eBay South Africa "launches" damp squib

Worldwide dot.com stalwart eBay has stealthily launched a watered-down web presence in South Africa, “Ebay South Africa” on ebay.co.za. Was in a meeting with internet guru Ronnie Apteker (sorry Ronnie!) and he pointed me to it. It apparently launched in the last few days, although they have owned the co.za for years.

Will be interesting to see how local auction sites, notably the market leader bid or buy will respond — if at all. I know Andy Higgins, the respected b or b MD has been anticipating the launch for some time now.

Much of the product is listed in local currency, rands, although the site keeps flipping to the US version giving you dollar inventory, which is a bit confusing. Seems like they are busy working on it at the moment, or the site just has too many bugs. It still seems like it is more a copy of the US site, than a dedicated local play. The local currency is just a straight conversion of US dollars.

I haven’t played around with it long enough to make too many detailed judgments — but it’s full of US product there and not much local product? Then there is also the question, raised by readers on this blog, about how SA users will pay without local Paypal representation (ironically founded by a South African). Perhaps they have a creative solution? Weird.

Update: The ebay site has actually been like that for well over a year, as a front for the US site, very little localised about it. Andy Higgins of Bid or Buy says I was about “the hundredth” person to ask him about it :-). Questions however still remain over what the ebay strategy is, and what they hope to achieve by this strange site. Apologies for the crap post everyone!

Comments (13)

  1. StevenMcD wrote::

    great! Thanks for the heads up

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 10:14 am #
  2. SaulK wrote::

    Surely this is a bit ridiculous? The site just links to American auctions that cannot be shipped here anyway?

    Maybe some competition for Bid or Buy would be nice, the people on that site seem to think that retail pricing for used goods is acceptable.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 10:16 am #
  3. Dan wrote::

    Do you think that will mean PayPal will be launching here in SA also?

    Makes sense that it would just follow on with eBay coming…

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 12:05 pm #
  4. Mladen Mihajlovic wrote::

    Also, how will it work with PayPal considering they don’t pay out to South Africa?

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 12:07 pm #
  5. Adrian wrote::

    This url has been live for quite a while but SaulK is right, it is just a version of the Us site that has all the prices quoted in Rands. It doesn’t really qualify as a South African eBay. It isn’t even linked to from the Ebay.com home page as one of their international properties.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 12:48 pm #
  6. DR Johns wrote::

    Hi, I am particulary interested in any positive SA Ebay operation as I operate an established presence on UK/USA and modestly France. If it does happen it will hasten my intention to reside in SA.
    If I have a concern it relates to the inland and international postal service in SA which is suspect.Anyone who travel to SA will probably have encountered pilferage from travel cases-it is/was rife but of late seems to be under better supervision.Post delivery is/was the same-but again maybe improvements I am unaware of are now in place. The marketplace for local made items is limited buy conversely ‘selling to SA’ would afford a very useful market and be welcomed given they are starved of international brands/products. Another consideration is tax/duty that may be levied on say a package with Perfume which could nullify a price advantage bought on line.If one importedstock to sell locally On Ebay SA- with a supply link ex UK or USA one will need to be sure what amount (units/value) is allowed and thus determine viability.

    If anyone reading this can add,provide up date information I would be pleased to be advised.regards Dr J (Dennis)

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 1:42 pm #
  7. matt wrote::

    yeah… why do I have a feeling that ebay.co.za site has been around for a while (I know they have had the domain for ages). Why would they launch the site like this, ie a half-baked product? In the HTML/Browser title its called “eBay South Africa”, so they are being very clear about their objectives … surely they have a brand to protect and it should be a proper launch?

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 2:03 pm #
  8. Whale wrote::

    More importantly – why are you so far behind the game? Firstly talking about something that’s 3 years old about Google and secondly this thing that’s like a year old. Tut tut.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 5:16 pm #
  9. matt wrote::

    @Whale — I guess that’s a well-deserved mea culpa then. Note the corrections.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 5:18 pm #
  10. Dr Johns wrote::

    Not sure who Whale is but clearly has all the time in the world to blog-I have not I am delighted to say. I simply per chance came across the Google reference.I have no interest in casting aspersions-or insults -simply making myself aware-yes, even up dating-not that there is much progress it would seem. I am due in SA next month and may be updated locally.Meanwhile let the”There she blows whale” blog all day.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 5:30 pm #
  11. Whale wrote::

    Dr Johns – you’re hilarious mate. If making comments on a blog means I ‘have all day to blog’ then that means the same for you – doesn’t it? I don’t have my own blog. Period. People with blogs are really quite self-involved.

    Friday, November 14, 2008 at 9:13 am #
  12. heh heh – he said “damp squib”.

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 11:52 am #
  13. Tali wrote::

    I would like to know from Andy Higgins, the respected b or b MD why is it that they allow people to seel valuables at next to nothing lowering the market value? EBAY has a tool where you are able to research the market value making it a fair and profitable site to auction on, where as B or B is worse than Cash crusaders, Cash converters or your local loan shark… this is an educated and very profitable South African EBAY traders veiw

    Monday, June 8, 2009 at 2:57 pm #