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Auction site Wagglepop officially opens for business

February 18, 2005

Direct eBay competitor is now officially open for business, and already there seems to be plenty of sellers eager to post their items on the auction site that calls itself "The smarter way to buy and sell." "We've been open since a few days ago. We have almost 10,000 items listed now," said Wagglepop CEO Ray Romeo on Thursday afternoon. "We're calling it a pre-launch. But there's no distinction between that and opening. We're open for business."

Wagglepop became one of the few alternatives disgruntled eBay Store owners turned to after eBay announced a rise in listing fees and basic store subscription rates in January, effective Feb. 18. Ironically, that is the "official" open for business date for Wagglepop, according to several registered members. It's also the day many sellers are calling for a massive boycott of eBay in protest of the higher fee.

Romeo is a former Power Seller who felt eBay strayed from what made it a great place to buy and sell and often saw his listing fees eat his profits, so he decided to create an alternative site three years ago.

"eBay is in kind of a unique position. They've grown beyond what they originally intended," said Romeo in an interview on January 31.

"They're more global and less concerned with seller unhappiness in general in relation to their bottom lime. They don't seem as responsive (as they used to be). Their general attitude is that they think sellers are undeserving of an explanation about the fee increases."

According to its online mission statement, Wagglepop is based on "the belief that people need and deserve an auction site that makes buying and selling easier, and better.

Our commitment is to maintain a site where buyers and sellers can meet and trade in an environment that promotes and rewards good, honest e-commerce behavior. Basically, a site that just plain works."

The buzz about Wagglepop began to grow in late 2004 and grew even louder the last two months since eBay's announcement.

A quick look at the site shows a fairly standard layout, with categories listed on the left and a number of featured items with pictures are listed on the home page.

Each page also includes an easy-to-use "control panel" - which includes sell, manage (my auctions), browse and stores buttons - to help users to quickly navigate through the site.

A community forum is also available to users. 'We're pleased.' Romeo said there have been "very few bugs in the site itself," although users on a popular Wagglepop forum seem to have experienced a number of problems ranging from failed registrations, slow site performance and difficulties logging on to the site.

Even with the expected glitches, hundreds of sellers have already registered, eager to find success on the auction site.

"We currently have more than 250 regular sellers; and stores open just under 300. Stuff has been selling. It seems even in this pre-launch mode it's a pretty active place. We're pleased," said Romeo.

Source: e-Commerce Guide

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