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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Amazon vs. eBay vs. Craigslist

In the modern world, it's become the norm to purchase items online. Over time, new services pop up that help customers find the best items for the lowest price.

The three top names that come to mind when talking about online shopping are Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist. Some may be wondering what's the difference between these or which one is the best. The answer is more complicated but I can tell you that none of them are better or worse than the other. It's all a matter of personal preference.

Amazon is a website that has been established for a number of years. Amazon became very popular amongst college students as it provided them an alternative to selling and buying their textbooks than relying on their school's bookstore. Over time, Amazon has grown and become a bigger company focused on more items than just college textbooks. Users can still sell items on the site that are used but a majority of the items that you will find here are new. Amazon also has its own internet streaming service like Netflix and Hulu Plus and also has a popular line of tablets known as the Kindle. In my opinion, Amazon is best for reviews and buying new items for a reasonable price. Lots of major manufacturers sell their products on Amazon such as Lego which can help customers find their favorite products from their favorite companies on an easy to use website.

eBay is a website that has been around for a few years as well. eBay is best known for it being an online auction website. Most of the items that eBay publishes are used and sold from private parties; however, some small businesses use eBay to sell their own brand new items here. eBay also has a classified section for local buyers and sellers, but it's not very popular. eBay acquired PayPal a few years ago and many people who enjoy using PayPal use eBay for the convenience it provides. PayPal can be used for other online shopping websites like Amazon but it is very difficult to do. PayPal and eBay offers customers with a peace of mind in case anything happens in the transaction such as a seller not shipping out an item after successful payment or a customer not making the successful payment after the item has shipped. While eBay is best known for auctions, it also does allow items to be sold at a set price for "Buy It Now". Buy It Now allows sellers to sell items for a price and not a penny more or less. In my opinion, eBay is best for used items, items that aren't so "socially acceptable" and thus aren't sold in other places, and in conjunction with PayPal for the peace of mind it offers to both sellers and buyers in a legitimate transaction. eBay is a good online alternative for those who enjoy the rush of a good auction when betting against others. Unfortunately, I don't like eBay's auction because it allows buyers to keep bidding even if they are not at their computer which can be frustrating but understandable.

Craigslist is a website that has gained much of its fame due to it being small and notorious for rapists and murderers. Craigslist is a website established with the intent of helping a community buy, trade, and sell with others who are nearby. However, some do use Craigslist to order items from afar but Craigslist warns against engaging in such actions like this and does so by warning customers that Craigslist will not be responsible for any lost money or items. Craigslist is a modern day classified's in that people search Craigslist for what they want and contact the seller to arrange a meet time somewhere in the area. Craigslist has no part in transactions except helping Party A meet Party B. Craigslist goes above and beyond the tradition sales website in allowing users to search for jobs, others to connect with to create bands, find pets, and even find local "casual [sexual] encounters" or find long term relationships. Craigslist gained infamy with its "Erotic" section that allowed people to find sexual encounters for a price that the "seller" sought. This feature has been removed for most regions. Craigslist does not currently charge for posts or for people to find others on the website except if you want to post a job listing or an erotic ad. Lots of very small businesses run by one or two people do business through Craigslist because its cheap and local. In my opinion, Craigslist is best for those who want to meet for a transaction, would like their product very quickly, or do not wish to travel far away. Craigslist is also best for those who are thinking of the environment and don't want to consume items that require traveling and instead want to contribute to their local economy.

Each of these have their strong points and weaknesses. I do not consider any to be better or worse than the other as I use all three of them for my own personal shopping and business. There are other websites just like these three but these are the biggest names, at least in the United States, currently. But, as we all know, the internet can change very quickly and as we have seen from these websites' past, things can and do change.

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