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Author Topic: Ebay-like websites with Bitcoin: Why haven't they taken off?  (Read 4578 times)
barbarousrelic
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January 13, 2012, 07:37:31 PM
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This seems to be a prime use for Bitcoin: A place for online auctions but without the Ebay restrictions and fees. A few have been made, like Biddingpond, bitbid, and a few others I can't remember, but none of them seem to have more than a small handful of auctions at any time.

What is missing from these websites that would make them take off?

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anu
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January 13, 2012, 07:44:05 PM
 #2

This seems to be a prime use for Bitcoin: A place for online auctions but without the Ebay restrictions and fees. A few have been made, like Biddingpond, bitbid, and a few others I can't remember, but none of them seem to have more than a small handful of auctions at any time.

What is missing from these websites that would make them take off?

It's difficult to compete with eBay where you can get everything, no matter how exotic. And a number of ppl just hoard the Bitcoins, they don't use them. Takes time to get used to the fact that you can actually *use* Bitcoin.

But I think Bitmit looks quite promising. But something in there myself...


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January 13, 2012, 07:49:57 PM
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I agree this is a shoe-in as Bitcoin servicing websites go. Bitmit.net is what I would bet on now. It's got a good interface and the developer is responsive.

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January 13, 2012, 07:53:06 PM
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Or someone should create a system that piggybacks onto ebay, but allows people to transact in bitcoins.
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January 13, 2012, 07:56:27 PM
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Several attempts of varying signifance and seriousness were attempted with other alternate currencies.  As far as I am aware the most successful of them was SFBOT/Liberty Auctions, which catered to the Liberty Dollar economy.  At its height it had around a hundred active users.  

As far as why these sites universally fell flat despite being heavily promoted in their respective markets, and generally met with approval on forums, mailing lists etc. -- it's just a matter of economic scale.   Even the most popular alternate currencies still don't (and certainly didn't ten years ago) have sufficient traction to get a market going.   Bear in mind, there are literally thousands of sites trying to compete with eBay while using mainstream payment methods -- very few can pay their light bills off of what they make.   It's just a behemoth of an operation, one with which it is very difficult to compete, and if you throw in the odd angle of an alternate currency -- well, let's face it, you just pushed away 99.5% or so of your potential userbase.  

There are a lot of other factors involved in eBay's capture and keeping of dominance in its field, more than really are worthwhile to get into.   It's a much more difficult market to break into than people realise.   Take heart though -- eBay is increasingly becoming like a Big Three automotive company, ie. a company that is known for one thing but actually makes its money doing something else.   Perhaps in time eBay's domination of its market will go the same route as the Big Three's domination of the auto industry did, as they devote less and less focus on the auction platform due to its primary value being novelty and nostalgia.


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January 13, 2012, 08:04:12 PM
 #6

This seems to be a prime use for Bitcoin: A place for online auctions but without the Ebay restrictions and fees. A few have been made, like Biddingpond, bitbid, and a few others I can't remember, but none of them seem to have more than a small handful of auctions at any time.

What is missing from these websites that would make them take off?

Please add mokimarket.com to your list as we are currently the only penny auction site that accepts bitcoins Smiley

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January 13, 2012, 08:04:58 PM
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I think fraud and abuse are big issues. I have never been scammed personally, but I have had bidders just decide to not pay. What then? My only recourse was to have him kicked out of the bidding site. Not much of a penalty.

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January 13, 2012, 08:21:05 PM
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support bitmit and me... i have some cool vinyl stickers up for sale... "Bitcoin: In Crypto We Trust" Tshirts comin too.

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DeathAndTaxes
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January 13, 2012, 08:49:07 PM
 #9

An auction sites becomes exponentially more valueable as the number of products and number of buyers increase.

Given ebay already exists it is very tough to bootstrap one from nothing.  Likely it is going to require some real capital and no two college guys w/ a shared hosting account and a willingess to write some php is not capital. Smiley

A company with deep enough pockets can subsidize the venture.   They could do things like create a browser plug in so if you go to ebay it will notify you if that is available on the bit auction site.  They can advertize.  They can run promos (like $10 off your first bid).  They can hire companies to create volume (mass sellers). 

It can be done but it takes some real capital.  Right now Bitcoin is just too small.
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January 13, 2012, 09:03:30 PM
 #10

Network effects (people go where there are already other people), and currency risks (5 day auction could result in you paying twice as much, value-wise, as you originally intended to, if bitcoin value spikes up in price). It may be near impossible to take out eBay even if/when bitcoin stabilizes due to the networking effects, since even higher fees will be outweighed by more bidders competing for your product.

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January 13, 2012, 09:13:05 PM
 #11

i've seen alot of them start and die..
Really, the more that start, the worse off this is. If you want to start one. Stop, instead try to get involved with one already made, and make it better. Try to advertise it.
Without a critical mass of people selling and buying, then it won't work.

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fm1234
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January 13, 2012, 10:31:50 PM
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posted by DeathAndTaxes:
Quote
A company with deep enough pockets can subsidize the venture.    ...  It can be done but it takes some real capital. 

Even capital and market clout didn't help Overstock.com or Amazon.com ... it's a much harder market to tap than people realise.   


Frank
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January 13, 2012, 10:46:04 PM
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the biggest hurdle to overcome in such platform is setting up and establishing effective dispute system which would protect the business, sellers and buyers
associated risks would probably add-on ebay like commission rate.
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January 13, 2012, 10:58:22 PM
 #14

This seems to be a prime use for Bitcoin: A place for online auctions but without the Ebay restrictions and fees. A few have been made, like Biddingpond, bitbid, and a few others I can't remember, but none of them seem to have more than a small handful of auctions at any time.

What is missing from these websites that would make them take off?

Customers!

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January 13, 2012, 11:01:33 PM
 #15

It's not the sites that are to blame,
just look at the other topic on how many bitcoins people have, most have 1000+
bitcoin has become exactly what we oh-so didnt want it to become, just a pump n dump, if 1% is using btc as a currency or commodity i think it's a lot.

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January 13, 2012, 11:21:20 PM
 #16

The market is not yet mature enough.  More people are on this board then on any of the bitcoin auction sites yet it is still hard to sell many non-bitcoin related items here.  This is not because people here are bad or cheap, it is just the number of people in the audience.  I put things here at a 10% discount to my ebay prices as about 1/4 of them sell.  I then take the item and sell i on ebay, in most cases it sells for 10% higher dollar value.  I price most items so they sell in a few days or one auction cycle.

That is the difference when on here 200 people who are really not specific buyers versus eBay where 2000 people specifically seeking to buy exactly what you are selling.  




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January 13, 2012, 11:31:33 PM
 #17

the biggest hurdle to overcome in such platform is setting up and establishing effective dispute system which would protect the business, sellers and buyers
associated risks would probably add-on ebay like commission rate.

Step 1 (the hardest in the bitcoin community):
Do reasonable steps to positively identify sellers and eliminate fake registrations.  That could be with a copy of an ID and a small bitcoin payment.  If you do not prevent people from making fake registrations and giving themselves positive feedback through multiple accounts you will have too much fraud. 

Step 2:
Tracking # based escrow.  Funds are released when a valid tracking # goes from seller zip to buyer zip.  This does not stop all fraud, but it stops a good deal of it.  A feedback system can provide a rounded protection for the buyer. 

Step 3:
Fees.  Please charge, but not too much.  This stops spam/junk auctions.  Make it be MUCH less then ebay but just enough to stop crap from being posted.  Maybe 10 cents (in BTC) to list and 1% final price.

Step 4:
Advertise and promote a series of absolute auctions (shipped by auctions site itself) of items people want.  There will be some money loss involved.   Space them at one every other day for a month.  This will generate lots of traffic. 


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January 13, 2012, 11:57:12 PM
 #18

I think fraud and abuse are big issues. I have never been scammed personally, but I have had bidders just decide to not pay. What then? My only recourse was to have him kicked out of the bidding site. Not much of a penalty.

I'm exclusively a buy-side user.

I have enough trouble getting my merchandise out of sellers even with chargebacks, especially lately for some reason.  A fair percentage of sellers will screw you even when they when chargebacks ensure that there is a minimal chance that they will end up with the buyer's coin.  Without them, I shudder to think of what the fraud rate would be.

If a seller will ship me the merchandise before I send them my BTC, I'm in.


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January 14, 2012, 12:17:45 AM
 #19

I think fraud and abuse are big issues. I have never been scammed personally, but I have had bidders just decide to not pay. What then? My only recourse was to have him kicked out of the bidding site. Not much of a penalty.

I'm exclusively a buy-side user.

I have enough trouble getting my merchandise out of sellers even with chargebacks, especially lately for some reason.  A fair percentage of sellers will screw you even when they when chargebacks ensure that there is a minimal chance that they will end up with the buyer's coin.  Without them, I shudder to think of what the fraud rate would be.

If a seller will ship me the merchandise before I send them my BTC, I'm in.


That is why I like a tracking # based escrow.  They have to ship to get the coin.  A feedback system would give negative feedback to sellers who ship empty boxes or bad product. 

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January 14, 2012, 12:26:22 AM
 #20

I think fraud and abuse are big issues. I have never been scammed personally, but I have had bidders just decide to not pay. What then? My only recourse was to have him kicked out of the bidding site. Not much of a penalty.

This is partially due to the format. It makes no sense to denominate bids in bitcoin. After the auction ends, bidders will refuse to pay if BTC prices have gone up and sellers will refuse to sell if BTC prices have gone down. Denomination in bitcoin makes fraud more profitable than it normally would be. I think the most likely winning model is a site that operates in dollars, accepts credit cards, but offers a very small discount for payment in BTC. Once you strip it down to this, you can see it will be very difficult to make a successful site. The very small discount is unlikely to rope in many users.

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