So I was out of town and sick with some overlap between the two so I was woefully behind the curve on this Auctiva news. After many years of free services, Auctiva is starting to charge for their services. Sellers are up in arms, competitors are liking their lips and Auctiva is just licking their wounds.

For a good recap, I recommend ColderICE’s recap of the whole mess. Both Vendio and InkFrog are stepping up to the plate with special offers to lure former Auctiva users and they are offering some great value so it is definately worth a look.

I’m not going to get into the whole eBay affiliate debate that rages as to whether Auctiva was right or wrong in earning their income from ePN links. To me, it doesn’t matter beyond the fact that the jig was up, no matter what the reason.

In the end, however, I have to somewhat echo Henrietta’s “Thank You, Auctiva” post. Auctiva was always far too good to be true. Free inventory, listing, scheduling, recurring links, unlimited image hosting, discounted shipping insurance, the list goes on and on. Frankly, it always felt a little impossible to me. They were offering such a quality service for free that I always felt it couldn’t last forever. This was always part of the reason I used them sparingly, unwilling to rely on something that always seemed like it couldn’t last forever. There had to be a catch.

With the Auctiva virus scare, we thought we learned what the catch was. But all that scare did was bring to light that you get what you paid for in a listing tool. If you wanted something undeniably reliable and perfect, you were going to look farther than a free listing tool. But that serious hit to Auctiva’s credibility not only lost them customers and reputation, it also was a wake up call for those that had been relying on the tool. . . maybe they shouldn’t have all their eggs in a basket with holes in it.

To me, Auctiva was free image hosting, cheap insurance and, when I was really busy or lazy, a free listing scheduler so I could prep listings without having to pay eBay their schedule fee. I only started to rely on them a little more when they added their inventory services, setting up some recurring listings which saved me a lot of time. Were there paid services offering these things better? I’m sure there were. But for the few times I needed these services, Auctiva was there and free and that fit my needs.

Auctiva has lost my image hosting. I will be exporting all of my images from there to either my own hosting or photobucket within the next few days depending on which turns out to be easier. However, I am not read to stand on the rooftops and shout about how quickly I am going to delete my account.

I have resisted paying any monthly service fee to any third party tool all this time because I have always managed just fine without one. Sure, there are moments when it would be helpful to have a more powerful tool than good ole Turbo Lister but these were only moments and not frequent enough at that for me to justify an additional $120 a year or more. Whenever I say this on Twitter I usually get a few “my time is worth more than yours” quotes and, heck, that is fine. But so far in my business life, I have yet to be inconveienced by the free tools for more than a few moments in an entire year and my time is definately not operating at a $120 for 15 minutes rate. If you are making that kind of cash, you are clearly more awesome than I and I salute you, but, for me, the expense hasn’t been worth it yet.

May this change in the future? Possibly, who knows. I have been on the verge of needing a third party robust listing tool for about 10 years now so I am bound to pass that line eventually.

So I looked at the new Auctiva prices with an open mind and, actually, kinda like what I see. Their No Monthly Fee plan is basically an a la carte listing tool. You only pay for the listings you list and its only 12 cents a listing and then 1.25% transaction fee. So if I really needed to use their services for whatever reason, I can still use them just as I always have before. . . sparingly. I don’t have to commit to a monthly fee and I don’t have to use them at all if I don’t want to. I just like knowing the option is there if need be. Case by case, I can use them if they are more convient or inexpensive than eBay, or not. Either way, I don’t have to commit to a month fee which is important to me because I still don’t see it being worth it.

Frankly, Auctiva’s move immediately makes me wonder why the others like Vendio and Inkfrog don’t have a la carte options with no monthly fee. It seems like a great way to get a seller on the fence about a big listing tool (such as myself) to test them out with only a few items and then possibily upgrade. A free trial is never going to rope me in as much as the chance to start out small and then upgrade my service as needed.

In the end, the biggest winner in this is eBay. Whereas I was using Auctiva to schedule my listings to avoid paying the schedule fee, in those cases when I absolutely have to schedule, I will be paying eBay those 10 cents a listing now. For the few times I need to do that, those 10 cent fees are still cheaper than a third party tool with an extra fee or Auctiva’s a la carte so eBay can have my 10 cents. I am pretty sure this will amount to less than $5 extra a year so I am pretty sure I can handle it though it still steams me to have to pay a dime extra because I am cheap.

Are you in mourning over Auctiva? Forking over the cash for their paid services? Wondering what Auctiva is? So I know that everyone has probably talked this to death already but I’m sure at least one person wants to yell at me how their time is worth $300 a second or whatever so please, sound off below.