Online Marketplaces

This is not about eBay or Amazon, rather about websites that have online marketplaces to sell used goods. I think I’ve been buying things online since 8th or 9th grade, starting with some forums I actively posted on.

Soompi. Although they aren’t what they used to be, the userbase is still huge. I (still) spend hours looking through individual ‘shops’ in the Selling & Trading subforum, as it was eye candy for me to see what other people offer. Users actually put a lot of effort just to get the BBCode down and make their ‘shop’ look sophisticated. I always have a positive experience buying from soompi, as it is easy to judge through a seller’s communication and organization skills. I’ve also participated in a few surveys. No, not those online radio button / checkbox surveys.

A survey is a ‘shop’ where the OP is interested in buying from an online vendor, but in order to get free shipping, there is a minimum order price. Usually the vendor is a wholesale place, so the items are extremely cheap but the min order price is probably usually around $100. Thus, the OP does a call to action – people who are also interested in the items from the online vendor mention what items they want to get. When the limit hits the min order price, the OP ask for everyone’s money order (through methods like PayPal or concealed cash) will order all of the items requested by each participant of the survey. Once the OP receives the items from the vendor, the OP will ship out the individual items to all of the people who’ve paid.

This may seem like a total hassle – actually, it is. You end up getting your item maybe 1 month or 2 months later, due to all of the shipping back and forth. So in that sense, it kind of sucks. It’s even more of a hassle for the OP, who has to do all of the shipping. They also might end up losing money for people who agreed to participate in the survey, but back out and do not pay. I’ve done a survey where the vendor had a few items out of stock, and I did not get my items until 3 or 4 months after I ordered. That’s when I decided I would rather just buy it new from the store, or buy it used, or don’t buy from a wholesale vendor.

Anyways, Soompi is a great community overall (just avoid the L&R section.. so much repetition), I definitely recommend checking it out for size S-M clothing, jewelry, stationary, dresses, and the like.

Listia. They are a San Francisco startup that began in 2009. I believe I stumbled upon their site through a Facebook ad. It’s a website that promotes “getting free stuff” and getting rid of your own stuff. The cool thing is that points are used to bid on all of the items, and the only thing that the buyer has to pay for is shipping (either a flat or exact rate determined by the seller). But there are many people out there that are willing to do free shipping. Inserting shameless plug here..

Auctions for free stuff at Listia.com

You get a couple hundred points initially when you list your first auction, connecting your Facebook & Twitter accounts, etc. There a lot of popular items all the time such as gift cards and brand name purses that always end up selling for 20000 credits or more. Right now that’s a little beyond my calibre, though.

In the beginning, I posted some Health & Beauty auctions which went fairly well. It is definitely interesting to see how high the bids get at the very last minute. Now the thing I really like about Listia is that they took a very smart approach to the “after-auction” process. Instead of relying on any kind of private messaging between members, email is used. You can write up a message, and Listia will automatically append the auction name & link to the email. This is extremely useful.

So far I’ve won a lot of clothing & accessories auctions. The issue with browsing through clothing auctions is that there are not many good advanced search options. It would be nice for them to add in extra fields such as Size and Condition so I can filter things out. I’ve also won a Polaroid 600 Camera. (I should have done my research beforehand, because I was not aware that the film for this has discontinued, and is now extremely expensive to buy off of Amazon.)

It’s actually fairly easy to steal auctions at the very last minute, because Listia does not send last minute emails about outbid auctions. That’s why I’ve been watching “Ending Soonest” auctions like a hawk.

The community that Listia creates is very friendly and interactive, which is obviously important for online marketplaces. I also find that fraud is very unlikely, considering that you bid with purely points, and shipping is usually never more than $10.

The largest concern I have with Listia is the lack of mobile environment they have right now. Sure, they have an iOS and Android app, but there are many important features missing, including the message history for your ended auctions, proper built-in refreshing, etc. You actually can’t tell if you are winning an auction or not when you go to the auction page. The only way you can tell is if you manually go to your profile, then to Winning Auctions under Auctions I’ve Bid On.

Other than that, I’ve been enjoying USPS cheap shipping. It’s extremely cheap compared to Canada Post.

Rehash: I actually have no idea if this site is popular anymore, but it was one that I used over a year ago to do trades. The issue with Rehash was a lot of fraud and scams went on where 1 person would send in their package, and the other person would not send anything back. There was a lack of a community, so nothing really happened even if someone kept scamming. It was difficult to do much towards scammers, and it sucks even more if you gave away something that would have been worth a lot for nothing back. It was actually not worth it at all, since I was doing these trades back when I was in Canada. Basically, I had to pay a lot of shipping fees just to do the trades. I got a few nice things out of it, but I was mainly just trying to get rid of my old clothes.

That’s it for now..

Next time I do co-op in the States, I definitely plan to bring some of my goodies over just to put them on Listia :)

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