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There are numerous start-ups every year for buyers and sellers, but after a few short minutes, I am usually not too impressed. So when I first heard about Bonanzle, a fixed-price format, I was not rushing to check it out. Perhaps that was a mistake on my part.
Although I have yet to buy or sell on Bonanzle I do like what I am hearing about the site, am impressed with what I see and enjoy browsing through the listings.
Bonanzle had a beta launch in June 2008 and was officially opened in September 2008. The site was conceived and is run by founder Bill Harding, Mark Dorsey joined the team during the beta launch and works in the community areas.
I recently chatted with Bill Harding to find out more about the site, the company and the future.
Bonanzle's goal is to be the simplest marketplace online, with an upbeat community that makes buying and selling fun again.
Harding said he was frustrated with listing items on eBay and how difficult the task was becoming.
Harding wanted to make it simple for both buyers and sellers. He wanted buyers to be able to easily find similar items from the same seller and he wanted to make both listing and finding items easier than doing it on eBay and Craigslist. That was the initial goal.
After the initial start, the next hurdle was letting folks know about Bonanzle.
"We tried appealing to the sellers on Craigslist, they didn't seem to be interested, but we did talk about our site on the Powersellersunite website. Basically we posted a message that said we have a site and hope you will look at it."
"That worked and by the end of July we went from 500 to 5000 users, sellers started importing listings from eBay and posting good things. From August onward, the vast majority of users came from word of mouth or different media sources who happened to stumble on Bonanzle."
When asked about the merchandise offered, Harding said "our niche is everything but the ordinary. Things that one won't find on Amazon." There are a lot of jewelry items, antiques and collectibles. Collectibles is probably the strongest category on Bonanzle with about 1.5 million items currently listed.
Frauds and fakes are always on long-time collectors minds and there does seem to be a solution on Bonanzle, time will tell if it works. If there is a suspicious item, a user can "flag" the listing and at that time the staff will personally look at it. But if two people flag a same item, it is automatically removed.
Seller fees are zero for listings, fees are only charged after an item has been sold. Costs are tiered, with four brackets, averaging about 3% of the sold price.
The Bottom Line
Bonanzle is certainly a site to consider for selling collectibles.
- As a seller you can import items from other web sites, such as eBay.
- Sellers can have an almost unlimited amount of items for sale with no expiration dates.
- Sellers are able to accept a variety of payments.
- Feedback from eBay can be transferred over.
- Once a month a seller has the opportunity of having a live event in their store, usually offering sales and other opportunities to buyers.
- As a buyer, the advantage of being able to report suspicious items adds a measure of security against frauds.
- There is the opportunity to do a live chat with sellers (obviously if they are online) to ask more questions, as well as leave a question or comment in the blog area on their store.
- Of course seeing combined feedbacks from multiple web sites helps a buyer's peace of mind when purchasing from an unknown seller.