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Mini-eBays finding a niche

Remember when Yahoo Auctions folded up shop? Like many, we here at Download Squad were more than a little disappointed, but we absolutely understood that eBay had become a juggernaut, and competing with the world's biggest auction site was a losing proposition for Yahoo. Even uBid, arguably the second-most-significant auction site, can't touch eBay in terms of volume.

Naturally, we were surprised to hear about a couple of guys from the Chicago area that decided to build their own miniature eBay using yard sales as their selling gimmick. The result? A group of sites that allow their user community to sell and buy on a local basis. Napervilleyardsales.com supports a garage sale community in an upscale Chicago suburb, while sister-site Jolietyardsales.com (which looks nearly identical) offers the same service a few miles up the road.

At first blush, we wondered, why wouldn't people just use eBay? Then it made sense--between eBay's per-item listing fees, commission percentage, and large geographic reach, eBay may not actually be the right answer for the localized selling that gives yard sales their unique charm.

The guys that run these yard sale sites have six or seven of them up and running, and they don't cross list items between the sites, so they really are local-only listings. A far cry from eBay. Who knows if these yard sale web site guys are actually turning a profit, but it stands to reason, if you keep things local and build enough of these sites, maybe you can still compete against the world's biggest site for "selling your old junk".

Tags: auction, chicago, commerce, ebay, ubid, yard sale, YardSale

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