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|Dave leaves the eBay, swims over to Amazon.
Last week I described how being ripped off by a couple of sellers on eBay had kind of soured me on that on-line marketplace. Of course, over the past six years I've been soured, bored, or burned-out on eBay a few times, and normally I would have returned to it by now. This time around it's different, because there's actually an alternative available, offered by Amazon.
The two are quite a contrast in environments. For example, eBay is a wide-open collection of sellers and buyers all interacting in a space hosted by the company. It's like a swap meet conducted via Internet technologies and the post office. There are good and bad sellers and fast- and slow-paying buyers, huge warehouse suppliers, and little old ladies selling garage-sale finds. And, because eBay merely acts as a host (in exchange for a cut of the action), the responsibility to behave in a prompt, businesslike manner is largely passed down to the people involved in each transaction. On the whole, the system works because it's in an individual's best interest to build a good reputation; but it's vulnerable to abuse from people who don't care about such things or know how far they can bend the rules.
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