Three-for-All: Affordable Selling Services for Digital Goods

If you sell digital downloads and have just been booted from eBay auctions, don't fret. We review three alternative marketplaces for new media merchants.

When selling digital goods online, most merchants tend to invest as much time and effort as those selling physical goods, but normally the overhead and start-up costs are significantly less, which is why e-goods are such a popular choice for auction-style listings and storefronts.

However, eBay vendors who sell digital goods are facing a dilemma: starting today they can no longer list their inventory in auctions, as the company employs a new policy stating that digital goods may only be sold in the classified ad format.

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Fortunately, the Internet offers online sellers many choices for selling digital goods such as computer game items, custom-designed sewing patterns, e-books, digital images, music — anything that can be provided to the consumer in an electronic format. For eBay merchants and other online sellers looking for alternative places from which to sell digital goods, here are three online services available to you.

Web Delivery Solutions
Owned and operated by Research Systems Proprietary Limited, the Web Delivery Solutions offers online sellers a way to securely deliver digital goods to customers online. First, sellers must sign up with PayPal as this is the only payment option available. Once you set up a PayPal account, you simply sign up on the Web Delivery Solutions Web site and start uploading your digital goods.

Web Delivery Solutions hosts all the product files and provides you with the hyperlinks needed for customers to purchase your digital goods. Web Delivery Solutions also says it guarantees that all your products will be kept secure and may only be downloaded by means of the company's software. This system is designed to protect sellers from excessive downloading by the customer. In viewing the Web Delivery site, you'll find an e-Store link, but that section is not currently available. So, this means for right now sellers need to create their own links for their personal Web spaces if they want to sell from other sites.


Web Delivery Solutions
Web Delivery Solutions: Guaranteed security.
(Click for larger image.)

After creating your account, you can go into your settings and upload files up to 20MB in size, but unfortunately you can only upload files one at a time. Once the file has been uploaded, you then add it as a product by entering in information such as the file name, product details, your customized text for e-mails that go out to the buyer, item price and so on.

In trying the service myself I found it took only a minute to actually create the product links for a digital photograph. It's important to note that sellers will need to supply the URLs for where they host product images, company logos and so on. To list your products faster, we recommend having all this information ready. If you do not have your own Web space to store logos and product shots, check out "Sitting Pretty: Five Free Image-Hosting Services" to find a free service.

Once the product listing has been created you can then view the listing details, test the links and also copy the link code for PayPal options including different Buy Now and Add To Cart buttons. Since Web Delivery Solutions uses PayPal for payment processing, sellers will need to make sure any products they sell adheres to PayPal's policy on acceptable items as PayPal does have restrictions on some adult goods. Any item that can be saved as an electronic file can be listed as a product for sale using Web Delivery Solutions' service.

Web Delivery Solutions skips both set-up and monthly fees, and simply charges a fixed commission rate of 3.5 percent on each sale with a minimum 10 cents per transaction, which the company debits from a pre-paid balance. All new accounts are credited with $10 to let sellers try the system for free without obligation to continue using the service. As an added bonus, you can allow your links to be included in an affiliate program that lets affiliates post your items on their own Web space for sale. Here you will specify the affiliate fee you are willing to pay for each sale.

Tradebit
Calling itself an open download marketplace, Tradebit offers merchants and publishers an eShop for selling their digital goods. While there have been some recent changes to the way the site organizes account categories, it appears that the service is favoring its Publisher's account, which is tailored to meet the needs of self-publishers, including musicians, writers, amateur movie makers and others. The Publisher's service lets you upload and sell PDF, MP3, FLV, and several image formats including JPG, GIF and BMP. For those creating and selling in other formats, Tradebit provides details on free file conversion programs to help you get your goods into compatible formats.


TradeBit
TradeBit: Self-published creative types wanted.
(Click for larger image.)

To list and sell using Tradebit, you first must register on the Web site. After activating your account you can then start uploading your digital goods, , with a maximum file size per file of 2GB, through JAVA FTP, JAVA HTTP, Browser Upload or you can even use an FTP client. After the files have been uploaded, through your account dashboard you choose a category and also edit details of the item including thumbnail views, price, description, tags, and so on. After providing the details, you get the automatically generated PayPal button code that can be used on your own Web site.

If you create your upload as a public file and include a description, your product will also be listed in Tradebit directories which can help increase exposure to your online digital goods.

Using the Tradebit Publisher's account will send purchase payments directly to Tradebit, with your earnings deposited to your own PayPal account twice monthly. Sales generated through any Tradebit Web property will incur a 10 to 25 percent commission, with lower rates for higher volume and quality content sellers. When using your own Web space to sell your digital goods, the sale itself is free, with PayPal fees still applicable. The Publisher account also provides you with 99GB of storage.

(Continue to Page 2 for ByteCommerce, PayLoadz, E-junkie and Zipidee)


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