Shop at a flea market in Oaxaca, Mexico. Trade with a vendor in London, England. Or sport your wares to collectors in Geneva, Switzerland. You can virtually do just that when you shop or sell goods at an online auction site. You know those global auction Web sites, the ones that allow you to bid on thousands of items against millions of other competitors. Sure, they allow you to expand your world and uncover cool knickknacks from around the world. But these very same sites also open the door to you getting ripped off by someone four thousand miles away. More than 8 billion dollars were spent on auction sites in the last three months of last year, but how many dollars were lost along the way?
Aside from these global auction sites, there are the LOCAL classified sites that are transforming the Web into the spot for neighborhood shopping. These local classified sites offer convenience, selection, and low prices that would expect to find online, along with the safety and privacy of local shopping. Best of all, you can feel good about buying from-and also selling to-your neighbors.
Wheel and deal on collectibles, vintage clothing, sporting goods, even real estate-all with people you know and trust in the comfort and privacy of your living room or study. The benefits of these local classified sites don't stop with these intangibles. They have concrete advantages, such as:
Package deliver in your neighborhood may not be instantaneous, but you definitely won't have to wait two to six weeks if you buy something locally.
You can agree to drop off or pick up the sale item at one of your homes, or meet at a convenient middle-of-the-road spot. You also won't need to worry about finding those shipping peanuts under your couch, your sheets, and in your fridge two months later.
Tracking codes are supposed to help you locate your packages in transit, but sometimes they can be more of a headache-especially when they don't help find your lost package.
A friendly face.
Local classified sites let you meet the person whom you're doing business with. Of course, you control if, when, and where this happens.
The test drive.
Whether you're dealing with a car, a mattress, or a tennis racket, you can actually touch and try out your item before you put down cold hard cash. For sellers with product as promised, that makes closing the deal that much easier.
Local shopping opens up the possibility of refunds and exchanges if you and the person you're doing business agree.
More ample assortment than auctions.
Imagine buying a refrigerator or a couch at an auction site. Then imagine receiving that package at your door! Not very realistic, right? These sorts of purchases and sales, though, become a definite possibility with local online classifieds.
No tax tests.
You open a can of worms buying and selling across national and international borders when it comes to taxes. Who owes what? And whom? Local commerce simplifies the whole issue, if taxes are applicable at all.
A step ahead of scams.
Knowing whom you do business with, face-to-face transactions, simpler lines of communication-these qualities of local classified sites all reduce your risk of getting with shysters and scam artists.
A stronger community.
Shopping around your hometown not only gives you a warm, cuddly sense of community. It also provides the practical economic support that keeps communities and businesses vibrant and healthy.
So there you have it. There are no losers when it comes to online classified sites that allow you to do your shopping locally. Buyers and sellers enjoy an old-fashioned sense of community, while enjoying the high-tech benefits of convenience, safety, and comfort that come with Web shopping. Let those auction risk takers have their Oaxaca, London, and Geneva. You've got your Houston, Texas.
Donald Lee is the public relationship manager for Buysellcommunity.com.
Buysellcommunity provides free classified listing services for individuals and businesses to market their products and services online. Please visit http://www.buysellcommunity.com - Free Buy & Sell Classifieds.