Tuesday, January 4, 2011

EBay is not what it used to be for Photographic Equipment. I think EBay is broken.

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

Back when EBay started, I was selling and purchasing camera equipment all the times. I got some real bargains back then. I would look for items containing "Pentax Set-up" or "Pentax system" in the descriptions. Often enough, I would get a complete system including camera, lenses, flash and other goodies. I would turn around and sell what I didn't need, separately on EBay. i.e: Camera, lenses, flash, camera bag, tripod, etc.  Sometimes, I was able to double my money while keeping the item I really wanted.

There were no "PayPal" and you would get paid by check or money order. The fees were reasonable and the feedback system was simple. Sellers were able to leave feedback just like the buyers. It was a new wave of "Easy and affordable" way to purchase just about anything. EBay grew very fast and became a giant.

How did it started?

Sometime in 1995, 28-year-old software developer Pierre Omidyar sat down to write the code that would eventually evolve into what we know as eBay today.

Originally called AuctionWeb and hosted on his server,  the site began with the listing of a single broken laser pointer. Though Pierre had intended the listing to be a test more than a serious offer to sell at auction, he was shocked when the item sold for $14.83. Pierre knew that he'd created something big as soon as he contacted the winning bidder to ask if he understood that the pointer was broken.

"I'm a collector of broken laser pointers," came the reply.

AuctionWeb soon took over Pierre's entire domain, www.ebay.com, short for Echo Bay.  By 1996 the company was large enough to require the skills of a Stanford MBA in Jeffrey Skoll, who came aboard an already profitable ship. Meg Whitman, a Harvard graduate, soon followed as president and CEO, along with a strong business team under whose leadership eBay grew rapidly, branching out from collectibles into nearly every type of market. We know the rest of that story.

Now, EBay is not what it used to be. The fees are way up, then you have to sell through PayPal which also charges a fee. Some camera stores now sell more on EBay than they sell through their brick & mortar stores. The prices are now higher on EBay than they used to be. The bad guys got into the system and it's not that uncommon anymore to purchase an item and never receive it. You have to trust the sellers feedback rating. Nowadays, a seller cannot leave negative feedback but buyers can. I don't sell on EBay anymore because they protect the buyers but neglect the sellers. Isn't there something wrong with that? You don't have any buyers if there are no sellers. I don't think EBay is growing anymore or certainly not growing at the same rate.

Despite all the changes, I do find a good Pentax item every now and then.

Meg Whitman left the company, after she made her millions and after running the company down and letting hundreds of employees go., if not thousands.  She tried to buy herself the California Governor's position by spending a record breaking and obscene 142 million dollars.  She lost and I'm glad. That money could have been better spent by helping less fortunate people.

I don't really know or care who is EBay's CEO now. Ebay is not what it used to be and Amazon is getting more and more share of the market. You can find good items, new and used, on Amazon at very good prices. I wish that another Auction site would emerge and give EBay some competition. They have had the monopoly for way too long. I don't sell on EBay anymore but still do check Pentax items all the time. I do buy items when it seems a great deal, but most of my purchases are now done on Amazon. I think they got it together.

Yes Amazon!

Thanks for reading,

Yvon Bourque
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