Swimming In eBay’s Ecosystem

    February 17, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

An online place for dealing Beanie Babies and Happy Meal toys now spans a far-flung ecosystem of PowerSellers, Affiliates, and brick-and-mortar storefronts.

Swimming In eBay's Ecosystem
Become Another Member of The eBay Success Story

Which eBay opportunities have worked best for you? Do you profit as a PowerSeller? Amass assets as an Affiliate? Drop off items for dollars? WebProWorld. Post your opinions now.

The eBay success stories abound online. People have turned attics and garages full of knick-knacks into cash. Some of the more enterprising ones, hundreds of thousands of them, found they could leave the daily rat race behind in favor of the greener money pastures that a career selling items on eBay could provide.

Once long-term success began to manifest for many sellers, eBay crafted a new title for them: PowerSellers. They have come from a variety of backgrounds and careers. Recently, eBay highlighted The Pampered Store, run by actress Amanda Drake.

A chronic nerve disease forced her to leave Hollywood while she battled the ailment. While looking for work she could do during treatment and therapy, Drake chanced upon a discontinued fragrance she liked on eBay. That serendipitous moment led her to form her successful eBay business.

Businesses can stagnate without growth. For eBay, the challenge to expand its userbase became the focus of its Affiliate program, which we discussed in 2005.

Their Affiliate program functions in a familiar way. The site provides various branded items like banners and links to site publishers. Users who enter eBay through those affiliate links and become eBay buyers, or better, sellers, within a certain time frame generate revenue for both eBay and the affiliate.

Developers have been an object of attention for the Affiliate program as well. Through APIs eBay made available for third-party affiliate developers, those affiliates can build applications that draw upon eBay’s massive repository of product information to enhance their sites.

With a growing userbase and a robust developer community, eBay still had a need to demonstrate it could continue to grow its business. Reaching the people selling items at yard sales or through classified ads required eBay to find a way to extend its online services to the offline community.

When eBay went “offline,” it did so in a business sense. By making Pasadena-based iSold It Stores an official eBay Trading Assistant, eBay enabled people who wanted to sell items online without being involved in the technical side of setting up an auction to do so at a brick-and-mortar store.

Sellers who use the drop-off method at an iSold It store exchange the convenience of the store doing the work for a commission on the sale of an item, plus eBay and payment processing fees. The business model has paid off for the company, as iSold It Stores has expanded across the US and announced in January it would enter the U.K. and Ireland markets, where they plan to open 200 stores by 2010.

We would like to look at those three methods of making money with eBay, becoming PowerSellers, Affiliates, or using drop-off stores, in future articles. Let us know by email about your experiences with any of those three ways of profiting with eBay.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.