eBay Poland – Buyer beware

Poland has home-grown clones of every internet giant. If you’re Polish the chances are you don’t use Facebook, you use Nasza Klasa; you don’t use Skype, you use Gadu-Gadu; you don’t use Digg, you use Wykop; you don’t use The Onion, you use Polandian*; and you certainly don’t use eBay, you use Allegro.

The phenomenon of nation-specific versions of internet blockbusters has had web gurus scratching their heads for some time now (it’s a phenomenon that is certainly not unique to Poland). After all, every one of these international services allows you to converse, sell, bitch, moan and idly chat in every language under the sun, so why do language-specific clones of these sites do so well in their home countries?

Rather than hurt my brain trying to answer this question I present two examples from eBay Polska that may go some way towards an explanation:

eBay Poland

Not a business I think I’ll bother getting into

eBay Poland 1

…on the other hand

*notice the clever way I associated us with multi-million dollar websites there, that’s what I get paid for… no, wait, that’s not right

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7 thoughts on “eBay Poland – Buyer beware

  1. Bartek says:

    Why do they sell so well? – Cause Poles want something genuine (at least what pretends to be genuine) not imported, besides, the Polish “copycats” who implemented the all-the-rage services from abroad made millions on it.

    I joined facebook in 2007, when it was rather unpopular in Poland and available only in English. Since then the website has sprawled, has translated into Polish and lost its in a way unique feature it used to have in Poland. The evolution of facebook in Poland has got out of hand and I have to say it’s more popular than nasza-klasa among my friends.

    eBay after its spectacular defeat had to pull out of Poland, our market has been occupied by allegro, and as long as it’s a harmless monopoly I have nothing against, everything (maybe not such notes) can be found there – it’s a combination of flea market, supermarket and consignment, beneficial for all users. I’m for example a compulsive buyer of mobile top-ups, which also verges on absurdity – I love the headlines of auctions “50 zł for 44,99 zł” or “30 zł for only 27,77 zł”.

  2. Bartek says:

    Why do we have clones? Because we’re a nation of 40M people and among that number of people you will certainly find some who want to do something.

    Don’t you have clones in US? There are countless digg clones, there were countless social networks. Facebook itself wasn’t the first general purpose social network in the history – you might tell it was “a clone” of something what was before. You really don’t ask why people do websites similar to other websites in US, why don’t they do something totally original and fresh – why should you ask about why they do clones in Poland? It’s absolutely normal.

    And why people here prefer Allegro over eBay? Imagine today someone launches new auction website in US. It’s good, it’s nice, but it doesn’t have a chance to compete with eBay, sorry. It’s the same story. Allegro was made here many years before eBay noticed Polish market. When eBay entered Poland, Allegro was 6 year old and was a brand known by 80% and visited by 60% of total internet users in Poland. eBay didn’t have a chance to compete with Allegro, sorry.

    That’s the way it goes. 40M peoeple means both:
    – there are lot of people wanting to do something
    – the market is big enough for even niche companies to be profitable, not to mention mainstream projects for which this might be a billion-dollar market (Allegro was sold for over $1B last year).

  3. Bartek says:

    And about “weird” prices of banknotes? Well, I’m a banknote collector myself and you need to know that collectible banknotes value has little to do with their face value. If a banknote is in UNC state (just like it came straight from the factory, untouched), a 100 PLN banknote which is worth as 100 PLN in any shop is worth like 120 PLN as a collectible item (if it’s still in UNC condition). The price on your screenshot for 100 PLN is actually quite good.

  4. Pioro-Boncza says:

    I remember when I was studying in the Netherlands there was a NL specific eBay clone called marktplaats.nl . It was terrible, not user friendly (allegro or ebay or lightyears ahead), and the layout sucked. But you could find everything under the sun on it and it was such a hit that eBay also failed to compete head-to-head against marktplaats…so they bought them. Problem solved for eBay :^)

  5. Ania says:

    maybe because e-bay is very expensive? especially since they bought paypal. ebay charges 10% of the price to put sth up and then 10% for the sale, then paypal charges for accepting the money. not worth it.

    allegro, on the other hand, has just introduced free payment system. and it costs one zeta to put something up.

    gadu-gadu is called better. and it’s yellow (was, at least)

    out of those only Facebook is actually better than nasza-klasa, and tha’s because of the messaging system.

  6. Scatts says:

    It’s been niggling at me for a while – why would anyone sell a 100 PLN banknote for less than 100 PLN? Especially if it’s a “collectable” one.

  7. wu/tee says:

    gadu-gadu has one useful feature that skype hasn’t (btw. GG was launched in year 2000 and skype around 2002) – I can send someone a message and the receiver will get it no matter if we’re logged into program or not. I dislike Skype because despite all of its functions or features it requires both sides to be online in order to receive anything. Who had thought that this is a good idea!?

    Facebook – I don’t use it. I have an account at NK, but I barely use it either.

    And Allegro and eBay – I agree with comments above. When eBay came to Poland, Allegro has already been very strong. But I’m happy that eBay came to Poland – I suspect that they had won or will win in no time, despite eBay.pl being less popular than Allegro. Why?

    As for me – I’m shopping a lot at eBay.com. I’ve been doing that for a while: well before the launch of eBay.pl. With introduction of eBay in Poland we gradually gained a lot of useful stuff, both at eBay and – more importantly – Paypal (which I’m using a lot more often than on eBay). Thanks to that Polish buyers can shop and sellers sell worldwide just like other, more developed countries do – with little to no difficulty. I’m quite sure that eBay has been aware of the existence of Allegro, but I think that drawing Poles into a international spiral of e-shopping was beneficial enough to overlook Allegro’s monopoly on local market.

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