Updated: Dec 24, 2020
Remember when I said that eBay used to be a wonderland for sellers? Well. I just found some EVIDENCE that's making me lose my mind a little!
When I last yammered on about eBay, I mentioned that I had been selling on there since 1995, which was its INFANCY, you guys. eBay was a teeny tiny baby of a web presence when we first met + now it's like the grandfather of every other secondhand marketplace.
You may remember how my friend + I were so successful at selling in these early days of eBay that we were able to fulfill our dreams of being party DJs, which we learned in less than 3 gigs that we weren't feelin' it.
Had that DJ equipment (which nearly got abandoned roadside) feelin' like this:
But AFTER that fiasco, we realized that we were good at eBay, so we tried to start a side hustle selling things for antique dealers. It was called Collect/Connect. Here's the flyer we took around to antique dealers.
The problem was it was 1996! Not only was AuctionWeb/eBay unheard of, but according to this article in 1995, there were only computers in 36% of all households and only 3% of all Americans had ever even BEEN on the web!
Needless to say, they thought we were scamming them when we said we could help them sell their hardest-to-sell things in under a week.
No one trusted our claims. No one gave us a chance, even though we weren't even going to take their precious stuff with us. No one would even LISTEN to our pitch.
I just found one of my old notebooks + this was inside! It's LITERALLY every category that was on AuctionWeb in 1996. The number in parenthesis is how many listings were in that category.
To put that into perspective, right NOW there are over 1.5 MILLION US coins listed on eBay. And another 1.5 M sold in the last 60 days. Way back in YE OLDE 1996, there were only 1,162 US coins listed.
To say eBay has grown in leaps + bounds is an understatement! Of course by now, everyone has at least heard of eBay, regardless of whether they've ever used it.
BIG is what eBay wants to be.
They started out BIG on collectibles, but pretty rapidly expanded into categories like travel (I didn't remember this, but wiki says so!) + ticket sales. And then in 97 Beanie Babies flooded the market + as a result, eBay kinda started attracting something more PEDESTRIAN than their previous user-base. But it was BIG BIG BIG money for eBay.
But I think there was something special about a smaller, more passionate user-base.
With a smaller, more passionate user-base, transactions seem more special. Buyers + Sellers know they are both a part of a special place that unites them in their interests. It's a SECRET they SHARE.
There's nothing WRONG with growing. Growing is inevitable if you're doing something good, but you can't UNGROW.
In other words, even though eBay is the biggest - they can never be laser-focused on VINTAGE ever again. It's just another dog in their kennel.