eBay backlash: 5 sellers who ditched it

EBay's planned fee and feedback changes have sellers threatening an exodus. Here are five sellers who already left before the current fracas, and how they've rebuilt their businesses elsewhere.

Laura Skidmore
Laura Skidmore
Business: Vintage Fashion Library, in Yellow Springs, Ohio
Merchandise: Vintage sewing patterns and fashion ephemera (1860-1960)
Date of last eBay sale: Jan.12
Where she sells now: VintageFashionLibrary.com

Skidmore opened Vintage Fashion Library in 2003, simultaneously setting up an eBay sales presence and her own website. At first, all of her sales came through eBay - but as her pattern business gained a reputation and attracted repeat buyers, the sales piled up on her own site. In December, tired of eBay's fees and bureaucratic hassles, Skidmore decided to wrap up her sales there and focus exclusively on her own site.

Leaving eBay means taking a revenue hit, at least temporarily. Skidmore's site sales have been steady at around $1,500 per month for some time; to equal her income from both the site and eBay, she'll need to grow her site sales. But the time and energy savings of being off eBay have been worth the financial sacrifice, Skidmore says.

"My attention is no longer divided," she says. "I can really concentrate on building and marketing my own website and creating new products."

One tactic that helped Skidmore migrate away from eBay was her marketing savvy: Since day one, she's been building a contact list by encouraging customers to sign up for her e-mail newslettter. She also relies on banner ads on carefully selected blogs, like Dress A Day, that appeal directly to her potential buyers.

"I looked on eBay as a marketing tool," she says. "My goal was to get customers, get contacts, and encourage them to use my website for future sales."

Last updated February 07 2008: 4:27 PM ET

Vintage Fashion Library


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