How to out eBay eBay

Online Hair AffairDan and I have seen many attempts to set up an auction site to compete with eBay. Almost without exception they’ve all failed and that’s because alternatives often simply copy eBay and try to compete.

I’ve been looking at a site however which does appear to be out eBaying eBay and that’s because they’ve chosen not to compete. They’ve gone niche by appealing to a specific target audience. OnlineHairAffair is a site for selling and buying human hair.

OnlineHairAffair offer the opportunity for men and women to buy and sell hair, ranging from virgin hair, braided hair, long hair, short hair, and even dyed or highlighted hair. They have been around since early 2008, have over 3500 registered users, and reached over $60,000 in total hair sales. Some of their users have sold their hair online for upwards of $2,000 for their shorn locks.

The site isn’t the busiest I’ve ever seen, but it’s very highly targeted to the niche. All that’s for sale is hair, so if you’ve ever considered trimming a foot or more off your locks it could be a way to turn it into cash. They give advice on how to place the perfect ad for your hair to get the best price.

There are two selling formats – traditional auctions or a new classified ads section. The only real drawback I can see is that it’s unlikely that sellers will be listing again any time soon. When you’ve just sold 12 inches or more of your hair it’ll take a while to grow back.

If you’ve ever thought about competing, whether on eBay or by setting up an eBay alternative, the best advice we can give is to take a leaf out of OnlineHairAffair’s book – go niche, by trading in a specific market vertical you don’t have to compete as you eliminated the competition before you even started.