Tuesday, May 13, 2008

eBay versus Craigslist

I saw an article today about the war between eBay and Craigslist. For those of you who don't know, eBay is the most popular online bidding site, and an excellent place to buy and sell dolls — if you don't mind putting up with eBay's high fees (for sellers) and general disinclination to get involved in disputes.

Craigslist, on the other hand, is a network of community websites (one for each major city in the United States) where local sellers can post ads for free. Although I haven't found many good vintage dolls listed for sale on Denver's Craigslist, I've heard of people getting great deals on Craigslist in other locations.

Of course, Craigslist technically threatens eBay's very existance, because it's a free way to sell things online. (My mom now sells almost exclusively on Craigslist. It takes a little longer, but she doesn't pay any listing fees.)

A few years ago, eBay bought a little over a quarter of Craigslist's stock from a former employee, and now they're apparently trying to bring Craigslist down completely: They are suing on the grounds that Craigslist is "trying to dilute its stake to reduce its potential influence over the company's board," but it sounds like eBay is actually trying to strong-arm Craigslist's owners into selling the company to them.

Regardless of whether I continue to shop on eBay or not, I hope that they don't succeed in acquiring Craigslist. One of the great things about Craigslist is how unconcerned they are with maximizing profits — and since profits seems to be all eBay cares about, they're bound to destroy the anti-establishment spirit of Craigslist!

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