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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Listia Review

Listia Logo
Do you have stuff you don't need but don't want to deal with the eBay/PayPal fees to sell over there or don't want to sell/giveaway on Craigslist or FreeCycle? I've been using a relatively new site, Listia, that allows you to do just that. The site started in 2009, but really only recently had enough users to make it more worthwhile. Without users, you don't really get a fair value for an item.

The way the site works is you give away your stuff for free, where the buyer bids with credits. You then in turn use those credits for what others are giving away. When selling an item, shipping could be free (out of your pocket) or the buyer pays. Obviously, with free shipping, the bidding tends to go higher. It is a great place to pickup craft items for free like beads, yarn, ribbon, charms, etc. But you can also get electronics, books, and clothing, too. And Coke rewards point and box tops for education are other popular listings.

When you first signup, they give you some free credits. Besides getting credits from selling items, they also give out free credits daily when you share an item's auction on Facebook or Twitter. They also send emails with special offers like list an item today and get extra credits. Or you can do special offers from Trialpay, RadiumOne, or Paymentwall, like signing up for the Disney DVD Club, worth 11,500 credits, or downloading a new Android/iPhone app, worth 1,000 credits. Lastly, you can get credits by actually buying them, at roughly 25 - 33 cents per credit (1,500 for $5 to 16,000 for $40). Most of your credits will come from selling things though.

I'm not sure how much Listia makes from people buying credits, but you'll also find sponsored links (ads) on the site, too. They do not take a cut when you sell anything, unless you use the Get It Now feature, which has additional credit fees.

I keep trying to win Lego sets but I keep being outbid. With that said, I have gotten a Listia t-shirt and a few other items. I'm currently sitting on 25,000-ish credits from the sale of 23 items  and not trying that hard to get anything. I bid low in the hopes that something will go cheap and it never does. The items I've sold include a Wii game for 10,000 credits, coupons for free hair color for 2-3,000 credits, and an R2-D2 Lego poster I got for free with purchase for 1,800. You'll find that while the credits are purchased in the 25-33 cent range, the actual trading value is a little lower. For instance, a Lego bagged set available for $5 at Toys R Us is currently going for over 8,000 credits, and the auction isn't over yet. That just seems too high for me, which is why I'm just not buying them there.

Besides the regular auction sales, Listia does hold the occasional sponsored raffle, where you can literally get something for nothing. You can get ten free entries just for signing up for the raffle. After that, you can use credits for additional entries. I've seen some nice new TVs and laptops given away there. I try to enter all the raffles, but have never bought any additional entries besides the free ones and have never won any of them.

The buyers and sellers there have been very friendly. There is a feedback system in place and you can see how long someone has been using the site. Obviously, be wary of anyone new, from both the buying and selling side. And you can "fan" sellers so you can more easily watch what they are listing. If someone leaves you a comment of F&W on your listing, it isn't a bad thing. It means they've fanned you and are watching the auction. Also, when selling anything, the guarantees/protections the site offers are only available if you send to a confirmed shipping address.

The one feature I wish for is a way to find out how much something sold for in the past. I always use this feature on eBay to judge how much I should get for an item to see if I'm really interested in getting rid of it for that price. I may not get the exact amount, but it allows you to gauge value. Like a BowFlex I recently bartered away to someone local on Craigslist. The newer model retailed for about $1,500 but the model I owned had sold three times for $300 on eBay, so I knew I was okay trading it for something in that price range, even if the buyer might have valued it higher. (I had won it in a contest so it wasn't like I was out any cash out of pocket.) You can't see on Listia how much something last went for.

I've found Listia to be a great place to get rid of some of the smaller items I have that I'm not really interested in any more. And of course get other items that someone else isn't interested in. It isn't just used items available here. Many of the items posted are brand new, like the Lego sets I keep trying for. You can think of it as bartering in a way in that you are trading item for item, it is just that you don't yet know what the item you'll receive is after unloading your stuff.

If you join through my link in this article, you'll get 100 extra credits free and I'll get a referral bonus if/when you list your first item.

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