Friday, March 17, 2006

Auctions Vs. Classifieds by Valeriy Djachenko

In 2004, I decided to sell the shining pride of my coin collection – a 1909S VDB cent graded by PCGS as VF35. Any coin collector knows that my coin wasn't worth a fortune, but was popular enough to draw attention and sell itself quickly. So I posted it on eBay, using the most plain auction type they offered. It sold for about $750 and I was charged over $70 for the entire process.

Of course I knew about the charges. There were charges for posting an auction, others for using images, then a percentage of the final price, and finally a charge for accepting the payment through PayPal (an eBay company). It just didn't appear to me that I'd effectively lose about 9% of my coin's net worth. Why should eBay care how much I sell a coin for?

Fortunately there are other ways, but with the pros come the cons. One way is to simply use another auction site. There are many of them, but they usually charge the same as eBay and have fewer bidders. Another way is to use online classifieds.

Online classifieds are the equivalent of newspaper classifieds, but available free of charge to the buyers and usually without registration. Unfortunately, classifieds have developed a bad reputation over time as they were swamped with “get rich quick” and “business opportunity” advertisers. But, there are the exceptions:

1. is an advertisement website that has selling, buying and job ads. It's free to post an ad, even with an image. There is a small fee for featured advertising. Interested readers can respond to an advertisement by email and work out the details. Project Agora makes its money only from featured advertisements.

2. is another such site. It also has free advertising with images. A nice feature is the localized ads per city. While it has many categories, the most popular seems to be the automotive section.

3. is yet another free option, focused just on selling advertisements.

This list is by no means exhaustive.

Obviously, none of the classified websites have the same amount of buyers as eBay. However, the smaller charges (or their lack of) can compensate for the extra time it may take to find someone willing to do business with you.

Val Djachenko is the owner and director of Post your classified ad today.

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