It was October 1998, still the early days of the internet. There wasn't much to do online yet except play some games and visit AOL chat rooms. As I said in the previous installment of this saga, I was raising horses and one day out in my arena I heard the news about this thing called eBay going public and hitting some record breaking opening numbers. I went in the house and fired up my super speedy computer (said with dripping sarcasm) to check out this new place on the world wide web.
What you need to keep in mind is this is before the days of digital cameras and all things high tech. Sellers were listing items with descriptions only, no pictures, and things were selling! Feedback could just be left because you liked someone, meaning no transaction had to take place. Scanners were used for a lot of items such as books, ephemera and anything that would basically lay flat. What the scanner really was used for was the photos you would have to take with your 35mm camera.
The photo taking process was one of taking the photos with a film camera and hoping you got the right shots. Then you took your film to be developed, thankfully there were 1 day developers springing up so it wasn't too long of a wait, the standard was 3 days. You then picked up your photos, saw how many blurry or badly cropped pics you took and said ok hope the buyers don't mind! Now you took those pics home and scanned them into your computer in order to get them into your listings.
The really great thing back then is most items sold for crazy money! The reason being, little competition and huge appeal! This opened up the world of in person yard sales and flea markets to anyone pretty much anywhere!
I did a lot of buying in the beginning. I was horse crazy and bought a lot of art, figurines and other collectibles that were horse themed. I don't remember exactly what the first items I sold were, I do know they had something to do with horses. Had I known this wasn't some passing thing that everyone would soon forget about I certainly would have taken a snapshot and preserved the memory!
What happens for horse breeders is starting early in the year we go on this thing called foal watch. This consists of staying up all night keeping an eye on your mares who are getting ready to give birth. You can imagine the amount of purchases made on eBay during this time! This is when I first started selling items. I ran a huge Yahoo group called Foalwatch so I had the perfect place to market the items I was selling.
eBay selling turned weekend yard saling into a whole new adventure! Most people were still very squeamish about using the internet for anything much less selling things. Oh and might I mention there was no Paypal back in the beginning. When you sold something you had to wait for the buyer to mail you a check, wait til the check cleared the bank and then you could ship the item. There was no postal tracking either so you were at the mercy of the person to be honest about when their item arrived. Some crazy stuff when you compare it to where we are today.
Through the years many things changed. Digital cameras were invented and the state of the art was a camera that had a removeable floppy disc! Yes I had one of those Sony Mavicas, still have it! Paypal was born which made receiving payments much faster and easier. Changes have evolved in the postal system, in photography, even in the ways we can list our items now. It's pretty crazy how much has changed and the speed of things now.
Back then I never dreamed I would be teaching others how to navigate eBay. It all started with my mom. The story will continue with how the Danni App was born!...