I tried hard to like eBay, I really did.Over the years I’ve dipped my toe in the eBay pool a number of times; a nervous purchase here and naïve sale listing there. I was always disappointed. By the time I’d joined I was already late to the party and the site was full of ruthless sellers and “experts” who bid aggressively. If I did manage to complete a purchase it was only to be underwhelmed when it actually arrived.

I’m not someone who is afraid of online shopping; in fact I’d probably call myself an enthusiast, but I have always struggled with eBay. I see something I like I want to buy it, I don’t want to have to carefully bid and play a game of strategy where the rules are always changing. Eventually I gave up and resigned myself to the fact that eBay was not for me, but I was haunted by the rumours of savvy girls who nabbed designer bargains at eye waveringly cheap prices or who were making a mint selling their old clothes and what-not.

Since 1995 eBay has remained King of the online shopping market place but there is now a new contender for the throne. Etsy is not a new site, having originally launched in 2005, and may not initially have given eBay much cause for concern. But over the last couple of years they have been steadily picking up more and more converts as shoppers begin to tire of eBay’s now outdated format, overuse of advertising and having to trawl through a lot of tat to find any treasure. Etsy is like an online boutique to eBay’s supermarket; specialising in unique, vintage and craft items, it is an antidote to the corporate approach that began to seep into its rival.


Whilst eBay continues to function in much the same way it always has with the same slightly clinical look, Etsy has evolved with the social media market to offer a market place site that also homes a community. As well as buying online you can save favourite items or favourite stores and have a feed of items and boards in a similar way to Pinterest.

From a selling point of view Etsy offers lower fees than its rival and is much more specialist only allowing sellers to post handmade items, vintage goods and crafts supplies. Whilst this isn’t going to cater to everyone it does make it easier for buyers to find a real unique piece as opposed to sifting through hordes of second hand items.

The real buzz of Etsy is finding a unique item that has been handcrafted and lovingly made in a corner of the globe. I’ve no doubt that eBay will continue to be a goldmine for eager sellers and bargain hunters the world over but I for one am definitely an Etsy convert.

By Samantha Vandersteen

What do you think? Have your say @MaggieSempleLtd

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