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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Auctions: eBay vs. LJ 
27th-Jul-2009 09:20 am
Fizzgig! - velvetsteel
I held the auctions on LJ this year instead of eBay, because

1. Fandom auctions on LJ have been successful in the past, and
2. eBay takes a big chunk out of the proceeds, whereas auctioning on LJ ensures that every penny actually goes to BARCC.

So, as with any experiment, I found a few problems.

1. Word didn't get spread about this like it did for other LJ auctions. It did, but the different in scale between this and saveours00j, helpvera, and adoptingcat was very significant. My working theory on this is that people are more likely to get the word out when the fundraiser is for a specific person in dire need of immediate funds, rather than an organization that is also in dire need of funds, but is not about to lose a house or a pet or anything.

2. The comment-in-thread issue is crazymaking. dulcinbradbury offered during the 'thon to take on the huge task of commenting to all of the people bidding outside of the thread to tell them to bid properly, and commenting to all the people who'd been outbid outside of the thread and therefore received no notification. I sing praises to her, because if she hadn't done that, I would've had to spend all day today doing it, as opposed to the hour or two I'll have to spend on it later tonight.

3. Since anonymous commenters don't get e-mail notification of replies, I worry that they won't be aware they've been bid up. I announced it on Facebook, but if you know any of the anonymous commenters, please nudge them to keep an eye on the items they're bidding on!

Altogether, eBay's a better system, because it's all automated and it notifies everyone. But that extra-big chunk taken out of charity auctions does tick me off - they take money out at the eBay level and also through MissionFish, which you must list all charity auctions through or they'll delete your items. EDIT: conscience points out that now eBay only accepts PayPal, which charges additional fee - so that's three separate places where an eBay auction steals the money you thought was going to charity.

So for net year, I'll be looking for something automated that doesn't steal money from the charity. Anyone know of anything? Or do I have to get someone to code something? :)

And i the meantime - many kickass items are still going for cheap, so run on over to blogforbarcc - and if you can give those auctions a last-minute shout-out, please do!
27th-Jul-2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
http://www.webidz.com/ is one that I'm going to be looking at for myself. Looks like at the moment they have a "free for life" offer, and no end of sale fees. Haven't looked a whole lot closer to it just yet, but I will be doing so.
27th-Jul-2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
27th-Jul-2009 01:44 pm (UTC)
I kept up with it through late yesterday figuring you would not have the time or mental resources to deal with it. When I went to bed last night, I think everything was in order.
27th-Jul-2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
You rock.
27th-Jul-2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
::grins:: You're welcome. :)
27th-Jul-2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
Try checking out artfire.com
27th-Jul-2009 02:01 pm (UTC)
I think it did pretty well - it's the first time I've seen something like this done, so kinks were there...as first-run type things usually have. It was also pretty cool to see things pop up on my Friends and Friends of Friends lists.

My concern about my own fanbase was that a lot of them don't know what LJ is. I tried to have them sign up, at least for the auctions, to be able to have all the notifications as well as being able to track them down for contact purposes. As far as I know, only my daughter took the LJ plunge. :/

I DO see the concerns with Ebay, though, both in the stripping of funds for fees and that they now only accept paypal...which strips funds further.

I had fun with it. SO many pretty things are up for auction! If you do this again next year, I'm definitely going to be donating again! Thanks for letting me be included this year :)
27th-Jul-2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
*nods* People don't need an LJ account to bid, but I think some didn't realize that....

Oh, and I totally forgot about the eBay/PayPal thing! Yeah. So there are three points at which money gets stolen from charity in an eBay auction.

And thank *you*, for making the doll and helping to spread the word!

Edited at 2009-07-27 02:05 pm (UTC)
27th-Jul-2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
Maybe there is some way to do it through firstgiving.com? They take some money but I don't think it's more than paypal at this point.
27th-Jul-2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
I missed any 'please publicize this' plea. Sorry about that. I'll put something up now.

If you do them on LJ in the future, maybe do something similar to elisem's Magpie Telegraph Alert System? If she's doing a sale she wants lots of publicity on, she puts up post saying 'anyone who puts up a post linking to sale and comments here with a pointer to their announcement gets a chance at a prize'. The prize is on the order of a pair of earrings or a $25 credit towards buying more merchandise.
27th-Jul-2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
If you can't find a pre-built site appropriate for your auctions, I've learned enough ASP lately that I could build a site for it & host it on my godaddy account. I would ask for some other system to deal with the money, though, since I don't have any experience with online financial systems. But the auction & notification system, I could do that.
27th-Jul-2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
That would be awesome!

The money all goes to BARCC's Network For Good donation page; I don't touch it.
27th-Jul-2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
I'll start working on that, then.
28th-Jul-2009 02:12 pm (UTC)
I think LJ auctions could go. I had very little time and I was moving; I could have done more to promote it had I had more heads-up and not had half my life in boxes.

In some auctions on LJ they freeze the comment thread in order to encourage in-thread bidding. Repeating the BID ONLY IN THIS THREAD in the top comment also tends to help.

Let me know what I can do, next year. This year I was not on my game. Love!
1st-Aug-2009 09:12 am (UTC)
You were a big help. *hug* And yes, next time if I do auctions on LJ I shall do that!
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