The top spot for online auction service goes to eBay, the largest and most complete online auction venue in the world. But more than being the most popular and having even become a household name, eBay’s long time experience, exposure and membership gives them the clout they deserve.
We found eBay’s large selection of categories, detailed buyer information, custom selling options and user management features to stand far above the competition. And while eBay has suffered user complaints and has higher selling fees, it still offers significantly more for both buyers and sellers than any other online auction service available. That is why this is our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner for online auction sites.
eBay’s major downfall is their seller fees. Sellers must pay a fee to list items, and then pay an additional final value fee based on how much the item(s) sold for. The listing and final value fees are considerably higher than other reviewed auction sites. Most auction sites have no fees for listing an item, while eBay charges at least 10¢ to list any item. If you want to list an item with a starting or reserve price of $500 or more, expect to pay $4.
Final Value Fees are also charged after your auctioned item successfully sells. For items sold under $25, 8.75% of the closing value is the required fee. Higher priced items require an 8.75% fee for the first $25, 3.5% for the $25-1,000 range, and another 1.5% of the remaining closing value.
Optional fees will be charged if you choose to utilize various eBay promotions, like highlighting your auction ($5) or adding a subtitle (50¢). Listing in a second category is simple, but does double your listing cost. eBay’s listing fees, final value fees, and promotional fees are significantly higher than other online auction sites, and one of the biggest complaints people have about eBay. That being said, eBay offers more seller options and gets more traffic than any other online auction site. In this regard, you get what you pay for: featuring your auction on the front page of eBay for $39.95 is, in the long run, far more effective than paying $5 for another homepage. If you’re serious about selling your items, realize that eBay gets much more traffic and hence, more potential bidders.
eBay will take you through a step-by-step process to list your product including naming, describing and pricing tips. Although this is a hefty process and there are many steps, we found the set–up quick and easy.
eBay encourages sellers to make eBay their own. You can customize your listings, auctions and stores with custom layout options, private auctions, blocking bidders and cross item promotion.
Online stores are a good way for sellers to place all of their items in one location. Sellers can customize their stores' design, layout and marketing techniques. Sellers can create up to 300 categories and subcategories for their products. eBay charges a monthly subscription fee for store owners. Many people have made their eBay store their only job.
All sellers are required to enter a credit card number and bank account number to verify their identities. eBay has an extensive security policy located in the help section. However, all seller fees will be charged to that credit card. eBay strives to be secure and will not give out this information to third parties.
eBay makes buying at auctions safe, easy, and fun. Each item’s details page includes a description of the product as well as information about the seller, the item’s bid history, location, shipping and payment options.
Browsing through eBay is a breeze. Within each general category, there are several subcategories allowing you to narrow your search and makes your browsing experience easier. The listings in the gallery are easy to sort and navigate.
You can look for a particular item using the search feature with a simple keyword search or the advanced search. The advanced search allows you to refine your product search by seller, bidder, item number, store, price (lowest to highest), time or location. However, eBay does not provide the option to search by price range, but you can sort the auctions by price, listing the lowest prices first.
eBay does not include a live countdown clock on the buyer’s page. In order to see time go by on the clock provided, you must refresh your page every few moments.
eBay does provide some very unique options for buyers to keep track of the auctions they are interested in and bidding on. Buyers can sign up for notifications through text messages and even instant messages. You can even have eBay call you in the last three minutes of an auction and bid right from your phone.
eBay also has several unique applications available to help you with your auction experience, including a downloadable desktop application, and an eBay toolbar for your internet browser.
In addition to selling and buying, you can customize eBay with your user account. “My eBay” shows the status on all items you are watching, bidding and selling. Your bid history gives you a summary of all auctions you have won and lost. You can also save and frequently return to your favorite searches, categories and sellers. In addition, you can customize your communication, notification and selling preferences.
eBay suggests buyers do their homework about products and sellers. They provide a review and guide resource to inform buyers about the quality of particular products. Communication is key for online auctions. And eBay has an internal messaging system, which allows members and eBay personnel to contact you about news and merchandise.
eBay also relies heavily on user’s feedback, encouraging all buyers and sellers to use the feedback program, though they have made some recent changes to the feedback system that have upset several users. Sellers are no longer able to give any negative or neutral feedback on buyers, only positive feedback, which is optional. A unique feedback feature is the ability to reply to feedback, and even revise previously made comments. All feedback information is located next to the seller’s name at the top right corner of the page. They also provide the option to ask the seller questions through the internal message system.
All buyers and sellers are encouraged to have Pay Pal accounts. Although many sellers accept cashier’s checks and credit cards, Pay Pal is the most common and preferred form of payment used through eBay. This method avoids strangers having access to your bank accounts and allows for third party security.
Adult materials are available to view and auction on eBay, but are categorized as such and monitored for protection. Unlike some of the lower ranked services, eBay does not have a sniping policy. This means people can snipe in with a higher bid at the last second and steal the auction. According to eBay, this is all part of the experience.
Compared to all the other online auction services we reviewed, eBay has the largest and easiest to use online help and support center. Topics and resources can be found in a variety of ways including the search box, general topics, glossary and A-Z index. They also provide additional email contacts and a live chat feature. Of course, with such a large company serving so many members, personalized help can take some time, but chances are, there is an answer to your question in the online help section.
eBay has also incorporated a search feature in their help department, allowing users looking for specific answers to search for them specifically. Or you can seek advice from fellow eBay users; the online community includes blogs, discussion boards and chat rooms.
We found eBay to be the largest, most well-known, organized and comprehensive online auction service available. Often, it is the first place people go when shopping for auction products. There wasn’t anything we couldn’t find on eBay. Although eBay may be the highest priced auction we reviewed, we also found they have the highest exposure and membership. With eBay, you’re getting more bang for your buck. eBay is THE name in online auctions, and for good reason. eBay has the most complete lineup of features for buyers and sellers alike.
eBay’s large selection of categories, detailed buyer information, custom selling options and user management features to stand far above the competition.
eBay has suffered user complaints and has higher selling fees than some other sites.
The largest and most complete online auction venue in the world.