mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, September 17, 2004

that I bought on eBay...

Wizbang has an interesting comment on a remark that Edwards made about online auction site eBay. Edwards was making fun of the fact that Dick Cheney made a comment saying that economic statistics don't take into account portions of the underground economy, like eBay. Which is, of course, true - Kevin points out that eBay merchandise sales total $8 billion per quarter.

I'm an occasional eBay seller, and my bedroom right now has a couple boxes of computer parts, purses, and other stuff I got a good deal on and figure I can resell for a profit. I'm really busy now and I don't know when I'll get around to selling most of it, but it's nice having what's basically free money sitting around. Most of the stuff I sell gets me a few dollars, sometimes $5 or $10 or $20. Sell 10 or 20 items a month, and this adds up. Throw in a few majorly profitable items (I've sold a TV, an amp, playstations, and other items with profits of $50-$100 a piece - and it can be serious beer and food money. Could I live off the money I've made on eBay? No. For someone with some free time, a few bucks to invest, and an eye for items with profit protential, though, eBay sales can be the difference between carrying a balance on credit cards and having a few bucks in the checking account.

Part of the beauty of eBay is that items you might have lying around that are of limited value to you can be sold. I sold a 10mb hub I would have tossed for couple bucks. My old roomate sold a Compaq Armada with a burned-out motherboard for a couple hundred. eBay reduces the transaction costs for selling small to medium valued items, while providing a certain amount of security and additional exposure compared to other items.

People often laugh about dot-coms, and most of them were crap. But there are few that truly changed the way peope buy certain items, and eBay is one of them. In fact, looking at gross sales doesn't even add in the money saved by people who buy on eBay and would otherwise have spent way more on their items.

The bottom line - Dick understands technology in a way that Edwards doesn't. And based on Edward's trial lawyer background, if he ever realizes how big and profitable eBay is, he'll probably sue them


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