eBay Watch: A Look Back at 2005

A tumultuous year is coming to a close for the world's most popular online auction site. Despite all the ups and downs, eBay remains king of the e-commerce hill around the globe.

A tumultuous year is coming to a close for the world's most popular online auction site. 2005 began with a sagging stock price and disgruntled users howling about another rise in listing and store fees. Several competitors jumped into the ring only to be forgotten shortly thereafter. eBay Live! in June was, by all accounts, a roaring success (despite the lame pep rally dancers…) eBay then gobbled up VOIP company Skype in October for who-knows-what-reason. Finally, eBay responded to demands from its Power Sellers to beef up support and fix the oft mis-used feedback system.

Despite all the ups and downs, eBay remains king of the e-commerce hill around the globe. 2006 should be just as exciting.

Gotcha
Meanwhile, a bit of justice was handed down this week for a 21-year-old Oregon man convicted of hitting eBay with a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack in 2003. According to the Red Herring, Anthony Scott Clark, 21, of Beaverton, Oregon, faces a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years supervised release after pleading guilty to the crime.

While we certainly don't condone such activities, we think a 10-year prison sentence is a wee bit harsh for this crime. We think it might be better to force Mr. Clark to use an old Pentium 66 with Windows 95 for three years.

Fruitcake, Anyone?
According to a new survey commissioned by eBay, nearly 60 percent of Americans receive unwanted gifts during the holidays, and more than half admit to re-gifting, says an article on MSNBC.com. In fact, the auction giant even promoted the reselling of unwanted gifts on its site by running a one-day promotion, where it cut the new listing fee to 10 cents.

AuctionBytes added that the survey revealed that the most popular items people re-gift are knick-knacks (50 percent), pampering products (36 percent) and fruitcake (31 percent), followed closely by household appliances (24 percent) and exercise books and videos (23 percent). The gifts people cited as those they would least likely re-gift include handmade gifts (57 percent), gift cards (39 percent) and "experience" gifts, such as tickets to concerts or sporting events.

We don't know about you, but we're keeping our pink bunny pajamas and that shiny new official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle we received.

Just Do It
In case you missed it, ECommerce-Guide posted another of James Maguire's eBay Seller Profiles this week, which featured veteran eBayer Adam Hersh. Hersh has made millions on eBay since 1998. Among the tips he recommends are: learn by trial and error, keep track of competitors' auctions and "have fun while doing it."

Auction of the Week — It's Not Fruitcake

Keeping with the re-gifting theme this week, we spotted on eBayer who wasn't shy about unloading a bunch of unwanted gifts. Seller kydeere40744 is auctioning off a huge box full of unwanted gifts. Included are multiple Bath & Body Works lotions and accessories, a prayer book, a candy dish bowl, John Deere salt and pepper shakers (really!) and a hand painted sitting stool.

"My relatives must not like me or something else. I got presents that I have no use for and you can't take back to the store without asking where they got them from. Instead of putting them up in individual auctions, I've placed them in one big auction. I thought one present was bad, but when you get 11 of them, something is up," says the seller.

The seller is donating part of the proceeds of the auction to the MakeAWish Foundation. Bidding stands at a mere $21 as of press time.

Have a happy, healthy and safe New Year everyone.

Devin Comiskey is the Managing Editor of ECommerce-Guide.com.

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