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I sat down here in Vegas with Skip McGrath, author of two eBay books, who lives north of Seattle. After selling on eBay for more than six years, he's seen many changes.
"In 1999 when I started, eBay was a license to print money. You cannot believe how easy it was to go find a product and put it on eBay and make money," McGrath recalled with a laugh.
But profit margins declined as more sellers came on board and flooded eBay with merchandise, pushing prices down. At the same time, eBay has steadily boosted its fees, squeezing sellers. "We are seeing some weak sellers weaned out," McGrath said. "I see that trend accelerating."
Many eBay sellers are going back to their roots now, he added. Some are abandoning the new products they have been buying in bulk and selling on eBay, and returning to the collectibles market where they began.
"Consumer products and clothes kind of took over, but it became too competitive," McGrath said.
That was a theme I heard a lot here -- eBay is so flooded with new and used goods of all kinds that sellers are seeking new ways to cut costs.
Some are even striking out into the import business -- but more about that later.
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