There has been talk lately of a new auction venue, still in beta, which hopes to pick up disaffected eBay auction buyers and sellers, Boocoo.com
Public launch is scheduled for June 21st 2010.
June 14th AuctionWally extended an invitation from Boocoo.com to his readers and I went to check it out.
Bearing in mind that this site is in limited early beta and not open to the public yet, my overall impression is favorable.
The site - buyer view
Let me state again, the site is in limited beta, not everything works perfectly. I made two fixed price purchases on Boocoo, one because it was a deal on something I buy regularly for my business, the other because I liked it. The process was simple, the sellers were excellent, responsive and friendly. This is the bid screen.
The checkout was non functional but the contact seller email system worked. I was invoiced, paid, got feedback, and received shipping notification later in the day, on both purchases.
The site - seller view
The default view (left) is in list form with 60px x 60px thumbnail pictures, click to enlarge images. Optional gallery view shown below, increases the image size to 150px x 150px.
Listing is quick and very simple. I was able to list nine similar items in about 5 minutes, (exclusive of downloading my pictures to my computer for upload to the site)
Duration and Format: All listings may run for 3, 5, 7 or 10 days. Auction format, may also be offered with a buy it now option, or a reserve, and fixed price listings.
Listing fees for both fixed price and auctions start at 20c for items under $9.99, $10 -> $24.99 = 40c, $25 -> $49.99 = 60c, $50 -> $200 = 80c and listings over $200 will cost $1.60, for any duration. Final value fees are a flat 6% for the first $1000.
A la carte fees:
Images 12c each after the first, which is free.
Bold listing, highlighted listing, second category, and something called an RFQ listing for which I could not find a definition, (might be a Request For Quote where sellers bid to supply the order?) all cost $2.00 each.
Category featured; “Your listing will be featured at the top of category lists” is $10.00
You can have a Boocoo Store for $10 per month.
Boocoo appears to be adopting an approach similar to eBay’s stores with their Membership option, offering three levels of discounts for a monthly fee as follows:
- Silver - $7.95 per month for a 15% discount
- Gold - $29.95 per month for a 30% discount
- Platinum - $74.95 per month for a 50% discount
What makes Boocoo different?
In my opinion the caliber of people behind Boocoo give it a greater chance of success than any of the many auction start-ups who have come and gone, or lingered in obscurity in recent years.
Kip Knight joined eBay as the head of International Marketing early in 2002 from PepsiCo. He moved to Vice President of International Marketing and Category Management in 2004 where he was part of the eBay Express team. As vice-president of marketing for eBay North America he managed eBay Live in Las Vegas in 2006. After a brief stint as eBay Head of the Joint eBay/PayPal Task Force he was General Manager of eBay Canada until 2008 at which time he resigned and launched KnightVision Marketing.
Walt Kolenda also known as AuctionWally is a licensed Massachusetts auctioneer, one of the all around nicest guys on the internet and a paragon of honest dealing. He likes to hang out on the cutting edge of internet marketing, for example he pioneered successful Twitter auctions. I am impressed that Boocoo.com saw a need to add a real auctioneer to their stable of expert consultants.
Opinion as a buyer
I really do very little auction style business, as a seller I am happy with fixed price. I am equally happy to bid on auctions. I would buy on Boocoo, in fact I have a bid awaiting the end of an auction.
Search as it is currently set up discourages browsing by category. If you know what you want it works just fine. There should be the ability to choose a category leave the box blank, click search and see everything. Instead you get a rather annoying message “You must enter a search string to get results.” Fail!
Opinion as a seller
I would like to see more payment options than PayPal. I think plenty of ex-eBay sellers will agree. Amazon payments, Google Checkout, there are lots of choices and choice is good.
Proposed insertion fees have been carefully calculated to be slightly under eBay. However the shorter durations do not compare well with eBay’s 30 day fixed price listings, and gentlemen, you do not (yet) have eBay’s page views or visitor count. Bonanzle charges no insertion fees and eCrater charges no fees at all. Final value fees at 6% are lower than eBay but 20% higher than Bonanzle’s highest tranche of 5% (on items selling for less than $10) and a whopping $50 higher than Bonanzle’s $10 on a $1000 item. As a mainly fixed price seller I would not be tempted. The fee schedule feels very old style eBay nickel and dime.
For example, if image hosting costs are a concern, allow self hosted images from sellers. 12c per picture is end product of chickens and I am not talking about eggs.
Personally I am dubious about paid category featured, both as a buyer and seller. I believe adjusting the main body of search results for paid position corrupts search and makes it less relevant. Bonanzle features Premiere Members items in the sidebar where buyers can choose to check them out, or not, I like that.
For those sellers who love auctions above all Boocoo may be the answer, time will tell. Take Wally up on his invitation and check it out. I will be interested to hear your opinion.
Y’all come back!
Related: Business Wire: eBay and Craigslist face new ….
Full Disclosure: I am an ex-eBay seller, I currently sell on Bonanzle and my website. I have sold on eCrater in the past. I am not being compensated in any way for writing this article.