Practical Ecommerce

Why we abandoned Amazon and eBay

In business, you must always be on the lookout for so-called Black Swan events. This may seem a bit illogical, but the point is that everything you rely upon in business has the potential to completely upend or destroy your business.

Many years ago, my business sold a driver’s educational DVD that we had produced ourselves. We had first released it in the year 2000. It sold very well due to a single high-volume affiliate.

We had a great relationship with one affiliate. He earned a great commission, we sold a lot of DVDs, and everyone was happy. So, in 2006, we set out to update our production. By early 2008, it was ready to be released. We were both looking forward to higher conversion rates and greater profits.

And then all hell broke loose. His business was sued by a state government and he was forced to change his website substantially, causing sales of the DVD to plummet.

The moral of the story is obvious. Don’t rely on a single sales channel. This maxim can apply to most areas of your e-commerce business. Don’t rely on a single source of traffic. Don’t rely on a single supplier of mission critical items. And don’t rely on a single employee for any mission critical process (aka know how to do everything yourself in case they disappear one day unexpectedly).

This is precisely why we decided to stop selling on Amazon and eBay. I don’t think that Amazon or eBay will cease to exist, but it is inarguable that they exist solely for their own benefit. They do not exist for my benefit.

I see both Amazon and eBay as detrimental to any business interested in building its own brand. Amazon and eBay are interested in building Amazon and eBay. They have no interest in helping you build your business (no matter what they say).

At a moment’s notice, Amazon could make an operational change that would render your business completely obsolete. You could be selling soap and they could decide to purchase a soap retailer and eliminate all 3rd party soap listings. It’s not that far-fetched.

And what would happen to you if eBay decided to ban the sale of whatever you’re pushing? You’d be out of business the next day. So, why would you bother investing in and building a business based upon the whims of another entity that, frankly, has zero vested interest in your specific success? If you disappear, they probably wouldn’t notice. But if they disappear, you’re screwed. That’s not a partnership. That’s a recipe for disaster.

You may scoff at my fears (and most people did at the thought of a black swan), so here’s another reason to completely abandon all 3rd party sales channels: repeat business.

The bottom line is that businesses can only exist upon repeat business. You cannot create repeat business on Amazon and eBay because all of the branding is designed to reinforce their sales channel and not your store. Sure, you can try gimmicks on eBay like hand-written notes stuffed inside the box, but that’s not going to scale beyond a few dozen orders a day. It also can’t compete against the fact that the customer remembers making their purchase on eBay and not your seller store.

Therefore, you are reduced to always having to compete on price (which is what the owner of the sales channel wants!). You cannot survive competing solely on price because it doesn’t give you a chance to utilize any of your strengths in marketing, merchandising, or customer service. So, don’t bother with it! It isn’t worth it in the long run.

Nearly all of my posts preach building your own brand. I realize I must sound like a broken record, but any good idea is worth repeating. You cannot build your brand if you’re piggy-backing onto Amazon or eBay. They are a crutch and should be avoided.

Obviously, Amazon and eBay “solve” your biggest problem: traffic. But they also prevent you from building your most important asset: traffic.

If you’re serious about building your brand, you must leave eBay and Amazon behind. You’ll be far happier once you do. When you first start, your direct traffic will be a small percentage of overall traffic and it will be depressing. So, you’ll have to pay for most of your traffic, but eventually, you’ll start to earn a following. This is invigorating. They actually remembered my website name!

Plus, direct traffic is a million times better than “free” traffic from SEO because it can’t disappear due to an algorithm change.

Even if you have a “side” Amazon or eBay store, I recommend shutting them down for a laser-like focus on your domain. The time and effort spent operating these 3rd party stores is a huge opportunity cost. You’d be far better served funneling that time toward building your own brand.

Investing in your brand is effectively investing in yourself. I’d rather invest in myself than an Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Etsy, Pinterest, or the-latest-trend-in-3rd-party-stores store.

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  1. John Sollars March 26, 2013 Reply

    This is a great article. The problem with Amazon/eBay for any online trader is that they are building their own brand and never yours. There is never repeat business because the cheapest price will always win the ‘buy box’, so there can never be customer loyalty. That coupled with the management price means that for most stores the only ‘Partner’ making any money is Amazon/eBay

  2. Beth Stallings March 26, 2013 Reply

    Great read, Jamie – thanks! Amazon and eBay are not for brand building – small etailers can be successful outside of them. Appreciate the thoughts.

  3. Multiace March 26, 2013 Reply

    Interesting article but I only agree partly with what you are saying – "Don’t rely on a single sales channel". This is sound advice but to ditch these channels altogether would be foolish especially if you are generating reasonable sales. Yes, ebay/Amazon may change the rules but the world is constantly changing, understand the changes and adapt!

    The fact you recommend focussing on driving paid traffic as an alternative doesn’t tie-in with the moral of your story (relying on a single sales channel). Google is the main provider of paid traffic which the majority of e-commerce sites will utilise. What happens if they change their rules – PLA’s anybody???

    • Trevor Weir March 19, 2017 Reply

      I am with Multiace on this. Jamie, you are correct in most of what you say and the reason you keep repeating it and galvanizing around it is because a business owner must have a single, driving focus irrespective of naysayers. A business owner must be “All In” as we say at the poker table. So the more often you repeat the mantra is the more amygdala you engage to help drive your pre-frontal cortex. And when times get tough, this is single drive is what a CEO must have.

      But the reason Multiace is correct, is “Why would you give up on essentially free, pre-programmed ‘zombie buying traffic’ – some of which you were not going to get anyway, lol, when you don’t have to?”

      Why not merge the two ideas. If the items that you sell can be sold with your brand/url on them, then do so and sell them with that url tucked away on them in some inconspicuous place.

      Let Amazon/Ebay push out 200,000 items for you over a 2-3 year period with your brand somewhere on them.
      In no time at all ( well 1-2 years actually ), substantial numbers of people will start looking for you on Google – then you know you have arrived.

  4. ScottSmigler March 26, 2013 Reply

    This is good advice that I believe applies somewhat uniquely to businesses like Jamie’s. Jamie is focused on building a unique brand that creates unique value for his customers. In exchange – those customers buy from him repeatedly and spread the word to their network. Most online retailers do not create unique value for their customers, which makes them increasingly reliant on marketplaces like Amazon.

    Amazon will have a hard time growing its marketshare (which is less than most people think) if more smaller online retailers do what Jamie is doing… not simply pulling his products, but delivering a unique experience to shoppers they won’t be able to get on Amazon.

  5. PhilipCohen March 26, 2013 Reply

    Excellent advice, and …

    Oh no, not another “reduction” in eBay fees … http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

  6. Elizabeth Ball March 26, 2013 Reply

    Hmmm, I may be in the minority, but I have never bought anything other than books from Amazon and correct, I have no loyalty to any bookseller there other than Amazon.

    But with eBay, when I’ve found a great seller – mailing supplies for my products is one example – I stick with them as I know I can rely on them. I must say though, I don’t tend to buy their goods outside eBay for some reason.
    While I agree Amazon or eBay could change their systems in a heartbeat, so could Etsy, Zazzle or any other company. My biggest drop-shipping agent changed their systems last year which had a direct impact on my sales and a number of other unique gift providers last year. I learnt a great lesson from this and took steps to increase my sales, with no commission.

  7. Matt MacDougall March 27, 2013 Reply

    I wholeheartedly agree with not investing heavily in only 1 or 2 channels. But I disagree with abandoning high volume channels. If you make the bulk of your investment in setting up an e-commerce platform like Magento that can easy consume orders from dozens of channels then the risk of losing a channel is easily managed. I hear your argument about direct traffic and repeat business being the most valuable. However I’d contend that often the way to build up that direct traffic and repeat business is by taking advantage of the additional revenue that multi-channel selling can bring.

  8. Jamie Salvatori March 28, 2013 Reply

    Multiace – I did not suggest on relying on paid traffic other than to get your business going. Hopefully, you can wean yourself off of it over time.

    ScottSmigler – I disagree. I think that any store can create a brand, no matter what they are selling. In every product space or niche, there is a brand leader. Why can’t that be you?

    Matt – If you are somehow able to convert sales from other channels into customers for your primary domain, then that’s awesome. But, I can’t imagine that operating on any 3rd party channel is ever "easy". It’s always going to suck up valuable time that could be better spent on building your brand.

  9. flavio April 4, 2013 Reply

    I almost fully agree w/you Jamie. The exception being that you can actually build reputation to some extent within AMZ and EBAY. Its called the star/ranking system. Many people do look at those.
    You can argue that its not ‘your’ branding, that it is controlled by the portal and by people. But at the end, isn’t ‘branding’ the value of how people value you? and assuming the portal is neutral, hasn’t a ranking system a similar kind of purpose?

    I agree on the rest: largely depending o 3rd parties is risky business. We currently derive around 40% of our business from 3rd parties, largest taker being around 15%. It would hurt, but we can dump even the largest.

  10. Jamie Salvatori April 4, 2013 Reply

    Flavio – The star/ranking system isn’t branding. While it may serve somewhat of a similar function (helping you get orders in the future), it doesn’t provide recognition. The customer still remembers placing their order on Amazon and not your website. Sure, there will be the exceptional customer who remembers you, but it isn’t enough to build recognition.

    I can still remember when we first started all the calls we would receive from people who didn’t recognize our website name on their credit card statement. And these were people who had placed an order on our site! You really think that they’re going to remember the name of the store that was selling on Amazon? Many of Amazon’s customers don’t even realize they’re not purchasing from Amazon. Frankly, you’re fighting a ridiculously difficult battle to try to build a brand/recognition on someone else’s platform.

  11. darrylxxx April 4, 2013 Reply

    ebay and Amazon are just two channels and have their uses beyond being a primary channel like your store. Shifting dead stock and clearing shelves for instance. Just don’t rely on them!

  12. Kanti Purohit April 4, 2013 Reply

    Jamie: For a while, I have been tempted to "open" additional e-stores but have resisted the temptation due to lack of resources. So, me being "forced" into the situation de-facto reinforces your advice about the laser-like focus:"Even if you have a “side” Amazon or eBay store, I recommend shutting them down for a laser-like focus on your domain."

    BTW, my temptation grew when I saw two emails entitled "Expand Your Business By Opening Additional Online Stores". from, you guessed it, PeC [eCommerce Notes]. Turns out both were promotional invites for a webinar from Yahoo Stores :=)

    While I digest everything you have said, for now, your advice is keeping my temptation in check. Thanks.

  13. Kanti Purohit April 4, 2013 Reply

    Jamie: As I re-read, I find this conflicting. At one point, you say: "The moral of the story is obvious. Don’t rely on a single sales channel."

    Later, you suggest "a laser-like focus on your domain".

    Isn’t focusing singly on your domain relying on a single sales channel?

    Help me out here.

  14. Jamie Salvatori April 22, 2013 Reply

    Kanti – I make a distinction between one source of sales or traffic (e.g. an affiliate over which you no control) versus focusing on building your brand. The affiliate can go away at a moment’s notice. The investment in your brand (and the traffic that comes directly to your site) should not suffer in such a way (unless you did something horrible from a PR standpoint).

  15. Trelos June 9, 2013 Reply

    I attempted to set up shop on Amazon recently. They refused to list my kits because I couldn’t provide a manufacturer’s bar code. Since my company makes up kits comprising parts from various manufacturers, it was clearly impossible to "comply" with the demands so we gave up. Now I’m thinking we had a lucky escape.

    Also, I’ve noticed that Amazon "bots" are frequently "reading" our own web pages and eating up our bandwidth. I see no reason for this, other than malicious, and I’m doing my best to block access because, ultimately, it’s costing me real money. I have already had to increase my monthly payments for bandwidh usage, principally because of "bot" activity.

  16. Hajrë September 29, 2013 Reply

    Great insights and great discussion too. It is obvious and pretty much proven with every store setup on eBay and Amazon that no matter whether they are million pounds/dollars business or not, no customer knows them nor remembers them. And therefore, business/name/brand and customer base are three keywords here that everyone needs to take on board.

  17. CARL WHITE October 18, 2013 Reply

    Great info!

  18. themons October 26, 2013 Reply

    try this online marketplace:

    http://www.goods4all.com

    • PJ January 7, 2017 Reply

      That domain is no longer good … message says it may be up for sale. Case in point. I’m sure it was good at the time of posting. Now it is no more.

  19. Luke November 21, 2013 Reply

    I love this guy. He’s almost as awesome as some of his products ;) I spent my last sunday watching vat19 clips ALL DAY (ok, i may have been a bit under the weather from the previous night and couldnt move, but thats not the point!) on youtube after a work colleague gave me a tip for xmas shopping the friday before and I have instantly become addicted to his “brand”. I just love everything about Jamie goes about it. It’s his brand that creates such a strong emotional feeling in me that i know exactly what he’s talking about. in other words, when i logged onto Jamies website, it was like i had found the greatest onlineshop ever and i had to tell my friends. So i did. And within 10 minutes 2 mates had already emailed me back to say they’re ordering the hangover t-shirt and bearded beanie, and another replied he was disappointed the bear suit was out of stock.
    I had never heard of Jamie or his fantastic website (www.vat19.com!) 1 week ago.
    Bang
    I think thats why brand is so important (but also hard to define)
    Thanks for the post, Jamie, almost inspires me to quit my job and put myself thru hell!

  20. Nabeel December 17, 2013 Reply

    I read few of your other article Jamie, nice work you have put together. We are in a situation where we hate Ebay the most but we have to use it as a sales channel. As soon as we get few customers know our web presence, we would love to seize operation on Ebay or maybe have end of the lines, clearance on Ebay.
    For new Internet Retailers, it can be tough to get traffic. But yes, you have shared valuable information to think of.
    Thank You

  21. Rick Wingender January 2, 2014 Reply

    Jamie,

    Unfortunately, I disagree with almost everything you wrote in this piece, except for your statement: “The moral of the story is obvious. Don’t rely on a single sales channel. This maxim can apply to most areas of your e-commerce business. Don’t rely on a single source of traffic.”

    I’ve been in ecommerce for about 15 years, managing sites for multiple companies, including some in the IR500. I’ve also managed multiple eBay and Amazon stores, and turned that into a sideline consulting business.

    eBay and Amazon stores can be a great source of not only incremental revenue, but also a great source of new customer acquisition (NCA). There is SOME validity to the concerns about branding, but it’s not impossible to do some brand-building with your eBay/Amazon customers – if you know what you’re doing and run a quality operation. With my employers and clients, this is one thing I’ve been able to do successfully; and the proof is in the metrics: a significant number of our eBay and Amazon customers are repeat customers, and what’s more, a significant number of them come to our main website and buy from us there. So, your claim that “You cannot create repeat business on Amazon and eBay because all of the branding is designed to reinforce their sales channel and not your store” is a complete fallacy. If you’ve found that to be the case, then you are doing something wrong.

    One fact that’s lost on too many consumers is the fact that an eBay customer is an eBay customer, and an Amazon customer is an Amazon customer. What that means is that, for example, 50% of Amazon customers have never purchased online outside of Amazon. So, to get to these customers, you need to sell on Amazon. It actually IS about 50%, which is information I discovered in speaking to a contact of mine who works for Amazon.

    Your DVD story is fatally flawed. You say the situation was caused by a state government legal action, but you blame the marketplace? This makes no sense.

    Talking about eBay suddenly banning a product or product category is nothing more than fear-mongering. There are few categories of product that can’t be sold on eBay or Amazon, and they’re well-established. They don’t make whimsical changes to these categories. This “concern” simply doesn’t apply to the vast majority of online retailers.

    Let me add this too: many very large corporations are now adding eBay and Amazon stores to their distribution mix. They may have different objectives; some use these stores as a clearance product liquidation vehicle, while others, like my last company, use them to acquire new customers and drive them to their own sites. Sometimes these large companies use their own, well-established branding; but often, they “white-label” these stores, and only the most astute customer will realize that they’re actually buying from, say, Tiger Direct or Best Buy on Amazon.

    Yes, these stores require attention and resources, and a slightly different skill set than your own ecommerce site. But so what? You hire and train for them, and if you do enough business there, you have dedicated staff for it. If you tried to make your “focus” argument to a multi-channel retailer, they’d scoff at it. Would you advise Target to stop selling in their stores, so that they could have “laser focus” on Target.com? Not very likely! And, if you actually followed through on that bad advice, you’d be violating a well-known marketing truth: multichannel customers spend more money. The customer that starts their shopping process on Target.com and completes the transaction in store spends more money (higher AOV), and has a higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) than a customer who ONLY interacts with the company via one sales channel. Our own data shows similar results from our eBay and Amazon customers: when they come to our own website for subsequent purchases, they spend more. Why? I suspect it’s because we’ve had one or more successful transactions with them on eBay or Amazon, AND they saw our great seller ratings on those sites, which led to greater confidence when buying on our own website.

    Your comments about always competing on price, and price alone, are also problematic. Yes, price is a primary consideration for almost all buyers, but by no means is it the only one. If you think this, then you also don’t understand the ebay and Amazon search algorithms, which can give significant exposure to certain sellers for other reasons; a lot of buyers won’t buy from someone on eBay that don’t have Top Rated Seller status, or from an Amazon seller that doesn’t have a certain seller rating.

    You bring up the point about traffic, which is a great topic to bring up. Amazon and eBay will bring traffic many sellers’ stores that they couldn’t possibly get to their own websites. No traffic, no sales. Yes, you can spend a lot of money using Google Adwords or Bing AdCenter. But, what would you rather do – spend a lot of money on PPC bring traffic to your site that may or may not convert, or paying commissions to eBay or Amazon, and actually turn a profit on every sale? I originally turned to marketplaces as a way to drive NCA to our main website, because my company at the time didn’t have much of an advertising budget. So the idea that we could actually EARN money while creating sales and acquiring new customers, instead of spending money on various forms of advertising that may or may not work, made it an easy decision to launch professionally-managed marketplace stores.

    Having multiple marketplace stores does NOT prevent you from building your brand. It helps you reach more customers, which HELPS you build your brand, and helps you become less reliant on any one source of sales (which is great for those times when your ISP and website is down for several hours).

    Rick Wingender
    Marketplaces Consultant
    http://www.wingender.us

    • Jamie Salvatori January 3, 2014 Reply

      Rick – This seems a bit too self-serving on your end. You’re a multi-channel consultant so of course you disagree with everything I say.

      The unfortunate part is that you’re misleading people by taking my comments out of context or simply choosing to try to morph them into something I didn’t mean. You don’t see the difference between Target creating Target.com and Target opening an eBay store? C’mon.

      Furthermore, you completely misunderstood the DVD example. You’re a consultant so I’ll put it in those terms. Imagine if you had one client that accounted for 80% of your sales. That could be bad because if they decide to leave, then your business is dead.

      I simply don’t believe that multi-channel selling builds brands because it’s too hard to convert Amazon customers into your customers. I’d rather spend my limited time on other brand-building endeavors. But perhaps you can share tips and tricks with the readers here on how to turn a customer from eBay into someone who will shop directly at one’s stand-alone e-commerce shop.

    • Telecia Huffin June 16, 2016 Reply

      Great response from Rick Wingender! He said a mouthful and I can actually use the information provided to continue building business. Rick, thanks for taking the time to teach others.

  22. Mai January 8, 2014 Reply

    Great article, but not once was there any mention of alternative websites where small business online sellers could launch their products without feeling pressure from the policies established by Amazon and Ebay.

  23. Just want honesty January 10, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for that confirmation on what I have always known. They “DO NOT” do this for us and as well as they should not since they are in a business for themselves , but what I have always known is, no matter how hard they try to convince the willing suckers they(ebay) is looking out for there interest ,they in fact are not. Just look at all the changes they make ,not to give “you” more sales but how they can accommodate the “buyers” to buy more. You are so true to this statement. I am not a commuter geek ,but I do know from 37 years in construction, I know when someone is trying to shaft me!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Jacob Small January 10, 2014 Reply

    Great and well thought out Wisdom

  25. Jim January 12, 2014 Reply

    I’m one of the companies that designs / makes the things that are sold by retailers and even I would like to leave Amazon.

  26. Guerilla Merchant January 18, 2014 Reply

    This is an excellent article and I’m surprised there aren’t many other articles stating the same. I also guess it depends on your success using either or of these channels. I was a top seller for my product on Amazon and learned the hard way that Amazon punishes you for success and have figured out their pattern. When you sell well as in making thousands Amazon will seek to obtain the same or similar item and use their marketing to promote their products.

    They ensure they get more sales than merchants competing against or with the same product by not putting them in the buy box, creating better described more interactive listings that include features not accessible to Merchants like video’s or detailed picture listings. They frivolously bump up their products sales ranking to get top listings on the page or search category. They allow customers to do damaging things to sellers reputation or account ratings like leave frivolous feedback, AZ Claims etc. without giving the seller protection against this activity. 1 negative feedback can outweighs 30, 5 star feedback’s and you’ll be stuck with a lower rating that makes Amazon look more attractive overall even if other merchants have better rankings amazon will always be tops.

    FeeBay I mean Ebay has the worst seller support but at least understands it’s value comes from the people selling. Actually I like ebay just not their customer service and the volume of scammers on there but you can protect yourself from them.

    It’s true you shouldn’t put your eggs in one basket. I see the trend of excellent merchants spending all their time investing in selling items on amazon really for amazon with the disguise of building themselves a company when they’re not. They’re just showing Amazon what trending items to purchase and compete against you with. People go all out trying to get buyer feedback for their accounts, playing the price game to remain competitive, thinking up nifty ways to market their items on amazon and it’s all a waste of time,energy, and effort that could better be used to establish your own market identity.

    I see the light and I’m in that spot of trying to build my store and escape from Amazon. Amazon is not a fun place to sell on it’s frustrating matter of fact I down right hate it. They offer you no protection as a seller, they hold your money hostage, they will randomly pull funds from your account for random reasons like items buyers haven’t returned, 90% of the time FBA items either become lost or damaged in their warehouse. Honestly I have yet to send an order to Amazon FBA where there hasn’t been an incident.

    Seller support is a joke/illusion as the people answering your questions are mostly human robots trained to repeat whatever is displayed on their screen and will not apply critical thinking skills.

    Amazon is extremely lenient with customers allowing them to get away with behavior that would otherwise be considered fraud like using items and returning them past the return period. I actually had a guy try to return an item from 3 years ago recently. They’ll let me pull AZ guarantees out of no where, and they’ll refund any customer with a complaint. I once had them refund a customer who called in complaining because his item arrive 1 day “EARLY”! Yes, not late but “EARLY”.

    I also worked for amazon in their warehouse (behind the scenes whooopie!) and let me tell you they treat their employees like crap. The warehouse must have been 110 degrees with no A/C. they work you like a dog for 10 hours Yes 10 hours a day with 2 wonderful 10 minute breaks and a half hour lunch try to finish your sandwich when it takes you 10 minutes just to walk to the exit in that huge warehouse.

    Amazon only has 2 things going for it from a sellers point of view. 1. is the customer traffic and 2. Is the customer traffic. That’s it! Everything else is a con even FBA because it’s too costly.

    If you don’t hate Amazon as a seller you probably haven’t made enough money off there yet. When you make enough profits to care about your earnings that’s when you see the true colors of Amazon.

    For customers and as a customer Amazon cannot be beat with their return policy,shipping speed, variety, and the likes. I usually buy Media items like games or movies from Amazon and they are primo for that. As a customer I can’t complain but as a merchant they are hell to deal with.

    Building your own website and driving traffic to it is the way to go. You’ll have more control over your money,your content,and customer relations.

    I say the primary focus should be on developing your website with the bigger retailers as just additional outlets to sell at but not depend on. Spread yourself out and sell across the board with your primary channel being the main focus.

    Online marketplaces at this point in the game really aren’t the way to go. Ebay and Amazon are some of the oldest and have been in the game so long their not going to let go of the crown.

    Amazon used to compete with Barns and Nobles for “whose the best book store” the one you visit in person or the one where you order online. Online won since Amazon is now looking to purchase them. Amazon isn’t stupid they know ecommerce and they know how to eliminate a threat. They aren’t going to let you grow in their pond and eat up the smaller fish along with them.

    They are out to boost their sales and preserve their stock value not help Eddie and Omar build a business and make a living off money they could be earning and boosting their own profits with.

    Indeed if you want to grow you have to make your own pond to play in.

  27. Brad Johnston January 24, 2014 Reply

    Jamie-
    Thank you for the information and the article. I myself am tied to eBay/Amazon and this is my main source of income. I am looking to branch out and run my own website selling the same items I am on those channels. Who do you use for your vat19.com website hosting? I would appreciate any insights you can provide.
    Thanks for your time,
    Brad

  28. Jasmine February 11, 2014 Reply

    I agree completely. When we first started our online store, we had crappy webhosting, a crappy website and more. Took 2 months, build a new webstore under it’s own domain name, started working on SEO and content, etc. Tried Ebay once and did not like it. It does not make since to have an online store and direct traffic AAWAY from that online store with cluttered social media or other sales channels. If anything all of those sales channels should direct the person BACK to your WEBSITE and not the other way around. We have seen a 385% (just crunched those numbers today actually, way before I read this post) -increase in web traffic from last year but this is not without alot of hard work. With Amazon and other 3rd parties you are putting more work into those sales channels brand image and not your own. I realized this once we where ready for a relaunch and decided to focus completely on our own brand. Yes you may sell through Amazon or Ebay, but the cost are higher than selling on your own domain. Webhosting-$200 a year, open source shopping cart-free, SSL-$100-200 per year. Add up the cost of selling through Amazon and Ebay and the cost is actually higher. Love OWNING my own website and being able to direct and grow the site my way. You are not dictated by someone else’s rules with your own website and have the freedom of design. As a ecommerce retailer you need to know the ends and outs of how commerce works from the coding down to fulfillment. You can out rank Amazon with hard work and dedication to your own brand. If you leave those 3rd party selling markets alone, they will go away, because they will not have the products to sell, which will help small businesses grow more in the future.

  29. Billa March 4, 2014 Reply

    OMG…you just confirmed my biggest fear. That is that the mentioned are out for themselves instead of you. Looking at thses sites with the intention of selling a certain product looked like a big cluster fudge. Its like standing shoulder to shoulder with a fishing pole in a aqarium and one fish. hoping they will take your bait. These sites are for lazy people wanting to make a quick dollar. Operating a ecommerce store takes dedication and time. Im looking forward to your news letters.

  30. David Frederick March 5, 2014 Reply

    Great article. Dont forget Amazon can arbitrarily remove some of your products from their listings or block them with zero recourse.

    They did this to us and we are now contemplating leaving them behind. Between the seller fee’s, pro membership fee’s, etc. they are eating huge amounts out of your profits and can tank you in a sec with no recourse. Very unhappy.

  31. Alex March 8, 2014 Reply

    Can’t agree more , just past week got shot down by eBay just because they felt to kick me out – 99.9 positv feed back ,
    Over 200k sales a mount

  32. FreeThinker March 22, 2014 Reply

    Jaime, I totally agree with your article, and I think that a lot of sellers are a little intimidated by going out there and generating sales based on their own website. Let’s face it, the customer traffic flow that runs through Amazon or E-bay is sure to land you sales, however the bottom line is that you (and your money) are their at their whim, and you could be living large and have it go to ZERO in 24 hours, despite providing excellent sales, customer services, follow up etc.

    I agree with Guerilla Merchant, “If you don’t hate Amazon as a seller you probably haven’t made enough money off there yet. When you make enough profits to care about your earnings that’s when you see the true colors of Amazon”.

    I’d hate to think there’s any merchant out there who thinks they’re impervious to being dumped by Amazon or Ebay, because if they are, and they’ve read this article, the advice on it will immediately come to mind if they get a “pink slip” email from either of the whipmasters

  33. Silas Hart April 15, 2014 Reply

    When I ran an eBay and Amazon store, my average rate of fees on each of the two platforms was 19%. After a year of learning how to properly advertise individual items with search engines I can focus 10% of my revenue on advertising with Google and Bing and make 337% more sales at competitive prices, and thousands of more people each day have visited My website, and seen My logo. To be honest, eBay and Amazon both let people down in terms of their ROI for fees paid vs traffic given – not impressive. HOWEVER – Amazon FBA is great for setting up a fulfillment service to ship items to your customers and you have access to the best customers ever – Amazon Prime customers, and if you are familiar with eCommerce and search engines, then Amazon spanks the crap out of eBay when it comes to a Google search bringing up what a potential customer types in.

    The rules on eBay and Amazon are also stringent. I’m not saying that you can’t make a sale or make a profit, but both have their best interests at heart and not yours. eBay uses the DSR system against their sellers by not informing buyers of the ramifications of giving a seller less than 5 stars in every category – a process you can only counter against by offering Free Shipping so that buyers automatically give you 5 stars in one of the categories which increases your DSR average score.

    If you are serious about your business, then creating and establishing your own site is the best long term solution. If you are staying on eBay and Amazon and aren’t thinking about establishing your own brand then you’re just self employed, not an entrepreneur – because you don’t own anything other than inventory.

  34. mary April 27, 2014 Reply

    We started with our own ecommerce store and branched out to ebay. eBay has been a useful volume channel when things are slow on the website. When we were hit by shopping comparison site ranking drops (google changed the way they ranked them), ebay was a vital source of orders. Ebay also means little of the digital marketing costs we have on our main store. We also sell more of certain categories of products on ebay than others bizzarely. HOWEVER, the downsides are: a) lower % of brand loyalty compared to main store customers b) more painful customers in pre purchase and post purchase stage (our theory is that they don’t use the web for research or solve their own problems) which wastes our precious time c) generally can’t market to them unless they explicitly subscribe to you somewhere in the process d) request for you to discount not understanding your full value propostion as you have no chance to demonstrate that in a marketplace e) integration issues with our shopping cart
    f) always favour the buyer over the seller ie no way to get incorrect feedback revised.
    At this stage, we’ll stick with ebay but boy, it is painful but we are putting some more processes in place to be more time efficient in ebay. Neccessary Evil.

    • Jamie Salvatori June 28, 2014 Reply

      It’s a necessary evil because of the first issue you mentioned: having slow orders when google changed the way they ranked you in their CSE. If you spend your time building your brand, these algorithmic changes will be a distant memory to you. Instead, you’ll have a steady influx of traffic directly to your site and the “problem” eBay solves will be irrelevant. It will take a long time, but the effort is worth it. The most valuable thing you can build is your brand name.

  35. amrit May 10, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the article. Its really great. You saved me from taking wrong path.

  36. ClaudeA May 13, 2014 Reply

    Good thoughts. Not the whole marketing focus, however, IMHO.

    I’m a bit savvy on time management. That’s specifically why I never found a manageable way to create a profitable business online. It’s just too hair-brained and time management and resource and stock management intense, and what’s that to leading a comfortable life where my family and community matter most?

    I never appreciated the singularly greedy-minded eBay operators’ lack of concern for both site visitors and sellers, so eBay is O-U-T. But Amazon?

    Amazon is the – THE – way MY customer needs to be smoozed. MY customer deserves THE best, and by that I mean far better treatment than ANY other marketer, and – That’s Amazon. Try as you may, nothing at all beats Amazon’s customer focus.

    So, MY customer deserves the “Amazon Touch,” and MY Customer is NOT Amazon’s customer1

    You may say “What!? I thought Amazon refuses to allow any seller on its market system access to their purchaser?”

    Wrong! Amazon refuses to allow its customer to have free access to seller communication. I have found many Amazon seller’s websites and some have lower prices and better services on their own web sites.

    I’m not going to delve into how – any savvy user of Google knows how!

    But, Amazon goes even one step better to provided seller branding and direct customer services and communications for Amazon Prime and FBA customers!

    It’s called “Amazon Webstore.” If a serious seller of any size desires a direct seller operation that levies Amazon’s traffic, go to Webstore and map out your operation!

    Amazon stands ready, willing, and more than helpful to create your own marketing empire on their nickel.

    Go here to get an overview . . .
    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abn/y13/m01/i28/s01

    Go here to see estimated Webstore profits . . .

    http://webstore.amazon.com/amazon-webstore-pricing/b/6368778011

    • Jamie Salvatori May 14, 2014 Reply

      Oh Claude…

      • Lisa Blake June 6, 2014 Reply

        What a great article, I’ve only just stumbled upon it. I have just looked at my P&L for 2013 and the Amazon and Ebay fees are eye watering. I am putting together a plan to drive traffic to our own site, it ‘s going to take a while but this article has helped to validate my decision and work towards leaving third party website, it just make take a while

  37. Karen T June 25, 2014 Reply

    That all sounds great, but what about the seller who doesn’t depend on repeat customers? I sell antiques and collectibles and the only regular customers that I have are repairmen (like antique clocks or musical instruments). The rest of my customers are collectors who collect only particular items. I will sell an antique piggy bank and maybe not list another one for a year or two. I sell many items that I may never sell another one like it again in my lifetime, and the collectors are so varied and unique that it is unlikely that I will list multiple items of something that they collect. It’s not like antique sellers sell just one thing. Antiques/collectibles sellers are always selling an item to a specific collector and may never sell another one again. So this rationale’ doesn’t work for antiques/collectibles sellers in any way. I could make my own “brand” as being a great antiques/collectibles site but the task of keeping on my website weird and unusual collectibles for each collector is nearly impossible.

    • Jamie Salvatori June 28, 2014 Reply

      Sounds like you’ve answered your own question.

  38. Jacqueline Mary June 28, 2014 Reply

    Is it realistic to build a brand instead of relying on 3rd party traffic when my store is not my day job? How much time and money would I need to spend to make my own site successful enough to be a decent side business?

    • Jamie Salvatori June 28, 2014 Reply

      Probably not. I don’t think you can truly build a side business into something substantial and significant if it isn’t your full-time job.

  39. Gordana K. Malone July 10, 2014 Reply

    exactly what is happening to me. In addition because I was so angry and felt betrayed and helpless I did a lot of things to piss them off even more and now I’m on the black swan list.
    I’m trying to build my own website but it’s not that easy as it looks when you first start. I still can’t get past page one. LOL Good article, thanks.

  40. Kayvee July 22, 2014 Reply

    This article makes very good points.Everyone is making valid points too. I am just starting online and I am starting with Amazon. And I am using a drop shipper because I cant afford to order my own inventory yet. It is because I dont have enough money to build a proper good website and do branding like VAT19 with all its cool catchy videos.

    So for me, starting with amazon (and drop shippers) to move into the next into the next income level is the best choice.

    Eventually I can be smart with my money and not rely solely on one avenue of income

  41. peter July 28, 2014 Reply

    For many years I sold antiques and collectibles on ebay. I finally left ebay because I felt that they were bullying sellers and I did not like the rather monopolistic practices and high fees of Paypal.

    Can a person sell antiques ans collectibles via an Amazon webstore? Does all merchandise sold via Amazon webstores require a barcode and if so how would it be possibly to create a unique barcode for each often unique antique item?
    One of the advantages to selling antiques is that many are unique and therefore other sellers cannot underprice the antiques seller on may items nor flood the market with them. I suspect this might also help with search engines because there are often no competing products with the same description: i.e. Hand made 1951 mounted clay buffalo head from Camp Minnetonka.

  42. Paul N August 28, 2014 Reply

    I have been selling on eBay and Amazon for over 6 years and initially did not agree with this article. Before starting my own business, I was a Brand Manager for over 10 years and had the grand illusion of converting eBay and Amazon customers to my web site. I don’t agree that eBay and Amazon should be forgotten all together and will explain, but do agree with Jamie now that your primary focus should be your web site. eBay and Amazon should be treated as comparison shopping engines as that is what they truly have become. eBay/Amazon only care about signing up as many people as possible and collecting their fees. They don’t care or consider what kind of long term selling environment they are creating. You can no longer differentiate yourself on eBay or Amazon and it has become a frenzy based on price. The top seller program is a series of ever changing hoops all designed to actually limit the amount of sellers who get the dangling carrot of a 20% fee discount.

    All that being said, a zillion customers only shop on eBay or Amazon and with the many automated listing and inventory tools available now you can have a presence with little trouble. Just don’t fool yourself into think it is anything more than incremental sales. With mobile sales increasing dramatically, eBay now lowers your search results if you have too much HTML in your description. Just throw some keyword heavy text up there and you are golden. You were right Jamie, FOCUS ON YOUR WEB SITE! If I was starting right now, I would 150% focus on web site and down the road add listings on eBay/Amazon for incremental sales. Treat eBay/Amazon just like 2 additional comparison shopping engine data feeds for a simple presence. I have to get back to my web site!!!

  43. Lisa October 13, 2014 Reply

    I completely agree with what you are saying to a degree but if you’re starting from standing still then who is going to know about your new Brand? DO you invest valuable time and money in new areas and waste most part because you’ve made mistakes (we all do). I think you can box clever and not put all your tools in the same box but use this stream to get noticed and make an honest living – to get going. It does give a company credibility and feedback B2C is invaluable. I will let you know how I get on but I do hear what you say and the pitfalls…

  44. mark October 16, 2014 Reply

    I have tried both and have always felt like what you are saying here. I have tried a few places to learn about selling on internet but just have not gotten anywhere. Can you refer me to a good training site that will guide me in the right direction and help me get to the point of making money?
    Thanks for your help

  45. marty October 19, 2014 Reply

    Couldn’t agree more. I”ve relied on Amazon to be my main source of income the past few years and have done quite well. Yet there’s not a day I don’t wake up nervous. So many issues have risen the past little while that it’s now priority one to get off of it. Too many new private labelers with dirty tactics due to ‘amazon’ courses being sold everywhere, major hijacking issues with zero support from seller central, the increase in category restrictions etc.. as i’m now moving towards a stand alone ecommerce site, do you suggest keeping Amazon as a fulfillment center, or is it best to look for a few?

  46. Shelley October 23, 2014 Reply

    Selling on alternative channels such as amazon is like getting a job at Taco Bell while you are going to culinary school. You will learn a lot. You will learn to be customer oriented, fast, and focused. You will learn about competitors.

    If you are new to internet marketing it’s an opportunity to grow your wings while building your inventory.

    I am interested in other methods of growing your business that have been successful for you.

  47. Smiles October 30, 2014 Reply

    Excellent article with many points I agree on.

    What are your thoughts, however, on advertising on Amazon? For example, product ads on Amazon allow potential Amazon customers to your site to complete the purchase in your e-commerce shop (so the customers build rapport with your brand vs in Amazon).

    Should there be any caveats to advertising on Amazon, do you think?

  48. az October 30, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the great advise. I have my own website and ignored it and focused solely on Amazon. Amazon then suspends my account without notice or explanation. Thought the account was reinstated the next day, I realized how evil these companies are. They simply do not care about anyone but themselves. I am now going to focus on building my own brand. You can go from $100,000 a month sale to zero overnight.

  49. Mona October 31, 2014 Reply

    How do u start a website store? I sell art on eBay & I would like to start my own website but I dont really know how. Any info would be helpful.

    • christuan cassavoy November 11, 2014 Reply

      @Mona one of the best ways is to use a third party e-commerce shopping cart. I have personally worked with ahopify and bigcommerce, and let me tell you bigcommerce seemed friendlier and seemed to try to find a way to help their ustomers which was a big selling point. Also the second reason is a lot of ecommerce companys charge you so much for bandwith and you wll often have to upgrade your plan just because bandwith, so bigcommerce has unlimited at their basic plan $29. But if you do it right you can get a 60 day trial. The issue is buildijg a site by hand is really hard plus security issues and payment processing. Thats why a third party solution is best, but do research on the shoppig carts out their.

      So my thoughts of the article and comments above. I had no money to advertise and not many people i know to start up i had no customers for months, even after telling interested people of my store. I couldnt sell on amazon because of the upfront shipping fees and two week wait for the money also the higher fees you encounter with ebay and amazon. Solution etsy heres why
      1. Dont have to pay the money upfront its credited in your account (your money owed threshold can go up to $1000 before you have to pay)
      2.Etsy fees are pretty low
      3.i do include m sute and internal advertiaing in my bix, but the only way to get them to your site is to build a client relationship or trust.

      For you supporters of not using third party sites most of those people who purchase from you wouldnt have and probably wont use your site unless you become sucsuful. But i will completly say that self branding is not strong enough, yes use those sales channels but focus on your main store. I think evert serious buyer should have a site but i see powers sellers on ebay not having sites. But another thing is people need their site to be unique and have a logo that is their own.

  50. Lory December 14, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jamie, I am in the process of setting up my on-line shirting brand. At the moment I work full time and I am working evenings and week-ends on my project. I designed the logo, I am working on my web-site and I will place my first stock order soon. I was thinking to start selling on either Ebay or Amazon to getting some sales and to make my brands name visible. I don’t have a big budget to pay marketers or Google ads. What would it be your advice?

  51. barb December 21, 2014 Reply

    No truer words were ever written. If we don’t make our own space to exist in – we will not exist as a store or business.

  52. Melvin December 28, 2014 Reply

    Great article but what people fail to realize is, that Jamie come from a background that has the experience and knowledge to build a profitable website. Keep in mind that most new sellers and existing sellers on Amazon and Ebay has know experience outside of those platform to build a profitable website. Yes the are a bunch of materials out there that offer ways to build a website but by the time you are 20 minutes into the book or video you are more clueless than when you started. I believe started an e-commerce business like selling goods to customers those
    Platforms are perfect to gain experience and money. Trying to brand yourself is very costly and with no knowledge could end up costing you thousands or more. Yes you have a great website but the fine prints doesn’t tell a person what it took to get there. Brand yourself in the future would be great but initially selling online by creating your own website, driving traffic there to get sales, at the beginning is a bad idea unless you have the capital to back. It’s much easier for a seller to start an Ebay and Amazon business on a 100 dollar risk that ten thousand dollars on building a website and waiting for sales. Just know what you are doing before you jump right in. Amazon and Ebay spent millions to generate traffic to there websites. Can you afford that?

  53. Stu January 5, 2015 Reply

    Jamie,

    I have known about this concept but haven’t found anyone online who discusses it.

    Control is very important when planning and creating a successful business. By relying on Amazon and/or Ebay (etc) one is giving away one’s control.

    Just as you said, Amazon or any other 3rd party can cut you off at any time. All the hard work you put into your product or service can be instantly wiped out.

    From my personal experience, it is harder to start your own store, website, and branding, but in the end, it is yours and no one can take it away from you. I think that people should use 3rd party stores but not entirely rely on them. Ultimately, you want to build your own business, not theirs.

    For most of us, using a 3rd party store is an easy and economical way to build our brand and or product. But one has to think long term. As Jamie put it, a Black Swan event could be lurking right around the corner. Then what will you do?

    My advice is for people to use 3rd party stores to start the wheels turning, then focus their time and energy on their own business.

  54. vicks January 14, 2015 Reply

    Sometimes the fees can be alarming and discouring but when we are talking about Amazon we are talking about a mega monster. So some people might now want to be a amazon fba seller but rather a merchant seller. It all depends how much stuff you have. So do what is right for you. Amazon is making it tougher yes to sell Dvd’s for example. So you have to use your own judgement what is good for your business. Look out for yourself and just go for it. Great article by the way.
    Have a great week everybody.
    http://www.zazzle.com/holidays4you*

  55. Christina January 15, 2015 Reply

    Hi there, I have experienced scam buyers that blackmail me several times. To tell you the truth I am sick of them. I found a new website – ebuyersreviewed. com, where you can report a bad buyer, so other people can benefit from your negative experience. I am sure that sellers can make the Internet a better place to transact!

  56. andrew January 16, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jamie, I wanted to ask a question, but do you still watch these comments?

  57. George January 29, 2015 Reply

    Great article, I found this awhile ago when helping my sister research about setting up a web store. Her needs were really simple, she just wanted an online store to post some products and to be able to accept credit cards. Most of the existing stuff was too expensive or complicated for what she needed. So I built a really simple web app for her to do that. I’m looking for some people to help provide some feedback on the web store software I built. If you’re interested in setting up a free web store, check it out at http://bulavard.com. It’s designed to just provides the basics. Thanks and good luck everyone!

  58. matt February 1, 2015 Reply

    This is a great article and I agree you should eliminate sales channels that you have little or no control over. We have been retailing online since 2001. We have two brands. Once launched in 2001 and the other in 2008. We focused our efforts with that newer brand on Amazon and did well. We did however neglect our own site.

    Then Amazon yanked the rug out from under our feet. We lost $200k in gross revenue just like that and we did nothing wrong.

    We had a repeat customer buy two items from us. However one item was piggybacked by another seller and they got the sale. The customer later contacted me to tell me that another seller was infringing our copyrights and the product was inferior.

    About 1 month later I get a 15 paragraph rambling email from this same customer about how he loves our product but other sellers were infringing on our copyrights. Really crazy stuff like “Amazon if you a listening in to this email this is a good email not a bad one.” Other parts of the email were redacted by Amazon.

    Within 1 hour of that email from him the product he bought from us was delisted for “suspected copyright infringement”.

    Turn out the customer has mental health issues as he told me this over the phone.

    Several hours later were we no longer selling Amazon. I sent them our federally registered trademarks and copyrights but they said we see your trademark/copyright info but sorry – “Your account fits a certian criteria”.

    Here is the good part of the story. I do not miss Amazon. We continue to thrive on our own terms. You see, 13 months before this happened I noticed a lot of competing Amazon sellers getting shut down. Big high-volume sellers that had been around a long time. This unnerved me and I had a meeting with my product manager. I told her that this could very well happen to us at any time and we were going to minimize our dependence on Amazon. No new product listings on Amazon at all.

    We were relaunching that brand on a new Magento platform and refocusing our product line. I felt any time spent on Amazon was a malinvestment of our time. At that point I had a lot of anxieties dealing with Amazon and getting dumped was the biggest one.

    Over the next 13 months that new site ramped up to about 50% of amazon sales.

    We are doing well and that brand continues to grow. I do not miss Amazon at all.

    Be wise and focus on your own sales channels. If you think you have a successful business because you sell a lot on Amazon you are a fool.

  59. Auction Essistance February 2, 2015 Reply

    Lots of sellers we have talked to pretty much gather their customers on a list and direct them towards their website for better deals, savings, coupons, etc..

    It is a whole lot better than relying on your whole income on eBay & Amazon.

    http://www.auctionessistance.com

  60. EcommerceOnly February 4, 2015 Reply

    This posting is the truth! I sold on amazon and Ebay full time for the past 8 years. I always had above average if not outstanding selling performance and feedback. I even got invited to amazons private lending program and they gave me $15,000 just because I had out standing selling performance ect.. I sold on ebay for this one specific store since 2007 only had 1 negative feedback ( customer did by mistake ) I was making over $150,000 growing every years. I started at $7,400 my first year.. I have a website however that was just to capture repeat business and also sell in bulk because of amazon and ebays high shipping fees.

    Then all of the sudden! NOV- 14 our only source of inventory changed the rules. I could no longer use my Net 30 line of credit. People started getting orders late and during the this short period until I secured outside investors and more than enough funding. However in less than 2 months .. Amazon and Ebay have both suspended me permanently and have blocked multiple attempts to sign up under family members.

    I had about 15 negative feedbacks on amazon and 13 on ebay and several refunds.. However amazon and ebay didnt give a shit about my short term situation. They shut me down and could care less about my blood sweat and tears invested in them over the years. AMAZON & EBAY – !@#$$ YOU ! I now realize I was just an employee.. I had no real control over my business. Now I have set up a new corporation instead of my sole proprietorship and I have already set up accounts with both.. amazon and ebay under these corperations. However I am not even going to waste my time selling on them. I am going to put all my energy in promoting my own website built on bigcommerce.

    I found your blog way to late however you motivated me not to go back down the same dead end path! FYI I paid amazon alone $71,000 plus in the last 3 years.. However its peanuts and they wont even miss it.

    I hate amazon and ebay now with a passion!

  61. Tom Quinn February 18, 2015 Reply

    We are manufacturing and about to sell a unique product in the UK exclusively on Amazon.co.uk. We have a recognizable brand in North America where our product is sold on amazon as well as mass-market and specialty shops. In the UK our product is not available from any other retailer and we do not wholesale it to Amazon. We control the branding through our North American initiatives and our website which has a “buy” link to amazon.co.uk. Could amazon still have a negative impact on us in this situation?

  62. Adam W March 11, 2015 Reply

    I agree with most of what you’ve said in your article.

    The main issue I have is that you are not taking into account product branding and trademarks etc.

    With trademarks you can eradicate other sellers from your listings (as we do) and make a good profit.

    Sure, you are building more amazon/ebay loyalty, but it’s also getting a product brand name out there. Hell, drag them from Amazon back to your own “store” with incentives.

    You need to protect your brands, and make sure you are the only one selling them on amazon/ebay.

    Selling books and DVD’s vs other sellers is just utterly moronic, it’s always going to be a race to the bottom on price.

    You also forget that even with your own “Store”, you are probably relying on traffic from search engines? they are companies too.

    We have customers on Amazon/Ebay that have re-ordered dozens of times, and the larger ones we move away from amazon into buying directly for us.

  63. Denise March 12, 2015 Reply

    Great point! How do you remove your product from the data feed on Amazon?

  64. Steve March 12, 2015 Reply

    After playing the eBay sales game since 2004 I have to agree with what you’re saying. I would definitely not want to be relying on eBay as our sole source of sales today. When we first started in 2003 we had no other options for getting online other than eBay. We were also one of the few selling our range of products. Times were good. As the years rolled by we encountered more competition, which we could handle as the ‘cheap junk’ products weren’t all over eBay at that time. The thing we found most disturbing was eBays policy making.

    They started by trying to force people to pay exclusively with Paypal – a company they own, but were blocked by the ACCC (in Australia). Next they started promoting those to the top who were selling the most – i.e. those who make them the most money. Those who aren’t ‘competitive’ i.e. not operating out of a garage, will in some cases/product lines not make enough to make it a viable sales channel. Next came the fees on shipping. These policies continue to erode profitablility for the seller, and make eBay more money.

    Its cleverly disguised as providing a better experience for the customer. eBay is customer focused, don’t go thinking they care about your business or profitiability. For the seller its a matter of survival as far as they’re concerned. They don’t care if you sell an item at a loss, as long as you’re selling the most they’ll promote you to the top of the list. For newbies with low overheads, I’d say go for it with eBay, but once you have overheads you need to move to a more profitable sales channel, and promote your own website. Just cut your reliance on them as soon as you can, or you may end up making next to nothing if your product isn’t selling any more as the next guy is actually prepared to sell a competing product for no profit, or if they make another sweeping policy change.

    Imagine if you were selling a product that a competitor could easily post direct from China for half your price?! Needless to say eBay would not do anything to stop them. Be very careful about what products you choose to sell, and don’t stake your entire future on products that aren’t exclusive to you. eBay is a price centric market place, thats the way they promote it, and thats what you’ll have to bring to the table. Is competing with hundreds of other cheap options worth it? If you have a common product, then its not worth while.

    Why did eBay switch us all to fixed price listings? To ensure there were hundreds of options available for immediate purchase, and thereby ensure those hundreds of sellers would have to compete on price. I’m not saying this will apply to everybody, and it may be possible, once you’re at the top of your market, with big brand names, to succeed on eBay. Thats due to the high margins that big brand names can generate. But if you have your own brands, you’ll likely do better outside of eBay. One thing I’ve always done is to use eBay for traffic. We promote our website by hosting our own images, displaying our email address, etc within our listings.

    I’m not sure about the US, but in Australia we can still display a phone number on our listings – watch this space for that one to be axed! One other thing we use eBay for is to run sales on slow moving stock. These days we have a wide range of stock that we don’t even sell on eBay – we sell it for much more direct from our physical store or website! We now have repeat customers who walk in the door because we look after them. I’d always try and build a loyal base of physical customers, rather than just virtual ones.

    As the article says, I believe having lots of sales channels is the best insurance against one channel fatally changing its policies. It also helps us to retain more customers through good old fashioned customer service and relationships.

  65. tim March 17, 2015 Reply

    Who exactly is E-Bays customers? Is it the sellers who pay fees, or the people buying merchandise Their policy favors the buyer yet their actions side with the seller. If you don’t like how they operate, don’t participate.Who ever their customer is: It is a joke they accepted a customer service award.

  66. Sherry March 19, 2015 Reply

    Amazon called our store and asked us if we would sell our products on their website and we agreed to do so. We immediately began selling, especially one line of products, and the sales were impressive. We were excited. Within two months the sales were zero on those products. Why? Because they only manipulated us in order to get the names of those who manufactured the products we sell. They then called the manufacturer and convinced them to sell directly to the public. It worked out really great for the manufacturer, since they had a minimum amount set for their line and ferociously defended it. They forced all of their retailers to sell at a higher price, then undercut them through FBA. One by one, every one of the manufacturers of the goods we sell have gotten on Amazon to sell direct to the public.

    • Stephanie June 20, 2015 Reply

      Sherry’s story is EXACTLY why I would NEVER sell on Amazon unless I had a unique product that I myself manufactured.

      They use people who sell on their site as market research and if they see a product you are selling is doing really well you can bet dollars to donuts they will cut you out and start selling the brand themselves.

      I would NEVER carry a manufacturer on my site that sells on amazon. Luckily there are still some brands that support small retailers and won’t sell to Amazon.

  67. Josh May 25, 2015 Reply

    I feel like I just attended church and heard some excellent gospel! I make my living selling on eBay and Amazon and I’m a slave to them. They’re the only ones making money….any their once sided policies have affected me more than once! As I always explained to my wife and friends, they’re a necessary evil that I have to deal with right now. But you’re right, I must focus on building my brand…today, and I will! Today I start building my brand for http://www.alluringsterling.com/

    Thank you for the motivation!

  68. DeVaughn Burke May 28, 2015 Reply

    This is definitely a great article.
    I’m looking to build my own brand but shouldn’t we atleast start on Amazon/Ebay to build some quick capital?

  69. carmela June 5, 2015 Reply

    I totally agree. I just have a bad experience in ebay account (since 2010) should start like new for a relationship with my husband’s account
    Could sell up to $ 6,000 and now I can only sell $ 1200 and also paypal block my funds for 30 days ??? Fortunately ebay is just one of my channel and it was a terrible experience
    It’s exactly what you say it is much better to build your own brand and your own traffic

  70. anna July 19, 2015 Reply

    hi just a question, when you say -3rd-party-stores store, is this referring too the already built online stores ? .. or is this still good to use around building your own brand ?

  71. Invworld August 14, 2015 Reply

    All comments are true, but not to the degree and vehemence with which they are stated.
    We have our own site, but added Ebay and Amazon about a year ago as a customer acquisition strategy. Ebay continues to be a dud, but Amazon has been a valuable source of revenue and of repeat customers to our site. We manufacture our own product and have Brand Registry, so we cannot be gamed by Amazon’s predatory practices, other than their ever-expanding daisy chain of fees and charges.

    As to being shut down: I read these stories all the time and I often get the sense that only one side of the story is being told. There are hundreds of people out there selling fake reviewing services and get-rich-quick scams that violate Amazon’s Terms of Service, and I think that their clients are often the people who get shut down. (Note: People who sell fake reviews etc will always insist that either they don’t violate Amazon’s TOS or that they never get caught.) Amazon may game you, but they don’t like being gamed. It’s true that once you run afoul of Amazon they really don’t care what the specifics of your situation are.

    My biggest hangup with Amazon is that they do not allow you to sell on other channels at a lower price than Amazon. This effectively sets the price across the board, and with Amazon’s roughly 20% bite, you end up being very restricted in your ability to take lower margins on other marketplaces. Note that this is only true in the USA. In Europe, where corporations do not rule quite so absolutely, the EU rightfully banned this practice as restraint of trade, and merchants have more pricing freedom.

    Every online business is different. I still view Amazon as a very valuable LOW MARGIN element of my online business and I don’t think Jamie is doing his readers a service by warning them away from it under all circumstances. His comments about not neglecting your own brand are certainly valid.

  72. Patrick Franco August 21, 2015 Reply

    Why does everything have to be either this or that? Why can’t consultants gather information about businesses before making blanket statements. Businesses should base how they do business based on data and not emotions like fear. (amazon could change policies) There is nothing wrong with having an opinion which can help your business based on data collected about your business or businesses you have worked with in the past. But to make a blanket statement like business should de-list all products on Amazon or Ebay is like stating that your arm is broken because it hurts. I work with businesses everyday and they are shock when I actually start asking questions about their business. I could care less if they get a webstore, amazon, ebay. These are just tools to be used to create revenue for the business. The great benefit to multi-channel ecommerce is the cost of entry is not very high and you have access to analytical and behavioral data rather quickly. No one in their right mind would not want all the business flowing through their own website. However, not every business/industry is created equal. History provides us with tons of web businesses where the cost of acquiring customers was so high that by the time they got repeat customers, they burned through so much cash that they were out of business.

  73. cedric August 31, 2015 Reply

    I use amazon for different purposes : not to sell of the products of a new brand. But to sell some key products:
    – Product that include some keyword I will be able to rank well with an amazon page, but not with my blog page.
    – Some new products with no competition where amazon adversting will be a great (especially in France…you have almost no competition and it’s very cheap…and I am selling 30 euros every 1 euros I spend…very impressive…while with adwords I loose more money that what I earn).

  74. dave September 3, 2015 Reply

    im at the point of setting my son up in business, prior to read this great posting, i did intend to use the two sites mentioned and also put a flyer in the box with a discount to our direct website, the reason i have held back is price wars, theres wholesalers selling direct and below cost price? why they do this i have an idea but maybe wrong, but you cannot compete with them, customers tend to click the numerous side bars for free p+p then lowest price, so no matter have good a service you provide its a nightmare

  75. TJRB September 4, 2015 Reply

    Who controls, owns your customer’s info, database, with Amazon? Do you see, have access to this? Worst is Amazon can data mine all this information from all sellers of like items and under cut you I would think.

  76. john September 17, 2015 Reply

    well if you are growing your brand and you manufacture your product the easiest way to start is to sell on ebay and amazon for immediate sales and then work on the profits to develop your website and make it a better price and shopping experience than buying on your ebay and amazon sites
    you will always have faithful buyers who use prime and are faithful to ebay but eventually you will bring a large section into your store.
    you can always use amazon and ebay to go international then it again will bring the international buyers to your store.
    hope this helps someone good luck!

  77. Steve Clammer September 23, 2015 Reply

    Dealing with Amazon can be business suicide, We have been ripped apart from Amazon on 2 occasions now. I am focusing my business now on the website and offline as much as possible. I would never trust Amazon fulfilment with my products ever again. They are not to be trusted!!

  78. Kayk October 4, 2015 Reply

    Thank you so much for the article… I know I am coming in late. I am doing some hard-core research on selling on Amazon. All information is helpful. I am working very hard on creating a solid, recognizable, and reliable brand and am not sure if Amazon will serve my business this way. On a sidenote, I specifically go to Amazon to order from the same awesome seed company every year for my garden needs. I love the brand they have built on Amazon.

  79. Big Steve October 5, 2015 Reply

    Another anecdotal story about one event that happened to one person one time.

    Yawn.

  80. jose October 8, 2015 Reply

    good article, I congratulate you
    There is also the problem that Amazon and eBay accounts closed, without notice, for minor issues and often serrated your store without explanation

  81. Salisha October 15, 2015 Reply

    What do you think about affiliate ads on your own domain? Would it make sense to have Amazon or Ebay links on your own site for extra income or does that just drive traffic away?

  82. Michael October 21, 2015 Reply

    Good points, excellent wisdom for those needing to find the motivation to find a different source for channel marketing of their products.

    Love the point about buying a soap company and disqualifying soap sellers in the process. Just ask Apple (Apple TV) and Google how they feel about Amazon disqualifying their products in the home television service/device markets.

    I just keep asking myself, how many investors are willing to continue funding Amazon and eBays race to the bottom? And at what cost to innovation and quality?

  83. David Abraham October 31, 2015 Reply

    Good thinking…the bottom line anyway is money whether it is Amazon or Ebay..

    • Angus Young November 19, 2015 Reply

      The problem with not using Amazon and ebay is that if you try and beat them to the top listings on Google with your own site and products you will spend and probably waste a fortune trying to do it. They have a monopoly on the search engine’s and it’s about time Google did something to help the smaller online businesses out there like rotating the top results for search terms so everyone get’s a fair chance. On the flip side if your product is not unique or you don’t have sole rights to it then the chances of making money online anywhere are slim seeing as everyone else is doing it. Everything is based on price price price. There are so many people selling the same thing everywhere, it’s no wonder the global economy is struggling as nobody is making money due to the internet, yes you get success stories but nobody talks about the thousands of other people struggling to make a living online.

  84. John January 11, 2016 Reply

    The seller does the same thing, buys cheap and at the lowest price.

    Multiple shipping discounts, lot sales, coupon discounts…

  85. David February 6, 2016 Reply

    I enjoyed your article. We currently use eBay/Amazon and are faced with the same issues. We want to develope our own “brand” and develop our own ecommerce solution. However we are a distributor/reseller. As such we are dealing with 6 or more mainline master distributors like Synnex, D&H and Ingram Micro. I find the task of developing a site where we can import, manage, price check and maintain thousands of SKU’s daunting to say the least. We will obviously have to bring this project in house and hire a web developer. However my lack of experience in this venue gives me reservations.
    Is there (in your opinion) a stable cost effective way to get a branded ecommerce solution up and running in less than 12 months.

    Regards, David Martin Connect4technologies

  86. A buying consumer February 12, 2016 Reply

    Whatever happened to online sellers being a deal for everyone?? Lower overhead used to equal lower cost! More often than not, greedy sellers ( some great examples here!) are selling products for even MORE than the local stores! And, some of you have the gall to bring up waning “customer loyalty”? ?? Hilarious

  87. Bill Hardwick February 22, 2016 Reply

    I work a full time job and would like to make side money one EBay or Amazon as a secondary income. Are they a good idea for me?

  88. Jackie Endres March 22, 2016 Reply

    I agree with every point you made! Ebay and Amazon can and do change the rules, and they do it frequently, and you are left in the proverbial dust, trying to recover! We had just started our business, had invested a lot of time and money sourcing and buying stock, and we were ready to sell on Amazon, when they changed the rules! They increased their fees to a whopping 39.6% as of 2016, and those numbers killed our tiny profit margins. We were literally out of business overnight! It could have been worse. We could have had a business we grew that we were dependent on for a living, that we’d invested years of our lives, so at least it happened early on, and we only lost several hundred dollars. But I’d never do that again! Amazon also goes into direct competition with it’s own sellers. That’s how they find successful niches to sell in, and they can beat the prices of the small businesses, so don’t count on them as a way to make a living. They’ll pull the rug out from under you because they don’t care about other sellers! Thanks for your article. It’s very good advice.

  89. Dennis Bandy March 22, 2016 Reply

    We left eBay many years ago due to high fees and other sellers stealing our best product descriptions and undercutting prices. Amazon has repeatedly tried to get us to sell on their site. Anyone that put’s a few minutes of thought into Amazon’s opertation can plainly see they data mine sales and then take over the best sellers. With their volume buying few have a chance of competing. Once Amazon takes your best sellers and undercuts your price – you’re done! Don’t want to depend on one website? I agree, that’s why we have two with completely different designs and hosts. More than that you’d be spreading yourself too thin.

  90. kpi April 5, 2016 Reply

    Amazon is the most dangerous as they retail themselves. Unless you control manufacturing/full rights for your product (most of the herd simply imports volume) , should you do well its within their notice and they have better stores stats than you do, control of the store to drain your customers and make them theirs. Basically they the blueprints for your business and one hell of a 3d printer.

    If your simply importing, spread wide, things will go wrong,bottoms will fall out. If you’ve something special and yours you can sleep easier anywhere.

  91. Silvano May 29, 2016 Reply

    Yes, you are 100% right!!
    and now I explain you why I sell on my websites and also on Amazon:

    Every order that comes from Amazon, is one more customer in my own websites. Simply:

    Prices on Amazon are of course higher. Every invoice and shipping I do through Amazon, is sent to the customer (ex-Amazon and now MINE) a coupon code with a 10% additional discount on my websites for a purchase done within 30 days.
    I hate Amazon, Is my opinion they are MAFIA. But they contribute to grow up my traffic, my customers and my orders. I loose only the first order, done through the Amazon, and then the client become mine!

    Beside this:

    My prices on Amazon are really HIGH, and I don’t know how can people buy, but they buy! And then are happy to buy directly in my shops. Is my opinion there is a lot of crazy people in the world..

    USE AMAZON ! and do not let Amazon use you!

    All the best!

  92. Noel Padilla June 22, 2016 Reply

    Very true. As a frequent Amazon customer, I can not remember one name of a seller.

  93. Ellen Perry June 22, 2016 Reply

    Thanks so much for posting. I’m just getting started building my new ecommerce business and I think you just saved me a lot of time because I was seriously considering going with Amazon. However, with my background in design and marketing I know what you are saying is accurate.

  94. Terry Newman July 6, 2016 Reply

    Hi Jamie, I am not sure if you still read these, but this is a question exercising my mind a lot at the moment. I am a manufacturer with an unknown brand because I produce generic products for others. I want to sell directly to customers, but I am in China and so I am going to try Amazon in the US and Japan, my major markets. Here in China I will try to drive traffic to my own website because I can do the fulfilment myself. I think it is horses for courses, but I know exactly where you are coming from. In business rely on nobody but yourself, or get screwed.

  95. Tanya August 2, 2016 Reply

    I was recently canned by eBay for suspicious activity. eBay wouldn’t give me much info on what they meant by that. I tried several times to reach them, but they wouldn’t give me a clear answer.

    I had to go using stealth techniques with the help of Auction Essistance. Still very difficult and frustrating on how they treat sellers unfairly.

  96. Harry Samuel August 21, 2016 Reply

    The articles is very good. You do not take into account sellers like me who do not have their own brand, and never really will. I started selling toners, made by HP, Oki, Brother, and a dozen others. None of the big companies understand that constantly undercutting each other instead of building a brand, and building dealers is in their long term interest. Just as eBay started as a place to sell, and was a great outlet, eBay turned into a hated money sucking business that drove away the small sellers in favor of volume sellers from China. Enter Amazon which I just started selling on, they both reach different people and my sales are completely different. While your business plan of building a brand is great if you sell unique items, when it comes to selling everything else both Amazon, and eBay have their place. Both eBay and Amazon only care about volume, and their profit is protected as it comes off our bottom line. All that we have done in the last 60 years is shift from an employed population with a one breadwinner family unit of the 1950’s to an unemployed working from home everybody trying to make enough money to pay the bills, while corporate America is paying the ones at the top millions that once was paid to employees. If you understand the game, you will learn to at least come in second or third place, To the millions of Americans earning minimum wage, and no hope in sight just get a second or third job. Arod made 400 million so far in his baseball career, I have gone to none of those games, I take my children to 1 or 2 games a year, I am not supporting this current crazy system we have allowed to be created. I dream of a partner who did not make as much, and sometimes more than I do on an item. Amazon and eBay only care about their bottom line, and eBay can’t understand why their sellers are feed up and going to other sites. Corporate America stopped caring about the workers years ago, just as eBay forgot how they got to own the auction site market, and are now losing it to everyone else. 20 years from now eBay will be gone. Amazon will keep going, and if we are all lucky Google will get into auctions and blow everyone away. Craigslist is still number one in my book, and costs nothing. best place to market a local business for FREE !!!!!!! If Google did a nationwide service like Craigslist, with ads they would cleanup. And PayPal needs real competition.

  97. manisha sood August 26, 2016 Reply

    Great..well said..I got booted 45 days back from etsy after 1.5 years…hundreds of hrs of hard work gone down the drain, and I am still hanging by a hope. I have learnt this lesson the hard way- build your own website and traffic ..I am now working at it…

  98. Randall Bradley September 4, 2016 Reply

    Great article and very true. Amazon has already started doing this as of 2016. But also even building your own brand has down falls such as the cost. And the big drawback is now Chinese manufacturers are counterfeiting all goods that are best sellers on internet retailer sites.

  99. elizabeth September 8, 2016 Reply

    I loved this. This is exactly what I want for my store. I want people to still have that personal touch of a store they can rely on and know – because they know where it came from, just as if it were their local store down the road that they love, just online.

    That is my goal. You can not get that getting tossed into the listing mass of ebay or amazon.

  100. Bob Butler September 29, 2016 Reply

    Thanks for the advice. I’ll use it.

    Years ago, eBay allowed a “Buyer”to steal a valuable coin from me. I offered solid proof that everything was as it should be but eBay informed me that they generally always found for the Buyer. I couldn’t accept the terms, so I quit eBay. After speaking with Amazon, they assured me that they have similar terms, but generally have less trouble as they have a higher level of customers.

    I’ll just sell from my own website. Thanks, again.

  101. Matt Thompson September 30, 2016 Reply

    I am a small brand owner of handbags, home decoration items and the like. Everything you have said is absolutely right. The only reason I am still listed on Amazon is because of the traffic they get. But, any day my goal is always to build my brand through my own website. I take all the shit that Amazon throws at me only because of the incremental sales that helps me pay the bills. But, the proportion of their contribution to my overall sales has been declining over the years. The day it goes below my threshold, it will be “goodbye Amazon. nice knowing you. thanks but no thanks!”

  102. David Atkinson October 6, 2016 Reply

    I have a simple ecommerce business already cutting major profits by using middleman suppliers and the expense to house is to great so I go to Amazon and they have such a complicated product ASIN, UPC process set up template etc my eyeballs start bleeding so we just keep going as is and irritated

  103. Jon October 23, 2016 Reply

    100% true! As someone who has sold extensively on Amazon and Ebay you really must leave them behind to build your business. Many small merchants love the instant sales they get off of these channels but before long your margins drop to zero (or negative) once some competitors get involved and any sales you had drop completely. Not to mention you are stuck with inventory that you have sometimes no other way to move. And the constant price wars only make your business look bad once the price drops below what it is on your website.

    I’m not saying you should completely drop these channels but they should be looked at as a second option vs a primary. Invest in SEO, content, web development, etc. Oh and factor in the cost of holding, fulfilling, purchasing, and waste in regards to inventory when trying to calculate whether you are profitable. These are real costs that many small retailers don’t take into consideration.

  104. laura October 25, 2016 Reply

    ur exactly correct in your fears and your advice…i call ebay and amazon, “a quick hustle” !!! they are there for a quick buck, say youre working to build your brand, but are a little short on cash..you could offer a good deal on one of those to get a little capital going..but definitely not a long term plan for the future..thanks for the info :)

  105. Titan J Cheatham October 25, 2016 Reply

    That is a great post, I don’t believe one could argue the truth of a self centered online brand. The one catch 22 is that the majority of people even knowing this doesn’t care and or are clouded because of profitability.

    Or like me, don’t have experience with e-commerce, making my own brand name or partnership. Those that don’t it’s very easy to just unknowingly give up the idea and go for the brand name.

    This was what I would have done tonight and still may do because I do not have a mentor, no experience just a background of knowledge with literally no idea where to start. First day on the job doing research before my upward battle to the top. Constructive criticism is welcome here!

    Best regards,

  106. Tto January 3, 2017 Reply

    Dont agree with this article. Without traffic you business is useless. I have created mutile brands on my own and it needs constant injection of funds. For start up unless you have thousands of dollars to spend good luck with creating your brand as the first step. On a average you will get 0.1% sales per social networking interactions. So do the match before you want to make $1k / day

  107. Scott January 5, 2017 Reply

    As a seasoned sales rep for many years and owning my own company, let me just say for those starting out. The best thing you can do is generate multiple streams of income as a protective shield against your current (single) income. Companies have no allegiance to you what so ever. If you’re in sales, rack up as many accounts as you can so when you loose one or so, your income won’t feel the bump.

    This is years of experience talking and lessons learned the hard way. Believe it or not, your choice but I promise you, you will feel the wrath of corporate America some day. BE PREPARED!

    • Eddy January 23, 2017 Reply

      Don’t be so quick to paint everything with one brush, all products are not created equal. You can promote a brand on eBay if you’re selling products that require after the sale support. My products require after the sale support and that allows me to find customers on eBay and then develop a business relationship with a personal touch, That does wonders for loyalty and repeat business.

  108. Megan Price February 1, 2017 Reply

    I moved away from them as well and focus on building outside traffic to my website. I was suspended by Amazon and had so many issues with eBay. Amazon was a good source for me, but trying to get back on is a pain. I read an article on Auction Essistance on how to create a Amazon stealth account, but there is so much to it that it is not worth the hassle to even start up again.

  109. Barnabas February 17, 2017 Reply

    Well, 3rd party sites aren’t working SOLELY in your interests of course, but there are alot of things (marketing strategies, customer protection guarantees etc.) they have that startups don’t. It would do alot of for e-commerce startups to tap onto these features as a starting point and use it as a platform to launch out.

    All e-startups need to do is to channel (through small incentives of course) buyers from 3rd party platforms back to the main site post-purchase and get them to leave some contact details for future follow-ups on a more personal level.

    The ultimate goal is of course having the main site, but having some help from the big boys while getting started would do a great deal for a startup :)

  110. Jak February 25, 2017 Reply

    Right on!
    Never made real money with Amazon, they are no help, change rules constantly and will shut you down without
    an obvious reason.

  111. Chris Catherall March 1, 2017 Reply

    Food for thought i guess but my head and business utilizes eBay amazon and our own site and will always do so it doesn’t make sense to cut off 2 perfectly usable sales channels which i might add have a exceptionally large customer base between them to utilize…………..
    As a business with a 1 million plus turnover on line each year NEVER put your eggs in one basket. Yes eBay, amazon, google can change how and what they do generally its for our benefit as sellers and again yes they are pushing there name there brand but hey if it matters so much run your own eCommerce site along side as i do.

    Regards to all.

  112. Marck Davies March 15, 2017 Reply

    My comment or question is, how do I start building my own brand.

  113. Teri Gottlieb March 28, 2017 Reply

    What you say is very true.

    Is there a way and if so, what would it be, to block EBay and Amazon from my smart ogine and computer.

    Thanks,

    Teri

  114. Ollie Warwick April 24, 2017 Reply

    Amazon booted me because of a fraudulent claim from a buyer. Buyer cried that he never received the item even though tracking shows he received it and signed for it. I forwarded it to Amazon but they still sided with the buyer. Absolutely ridiculous. Now I am out of my money, item, a hit on my feedback and not to mention my account is suspended.

    Tried to use the appeal services being offered on the net, but they failed and turned my appeal into an indefinite one. So I am out of that money and my account for good.

    Been looking for ways to get my account back, but many say it is near impossible.

    I did come across a way to get back on called stealth which I found an article here “http://auctionessistance.com/create-new-amazon-stealth/. But I am little hesitant because it kind of seems illegal. Do you have any experience with stealth accounts?

  115. Rosemary Morris April 26, 2017 Reply

    I tried selling on e-bay for a month. Quit yesterday. The problems for me were: high shipping cost and low bids from buyers. E-bay encouraged me to auction my items and to start at $0.99 with free shipping. The problem with that was that the only sales I made were to persons who only bid $0.99 with free shipping. So I lost money. It was costing me around $5.00 to list on e-bay. I didn’t even get the $0.99. I also had to pay shipping which averaged around $5.00 per sale. I tried “buy it now” and “buyer pay shipping”. No dice not even got a view. E-bay customers only seem to be interested in paying $0.99 with free shipping. So the only ones who made money from my listings were E-bay and buyers.

  116. sco July 11, 2017 Reply

    I categorically agree.

    Scott J

    EnviroClean

  117. Leslie Reinbach July 15, 2017 Reply

    I agree with you, that is why, today, when I read that eBay wants the right to be on ALL selling websites, I asked this question on search.
    You are the one I clicked on to. It is not really legal for them to monopolize the web.
    I did leave a tweet on the page about this as eBay wants cheers. I don’t think people understand what they are cheering.
    My brother, daughter, and I all were ripped off from eBay and PayPal. I am still fixing my costly mess. Time consuming mess.
    So… I decided to try to open my own page. PayPal seems to believe that any sales must go through them. No way!
    I don’t trust them. And do not like that they think they have the auto right to have stepped in.
    Sorry about your business and the trouble and time they brought you.
    I hope they are patted down a notch or two.
    Leslie

  118. Wilma Frederickson July 24, 2017 Reply

    I know someone mentioned in the comments about Auction Essistance and their post on creating a new stealth account. But I don’t know how effective it would be since it seems like they can just find out again and suspend you like before.

    Do you think these stealth accounts or stealth techniques would be a safe bet for getting back on?

  119. matthew September 20, 2017 Reply

    hi, interesting you say this but there’s nothing here about how you go about building outside of ebay and amazon. we have a website, and compete against a lot of other companies, but tend to sell more on ebay and amazon than on our website. i know it says ‘build a laser like approach’, but nothing to do with the structure of the approach. would like to hear your views on the way to go on ‘life after ebay/

  120. Paul Connelly September 21, 2017 Reply

    Hello, im looking for advice regarding a recent dispute with ebay i had a eureka moment 3 years ago and decided to start selling the product.Last week i opened up my account to start doing the addresses to dispatch items, only to find all my listings had been removed.

    I immediately contacted them through chat, one of their advisors told me that i had violated their selling policy.

    Other sellers jumped onto the bandwagon of my eureka moment and started selling the product in the same way and format that i was doing

    The other sellers are still selling the same product that i was selling to this date.

    I have contacted ebay on numerous occasions asking why all other listings by other sellers have not been removed.

    They told me they would be getting removed but it takes time! A week has gone by and all other sellers listings still remain visible.

    When contacting them again they keep saying give us 72 hours. They have no intention to remove the other sellers listings are my beliefs.

    It has been a slow period from Jan-aug however sales had picked up to £1’800.00 a week which leading into the next few months would be

    averaging £4000.00 – £5000.00 a week

    I didn’t even need to be cheaper than other sellers due to people could click on any said item and they could see amount sold which obviously

    gave them reassurance on the products.

    Can you please advise as to whether i should take this case to maybe to a ombudsman stating the facts that i had been removed and yet they

    are allowing others to sell in the same way.

    Regards Paul