Ebay is big. It's getting bigger.
Back at the turn of the millennium, Alan Scroope started up a business in his mother-in-law's house. She had a spare bedroom, and Mr. Scroope was looking for office space on the cheap. I'll bet she brought him his tea as well, since he was there and it was no bother, really, the kettle was on and she was having a cup herself.
Like any budding entrepreneur, he had a an idea of a niche that needed filling, and he stepped in. He called it Freeflow, and started to buy up excess or unwanted inventories and sold them on to those who were looking for just the thing. Not just bits of odd junk, no. Freeflow bought up things from Apple, 3Com or Motorola, electronic gadgets that had some useful life if they could be had for a bargain price.
From the bedroom office, Mr. Scroope has expanded internationally, with offices in Tralee, Hong Kong and California. Did very well for himself in these past five years. He says his sales are in the 26 million euro range, but sales are going to go even higher. Freeflow and Ebay are going into business together, and with Ebay's marketing forces and dollars behind it, the merger looks to be profitable for all.
According to Mr. Scroope, the technology industry had no way to deal with excess product or returns, and were losing money. Between Freeflow and Ebay working together, the techies can sell off their inventories through listings on Ebay, and Freeflow will see to it that the customer gets the goods.
And so, the second-hand store goes electronic. It's not the same without the clutter and the shop owner keeping a wary eye on you while you browsed through the jumble. Clicking and scrolling just aren't the same thing.