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Summer of Craigslist/Ebay Arbitrage with Wanted Ads, $600/week

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by MatrimZeke, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. MatrimZeke

    MatrimZeke Newbie

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    Hey guys. This was about 5 years ago, but it's a unique story I wanted to share.

    I got out of college during the recession and had a hard time finding a job. I had always dabbled with selling on Ebay, then Amazon to make money in college. I randomly found a product that had a great margin for selling online when I could find it. It was a network adapter for the Playstation 2. You can find it on Amazon, for some reason I can't attach a link.

    The PS2 was being phased out by the PS3 and nobody wanted or needed the network adapter here. But in Asia, they were using these to mod PS2's with an HDD, and loading a ton of games on them. I could go in to a Gamestop and buy the network adapter for $5-$10, and sell it on Ebay for $50 to $60. I went everywhere looking for these things, but it wasn't enough to get by on.

    I had found a few on CL, and I put wanted ads up to get more. The wanted ads worked pretty well, but I still needed more.

    I then came up with the idea to spam my wanted ads on Craigslist nationally. Daily I would spam 30 or so different cities with a single ad. I couldn't do too many as there are only so many markets. If I remember correctly I would try and put a new ad up every 3 days in each market.

    How it worked. In the CL wanted ad I offered $5-$10 for the unit not saying I wasn't local. When I got replies I would either call or email them back offering to send them a small box with a $10 money order in it and a return label. I would tell them to take the money and send me back the unit with the prepaid label and box. The shipment to them was about $1, and back to me was about $2 (first class mail). Most people accepted. I would get their mailing address and send them the box (it was basically a check box I got at a craft store). Surprisingly, about 90% sent the unit back. Occasionally reminders were needed, and for people who wouldn't respond I threatened to turn them in to their local police department for theft. Funny enough, that actually worked really well. I got a ton of excuses after they thought the law would be after them, lol.

    The Money Orders were a total pain. I'd go to Wal-mart (cheapest MO's) and buy them 20 at a time and they were so slow to print them. I eventually started sending cash. Sounds crazy but I figured the MO wasn't really giving me any additional security, and it was adding to my cost and time. People sent the units back at the same rates with cash as they did with Money Orders.

    I also got a mailbox at the UPS store. The owner that ran the store hated me and my little boxes. Some days I'd get 20 or 30 of them. And I dropped them off there to send out too.

    When I would get the units I would put them on Ebay. Eventually the same guy kept buying them. I started selling directly to him. I could fit something like 30 units in to a flat rate box. He'd send me $1000+ on Paypal, and I'd ship him the box. I made about $25-$35 per unit after all the costs.

    The Summer eventually ended. Craigslist changed their spam security which stopped me dead. Not too long after demand dropped off and the PS2 network adapter golden age had ended :-(

    This all came out of desperation and following the money. Fast forward 5 years and I have built/own an Ecommerce company with $1m+ in annual sales. It came together the same way. Desperation and following the money.

    Just found one of my old ads in my email:


    Wanted: Playstation 2 Network Adapter - $10 (Seattle)

    I'm interested in a PS2 network adapter, the one that screws to the back of the older PS2. Please let me know if you have one, I'm offering $10.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  2. Asif WILSON Khan

    Asif WILSON Khan Executive VIP Premium Member

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    Your story went from "Craigslist changed their spam security which stopped me dead." to "Fast forward 5 years and I now own an Ecommerce company I built with $1m+ in annual sales."

    I would be more interested in hearing a bit about the 5 years inbetween.
     
  3. MatrimZeke

    MatrimZeke Newbie

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    I have written a reply but can't send it with the spam filter. No links or foul language, not selling anything. No clue.