Much has already been written about EBay – a lot good (100,000 plus people making a living from buying and selling items online, the ability to find items on ‘the long tail’, not just the items worthwhile for shops to stock), some bad (serious question marks have been raised over the Security of both the Auction site and the related Paypal service).
The reason for this post is that yesterday I bought my first item on EBay – a Nokia phone cover – for half the price I would pay in the local market in Drogheda. So why the delay you might ask ask, for somebody who tries to be ‘ahead of the curve’ on all things internet related? The first is that I find it very hard to find things on the site (although, given that millions of other people successfully buy and sell, I’m likely to be in a minority of one). The second is that until now I tended to use the web for services (e.g. search for information as part of providing Java and Internet consultancy, airline and hotel bookings etc.). The third is that farmers who examine the back end of the tractor they’re about to buy, I’m more interested in the ‘ugly bits’ of the site – the API that allows you to write programs to automatically bid at auctions etc.
Now that the last person in Ireland (me!) has started to use Ebay , Irish business has a fantasyic opportunity. The Northern Ireland Equivalent of Enterprise Ireland (Invest NI) is already running courses on how to sell surplus stock on EBay. In these days of Ireland having the reputation of ‘rip off republic’, it’s also a good way of finding new, low cost suppliers online.