Screenshot of eBay Home Page

eBay is an American e-commerce company that offers both business to business and consumer to consumer online sales services. It was Pierre Omidyar that founded the company back in 1995 and it grew into a multibillion-dollar venture. It serves customers from all over the world and has offices in more than 30 countries. Buyers don’t pay anything, but those who sell items using this platform are charged a small fee. Over the course of time it made a couple of high profile acquisitions, including PayPal.

Key facts about eBay

  • eBay has been around for two decades and caters for customers from all over the world.
  • Only those who sell products over their network are charged a fee, while buyers pay nothing.
  • eBay has its own internal advertising tools that defenders can use to gain more exposure.
  • The e-commerce has a subscription fee ranging from $19.95 per month to nearly $300 per year.
  • eBay has added protection for buyers but also sellers, something that few e-commerce stores offer

How does eBay work?

The eBay experience starts with users signing up for an account which is completely free. Buyers and sellers alike don’t have to pay any verification fees for registering with this company. A listing will set them back $.30, but sellers only pay this amount after the first 50 listings. The idea is to provide them with a taste of what’s to come and encourage them to sell as many products as possible.

The company also charges a flat 10% commission to the amount paid by the buyer, which is a lot. There are no other e-commerce stores charging this much, yet eBay has the advantage of projecting an image of trustworthiness. Sellers who have higher expectations and plan on selling more than 50 items can set up a store. If they choose this path, they can pay a subscription ranging from as little as $19.95 per month to $300 per year. The advantage is that those who do so won’t pay any extra listing fees.

The number of registered users inches closer to 170 million, which makes eBay one of the best online auction houses. Special tools make it possible for items to gain popularity for simply being viewed by prospective customers. The company has nothing against those who want to use search engine optimization to make products more visible. They also offer the means for internal advertising, which is a good investment for those who sell large quantities.

Screenshot of eBay Community
Screenshot of eBay Community

The eBay mobile experience

All the functionalities offered by the desktop website can be enjoyed on mobile devices. Prospective clients can use these gadgets to go online or download the specialized application. In any case they benefit from the same listing options to gain exposure and drive up the prizes. It is easy to upload pictures using the mobile app but those who want to add multiple images can be charged an additional fee. Buyer and seller protection is also available on smartphones and tablets powered by iOS and Android systems.

One can bid and buy, make offers on unique items and save their searches for later use. The convenience of searching with the barcode scanner also explains the rising popularity of mobile apps for shopping at eBay. All the promotions and the occasional coupons offered by the e-commerce store work smoothly on mobile gadgets. The recently introduced features make it easy for vendors to list their items and revise those listings to make the necessary amendments.

eBay has a fully fledged review system, where buyers and vendors can exchange ratings. The feedback options are supposed to set some light on those who operate in this marketplace and help buyers. These are invaluable tools for customers, but there are doubts regarding the fairness of some reviews. This is a problem for all e-commerce stores, including the biggest such as Amazon, Flipkart, OLX and Shopee.

Screenshot of eBay Daily Deals
Screenshot of eBay Daily Deals

What are others saying about eBay?

eBay used to struggle with its security protocols and there were plenty of people back in the day that got scammed. They were blamed for everything from intellectual property violations to forgeries and the selling of items that didn’t meet specifications. The 2014 security breach is the most noticeable one and the Syrian Electronic Army was to blame. Apparently clients didn’t suffer any losses as the hackers didn’t misuse the data stolen.

This is just one of the technical issues that hurt the company, but also prompted it to improve security. Since those events, there were no instances of successful hacking attempts. Most users are satisfied with the quality of their service and the simplicity of using it on mobile devices. The app is regarded as one of the best for shopping online and the seller protection is much appreciated by vendors. Complaints unrelated to their service were the ones regarding the company’s tax evasion in the UK.

My rating of eBay

I remember that when I first heard about eBay, I did so in a very negative context. There were plenty of hackers and wrongdoers who made a lot of money by deceiving shoppers. It took me some time to use their service and I was quite concerned for a while, always expecting the worst. Unlike fellow critics who wrote negative eBay reviews I didn’t mind the fact that you were expected to use PayPal. I’ve relied upon this financial instrument for a long time and I had no reasons to be upset. I’ve learned that recently they’ve expanded their collection of accepted financial instruments to also include credit cards and Skrill.

As for the service itself, I’m mostly a buyer so I don’t  enjoy directly the seller protections available. However, from a reviewer’s point of view, this is an amazing feature that can help a significant part of the community. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that on those rare occasions when help was needed, customer support rose to the challenge. Maybe I was lucky, or perhaps I did my due diligence and researched properly. The bottom line is that I always got the item I was hoping for and pretty fast. For all these reasons mentioned above and many more, I think that a review score of 9 out of 10 is fair.

Overall Score