The programme looked at three UK eBay sellers: Simon, aka godblessthismess, fitted the traditional image of the eBay seller of rather bizarre collectibles. Trying to expand his business, he has a problem that many of us have: falling in love with his own stock. Sadly his love for and bidding on an item he was selling for a friend cost him a week’s suspension from the site: a salutory lesson for him, but a positively managed demonstration that the site does not tolerate artificial bid inflation (“shill bidding“) by sellers.
Wilmamae Ward, trading as Gathering Goddess began her business in the same way many sellers do: selling off her own excess eBay purchases. Her vintage clothing collection is just to die for, though I couldn’t help wondering why she was showing her new employee how to take parcels to the post office, instead of paying less than a pound a day to Royal Mail to arrange a collection. Also rather worrying was her eBay Live mentor, the Australian millionaire CD seller who couldn’t ship more than 150 CDs a week by himself. Sure, “low cost, high volume” eBay selling isn’t easy: anyone who’s ever phoned me when I’m in the middle of doing my daily packing will tell you just how stressful it is. But 150 CDs a week seems a rather low target to be complaining about.
The Bid Easy represents a new breed of eBay seller: big business with financial backers arriving on the site. Selling luxury goods on behalf of larger brands and with six employees already, the programme followed Jameel Verjee through his ambitious project to sell six hundred diamond rings a month on eBay.
Watching eBay selling portrayed in a positive but realistic way on the BBC was a wonderful and refreshing change. The highlight, as always, and the true star of the show, was eBay Live: corporate spectacular the way only America can do it. Doug‘s right: we still love the fun-ness of eBay.