How a simple classified ad could make me £3 million!


I’m always pushing our readers to try eBay Classified Ads – they’re cheap and can generate thousands of visitors from every listing.

There are people making a great living purely from eBay Classified Ads, even free ones in the Local Services’ category on eBay UK.

But there’s another kind of classified ad I want to tell you about which cost me about £20 and could potentially pull in millions of pound in profits, if I can increase my allotted lifespan by another twenty years or so.

Basically, I decided to use my forty years’ experience of selling vintage postcards as the basis of setting myself up as a trading assistant to sell other people’s postcards on eBay.

So I placed a small ad. in a national postcard sellers’ magazine offering my services for ten per cent of the commission on all sales and stating that I was only interested in selling postcards valued £50 and over, either individually or in bulk. Then came a phone call from someone I met more than 40 years ago, at a collectors’ fair in Whitley Bay.

Arthur, I never did know his surname, had the best and biggest stock of anyone travelling to postcard and collectors’ fairs at the time and, given he’s older than me, and I’m just a kick off retirement age, Arthur has naturally decided to give up touring and get someone else to sell his postcards, all THREE MILLION OF THEM, on eBay and at local fairs.

The profit potential is frightening, some of Arthur’s cards are worth hundreds of pounds apiece, and I can sit and list them all day on eBay and never grow bored. But there is a big problem here, mainly the fact I can list

100 items a day on eBay, but never more. Listing those items individually and in big bundled lots could still take many years to achieve.

This isn’t boasting, it simply reflects the fact that many people close to retirement age lack basic computer skills, they don’t know how to sell on eBay and they’re not about to spend the next few years learning.

Which brings me to the real reason for letting you know about my windfall, namely the fact that an advertisement costing £20 fetched me enough business to last the rest of my life.

There are more people like Arthur out there, wanting to retire and not wanting to sell their business intact for lower than their stock’s real market value.

So don’t you think it’s a good idea for you also to capitalise on your eBay selling skills, starting with a small advertisement in some local or national trade journal or by contacting individuals close to retirement age through local Chambers of Commerce?

You only need one client with plenty of stock to grow a full time business literally in minutes.

Gordon Brown Sells His Reputation on eBay

Apparently Gordon Brown thinks patients should be allowed to provide feedback about their local GPs… but I fail to see why he thinks eBay and Amazon are good role models for his new doctor rating system. The Big Cheese says:

“People take it for granted that they will access other people’s reviews and ratings before buying something on eBay or Amazon, and yet we do not yet have systematic access to other people’s experiences when choosing a GP practice or nursery.”

He’s partly right, because lots of negative feedback points really do highlight rogue sellers on eBay, also on Amazon and some other markets where members buy and sell between themselves without individuals ever expecting to meet one another in person.

But also like eBay, where sellers are not allowed to leave derogatory feedback for rogue buyers, I wonder if doctors will also have to take the insults lying down, will there be any way for them to make counter claims, will they have to view defamation as part of their job and, like eBay, might doctors also see their income decimated by just one disgruntled individual?

We can liken patients to problem customers, the kind who contribute one negative point in a sea of thousands of glowing testimonials from fellow buyers. That one negative point can reduce business for eBay’s most honest and most reliable sellers, and that negative point can continue wreaking havoc for many years to come. Just one person; one dishonest, jealous, thoroughly nasty person, that’s all it takes for one genuine seller to lose business potentially for the rest of his time on eBay.

I reckon a similar feedback system for doctors’ surgeries will cause even more damage than its highly flawed eBay counterpart, especially when patients begin boasting between themselves about getting one over on doctors for telling patients they’re overweight or could live a better life without drugs.

It reminds me of a doctor in my local surgery who began refusing slimming tablets to patients who wouldn’t also exercise to lose weight. It led to letters in the local press, followed by accusations of other perceived offences by the doctor concerned, none of them substantiated, until today many patients would rather wait weeks to see another doctor, any other doctor, than be offered an urgent appointment with ‘him’.

It’s worth considering whether you want to join another one way feedback forum before seeking revenge on doctors who may have your own best interests at heart, even if the truth or treatment is not to your liking. I for one will not be leaving feedback at my local surgery. As for eBay, I won’t be leaving my doctor good feedback, or bad feedback because, until feedback is a two way process, I won’t be leaving feedback at all!
Why tough times for eBay means big benefits for you!

eBay has announced it will be freezing top executives’ salaries in 2009 and will not be awarding bonuses to senior staff in the light of the company’s poor performance compared to its main online competitors which include Amazon and Etsy.

They’re blaming the global economic downturn for reduced profits and they’re seeking ways to grow their profits to levels enjoyed in 2007 and earlier.

I’m not at all convinced this has anything to do with a global economic downturn, I rather think lots of 2008′s big and very sudden, also very unfair and totally unsympathetic changes to how sellers operate on eBay, might be partially to blame.

And I also think an economic downturn, where high street shops are going out of business, is more likely to grow eBay’s profits as more and more offline traders look to eBay to protect their income.

My feeling that eBay’s profit drops have nothing to do with the economic climate is backed by a big growth in profits by two of the company’s main competitors, Amazon and Etsy. Their success means eBay might soon have to look at treating its sellers with greater respect than of late and also looking to reduce selling fees to something comparable with Etsy ( and Amazon (

Amazon is reporting profits are still growing after its best Christmas ever, with a 9% year-on-year increase during the last quarter of 2008, while Etsy reports sales up by a massive 113% in February 2009 compared to February 2008.

I’m not knocking eBay, I love eBay, but I am suggesting we all at least look to spread our efforts to other profitable online marketplaces, beginning with Amazon and Etsy where selling fees are little compared to the hefty chunk eBay’s takes from sellers’ profits.

Etsy sells mainly hand-made art and craftwork goods, also materials for artists and craftworkers, alongside a growing area for promoting second hand items such as antiques and collectibles.

Amazon, by comparison, is renowned for selling many different product types, such as books and CDs, household products and clothing, with very few people realising antiques and collectibles can also be sold at the site. I certainly did realise this until today when I read an article on leading auction site

About a year ago Auctionbytes staff interviewed Matt Williams, Director of Business Solutions at Amazon, to determine whether his company welcomes sellers of antique and second-hand items. He said: “Absolutely, we want sellers of just about all types of the items. Today we have the standard kind of categories set that you might see when you come to the browse on Amazon. However, we do have other categories that have surfaced.”

“As a seller you can submit to a kind of a global category called ‘Everything Else’, and that includes many different categories that are listed in the top node of Amazon. Those items will surface in search, and you’ll be able to surface your items to the world. We have a number of antiques and collectibles sellers today that are selling on Amazon as well as those that have Web Stores that are selling antiques and collectibles on their own website.”

The article at auctionbytes goes into detail about various selling options at Amazon, including programs designed especially for low as well as high volume sellers for virtually any product you might already be selling or considering selling on eBay. You’ll find the rest of the article to help you grow a sideline to your eBay business at: (especially visit:

Happy eBaying!


This article first appeared on Auction Genie. Read more and comment here