Sex, Lies, & eBay

I recently watched a movie called “Shattered Glass”. It’s the true story of Steven Glass, a writer for “The New Republic”, a very prestigious political magazine. Steven was the subject of a scandal in 1998 when it was discovered that most of the writing he had done for the magazine was fabricated. A rising star, he wrote dozens of high profile articles for a number of national publications in which he made up some or all of the facts.

Steven’s world came crashing down when publication of the article “Hack Heaven” was exposed as fabricated by Forbes magazine reporter Adam Penenberg. After creating a shell website, a fake voicemail account, and ficticious notes in order to fool fact checkers at the Republic, he was subsequently fired.

Recently, Steven has written a biographical novel called “The Fabulist” to give his individual spin and excuses for having fooled his employers, friends, and the public with his dream weaving. He’s done interviews with 60 minutes among others. Today, he continues to profit from his exploits.

To say that eBay has been, and is, a changing landscape would be an incredible understatement. I’ve been selling on eBay since the beginning in 1995. Early on, I made a tech support call to eBay and from the receptionist’s desk was connected to the “server room”. The phone was answered by “Pierre” who I realized later was the founder. Things have changed quite a bit since then.

I spend most of my day on the internet. Selling products. Writing books. Creating websites to produce income. But by far the vast majority of my time is spent doing research. Making attempts to gather information to improve my current endeavors or to create new ones. Wading through the vast wasteland of the internet today while trying to create my own little oasis is harrowing.

When you mention the name “eBay” to someone it will almost always invoke an opinion. You can ask my mother and she’ll tell you all about it although she owns no computer and has never surfed the internet a moment in her life – it’s simply amazing. The one thing all the opinions will contain is dollar signs. eBay means money. For many people the prevailing idea is that at any point they can quit their job and instantly make a living on eBay. I don’t know how we got here but it’s one heck of a marketing job.

Don’t get me wrong. If you want to clean out your attic eBay’s the place. If you want to cruise a few garage sales and make a “C” note or two, no prob. But if you want an electric-bill-payin’, heath-insurance providin’ full time job, you better stay at Wal-Mart.

Seeing “Shattered Glass” stuck an off-key chord with me concerning the state of eBay today. I buy eight to ten eBooks containing money-making subject matter every month. I’ve got the $39.95 “Auctions For Income” sitting on the shelf right here at arm’s reach. Just about every book I buy has something in common with all the others. They are yesterday’s ideas and information. Good ideas? Yes. Ideas that work today? No.

People who are making big money on eBay don’t share their ideas. Would you? They ride their horse into the ground. Then they write an eBook telling people they’ll cash in too for only $29.95. Problem is, when people want to tell the truth, it’s a hard sell. eBay is sexy and so are the stories that are told about it. It’s the same reason most people by lottery tickets – the dream of fortune and glory. It’s why people never stopped to check the facts of Steven Glass’ stories. It was just too much fun to dream in his world.

There’s money to be made on eBay – no doubt. There are people making their living on ebay today – most certainly. But the days of work-free quick fortunes are over. And from this point forward, good old traditional business principals are the rule of the day. Finding a niche, working that niche, and looking for your next one should be your daily practice. Do good business and every now and then, hit a lick and be grateful.

Don’t believe lies just because they’re sexy. Leave the pie in the sky.

About the author:

John Clark is the creator of,a website dedicated to helping would be eBay users find their niche. He has also created http://www.bestbuycloseouts.comand
that provide information on buying below wholesale from the biggest retaillers in America today.

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