I few weeks ago, I got an email from the manager of marketing of Moneyca.com asking if I would possibly review it. Moneyca is a new platform for auctions and fixed price listings. I think they are trying for a play off “Monica” but it’s anyone’s guess. The email said one thing that stood out:

I came across your review of the Bonanzle online marketplace… Now we don’t want to be an eBay killer, we just want a small slice of the giant eBay pie. We understand how huge they are and how they have written the book on online auctions, but with the recent hikes in fees I feel the perfect storm is brewing for an alternative rather than a replacement.

…which means to me that my Bonanzle review scared the hell out of him. 🙂 But they approached me having read at least one post on my blog and knowing there was a chance I would rip them apart and in a weird way I respect them for that so I figured I would check the site out.

Now, I won’t be able to give as complete a review as I’ve done with other sites in the past as I didn’t create an account or try to actually list an item for sale so I cannot attest to the interface. So this post is less of a review and more of me just pointing out a new marketplace for you.

I know I am a broken record on this issue but I would be remiss if I didn’t say first off that I have the same worry with this as I do with any other marketplace: do the buyers know about it? Will they find it? What will this platform give me in the way of traffic and exposure in exchange for the fees I pay them? Because yes, eBay charges out the nose for fees but they bring me buyers. Lower fees don’t do me any good if there is no one on the site to buy my stuff.

But I do a lot of auctions so I am interested in checking them out as many of the new eBay alternatives focus only on the fixed price. I’m excited to finally see an auction alternative out there so I am interested in seeing what they have to offer. 

Right off the bat, the first thing I notice is that there isn’t much for sale on the platform. I did a few searches for things I often buy on eBay and there were no results or very few for each of them. Not surprising for a new platform but, as always, that means an uphill battle for bringing buyers in. With auctions, this is even more of a downside than it is with fixed price items because so much of the success of an auction depends on how many viewers the listing gets. But that is going to be a problem with any new site so let’s put that aside for the moment.

What I like:

  • Cheaper fees. Their banner ad claims they are 60% cheaper than eBay. Taking a look at their fees, they do certainly seem to be cheaper on the whole. 
  • They have Dutch Auctions. eBay killed Dutch auctions a while ago and while some buyers never really understood how they worked, I often found them useful so I like having the option to still do them.
  • They have a down-loadable lister toll ala Turbo Lister called Moneyca Turbo Loader. Does it work? Don’t know, I didn’t try it but I really appreciate a non-browser lister so its still a plus. 
  • They can import eBay feedback. Always handy.
  • They already have an affiliate program for their listings. 
  • They give you a free storefront. I know this is a really big thing for some former eBay sellers so I just wanted to point it out.

What I don’t like:

  • Their help section is really annoying. Each FAQ links to a single, image heavy HTML page not even in the style of the rest of the site. The pages also aren’t integrated into each other making things harder to find. I know they are new but why would anyone sign up for your service if you make it hard to find out what you are about?
  • Their site is weak on info all around, you have to login to access most info about their services or to peak under the hood. I know people hated anonymous bidding on eBay but at least it let you really test the site and play around before committing to anything. Again, they are brand new so slack needs to be cut but you’d think branding would be the first thing you’d set up.
  • You can’t get a sense of what their company is like at all from the site. Their blog is just a 404 error right now and their About Us pages is nothing but empty corporate speak. What sets them apart? What is their mission statement other than “compete with eBay?” I’m not asking for a company to befriend me, but I think to get at least some sense of what their plan is before I sign up. 

So, at first glance, there is some definite potential to the platform but it still very new and perhaps barely ready to be open to the public (from what I saw from their website). That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth keeping an eye on, though. But if we all just sit and watch it, the platform will be gone before we get to see it go anywhere so there is that to consider.

Have you given Moneyca a try? How was the buying and selling experience there?