How to get rich on eBay

1. Allow international bidding

That’s it! I was surprised by how many queries I’ve received on my recent auctions about the price of shipping abroad. Then it occurred to me that foreigners are probably swooping down on the U.S. eBay service to take advantage of the worthlessness of the dollar. So, not only am I making money, I’m also reducing the trade deficit!

Now if only each and every citizen in the U.S. could sell about $20,000 worth of stuff to people outside the country on eBay, we’d be in great shape. Minus the seller’s fees, of course.

17 thoughts on “How to get rich on eBay

  1. I’ve been using eBay’s US service (that is, the default) for looking up rare items since… oh, 2000 or so. The local equivalent,, doesn’t quite compare, and is so limited in variety as to be pointless. It always struck me as odd when people wouldn’t ship internationally (not even to Canada and Mexico,) when it’s a given that the buyer will take care of the shipping and insurance fees. But hey, not everyone has your insight.

  2. In the case of video games international bidding is extremely useful, but it’s also impossible in any case where you are trying to sell a high visibility/popularity item- the fraud is just too much to deal with.

  3. I shipped to Canada once. It cost a little more than I estimated (my fault, so I ate a couple of bucks), but apparently got tagged as costing $4 to ship instead of $19 in the process so the buyer got his Caknickers in a twist about it. So, I decided to become an isolationist for peace of mind, despite possible financial consequences.

  4. International sales are lucrative but I really wish they had a “worldwide minus central Africa” option.

    Though, on second thought, maybe the satisfaction I get from stringing scammers along for a few weeks and then linking them to MeatSpin is worth the hassle of having to re-list my stuff.

  5. Ethan, no fair – I was going to make a Nigerian scam joke. :(

    I feel like a shipping company should start an international auction site. It only makes sense.

  6. Did you throw a shipping calculator up on your auctions or calculate them on a case by case basis when these people contacted you?

    I’ve always been hesitant of shipping out items to other countries. I am always afraid I will get burned by the shipping costs. I calculated the damn thing 30 times when I reassigned my old Warhammer 40K army to a tour of duty in New Zealand.

  7. No, no calculator — I prefer case-by-case because it means the bidders are more likely to be serious.

    I wasn’t actually aware there had been a rash of Nigerian scammers bidding up copies of Dracula X. Diabolical fiends!

  8. Maybe not Dracula X, but they seem to be willing to swoop in on anything worth more than $100 or so. Their routine is to win the auction, use fake Western Union confirmation messages to convince you to ship it to them, and re-sell it. They sabotaged my friend’s auction for a used three-piece suit once.

  9. Huh. Well, you are able to specify which regions you’ll ship to, divided by continent. I habitually leave Africa and Mainland Asia unchecked for a variety of reasons, so I guess I’ll keep it up.

  10. I didn’t quite complete the trifecta with Magical Chase, though I tried. I’d try much harder if that was the US version.

    Although I’m not an ebay seller, I hear nothing attracts the international bidders quite like DS games. I’ve heard tales that the times it takes to answer all the questions of international bidders wasn’t worth the extra dough you might get from dealing with them. And that was before the dollar slumped to what it is today.

  11. I, and a bunch of friends, have had problems with a lot of southeast Asian countries being scammers as well. Beware of anything from Indionesia unless you actually know them, as a few friends of mine who run record distros have had hundreds of dollars swindled by them over the years.

    But yeah! If you can get someone from the UK to bid on your stuff, you’re golden! Australia’s not bad too. You wouldn’t believe how much people in those countries pay for mid-90s hardcore. Maybe it’s time to see how much the international community likes G.I. Joe?

  12. I’m from the UK & you Yanks don’t know how lucky you are when it comes to the cost of games or the variety of releases. But the amount of US Ebayers who can’t be arsed to ship to the UK because finding out the extra shipping cost or filling out that little customs lable is too much work. I would have paid double, sometimes triple for what the winning auction paid.

  13. “Australia’s not bad too. You wouldn’t believe how much people in those countries pay for mid-90s hardcore.”

    It has something to do with a) our dollar’s about the same as America’s, but the pricing is double, and b) it wasn’t exactly available for many kids in the first place, outside of a shelf at K-Mart.

  14. I’ve been wary about selling to international bidders, but you’re giving me hope. How do you handle the shipping?

  15. Allowing international bidders is great because you’re not just giving people with limited access to some of these things an opportunity to buy them, but you’re at least doubling or tripling the number of people who even see it, which is always better for business. And shipping isn’t a big deal, since the buyer pays for it (it’s always more appealing if you can fit something into a flat rate envelope or box to cut down on costs, though). If you print postage in PayPal, it’ll even print out the customs form in most cases.

  16. Merus – Exactly. That’s why Aussies have gone so crazy for the hardcore. Very little of it made its way over there when it first came around, and with the internet spreading music worldwide, hardcore is a global affair. I have nothing but good things to say about Australian buyers and sellers, so keep it up, I suppose. I’m sure the usual shipping and import taxes are a pain to deal with.

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