Competing with eBay by Making People Matter

Bonanzle Talks About Its Strategy

Get the WebProNews Newsletter:

[ Social Media]

As discussed in this article from the other day, Bonanzle is a site that is emerging as a contender to compete with eBay, who as we all know has been driving a lot of sellers away for various reasons.


I contacted Bill Harding and Mark Dorsey, co-founders of the site that was recently named Best eBay Alternative of 2008 to ask them about their strategy for competing with the well-established brand of eBay.

"Our ‘competition’ with eBay is probably something that is paid closer attention to by our users than us," they tell me in a joint email. "That said, we do think that for Bonanzle to matter in such a crowded alternatives environment, we need to distinguish ourselves clearly from eBay and similar sites."

"Our main point of distinction is that we’re trying to create a marketplace where people matter.  On other ecommerce sites, there generally isn’t a compelling reason to visit unless you have a specific item you want to buy or sell," they add. "We have tried to create a more social atmosphere, where it’s easy to meet and talk with people who share your interests in items. 

Bonanzle has real time chatting built right into every "booth," as well as real time messages you can send to anyone on the site. Users can create lists of their favorite items that others can browse and comment on, a feature they say is extremely popular. "And you can see where in the country any user is from, so it’s easy to meet and talk with people who live nearby you," they note.


Based on what the two had to say, the environment Bonanzle has created is one of openness and positivity. "All of these features lead to an environment where the level of anonymity is much lower than eBay, and we’ve found that with lower anonymity, people have more positive attitudes," they explain. 

"We call our community one of the friendliest online — if you sign up and say ‘Hi, I’m new’ in the forums, you might well receive 25 welcomes within a couple hours.  People really seem to enjoy each other’s company, and we try to keep our site’s policies as open as possible to promote that."

As for the growth of the site, the compete.com data referred to in this article may have been a bit understated. "Compete has been very accurate at measuring our monthly percentage growth, but not very accurate on getting the actual numbers right," they tell me, providing a new graph from Google Analytics showing traffic at slightly over 280,000 unique visitors for the month of December.

Bonanzle Visitors Overview

They also provided me with the graph below for January that shows over 435,000 unique visitors.  "We’ve now got more than 26,000 users and 1,072,320 items.  Total unique visitors for January were 435k, an increase of 55% over December (our lowest monthly growth percentage so far, but all of our competitors whose traffic is available on Quantcast show traffic declines in January, which makes sense, given that it’s the month after the busiest shopping month of the year). 

Bonanzle in January

But still, Bonanzle continues to grow rapidly. After WebProNews ran the last article, the site attracted over 1000 new users in one day, according to Bonanzle co-founder Mark Dorsey. Based on the 100+ comments WebProNews received on that article, plenty are eager to continue spreading the word of Bonanzle too.

The future is looking pretty bright for this site right now. Let’s hope they can continue to keep up the good spirits of the site’s users in a way that eBay once did during its own rise to fame.


Competing with eBay by Making People Matter
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • http://w.bonanzle.com/booths/Griffengarb?first_item=1279259 Griffengarb

    I joined Bonanzle a few months ago! The support from Bonanzle is amazing! Really fast response /help should you not find a solution on the forums!
    I do try to find answers first in forum but have had to contact them a time or two and ALWAYS received prompt , polite response! Fees are very minimal.
    Thank you Bonanzle for this opportunity!

  • clothesout

    GREAT ARTICLE!!! I love Bonanzle. It versatile, user friendly, easy to navigate and we became a family. It is the best selling venue online. So many warm, friendly people. This site is going to sky rocket. :) The Bonz rocks! Wishing all my sisters and brothers @ Bonanzle the very best :)

  • Selah54

    I joined with Bonanzle just over a month ago. I am so very impressed with the personal customer service. It’s an honor to be part of a community that puts people before money. This is evident with the founders setting the stage with NO sign up fees, NO booth fees, NO listing fees and very reasonable final value fees.

  • http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/BrightestBlessings Dede

    Bonanzle is a very friendly selling and buying venue! If you have to e-mail customer support, you will receive an answer within in a couple of hours and by a real person, usually Mark. We even have a page of “what’s next boss” for the new features that we as a community vote on.

  • Alilbirdy2

    I have to say the customer support is the best I have ever seen from any website. You do not receive a canned response, you get a response from Mark or Bill. These guys show they care about people. They communicate with the users, they visit the forum board, and will actually communicate with everyone. Where do you find that anywhere else ?

    The fees are great, nothing is hidden, nothing is added. When you sell an item you pay a small fee, that is it, no listing fee, no transaction fees, no monthly fees, and all of this adds up to more money in the sellers and buyers pockets.

    As a member of Bonanzle, I love seeing the new members come in and say hello, I love seeing the new items listed. Shopping is fun and exciting, because I can speak direct with the seller in their booth.

    I am a buyer and a seller, and no matter what I am doing, I am enjoying my time on Bonanzle. I was even happy to pay my selling fees, because they were not huge like they were on ebay where they fee you to death. And the policies are great and easily followed.
    On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate Bonanzle a 10.

  • http://www.bonanzle.com/renagade Renagade

    There is a brand new beat in the eCommerce world and Bonanzle is truly jiveing to it. With the ease of the site and friendly upbeat community coupled with two guys at the controls that TRULY care about the place, there is little wonder why the “Bonanzle Boogie” is fast becoming the dance all buyer and sellers want to learn.
    Simply put…Bonanzle Rocks!
    Dont take my word for it…come see for yourself.

  • http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/KarensJewelry KarensJewelry

    I have been there for several months now and can not say anything bad about the site, the support, or the people. There is a great community of support and it is like one big family. Others are praising the no listing fees and low selling fees. I would like to add that there are 2 other levels for members who wish to pay a monthly fee to take advantage of seller tools and exposure. I support this in order to support Bonanzle. These guys can’t do such a great job for nothing!

    There are also great weekly games that are played that help to promote your booth and see what is available in other booths. It is a fun place to be.

  • http://www.bonanzle.com/sylvanlaneproducts Sylvan Lane Products

    Our company left the “other” place over four years ago and had been trying other alternative sites before discovering Bonanzle.
    It has been refreshing to have such wonderful customer service
    from Bill and Mark.
    And the community members have been the most friendly and
    helpful folks you could ever meet.
    We have found a home for our business and encourage our customers, family and friends to visit Bonanzle and see for themselves what a wonderful place it is to buy and/or sell.

    Thank you, Bonanzle, for helping our business.

  • http://www.bonanzle.com/sofy_schoice Sofy’s Choice

    We have been with Bill and Mark since the end of August. And what a great ride it has been. Clean and simple the site is fantastic to use. We have to admit that we are awfully proud to be on the ground floor in this fantastic site. The community of sellers is bar none. Just read the compliments above and ditto times 10. Thanks for letting us have fun running a business again!

  • http://www.oswebdevelopment.com/ Web Development

    It is always good to see new players poping up and providing a “healthy” alternative. Hope it stays the same when the unique visitors in their analytics stats get to the millions instead of the hundreds of thousands.

  • http://www.snerdey.com/templatemonster.html Snerdey

    See what happens when you think you can treat people however you want. You think you have the market cornered and walla.. something as awesome as this happens!

    I just might move all of our products over to them. Wonder if eBay will miss the 45,000 items we have listed ;)

    Oh well..

    GREAT Article by the way.

  • http://auctionwally auctionwally

    Bonanzle also has it’s own online radio show called Brainstorming Bonanzle.

    It airs live on Monday evenings at 8PM EST, but if you miss it live, you can catch all the back episodes in the archive. Most of the material covered is evergreen, so you may want to do that.

    Here’s the link to find the show:


    It’s hosted by myself AuctionWally and my lovely co-host Phaedra.
    The spirit of the show is to help each other with ideas to generate more sales on Bonanzle.

    We directly tap into the Bonanzle community for each brainstorming session, so the information comes directly from the movers and shakers who are using the site. Bill and Mark even pop in now and then!

    The show is hosted on the Talkshoe Network, so folks can call in if they have questions and we have a realtime chatroom where the listeners can participate that way if they choose.

    Just like Bonanzle itself, the show is growing in audience number and each episode is full of useful content to help people buy and sell on Bonanzle.

    Thanks for the great article, it’s spot on.

  • Guest

    I just opened an artisan marketplace and I don’t have money for advertising. Got any suggestions for me?

  • Guest

    Yes Bonanzle is one of my 2 favorite alternatives and http://www.plunderhere.com is the other with live chatting, live support and great customer service, if you need 2 good eBay alternatives use these guys!

    • Guest

      I have found Bidtunnel.com to be the better then ebay and its FREE.

      • Guest

        http://www.bidtunnel.com Check this place out its better then ebay and free for sellers and buyers.

    • john

      I prefer www.AmericanMarketExchange.com. AWESOME site!

      • Guest

        John Siebenahler, is that you??????

  • http://www.firmalatter.dk Ejvind

    .. we have an alternative that actually listens to it’s users. Thanks.
    I will do my very best to promote the site, and aske people to really think about whether they are interested in seling their stuff where they are apparantly nothing but a money making machine. That’s Ebay if you don’t know.

  • http://eilati.com Ofer

    Sorry for not being part of the herd: It looks that Bonanzle is very good for sellers, but after short visit there, I am not sure that it is good for buyers too … I did not found attractive prices, or big selection of items.

    • Chris Crum

      I would think buyers would be crucial to sellers.

  • Guest

    Wow It hasn’t been 2 days since WebProNews was paid to write the last bogus article about Bonanzle. Again I have nothing against Bonanzle but WebProNews has no ethics whatsoever. You can’t call yourselves a News website and then write articles that create the news not reporting it.

    WebProNews = Rag Website

  • Guest

    I’ve already left ebay for Bonanzle, and I’m glad I did. It costs me nothing if my item doesen’t sell.

    If you need wholesale dropship products, here’s where you can get access to over 500,000 products. Everything you need all in one place. You do the selling, and they do the shipping. Great for Bonanzle!

    You can even get your own website for only $67.00 a year. It can look similar to this one.

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com/stunguns Debbie Morgan

    WOW! I’ve never heard of this site before so thanks, Webronews for bringing it to light for me. I’m definitely going to have to check it out for myself.

    I’m always looking for new places to market my safety and security products. They save lives so I’m very anxious to get them into the hands of the people who need them the most and eBay didn’t really do the trick.

    Thanks, Chris!

  • http://www.larryfox.com Larry Fox

    I listed over 600 items on Bonanzle a month ago and am still waiting for my first order to come in. Ebay still pays the rent but I would love to have an alternative that costs less.

    • Guest

      most likely many of you who imported listings from eBay with 20 pages of terms of service are having more trouble than those who are listing in a more professional manner. You know – good photos, a short concise description of the item being sold with the terms of service on your terms of service page where they belong.

      Unfortunately, many of the imported listings have been slammed up there & not even looked at by their “owners”. For some reason people seem to think that this is all they need to do because they are so important that people are going to find them every where they are even if they do nothing.

      There is a fantastic bulk edit tool that can be used to clean up the listings quickly to remove all that boilerplate junk that the buyers on Bonanzle do not need or want to read. They are adults wanting to make a purchase, not read about how you do not do this or that or the next thing and how you will not falsify customs forms, don’t ship to Hawaii or Alaska and will report your non-paying bidders to eBay and give them negative feedback, that you are a five-star seller, yada yada yada.

      Grow up and learn that it’s a different “deal”. Clean up your listings if you have them there. Upload your cleaned up listings to Google Base and check to see if they were successful. If they were not, figure out why. The fix it and you will most likely be successful on Bonanzle. You reap what you sow.

  • Sandra

    Well, i really am sorry to say i don’t think any site will be able to compete with ebay, but I wish them the best of luck. I’m currently listed on maandpaauctions.com (ma and pa auctions.com). Sold 5 things in 3 months. It’s 100% free, and they do have traffic from their other site, but not a whole lot of merchandise. Which is fine by me, less to compete with :0)

  • http://homebusinesshints.com Chuck Anthony

    Well that’s fine, I hope they succeed. Makes no difference to me but, as I meandered on over to the ‘About’ page, I noticed they used eBay in their copy–kinda tacky. There’s also a sentence or two that needs work. Example: “Then, we round up the people that are passionate about these items, and we make it easy to get back the benefits you gave up when became faceless.”

    When who became faceless? Oh, ebay! I get it now. Sorry.

  • http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/gypsygirl Kat Barton

    I found Bonanzle in November of this year, and I am in a market that is truly a want only. With this failing economy, I figured why not? Free, easy, and friendly. Well, let me tell you, I have over 200 items listed right now, and I have made consistent sales since I started. I Joined a show On talk shoe radio, and participate in marketing, and would have it no other way. I was on Ebay for 2 months, sold one thing, and was charged almost the same amount. Not going any where here!





    • Guest

      barnbid is just some guy who bought a prefab auction site template and spams it around. get real, dani

      • Guest

        Well it is free!! is not like others rip offs out there!

  • Guest

    Bonanzle has yet to prove itself. I think I would starve waiting to sell anything on there. I am trying to be positive but it is going to be tough to compete against ebay. Just like search engines. Why do you think everyone says to Google it.

    • Guest

      Bonanzle is a new site. eBay was new once as well and do you think that immediately they had the traffic that they had when they first opened? Unlikely. It will take time for Bonanzle to catch on, but it will catch on. It’s in many articles online and I heard about it from another seller on there so word of mouth will get the sellers over there and where the sellers are the buyers will follow. eBay is still the giant, but there needs to be a David to knock down the Goliath. If Bonanzle keeps at it and continues to grow and expand, the buyers WILL come.

      It’s all about advertising and marketing. If they can do that, they’re going to be a strong competitor that succeeds where others have failed.

      Again, Rome wasn’t built in a day. eBay was a giant at first either. It will take some time.

  • Theresa

    Again Bonanzle looks great and sounds great….but there is only one thing missing at Bonanzle….THE BUYERS!!

    I am a stay at home Mom and a silver Level Powerseller on ebay.As long as they keep sending the buyers to me ..than that is where I`ll be.

    I do get upset at some of their changes,but they are the one who sends me the buyers.

    Good Luck Bonanzle,I think you have a good idea,and you have figured out how to get sellers.Now you just need to figure out how to get the buyers.

    Signed ..Happy On Ebay :)

    • john

      Hey – Check out www.AmericanMarketExchange.com, it’s free!

  • Guest

    Lots of luck. As a buyer the only thing I see is a site that loads slow & has no variety.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/ocdcollectibles ocdgirl2000

    Ebay “cheerleaders” are always doing the sour grapes routine when they see any kind of ebay competition,because that means the buyers on ebay will be following the majority of sellers OUT of ebay..which they HAVE been doing. That makes for some real “spoiled sport” ebay sellers!LOL! They always have negative things to say about anything NOT ebay.

    It bothers them to no end because without the small sellers on ebay. they will have very little to attract to their own sales listings. Most of these people sell the same kinds of things that are sold on Amazon, they just get better prices for their electronics and CD’s/ Video games on ebay. They serve no other purpose, as they do not sell the unique and unusual things that ebay USED to have the most of.

    I wouldn’t pay too much attention to these folks, they always hide who they are but we all know them well!LOL!

    Bonanzle is a unique place, and it lends itself to communication and trust. In this day and age, it will beat the corporate mentality at every turn. That’s the bottom line! All they need is auction formats and boy, ebay would be dead in the water!

  • http://www.lifestyleclotheslines.com.au Washing Line Shop

    Bonanzle offers me a great choice between Ebay and I really enjoy seeing the great range of products these guys always come up with.

  • Guest

    Great comments. Thank you for mentioning something besides ebay. I will try them as I have items to move out of a large bldg.

  • http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/fdc Guest

    I read about it in your article yesterday and now a seller on Bonanzle. THANK YOU!!!

  • Guest

    I sold on ebay for years and can’t figure out why anyone would sell on their site now. Every sale became a stressful nightmare.

    Ebay is a very poorly run site and their idea to compete with Amazon is incredibly foolish. Amazon is so much more technically sophisticated than Ebay is and they are not exactly standing still. Ebay will never catch them. They were better off with their old business model and fixing what they had.

    Ebay’s brand name has suffered too. The word of mouth on ebay is something they can’t repair unless they flip their direction. The trash talk word of mouth about ebay has chased many customers away.

    Bonanzle has the right idea and it’s very understandable that it is growing so quickly. Very easy to list products, make adjustments to images etc. etc. etc., I like it.

  • http://thebonz.com/memawscollectibles Memaws16

    Left feebay, joined Bonanzle and have never regretted it for a minute! Great place, good support and wonderful people. We are growing by leaps and bounds and we’re loving it!

  • http://queengems.ecrater.com Sunnyshine

    When you want to sell on-line, Ebay may be not always a good choice. It has high competition, high fee but (most important for sellers) high traffic. However, I choose to use another auction site. It is not easy to get traffic and attract buyers but I have lower cost and wider target group.

  • http://www.ethnobotanicals.com Kratom

    The trouble with the alternatives right now is simply a lack of traffic. Of course,
    Ebay started small, but when they were small nobody could generate much revenue. Bonanzle or one of the others may eventually build a base of users that could approach that of Ebay. Until then, it will not get many power sellers to switch, no matter how angry they may be.

  • Luiz

    Well Ebay Still the biggest guy out there!!
    Bonanzle is growing but still far away from ebay…
    Barnbid.com is small but is nice to everybody help them. More competition is better.

  • Guest

    I am just glad ebay are getting competition>> END OF STORY!!

    • Guest

      I am sick of paying for ebay fees and I am moving to http://www.bidtunnel.com its free and they are growing.Plus sellers can leave true feedback!

  • http://8dww.com earncashmoney

    According to this article, it seems that it’s a good strategy, but ebay is very strong, I wish you can really win ebay, but may be difficult

  • davidsm133

    I have had many sales since joining Bonanzle.com.It is gaining ground fast for many reasons.It is actualy a fun place to sell.Yes some prices may seem high there but there is a or best offer option which allows for the buyer to submit what they wish to pay.It is a more personal selling site.I feel like I am working a real fleamarket booth.
    They also have great support.Issues are dealt with in seconds sometimes.The owners actualy hang out in the forums and do answer questions.We are treated like people!Which is rare in this virtual world.I love it there.Feel free to check out my booth
    http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/davidsm133.My prices are more than fair.

  • davidsm133

    I have had many sales since joining Bonanzle.com.It is gaining ground fast for many reasons.It is actualy a fun place to sell.Yes some prices may seem high there but there is a or best offer option which allows for the buyer to submit what they wish to pay.It is a more personal selling site.I feel like I am working a real fleamarket booth.
    They also have great support.Issues are dealt with in seconds sometimes.The owners actualy hang out in the forums and do answer questions.We are treated like people!Which is rare in this virtual world.I love it there.Feel free to check out my booth
    http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/davidsm133.My prices are more than fair.

  • http://www.indiesurf.com Darren Tan

    There’s not winner here… and no competition… just like Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask and many more… Different people have different demands…

  • Green Rabbit

    Agree with the first comment here.
    It’s a competition only if people turn it into a competition. Otherwise – Ebay, Bonanzle, Silkfair, Ecrater etc respond each to some specific demands.

    Some still like ebay, while others closed doors and moved to Ecrater. Some love Bonanzle, while others look for a more customized approach like Silkfair’s.

    It’s all a matter of taste and market need.

    • Guest

      Try HTTP://Bidtunnel.com its free and easy.They dont even charge for the extras like Bold,extra pics. etc. This is nice to have everything freeasnd unlimited pictures for free.

  • http://www.kickoff3pm.com Guest

    I think the future of online shoping is the local touch. The biggest downside of online shoping is the postage. But as small business becomes web powered I feel you are going to see a lot more fragmentation of great origanal ideas like Ebay.

    We fragmented the idea into just providing a football (soccer) auction. This means the auction process is redeigned from top to toe to suit people buying and sell football items.

    Items categories are professionally arranged for football not a general look of a general auction site selling everything. We only have suit football fans.

    It also means we can also give a better service because we know the items, we know how much they should cost and we know how much the should cost to deliver. Over time these things are going to be standardised so buyer won’t be ripped off by over charging on delivery.

    Check the site if you are a football fan.


  • Guest

    There is a growing number of new sites the are taking away people from ebay…I checked out http://Bidtunnel.com and the others and they all seem great. I am happy sellers now have other places to list there items for free….ebays sellers fees and now insane and the new feedback system at ebay stinks.I am going to give a few of these other sites a try.

  • Guest

    This is great! Lots of Auction sites are coming up to compete with ebay… i use ebay and Barnbid.com there are great, off course ebay is better, but i think the more you list your items, more sells you will make… so Sellers, list your items all over!! I list on both ebay and barnbid… barnbid is good because it’s free ….

  • Guest

    This is great!

  • Guest

    I have sold on ebay for about 9 years, and still maintain 100% positive feedback. In August, frustrated with the drop of sales on ebay, I found a mention of Bonanzle on PSU and decided opening a booth wouldn’t hurt… In less than 2 weeks I had made my first sale (and I didn’t start listing the first few days). Sales steady and were increasing. By October, my Bonanzle sales were exceeding my ebay sales. In January, I took the leap and closed my store on eBay. I am so impressed with Bonanzle!

    If you are a seller out there looking around- give it a try. Costs nothing to list, free pictures, items easily found though site and through google.

    All is good on Bonanzle.com.

  • Guest

    I just closed my ebay store and moved to http://Bidtunnel.com it seems like its good so far and its free also.

    • Guest

      have you re-opened your ebay store now??? ha ha ha

      • Guest

        Bidtunnel and the others are free.

  • John

    As a long time eBay seller, I was growing tired of the dwindling traffic and sales that were occuring on that site and needed to expand to another online site that would mostly likely succeed, or at least be promising.

    In November, I joined Bonanzle.com and brought in my eBay listings with a couple of clicks of the mouse. I did not know what I could expect from this new and emerging site, but I decided to give it a try.

    I soon found a lot of fellow sellers that shared a lot in common with their online experiences over the past few years. All were eager to extend a welcoming hand and help in any way they could. The owners of the site, Bill and Mark, were always around, answering members questions and making helpful comments in the forums.

    That was infectious. It was fun again to be trying online sales, with out the fear of the dreaded DSR’s, negative feedback, and all the stress that had become an eBay sellers nightmare.

    Well it’s taken a couple of months of trials and experiments, but my Bonanzle sales are now greater than my eBay sales! (Not much wonder, on eBay no one can find you when you are burried deep in the search behemoth that swallows small sellers in the name of trying to compete with Amazon).

    It’s a joy to turn of the computer again and check my online store “Glooscap’s Kettle Vintage on Fundy”. Most times there is a note or two from fellow Bonanzle sellers and buyers, and that is such a wonderful experience.

    I am looking forward to a long and happy selling experience on my Bonanzle, and I hope to see you there too!!


  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SayCp3mcesQ Guest

    You should try BARNBID dot COM no listing Fees plus you get $100 credit to your sellers account, free classifield ads etc… If you need a alternative try barnbid. check it and dont forget to download the toolbar thing. Its nice… you can sell anything there…

  • Join for Access to Our Exclusive Web Tools
  • Sidebar Top
  • Sidebar Middle
  • Sign Up For The Free Newsletter
  • Sidebar Bottom