sellers market

From: Sellam Ismail <>
Date: Fri Mar 19 19:15:31 1999

On Fri, 19 Mar 1999, Marvin wrote:

> Sellam Ismail wrote:
> >
> > > That's why eBay operates the way it does, still more or less isolated from
> > > the transactions, yet able to bring in lots of dollars because they charge
> > > the speculators money regardless of whether they sell their item or not.
> > >
> > > Does this seem different to you?
> >
> > Yep, no money involved save for what the buyer wants to give the seller.
> > All transactions baed upon personal reputation. No system that
> > encourages over-bidding and unreasonable price escalations. Just pure
> > open-market-based buying, selling and trading.
> I was born yesterday, but it wasn't that late in the day. Ebay *is* an open
> market (except in the brain damaged recent decision to unilaterally ban the

VALUE"! Look me straight in the eye and tell me that you think the way
ebay structures its service does not lead to unreasonable price
speculation on the part of buyers?

The price an idiot decides to pay for a certain something does not and
should not define what the rest of us should have to pay!

Without ebay, do you honestly think that people would be regularly paying
$3,000 for Altairs and IMSAIs? Of course not! Take ebay, remove their
silly auction mechanisms, replace them with a basic best-offer paradigm
and you'll never see an Altair or IMSAI go over $1000 unless the buyer is
really stupid. You'll never see an old single-board computer sell for
over $150. It just wouldn't happen.

> sale of firearms.) There is absolutely nothing to force a buyer to bid on
> anything there, and the last I heard, browsing was still free. Anyone
> sticking their head in the sand and thinking that vintage computers will not
> appreciate in value is just fooling themselves. And has been said many

Appreciate sure, but based on rational, measurable attributes. But to be
driven up in price due to irrational speculation and a biased auction
system cannot be the basis for evaluating the price of vintage computers,
let alone ANY merchandise new or old.

> times, most of us do not collect for the investment value, but rather
> because there is a sense of preserving history.

Yeah, great. But I'm not going to go broke in the process. And although
Doug tends to rant, he's not just some crazy old uncle that you hide in
the back room when company comes over. He realizes what is happening.
There is hoarding going on by individuals hoping to cash in years from now
when they expect this ridiculous craze to hit a fevered pitch. At the
rate we're going, if this keeps up then nobody will be able to afford
anything older than 1990, and that will be a god damn shame.

> Personal reputation is generally the only reason I (and a number of other
> people I know) get a lot of the things I do given to me as well as leads on
> other "good" stuff. The other side of that coin is that I am not free

So what at all does this have to do with how stuff is priced on ebay? You
always bring this up but its a non-sequitur.

> (ethically) to sell off this stuff for personal profit. BUT, it takes time
> to develop a reputation, and what you are suggesting will only work with
> people that have known each other for quite a length of time. That, almost
> by definition, leaves out a public list.

Ok, I see where you're going, but this rant is about ebay. And besides,
you're wrong. Do you think personal relationships can only be developed
in the real world? I know many people on this list, and I've dealt with
quite a few of them, either buying, selling or trading. Most I've never
met in person at all. Yet over time I've developed a reputation through
my deeds and actions that have given people the comfort that they know
they can trust me. I'm sure the same can be said for you.

And there's nothing to preclude a feedback system similar to the one ebay
provides. People can carry around a "profile" with feedback that other
people have left for them. Its would be no less flawed than ebay's
current system, which has many ways to get around and many ways to allow

And without the mechanism that makes it possible to bid a computer up to
$3,000, you simply won't see those prices. Those who want $3,000 for
their old crap can go to ebay and hope for the best (and more power to
them). But when people realize that there is an alternative, they may
forsake ebay altogether in preference to a more sane environment like a
buy/sell/trade board. You WILL build a loyal following eventually and you
WILL get patrons. Do you think ebay just magically appeared one day with
a $20 billion stock market capitalization? Hell no. It took ebay almost
five years to build up to where they are today. It would take a
buy/sell/trade message board well under a year to develop a reputation for
being the one-stop shop for vintage computer buying, selling and trading.

I'm not a fool, I know the lure of money will always be the greatest
driving force behind the sale of anything. But if you give people who
really do care the right environment, they will take advantage of it.

> I don't see any public alternatives to ebay and the like. A number of people

That's a silly statement. Of course you see no alternatives because no
one yet has dared tried to build one. Instead of being discouraging, its
almost as if you'd rather see the perpetuation of ebay and the price
escalation it has caused. But oh yeah, I forgot, you don't think ebay is
responsible for that. No, people WANT to pay $3,000 for an old piece of
crap computer. Ok.

> have written comments (not too many on this list) that they have found
> things on ebay they have been trying to locate for years. It seems rather
> ostrich like not to acknowledge the value of ebay, etc. At least everything
> there is open for the scrutiny of all involved.

Ebay has done nothing but to cut out the footwork for the lazy people,
and charge them a premium for it.

I'm throwing my support behind whatever effort takes place to create a
free buy/sell/trade bulletin board. Its something I've been wanting to do
for a while, and I think the time is right. I see a need and a purpose
for it, and it will be a great year round anchor for the VCF activities,
which is why I'd be willing to put whatever time and money it takes to
bring it to fruition and have it sponsored by the VCF.

Sellam Alternate e-mail:
Don't rub the lamp if you don't want the genie to come out.

                  Coming in 1999: Vintage Computer Festival 3.0
                   See for details!
                        [Last web site update: 02/15/99]
Received on Fri Mar 19 1999 - 19:15:31 GMT

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