Posted on Oct 20th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (GrayGhost81)
Posted under ebay, collecting

eBay is one of the most classic and storied mainstream sites in internet history. Launching in 1995, the site has gone through many changes and evolutions to become the massive presence it is today. I recently discovered that my eBay account is turning twenty years old this month, so I'd like to take a trip down memory lane with my history of using eBay, starting all the way back with my first purchase of an item that I still own to this day.

My first eBay purchase was this two pack of McFarlane Metal Gear Solid action figures in October of 2000. I'm not a toy collector and never have been, but I'm a Metal Gear Solid fanatic to this day. I still have these figures and will continue to hold onto them even though they will remain forever sealed in this fishbowl and even though Snake looks a bit like Ricky Martin for some reason. I don't remember too much about my other transactions this far back in the past, but it's wild to consider that this purchase was made when I was still living with my parents. I would imagine I purchased some actual video games around this time as well, but I didn't consider myself a collector back then. It is very likely that I used eBay around this time to fuel my other passion, music.

Band Stuff
Over the years I did some serious wheeling and dealing on eBay with high value musical instruments. In my twenties I was in multiple bands playing drums, guitar, bass and vocals depending on the band. I remember a few guitars in particular that have appreciated in value quite a bit since I sold them, for example the Fender Cyclone pictured below. I had one for a few months and though I bought and sold it for a few hundred dollars, they go for about a grand now. Thinking back, I was never a great guitar player but I was disproportionately fickle with my tastes for gear. I don't really have sellers remorse because I'm not into musical gear anymore (now I just have one guitar and one bass that have high sentimental value to me), it's just interesting that like video games, the value can go up or down tremendously.

"Cheap CD-R that skips"
As a seller, I only can remember one particular instance where I did something seriously sketchy. In the time before Spotify and other music on demand services, or YouTube being a good place for amateur live concert footage, one had to seek out VHS tapes and CDs or tapes of their favorite bands' bootlegs. Selling these on eBay was a gray area, so one trick sellers resorted to was adding the bootleg as a "bonus" bundled in with some cheap main item. One of those I remember purchasing was a listing named something like "Multicolored Pencil Sleater-Kinney." As you can guess, this auction was technically for a rainbow colored pencil but also included a Sleater-Kinney bootleg video on VHS. At one point I decided to try my hand in the bootleg game. I had a few Nirvana and Weezer bootlegs that were professionally pressed, so I copied them onto CD-Rs and printed track listings for the front covers. Things were going pretty well for a while with this scheme until I received my first ever non-positive feedback. Keep in mind, back in that time sellers could give buyers negative feedback. This created a situation where the buyer might hold back on giving a negative feedback to the seller in order to avoid receiving one in retaliation. So, luckily this particular feedback was neutral and said "cheap CD-R that skips." I never sold another homemade bootleg cd and if you're wondering, I've never gotten a negative feedback. 

Dammit Chloe, there's no time!
I used to be obsessed with the tv show 24, a network television thriller starring Keifer Sutherland. One of my favorite things I have ever gotten on eBay is a jacket worn by the actor Lucas Haas in the premier episode of the fourth season of the show. If I remember correctly, it came from an official Fox account and I know I have the COA somewhere, so I'm pretty sure it's the real deal. The jacket only cost about eighty bucks total, which is in my judgment a pretty good deal for a screen worn prop. I don't treat it like a museum piece. In fact it hangs in my closet and I wear it regularly in the fall. I know someday it will fall apart but I'm okay with that. It's a cool, fun item in my wardrobe and it reminds me of the show and my past obsession with it. Plus it's a pretty cool looking jacket anyway.

Game Collection Liquidation and Beyond
A few months ago I wrote a post about selling down my video game collection. I'm still working on it, though I've slowed down a bit. I am running low on high ticket items and although there are many more games I want to get rid of, they are lower value so the reward for the work of listing them is much lower. As long as eBay is around I'm sure I'll be leveraging it to some extent to buy and sell what ever hobby is lighting me up at the time. Do you use eBay? How long have you been on the site? What are some of your favorite things you have bought?

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Oh, you've been on the FeeBay for 20 years, huh? Big freakin' deal; I've been on it since February of 1999! That's a little over 21.5 years, not to mention it was in the previous century AND millennium! Oh, and I (almost literally) live a few miles down the road from eBay HQ! Whattaya hafta say to THAT, ya poseur!

On a more serious note: I established my eBay account to sell F.H.E. 2-episode Robotech VHS tapes-- and the occasional Robotech laserdisc-- I'd find here and there. I was trying to complete my own collection of the series, and the tapes had been out of print for many years, which as you can imagine were fetching a pretty penny at the time. When I first heard news about Robotech being put out on DVD, I threw my own collection onto the auction block, and made enough from the sales to buy the entire series on DVD, with a few bucks left over to buy the Star Trek: The Next Generation season DVD box sets.

BTW anybody here remember when Amazon and Yahoo tried their hands at the online auction game?

Aaaand finally: I'll be celebrating an RF Gen anniversary milestone in less than 4 weeks. Whatever could it be? You'll just hafta come back to RF Generation to find out...

Great article.  One of the first things I remember buying was an Intellivision. At the time I didn't have credit cards or a checking account so my mom had to write a check and I had to pay her the cash.  The reason I got my account, of course, was to buy video games!  Where can you see how long you have had your account?  I looked on Ebay and couldn't find it anywhere.  I have a feeling I'm up there with Zagnorch...
@shaggy: You can find out how long you've been on eBay by going to your Seller Feedback page. You can do this by typing in and type in your eBay user name right after the feedback_profile/ part of the URL. For example, my eBay Feedback Profile page is at .

You can also get to this page by clicking the hyperlink in your feedback number next to your username on any of your My eBay pages. When you get to the Feedback Profile page, your establishment date is near the top, right below your current user name and your positive feedback rating for the last 12 months. In my instance, I've been a user since Feb-20-99 in the U.S.

Hope this helps...

On another note: I don't remember the very first thing I bought on eBay. I know one of the first things was a die-cast Space Battleship Yamato mini-model with stand... but it wasn't the very first thing I bought.
July 30,2000 for me.  I thought it was a back in '99 for me.
I totally forgot to talk about the good old days before paypal when we had to mail money orders to the sellers! It was basically the stone age!
IIRC I established my PayPal account after eBay acquired it in 2002. However, I could have sworn eBay had their own credit card processing system beforehand? It's all so foggy, these memories. I do, however, remember that I also accepted checks and money orders for a time. Ah, checks... how very quaint.

BTW I was encouraged to start up my own eBay account by a couple coworkers at the comic shop I worked in at the time. A few months after I'd set things up, they were asking me to shill their personal sales listings, AKA act as a buyer and put in bids in order for other buyers to pay higher final-bid prices for the item being sold. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I did do that for them here and there... until eBay surmised what they were doing, and suspended their accounts for a couple weeks. For some reason I got off scotfree. Probably due to the fact that I didn't ask them to shill my listings in return? Who even knows...

ANYway, one small upside of working at the shop was that I knew when we'd hold our periodic Up-To-40%-Off sales a week in advance, which gave me ample time to scope out the merch and figure out what to buy for good flippage on sale day.

Hey, remember when you could leave feedback for another user without needing to buy anything from them, or sell anything to them? My fellow comic-shop buddies and I would give each other positive feedback to help pump up our relatively new user profiles. We only gave each other one pozzie, since the ratings system wasn't prone to ballot-stuffing-- the first positive feedback from another user was the only one that counted toward your rating. Sometimes I'd get a positive rating from someone I didn't even do any business with! Weird, right? ANYway, I eventually quit all the online criminal activity, got cleaned up, and am now living a happy life talking about the good old days with my favorite bunch of online nerdos & freakboyz...

Whelp, I'm about to hit the road. But before I do, it's confession time: who here uses, or has used, a an auction-sniping site to put in last-second bids on their behalf so they didn't have to worry about missing out ? I'll admit I'm guilty of taking advantage of such heinous technology, although I haven't used one since I started exclusively purchasing buy-it-now/make-offer merch.

Anybody else care to come clean, hmmm?

I never used sniping programs, though I certainly won and lost my fair share of auctions refreshing like crazy in one tab and submitting the bid at the very last second in another.

I also never did shill bidding that I can remember. I wouldn't feel too bad about it though.

I definitely don't remember being able to leave feedback without a transaction. That sounds like some really wild west stuff as well.

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