Half.com is oft-overlooked in the landscape of consumer-to-consumer commerce. Most people talk about eBay, Craigslist, Kijiji and Amazon... but forget about eBay's fixed-price powerhouse: Half.com. Honestly, I'm guilty of overlooking Half.com myself - even though one of my first jobs at eBay was running the Half.com affiliate program... but I've used Half.com over the last couple weeks to unload some old DVDs and video games and it's been tremendously effective. In fact, I posted listing on Craigslist, Kijiji and Half.com - and Half has been the most effective in terms of:
- listing efficiency and ease - number of inquiries and sales - speed of sales - value per sale
Nothing else really matters right?!
But here is why Half.com is so impressive: it's dead simple to list. My biggest pain point with Craigslist and eBay (in particular) is how time consuming they are. The effort is front-loaded with eBay (listing takes way too long) and the effort is back-loaded with classifieds sites (dealing with email inquiries, phone calls and visitors).
With Half.com, you enter the ISBN or UPC and that's it. Half suggests a price - you either agree or set your own price. Within hours from listing I had made a couple sales and was completely satisfied. I might be in the minority, but I'd rather list and sell efficiently than spend significantly more time for slightly more value... that said, I found that Half.com delivered greater buyer demand the sales prices were actually greater than those offered via Craigslist.
So there you have it: I have become a Half.com seller and an Amazon buyer. The connection between Half.com and Amazon is more than their roots in books: they are driven by simplicity and efficiency.
You'll notice that Half.com is a seasonal business (August and January) - that is because Half.com is dominant in textbooks (a really unique market considering the high costs, numerous volumes, and single-semester life-cycle). Consequently, Half's big business is done in back-to-school seasons (August is fall semester and January marks second semester).