Antiques. Sell them on eBay, the premier Internet-auction site. Auction sales are perfect for antiques. If the antiques truly are rare and valuable, competitive bidders can drive up the prices.
Exception: A local auction house or consignment store might be a better choice for large antiques that would be very expensive to ship.
Appliances. Sell large appliances on Craigslist. It would cost too much to ship these, and Craigslist is the best way to reach local buyers. Sell small appliances on Amazon.com. They tend to fetch higher prices there than on eBay.
Art. Sell on eBay. Amazon.com is not designed for one-of-a-kind items, such as art (though it does have a category for poster prints)…and art-for-sale listings don’t attract much attention on Craigslist.
Exception: Major auction houses, such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s, could be the best option for expensive art.
Bicycles. Sell high-end or collectible bikes on eBay. Buyers are likely to pay the $40 or more in shipping charges only if a bike is special. Sell mainstream bikes, older bikes and children’s bikes on Craigslist. Buyers can find used bikes on Craigslist for less than $50.
Books. Sell on Amazon.com—that’s where most book buyers shop on the Internet.
Exception: If you want to sell many used books of little value, list them as one lot on Craigslist. Group lots by theme, such as "Box of 25 paperback Western novels." Or donate them to a local library book sale. The charity tax deduction might be more than these books would bring if sold.
Clothing. Sell designer and vintage clothing on eBay. Sell other clothing as lots on Craigslist, or donate them to charity for the tax deduction.
Collectibles. Sell old or rare collectibles on eBay. Sell modern collectibles that are not in great demand on Amazon.com, where at least you won’t have to pay listing fees if they don’t find buyers. Follow auctions of similar collectibles on eBay to determine if yours are in demand or not.
Example: Commemorative plates made in large quantities during the past decade might not be worth posting on eBay.
DVDs, CDs and Video Games. Sell on Amazon.com. These categories have become so flooded on eBay that many auctions do not attract competitive bids.
Exception: An eBay auction could be appropriate for a DVD or CD that is no longer being produced and is difficult to find.
Electronics. Sell recent electronics, such as a new-model DVD player or digital camera, on Amazon.com. For older electronics (those that still are in demand but that are no longer sold on Amazon.com), use eBay. Follow eBay auctions of similar items to evaluate demand. Sell (or give away) old electronics that are in low demand on Craigslist.
Exercise equipment. Sell on Craigslist. Most exercise equipment is too heavy to be economically shipped to buyers in other regions.
Furniture. Sell on Craigslist. Most furniture weighs too much to be affordably shipped. This is one of the most active "for sale" categories on Craigslist.
Golf clubs. Sell modern clubs and antique clubs on eBay. Sell clubs that are out-of-date but not antiques on Craigslist.
Jewelry. Sell on eBay. Jewelry is too unique to sell on Amazon.com, which is designed for mass-produced merchandise…and Craigslist doesn’t reach enough potential buyers to bring a fair price.
Helpful: Many bidders won’t trust jewelry auctions from sellers who lack an eBay track record. If you’re relatively new to eBay, consider selling jewelry through an eBay "trading assistant" who specializes in jewelry sales (http://pages.ebay.com/tahub). This person will list the jewelry for you for a fee.
Local-interest items. Sell on Craigslist, which is divided into regional sites, so it’s a good choice for items of interest to regional buyers.
Example: A 19th-century map of your town.
Musical instruments. Sell on Craigslist. Musicians like to play instruments before they buy them, which usually is not possible with Amazon.com or eBay.
Exception: eBay is best for antique instruments and high-end instruments from collectible makers, such as a Gibson guitar.
Skis. Sell modern high-end skis in excellent condition on eBay. eBay also is the place to sell antique skis. Sell run-of-the-mill worn or low-end skis on Craigslist—buyers won’t bid very much for them on eBay, where they also would have to pay $20 or more in shipping charges.
Tickets. Sell them on eBay’s StubHub. This is the most popular of the ticket-resale Web sites (www.stubhub.com).
Exception: Some sports teams insist that season ticket holders resell unwanted tickets only through their designated channels. Review the small print on the ticket or the team’s Web site for details.
Toys. Sell in lots on Craigslist…or in a garage sale.
Exception: Toys more than a generation old might be collectible. See if similar items are fetching high prices in eBay auctions, and sell there instead if they are.
Vehicles, including cars, boats and RVs. Sell on Craigslist. Vehicles are best sold locally, because buyers like to test-drive them before buying.
Exception: Sell vintage or collectible vehicles through eBay Motors (www.motors.ebay.com).
What It Costs to Sell Online
The three top Web sites for sellers differ widely in what they charge. What you need to know...
• eBay (www.ebay.com) remains the king of Internet auctions, but the site’s seller fees have been inching upward in recent years. Those fees vary, but sellers generally pay 8.75% of the sales price up to a $25 price, with a declining percentage paid on larger sales. Up-front fees of 10 cents to $4 or more apply as well, whether or not the item sells. Now that eBay lists Internet retailer Buy.com’s merchandise on its site, certain product categories, including DVDs and CDs, are so choked with listings that many items receive no bids at all.
To sell on eBay: Click "Sell" on the main page, and follow the directions.
• Craigslist (www.craigslist.org) is like an online version of a newspaper classified section, except that listing items for sale on Craigslist is free. Craigslist is divided into regional Web sites. If you live in a region with an active Craigslist community, such as San Francisco or New York City, your for-sale ads are likely to be seen by thousands of potential buyers. If Craigslist is not widely used in your region, your items might not sell. Craigslist buyers typically pick up their purchases in person and pay in cash.
Helpful: Take a look at the "Furniture" category under the "For Sale" heading on your region’s Craigslist site. If more than one day of listings is displayed on the first page (each page includes 100 listings), Craigslist is not widely used in your region.
To sell on Craigslist: Select your region, then click "Post to Classifieds" and follow the directions.
• Amazon Marketplace (www.amazon.com). The Internet retailer Amazon.com lets private sellers post new or used merchandise for sale alongside Amazon.com’s own listings. Amazon.com sellers set fixed prices for their goods, while eBay allows either fixed-price sales or auctions. Sellers pay a commission of 15% on most products (though commissions are as low as 6% to 8% on certain products, including cameras, computers and other electronics), in addition to a 99-cent transaction fee and a modest closing fee.
Amazon.com’s fees tend to be a little higher than eBay’s—but Amazon Marketplace sellers pay nothing when their items don’t sell, while eBay sellers must pay listing fees even for failed auctions. If an item is not already sold on Amazon.com, you likely cannot list yours for sale there unless you subscribe to one of Amazon.com’s professional seller programs.
Helpful: Set your asking price lower than all other offers. The site lists all offers of the same item in a single list, so buyers can easily select the cheapest.
To sell on Amazon.com: Find your item among Amazon.com’s listings, then click "Sell Yours Here" and follow the directions.