I recently have seen some people on the VSC talking about delcampe, an Internet auction site, and decided to take a look. One of the selling points of delcampe is that they don't charge sellers a listing fee, and just by looking at the items for sale on the site I can see this. There were over 35,000 items that came up in my search for Israel stamps. It took a while, but I looked at all of them. This was made easier by the fact that I could see 500 per page, and the site loaded fairly quickly. Also, it didn't take long to look at each item because they were mostly uninteresting. I could break the items into 4 large categories.
The first, and largest, was single used stamps that are basically a dime a dozen (and you would be lucky to get that much for them!) Is anyone really looking to buy used definitive stamps at 2-3 cents each? The shipping costs make this a no win situation, even if there were a lot of people who collect this way.
The second category are mint stamps and FDC's listed at full retail price. This was also a fairly large chunk of the listings. I guess when there is no cost to list the items, there is no reason to start the item low and let the market determine the price. Maybe I am spoiled by the prices I can buy items for on E-bay, but I guess this makes more sense for sellers. I just can't see paying 10-15 Euros (almost all the lots were priced in Euros) for an item that catalogs for $15-$20. Once I factored in shipping, I would be paying more than full catalog price. If this was a super fine example of a rare stamp, maybe. But, for an IRC? Yes, it would have removed an item from my want list, but I just can't justify spending that much on it.
The third category is interesting items from sellers who I can't do business with. Admittedly, this is a very small category, but there were a few covers that I was interested in, but the seller would not accept any method of payment I could send. Most of my purchases from E-bay have been done by PayPal, and a few by check. However, there were sellers on delcampe that would only accept a bank transfer, or in Euros (send cash?). If the items were priced better, i may have invested some time in finding a way to make the transaction work, but they were priced right at the limit of what I was willing to pay, and it just wasn't worth it to put in the extra effort.
The fourth category was also the smallest. Items priced well that I needed. There was a single plate block that I placed a bid of $0.40 on. I wish I had found more from the same seller that I needed to amortize the shipping costs across, but I didn't. It is not even a rare plate block, just one that I am missing. Maybe it is even priced at full catalog price, but it was cheap enough that I felt I could bid. I won't be too disappointed if I am outbid, but I would like to win. And the seller even accepts PayPal.
So, out of 35,000+ listings, I found 1 to bid on. Not a good return on the hours of time I spent looking at the site, and not nearly as well as I do on E-bay on a daily basis (I usually find 1-2 items for every 100 that I at least watch).