A little over a week ago, I wrote a pretty negative review of listia.com, a site that lets you bid for stuff using “credits” rather than actual money.
My review was negative because the site purports to be “free”, but in reality there are too few users at the local level that can pick up the stuff you give away, so you end up having to pay for shipping either as a “seller” or a “buyer”. That’s not a big deal if you are shipping small things, but an issue for bigger ones (and everything I have to give away is large). On the plus side, I’ve noticed that sellers on listia actually seem to charge real shipping charges, unlike the inflated ones on e-bay. Plus, so far, we’ve gotten the things we won within a couple of days of winning them (but they were small).

I have to say that so far I’ve been really lucky with listia. I signed up and got my husband and sister to sign up as well. I was able to get a nice assortment of charms and a 1/2 oz of some essential oil mix. I have a few points left, so maybe I’ll be able to get something else.
makeupset.jpgMike, meanwhile, got a Hannah Montana bodypaint set and a lip bloss/body glitter set (he had to pay shipping for these, though). He still has points left as well. My sister got a kids make up set and also has points. So hopefully we’ll get even more stuff, for free.

Of course, after the next round of stuff we won’t have a way of getting enough points to get much. They do give you 5 points occasionally for signing in or bidding, and for putting them on your status in facebook, but most things do cost quite a lot of points. Still, I’m glad that I signed up for it and got some stuff for free – now, if there were only more users in San Leandro who would come and pick up the stuff I have to give away.
BTW, if you want to sign up for listia.com, please do it through my account, so I get some credits in the case you do manage to list something and get someone to bid on it.

Update. Well, it’s been one more week and I’ve come to realize that the listia experience is different for different users. Mike is quite lucky and often gets free credits for signing in, bidding and posting a listing to facebook. I rarely do. My sister is somewhere in the middle. I have no clue why this is so – what sort of formula listia uses to award points to some users and not others. It’s very frustrating for me as well, though šŸ™‚

Something else I’ve figured out is that while listia charges 10-cents per credit (a ridiculous amount, and I can’t imagine anyone pays it), the actual “value” of a credit is closer to 1 to 1.5 cents. A $5 Walmart gift card, for example, tends to go for about 500 credits. So if you offer free shipping, you really need to make at least 40-credits on what you are giving away to not lose any money in the transaction. And that only works for things small and light enough to fit in a regular envelope.

Anyway, so far I’ve been unlucky with my auctions. I’ve placed some Golden Gate Ferry tickets on listia.com, worth $15, with a minimum bid of 50 credits and I haven’t gotten any bids (but that may be because of the geographical limitations of the item – listia still doesn’t seem to have that many users). I’ve just put some scrapbook frames & stickers, we’ll see how I do with that.