I’ve been buying and selling gear on eBay since the last millennium …
otherwise known as 1999, but hey, that’s still a LONG time! Over the last decade eBay has become less and
less advantageous for individuals like me as a place to sell gear. The fees keep escalating and the deck is
stacked more and more against the seller in as much as we actually CAN’T give a
buyer who rips us off bad feedback … that’s plum insane, and a buyer can
blackmail us using a threat of “bad feedback”.
Furthermore, the ONLY payment method we can accept is PayPal, and PayPal
is terribly biased towards the BUYER getting whatever they want, and often the
seller gets screwed by a buyer who CLAIMS the item was not as described or some
such nonsense. Even in a “for local
pickup only” auction, we can’t accept anything but PayPal; if you’re item description even hints to the
fact that you will accept greenbacks, the eBay bots will catch it and cancel your
item. Why? Because they want the PayPal percentage, of
course! (EBay may have “spun off” PayPal
into its own company, but they are still corporate siblings.) The end result: unless you are a big company selling
gazillions of cheap widgets, you are probably looking for an alternative place
to sell your stuff. If your stuff
happens to be guitar and music gear, your best option is Reverb(.com).
Let’s start our head-to-head comparison where the rubber really meets the
road: how much it COSTS to sell!
So, it’s quite clear that it just flat costs less to sell on Reverb.
take a couple of hypothetical sales and compare the cost to sell the
items. First how about a sweet yet
inexpensive old Sigma/Martin acoustic guitar that sells for $200. EBay would take $26.40 out of that two
hundred bucks; Reverb would take $12.65.
That cuts the cost of selling more than in half! Put an even better way, the difference in fees
would allow you to drop your price to $186, and still wind up with the same
profit, and that motivates buyers! But
how about on a more top-end item, how about a mid-level vintage instrument
worth $9,000? Well, now it gets
interesting indeed! EBay would take $1,011.60
of your money, and Reverb would take $593.25.
Baby, that’s $418 bucks difference.
Now let’s just say over a year or so you sell a dozen or so of those
$200-ish items, plus a couple of those 9-grand-ish items, plus a few in-between
items and a good solid splattering of pedals and other sub $100 items (that’s fairly
typical for a mid-level buyer/seller/collector/player). Man, you’ll save WELL over a grand selling
that on Reverb vs eBay.
But wait, there’s more, MUCH MORE!
I alluded to earlier, both eBay and their sister company PayPal are terribly
biased towards the buyer and agents the seller.
This simply is not the case with Reverb; the Reverb selling and payment
system offers EQUAL protection for both the buyer AND the seller. If you are the seller, that’s important.
Okay, so given all this evidence, why on earth would anyone continue to sell
gear on eBay? Simple: they still have a
larger user base than Reverb, especially world-wide. And, speaking of world-wide selling, here
eBay really shines with their proprietary world-wide shipping service, which
actually costs the seller nothing to use, as the buyer pays for all shipping
fees. And so, if you have an item that
you just KNOW will fetch a premium overseas, then the larger fees eBay
leverages just might be worth it. Also,
arguably, the eBay selling system may be easier for a newbie to use, but to me
that’s not an issue, and it probably isn’t to those of you reading here either.