Why are YOU letting eBay dominate, while likely complaining about eBay?

Kin Kinsley
August 5, 2016

Rarely does a day go by that I don’t see someone online complaining about eBay.  Sometimes it’s a seller complaining about fees, not being able to leave negatives, or any other number of things.  Other times, it’s buyers complaining about high prices or something else.

I won’t say that I disagree about these issues.  My question is WHY are you letting eBay dominate?  There are options out there.  Perhaps you have to do a little more work, but isn’t it worth it to pay lower fees as a seller or a lower cost as a buyer?

I have many gripes with people in the hobby.  They don’t want to adapt or change.  They want way too much for their cards when they sell, but then the same person wants to buy for less than nothing.  Sellers want lower fees and better options, but aren’t willing to put some work into it.  Buyers want to pay less, but don’t want to put some work into it.  These are just some examples.

People don’t want to change and just want, want, want, which makes it difficult for other, better options to catch on.  Buyers need to take their money elsewhere.  That’s what will get the sellers to move.

As someone who has interests other than what is hot,  “worth” a lot or an “investment,” I buy a lot of low-cost items.  I don’t want to pay $3 + $.25 for each additional card.  Honestly, half of what I buy I would be fine with paying a buck and having it shipped in a plain white envelope.  I don’t want to pay $3 shipping on a 50 cent card.  That’s just stupid.

I’ve found two sites that are better for me when I’m buying cheap items.  Anymore, these are usually for me to send for autographs or for a player collection.

Sportlots.com

This site can be great for both buyers and sellers.  As a buyer, if you want a lot of items, want them now and can get them from one seller, it can be a much better option than eBay.  The minimum you will pay for a card is $.18, but where are you going to pay less?  If you’re fortunate enough to have local card shows where some sellers have dime boxes, you may be in luck.  I don’t feel that’s an option for most collectors.

The Sportlots system is set up with a “budget” shipping option.  Not all sellers give you a cheap option, but I’ve bought a few cards and paid 75 cents or a dollar for shipping in a PWE.  Buying cards online for almost 20 years, I’ve had exactly ZERO issues with PWE shipping.  It’s worth the risk and I’m not going to pay $3 to ship an 18 cent card.

If you want to buy bulk lots of cards, Sportlots can be a better option than COMC.  The reason is that every card you buy on COMC, you are being charged at least 25 cents by them (it’s added into the “price” of your card).  You don’t have to have good math skills to understand that 18 cents is better than what you’ll pay on COMC.

I sold on Sportlots for a short amount of time.  The fee structure is a bit odd and it took some getting used to.  What I can tell you is that I sold quite a few cards in the $1-$3 range.  Not only does the eBay structure make it pointless to sell cards at that price point, they likely wouldn’t have sold.  I would have charged $3 shipping.  Every one I sold on Sportlots, they customer paid $1 for shipping.

Sportlots has many sellers with massive inventories.  If you do and want to try to move “commons,” it’s a good place.  It is VERY easy to bulk upload.  I had over 10,000 cards listed on there before I took them down.  They only reason I stopped selling was that I just don’t want to deal with being a seller anymore.  That was a change I made, nothing to do with the website.

COMC

If you didn’t know about COMC six months ago, you likely do now.  I’ve seen multiple people whining on Twitter that “it’s clogging up my search” after much of COMC’s inventory is now available on eBay.

As a buyer, this makes more inventory available if you weren’t already on COMC.  If you are on COMC, this is a much better option to eBay because of the $3 flat shipping fee.  Yes, you could have 1,000 cards ready to ship and pay just that $3.  If you buy a lot of cards, you are saving probably $3 on EVERY card over buying on eBay.

Once you purchase on eBay, you pay and it ships.  And it’s one payment per seller.  If you want to buy 50 particular cards, you may have to go to multiple sellers and pay the shipping over and over.  If you bought off 50 different sellers, paying $3 shipping each time, that’s $150.  Math don’t lie.

On COMC, all items are sent to them, so they are all there.  You buy off whoever and ship whenever you are ready.  YES, you buy and can wait to have the cards shipped, saving you more money.

As a seller, you have some of the same benefits.  If a buyer wants a low-cost item, they may not be willing to pay $3 shipping.  However, if they can buy it and a bunch of other things they want, it’s now worth it to them.  If you don’t opt into selling onto Amazon and eBay as a COMC seller, you are nuts.  You’re exponentially opened up your customer base which is worth agreeing to take 20% off your selling price.  Since COMC went live on eBay, about 50% of my sales have been on eBay.

Yes, there are fees involved as a seller.  You pay 25 cents for each card you send in.  However, they scan, list, store and ship it.  I’m done with it.  No messing with packing, printing out mailing labels or any of that other nonsense.  I’m done with it.  Plus, I can sell cards there that I’d never attempt to on eBay.

There is a 20% fee on COMC if you wish to cash out and have your money sent to Paypal.  However, when you add in the cost of eBay and Paypal fees, the cost of shipping supplies and the money your time is worth, you are definitely saving money over eBay selling.  Anything that I had left to “sell off” has been sent to COMC.  With minimal exceptions, every card in my residence is a piece of my collection.

Sports Card Direct

I think this set has a lot of potential, it just needs more buyers.  The fee structure is simple, and great.  Sellers pay $4.99 a month for 100 listings or $9.99 a month for unlimited listings.  That’s it.  It doesn’t take many sales to cover those fees.

The breakdown below is from friend of the blog, Sammy.  He sells on SCD and is a big proponent of the site.  As of July 22, he has sold 922 items on the site.  He prices his items right, typically at what they are selling for on eBay.  Think about the fees he’s saved (see blow) over 900+ transactions.

carddirect fees

Many of his sales are well below $5.  From a percentage standpoint, he usually saves a higher percentage over eBay than this (because the 30 cent Paypal fee is a higher percentage the lower the transaction is).

I sold on SCD for a very short time, before deciding to get out of the selling game.  I do think more buyers should look at the site though.  There are a lot of cards priced right.  As stated earlier, the buyers have to go and then the sellers will as well.

Other Options

There are other platforms (Beckett, Collector Revolution) that you can sell on.  However, as a seller, you will have to do some work.  You need to promote your items on Twitter.  You need to find other ways (I can think of plenty) to drive people to where you are selling.

As a buyer, you should want to pay as little for a card as you can.  The less you spend on one, the more you can spend on another or more you can buy.

Don’t forget that it doesn’t have to be ONLY a site with a selling platform.  There are plenty of message boards out there.  The only one I frequent is net54baseball.com but there are others including Sports Card Forum, Freedom and another popular one I won’t name (because they blocked me for no reason).  They are out there though.

I don’t care if you think this makes me a jerk, but I’m beyond jaded with people who complain about eBay or other sites, but won’t be a man and go elsewhere.  You’re just a whiner and most people probably don’t care for you.  Sorry not sorry.

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4 thoughts on “Why are YOU letting eBay dominate, while likely complaining about eBay?

  1. For buyers to get cheap cards, I’d also recommend Just Commons (justcommons.com). Sure, their online inventory is always a little bit off so that you don’t get one or two cards you’ve ordered, but shipping is free after 15 cards and the prices are low and worth the somewhat longer wait.

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