eBay Alternative Bonanzle – Is all the buzz for real?

Small sellers continue to look for alternatives to eBay. Lately the selling site Bonanzle has been creating a lot of Buzzzzzz.

I have been hearing a lot about Bonanzle for the past few months. Bonanzle is not technically an auction site –although you can do auctions. Most sellers list their items at a price + OBO (Or Best Offer).

Bonanzle was started by a couple of guys in Seattle –It is strictly a bootstrap operation –no Wall Street money or venture capital here. And they seem to be off to a good start. Launched last September, the site now boasts over 1.6 million active listings and 44, 000 registered users. Buyers and sellers can chat with each other and you can even hold impromptu live auctions via the chat –or even by phone.

Most of the merchandise on the site falls into the collectible, vintage and used category, but there are also a fair amount of new goods.  There are no listing fees,  very reasonable final value fees and the site has a nice community feel –much like eBay did in the early days.

Here is an email I got from one of my readers who just started on Bonanzle.  Besides some early, although small, success, if you read between the lines what you come away with is someone that is having fun. 

So, here is the report on Bonanzle from a user named Ellen:

Hi Skip:

I’ve only finished my booth, but I’ve sold 5 books in launching it. So, we’ll see, but I’ll tell you what is really cool about Bonanzle. One, there are no insertion fees, you can use Pay Pal, Google Checkout, allow money orders, etc. and can post up to 4 pictures on an item for free. Also, they are so joined with Google, that all my books have been uploaded by Google and floating around the internet. And, it’s no charge! Yesterday, I was searching for a book I have but don’t have an ISBN number for. So, I searched Google and I decided to click on the first listing to see if they had the number. I almost fell over, it was mine!

That said, I need a little more time to see how things run but I have a very good feeling about this place. The Staff, Tech Support and the overall community are absolutely supportive and great to be around. A woman I met on Bonanzle helped me figure out various things. (You know when you’re on a new place it’s about finding your way around). Anyway she’s a PowerSeller from eBay and feels really good about the transition.

 I think one thing that I have found from people that have packed up their tents and moved on from eBay – the insertion fees, the attitude toward sellers in general on eBay. I think your article (Can eBay Solve its Identity Crisis) really does hit the nail on the head regarding their attitude towards the medium and small seller. Gosh, one week I sold approx. $52.00 worth of books then here came eBay with fees of $62.00! Well, no profit there. I have felt, with all my really hard work since September of last year and doing everything I possibly could to drive traffic, having received faithful buyers that have come back time and time again – I’m being pushed aside for the Multi-Corporations. I just can’t compete with that.

That said, the only two other things I have to do are set up a blog (somewhere) and join twitter. I’m still not quite sure just what Twitter does? I have written reviews on several of my books and have gotten very nice compliments from people reading them. So, I need to start some new ones.

Ellen

I have maintained for quite a while that one of the things standing in the way of eBay’s recovery is the lack of a fun quotient. Talk to almost any sellers and they will tell you: “While I am still making money, it’s not as much fun as it used to be.”

The other thing eBay needs to do again is more advertising and promotion.  Stay tuned – I will be writing about that next.

As for Bonanzle –it looks like a lot of fun and I may list a few items to try it out. But like many of the newer eBay compeititors they will have to delliver buyers and stand the test of time.

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