Picking the right ticket marketplace for the job

TechCrunch reports that eBay is acquiring StubHub, an online marketplace that allows people to buy and sell tickets.

Last fall, I had two extra tickets to a Redskins game. I posted the tickets on craigslist, eBay and StubHub at various prices.

On craigslist, I listed the tickets for $800 for the pair. On eBay, I had an opening bid of $750 and a “Buy It Now” price of $900 (plus $25 shipping). On StubHub, I priced the tickets at $900.

Most of the inquiries I got from craigslist were in the $400 range. If I’d left them on eBay, I might have gotten the $750. (I got several inquiries from ticket brokers in response to my eBay listing offering to buy them for less than $750.)

They sold on StubHub. Minus fees, I netted $765.

Compare the fees involved:

  • craigslist – nothing
  • eBay – $5.65 in listing fees, plus if I’d sold it, $23.06 in final value fees for a total of $28.71. I would also have had to pay PayPal transaction fees.
  • StubHub – $135 from me and $90 from the buyer, for a total of $225.

Despite “paying” a higher fee, I got the best price on StubHub. As a seller, I was thrilled. The buyer paid more than $990 for the tickets. If he’d found my same tickets on eBay or craigslist, he would have paid about $200 less.

The specialized tools that StubHub provides for finding the exact game, plotting seat locations and its guarantees were key enablers for the sale. The buyer knew that he’d get the right tickets or StubHub would replace them. I knew that I would get paid (no worries about fraudulent money orders or chargebacks.)


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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