[OT] eBay tale (Was: Re: flea markets (was Re: Vintage Computer Festivals???))
marvin at west.net
Wed Apr 20 12:57:07 CDT 2016
> Mark J. Blair nf6x at nf6x.net
> I would happily donate that kind of money to create something of
> value to us. I don't think it would work out well, though, for one
> reason: The thing that makes eBay the venue of choice is that it is
> well-known as the place to sell oddball stuff that you might find in
> your dear, departed uncle's attic. So, when folks outside of our
> niche hobbies want to get rid of things that would interest us, eBay
> is where they go because eBay is what they know.
> A private special-interest eBay-clone might still be worth
> investigation as a convenient venue for those of us who are already
> part of the club to swap our toys, but I don't think it'll replace
> eBay as a place for new items to find their way back into the hands
> of dedicated collectors any time soon.
I have a LOT of thoughts!
My experience? I sold a computer last year and the buyer said it wasn't
what he wanted, filed a SNAD claim, eBay took the money from my PayPal
account, and I STILL don't have that computer back. I was putting on the
US ARDF Championships and was out of internet range at the time and
wasn't aware until it was too late that there was a problem.
The eBay customer service dept, AKA Fraud promotion department, said it
was my problem. I haven't bought or sold there since then. (I was a
power seller with a 100% positive feedback rating... the buyer had zero
feedback at the time.)
The primary problem (as I see it) is pretty much identical to the flood
of new computer manufacturers back in the mid 1970's... too many people
with a great idea but no/minimal business or marketing experience to
create a long term entity.
Taking on eBay for a specific market (i.e. classic computers and related
categories) is not difficult (simple and not easy.) But it would
require an intense marketing effort that most of us are not qualified to
do, i.e. we don't know what we don't know.
In case some of the people here aren't aware, there was talk of a
vintage computer festival some 15 years ago (guessing since I don't
remember exactly.) Sellam DID something instead of just talking about
it, and the first Vintage Computer Festival was held at the Fairgrounds
in Pleasonton, CA.
While I don't agree with all of the current VCF policies (i.e. flea
market), I absolutely admire and support what Evan and his team have
done with VCF over the past years. Like Sellam, they have replaced
talking with doing.
Eric saw a need and started the Vintage Computer marketplace some years
ago, and I think it is still a great idea. The only problem to some
extent was buyers... the site needed more in order to attract more
What would I do if it became a priority?
First set up some goals with the objectives of what the outcome is to
be. One of the major goals would be building a community (such as this
listserver!) or trying to get a buy-in from existing communities.
A second would be to set up a timeline with monthly, 1 year, 5 year,
etc. goals (can't hit a target that doesn't exist.) Defining the goals
could be really hard depending on who was involved. I somewhat equate
this to trying to herd feral cats :).
The mechanics of putting up a site to compete with eBay is relatively
easy although the legal aspects would probably require a specialized
attorney if it were to become a major site.
From a marketing perspective, I'd want to see podcasts (or similar)
with interviews of people active in our hobby. This kind of historical
perspective has been lost in other areas (amateur radio comes to mind)
and is worth saving for posterity.
Another aspect would be working to involve youth.
The primary thing would be to get something going... it will never be
"right" on the first try. An interesting marketing book is "Ready, Fire,
Aim" by Michael Masterson (a pseudonym for Mark Ford?) That is a good
philosophy to have.
And realize that most of the time, those people who can start such a
venture are probably unable to grow it to a significant business. Thus I
would want the involved people to take the Kolbe A Index test (about
$50.00, I'm 6384) showing what peoples natural strengths are and is
pretty much constant thought a persons life.
Anyway, a FEW ideas on building our hobby :).
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