A Great Find & A Defense of E-Bay

From: R. D. Davis <rdd_at_smart.net>
Date: Thu Jun 15 09:35:29 2000

On Thu, 15 Jun 2000, Douglas Quebbeman wrote:
> The subject line above might be a bit misleading.
> In the short time I've been subscribed to the list,
> I've seen a lot of negative criticism of E-Bay, or
> rather, of trying to buy things found on E-Bay.

That's right, and for good reason.

> The criticisms all seem to concern how much an
> item on E-Bay ends up costing. What I guess I
> haven't seen said here is an acknowledgement
> that the high prices are a result of parties
> bidding against each other. I realize that in

That's the reason it's unpopular and referred to as e-bilk. Please
allow me to explain. For years (at least a decade), many of us became
used to seeing things advertised at a certain price on Usenet
newsgroups, or place "wanted" ads in the newsgroups. Prices were
often seen as "[some random price] or best offer." When we found what
we were looking for, the first one to reply to a posting was usually
the one who got what was advertised, and, we could haggle with the
seller over the price and usually pay a fair price for something or
get it at a very low price... sometimes for the cost of shipping. A
lot of times, this stuff was basically surplus from some company
wanting to get rid of stuff or someone cleaning out their garage of
stuff that would have otherwise gone out as garbage.

Then, along came a few people who decided to auction stuff of on
newsgroups, not content to sell it to the first person who contacted
them, then, there was e-bilk, and many of the ads on Usenet
disappeared, or else began to announce something that was going to be
auctioned off on e-bilk.

I think its fair to say that many of us "collect" older systems,
particularly those who have been doing it for quite a while, are doing
it as a hobby - for fun, not profit. We're not collecting systems
like baseball-card, art and coin collectors; we obtain systems for
hack value, because we just like playing with them, not because we're
looking for investment items. Of course, over the past few years,
many new computer "collectors" have appeared as "computer collecting"
seems to be the in thing to do; some of these collectors just collect
computer equipment in large quantities and pack them away, buying the
entire inventories of hamfest vendors at a time without even seeing
what all they're buying; these are probably the same collectors who
are bidding high prices on e-bilk.

Now, do you understand?

I do agree with you that one can occasionally find bargain on e-bay
and other auction sites, but it's still npot the same as finding
things on Usenet or hamfests and haggling over the price.

R. D. Davis                  
Received on Thu Jun 15 2000 - 09:35:29 BST

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