Saturday, October 11, 2008

I Remember the Ebay Community...

"The Firedragon Nebula"

It was about 10 years ago or so. I'd sit in the Ebay Cafe handing out advice to newbies who would rush in all excited that they made a sale and "what do I do now?"....or they didn't now how to fill in the listing form...or countless other little problems. We would fuss and fume but help out anyway. There was an almost endless barrage of questions that never seemed to end. Ebay was hot...hotter than any business on the internet. Commercials played all thru the day on radio. They had a pleasant jingle that eludes me now. People were all excited about winning an auction on Ebay or selling something that had been sitting in the closet or attic for years and getting good money for it.

I remember the first item I actually sold on Ebay myself. It was a large decorative wooden spoon and fork - the kind you hang on a wall. I found it in the laundryroom of my apartment house. People left items they didn't want on a table there and if you wanted it you simply took it. I came across this spoon and fork and decided I'd try my hand at selling. Took a picture of it - bungled my way thru the listing form and put it up for auction. The spoon and fork sold for $12.00 and that started my 10year selling career.

Ebay 10+ years ago was a different animal than what we see today. There were outages every other week or so, but we didn't much mind. There was feedback, but you could give feedback to anybody for any reason. Tying feedback to a transaction came about later. Listing pages were plain, with no thumbnail pictures - just lines of what each item was. That was fine too. It was a fun place and an exciting place and highly addictive! Best of all, people who ordinarily didn't have or earn enough money to see them thru now had a way to supplement their income. Ebay became a haven for stay at home moms, out of work people, disabled, retired, even college kids - everyone had a "level playing field" (hear that Mr. Donahoe?). It was a wonderful invention and it was wildly successful.

Long about the same time I started selling on Ebay I was also taking a class in watercolor painting at a local night school. Well, my practice pieces started accumulating and after awhile I decided to see if I could sell them for a few bucks each on Ebay. I was not the end of the watercolor course my teacher said "your paintings are good enough to sell - have you considered selling them?" I told him yes, I have been selling them on Ebay. He looked surprised and asked how many I had sold. I told him honestly...oh...about 40 paintings to date! I thought he was going to pass out! Since that day I believe I have sold well over 2,000 paintings - mostly small but some large ones too right on Ebay! Nowhere else in the world could I have gotten that kind of coverage for my artwork. It was heaven for me. Today, Ebay is home to probably the largest artist community in the world and they are completely ignorant and oblivious to that fact. Like everything else, we are just numbers to them.

When I look at ebay today, it breaks my heart. Most sellers are failing and moving on or quitting the business. Donahoe is intent on destroying Ebay as we know it and just as intent on molding it into something much like Amazon. Ebay management doesn't realize people look at copycats with contempt. The uniqueness, the rareness that was Ebay will soon be gone. Most sellers are hoping that when the present management is finally swept out and a new team takes over that there will at least be enough of ebay left for us to come back and pick up the pieces.

Sorry for rambling...I was just in a nostalgic mood tonight.

Something to shake things up here. Its my space nebula painting (original sold)
called The Firedragon.

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