buy It Now (BIN) and Store Listings of trusted sellers (PowerSellers and those with feedback of 98% or higher) would appear in results.

To piggy back on their launch, I decided to add a BIN to nearly every auction I uploaded last night. I was uploading a lot of items at once because I am selling off a solid 90% of my collection of Muppet toys, dolls, figures, etc as part of the process of moving and I figured that a quick sale could only help the packing process.

I just checked my email to find that, of the 35 auctions I uploaded last night, about 10 had already been snatched up via BIN. I should be overjoyed because I just sold 10 little inch high Muppet figures for about $50 when I am pretty sure I didn’t pay more than $25 for them, but I am strangely annoyed.

I understand the benefits of BIN and Fixed Price for the buyer. I also understand the advantages for the seller and, when I have an item that I had sold before and am certain of the value of, I love that option since it gets the sale over with and the item out of my house pretty quickly. I even love the idea of eBay Express and I think its going to make selling on eBay even more profitable.

The only thing I don’t like is the unknown. I love the auction culture on eBay because you have no idea of the value of an item until you list it and let the buyers decide its value. There is the thrill of watching the bids go up and the stress when it sells for less than you hoped. I really enjoy that process and the BIN feels cheap and rushed in comparison.

By the same token, my inner greedy bastard always wonders, especially when the item sells via BIN very soon after listing, if I could have gotten more for it if I had just let things run their course. I suspect I could have gotten more for these Muppet figures yet I listed them at the price I did because similar figures sold for around that price.

A few months ago, I listed a Hello Kitty pencil case that I have had since I was a small child. It was shaped like an ice cream truck and was cute, but had been used and was in rough shape. I started the auction at $.99 and hoped at least one person would bid on it because I wanted to get rid of it but have a total complex about throwing things out (more on that at a later date). A person emailed me early in the auction and asked me to end it early and sell it to her for $40. I was about to do it when I noticed that the auction had been bid on. I hate to cancel an auction once there is a bid so I told the person no, all the while kicking myself, thinking that I would never make that much on that silly pencil case.

Not only did that case end up selling for just under $70 to someone in Italy, I still get emails about it from people who are desperately hoping I have another one.

So, sure, eBay Express will speed up the eBay process for the buyers but at the cost of taking all the mystery out of the sale….