You may remember me blogging about my very critical opinion on eBay a few months ago. You may then be surprised that I have used eBay three times in the past week, and my opinion of it has changed a little.
It all started last week that when stumbling around the internet I saw posted in a forum on Whirlpool that a local online store was selling the Nintendo 'Wavebird' wireless Gamecube controllers for a very cheap price. The Nintendo Wii i bought before Christmas is 100% backwards compatible with its predecessor's (the Gamecube) games and controllers. Because I thought I might end up wanting to buy a few old Gamecube games i bought one of the controllers.
That lunch I was recounting to Michael how i loved going over Rolando's place and playing a game called Red Card on his Gamecube. As you can probably tell from the title, it was a football game which allowed you to violently slide-tackle and stomp other players as well as perform awesome Matrix-style finishing moves to score spectacular goals. It was an awesome game, and I was horrified to hear that he had traded in all his Gamecube stuff to buy the Wii.
Anyway a while after we got back from lunch Michael sends me a link to a place still selling the game: eBay. I was sceptical at first, but after the earlier nostalgia session I really wanted to get that game. I first searched all the normal online stores but nobody stocked the now 5 year-old game. The first surprising thing about the one on eBay is that it wasn't used. Yep it was new, and still factory shrink-wrapped. The second surprising thing about it was that it wasn't an auction. It had a set 'buy it now' price and set postage, so you could just buy it without any bidding or anything.
The person selling the game was apparently using eBay as his own online store, selling things for set prices and having eBay handle the listings and exchange of money. The guy even had an ABN (Australian Business Number) which I checked myself on the Government website.
So I setup eBay and PayPal accounts and bought the game. Although the delivery was a little slow (i doubt he posted it out in the 'guaranteed' 24 hours that was claimed in the listing), I got the game.
Although I know that it really wasn't a 'proper' Ebay experience (i.e. it was basically a store using ebay, and that there was no bidding etc), I now consider those kind of purchases on eBay a viable last-resort when i'm looking for old or rare things that I can't find elsewhere.
I also bought another new rare-ish item off another eBay store a few days later: a cheap dodgy 3rd-party Gamecube memory card (i didn't know that you needed one to save Gamecube games although the Wii has its own memory, and I wasn't going to pay a lot for a genuine Nintendo one).
Adding to that, today I bidded on and won a used Star Wars: Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II for $23.50. This is the only other Gamecube game that I was really wanting (it launched with the console ages ago), and I couldn't find anywhere that sold PAL versions new. The last two used ones on eBay went for $36 and $41 respectively so I think I got it relatively cheap.
So yes, i've now changed my opinion slightly on Ebay, but I still consider it a desperate last resort when i'm looking for something. A few things though: i'm a bit paranoid in that i'll only ever pay through PayPal. I don't trust transferring money directly into people's bank accounts or letting them process credit card debits.
Now off to perform some dangerous slide tackles on a team of dolphins playing football...