1000 Markets is gone, sold to the Seattle-based site Bonanza, formerly known as Bonanzle. Sellers on 1KM – a site I profiled here and here in January – were told yesterday, after the Monday sale. Many were gearing up for the holiday season, only to discover their shops were being discontinued, with an option to transfer to Bonanza.
Bonanza’s tag line, “Find everything but the ordinary,” places them somewhere between the handmade marketplaces and eBay. Like 1000 Markets, Bonanza charges no listing fees and takes a modest cut from sales. According to Alexa, Bonanza gets far more traffic than 1000 Markets, ranking 5,661 compared to 1000 Markets’ 105,687. (For comparison, Etsy is ranked 324.) Visitors are mainly women over 35 who browse from home and have incomes over $30,000 – not a bad market, potentially, for jewelry sellers. But not the boutique image 1KM was pushing.
Mark Dorsey, one of the co-founders of Bonanza, spoke to me today about the sale and what it means for 1000 Markets sellers – and other artists looking for options.
So, you’re the proud owners of 1000 Markets.
What does that mean exactly?
Well, we have the potential to have some wonderful vendors join the Bonanza community.
Bonanza seems closer to the eBay model than Etsy or 1000 Markets, no?
When we first launched in June 2008, the majority of people we saw coming to the site were disgruntled eBay users. Ebay went through a lot of changes at the time and we did acclimate the site to cater to the people who were coming to it from eBay.
Are we modeling our site after eBay? I don’t think we are. I think eBay has done a lot of really great things, but I think they’ve done a few things that aren’t so great. And I think we’ve tried to decipher and learn from their mistakes and build on the positive things. The intention was to have a site where you could find everything but the ordinary. We saw that that was a segment of the market that was being under-served.
Amazon is great for electronics and books. eBay has moved away from unique items and caters to larger-volume sellers. At the time, small- to medium-sized sellers of unique items were not being served well and the process of shopping online had become anonymous. Bonanza fills that void for a lot of buyers and sellers.
You have a reputation for friendly customer service, instant messaging with buyers, and being very user-friendly – some of what eBay didn’t have?
Our team of programmers work every day to see how many features and extra buttons we can remove from the site. Our goal is simplicity. We want to create the easiest, cleanest site possible.
On the Etsy forums, some people are saying 1000 Markets, a juried, handmade-only marketplace, is a far cry from Bonanza where, as your website says, “everything is welcome.”
One of the things that I took from the Etsy forums yesterday is it seems there were a lot of people who felt they were losing their identity, with not being a part of 1000 Markets at Bonanza. To that I would say that you have to look at this as a business opportunity. As a business owner, you are responsible for your identity no matter where you are, be it eBay or Etsy or another site.
Bonanza is the type of marketplace where it is what you make of it. So if you want to be an artisan with a specialty handmade item, that’s absolutely possible and encouraged. It’s up to you to make Bonanza what you want it to be for your business. We provide sellers many tools so they can go out and do whatever they want. We encourage creativity with the platform as well.
I know there was nothing you could do about the timing of the sale but I think a lot of 1KM sellers are upset that this happened so close the holiday season. Any suggestions for them?
I would encourage them to come and browse the site. First and foremost, set up an account. It’s quick and easy. Get a feel of the community. Any time a situation like this occurs, there’s going to be people who aren’t very happy. Change is hard – especially when there’s nothing you can really do about it.
But I would encourage them to put personal feelings aside and think about it professionally. As you said, we are going into a holiday season and they are going to need to set up shop and take advantage of other marketplaces because the place they were at is no longer.
We’re going to have a tool within the next 24 to 48 hours that will allow them to migrate their listings over to Bonanza. So we’re going to try to make it as simple as possible for them.
Artfire launched around the same time Bonanzle did, for many of the same reasons – to provide an alternative to eBay and Etsy. What’s your take on Artfire?
I’ve seen their name on auction sites and blogs but I don’t know too much about them.
Where will Bonanza be in another six months?
We’re going to buy Dubai.
Good luck with that!
I’m an extreme optimist. I think we’re going to keep looking into integrating different traffic channels such as Facebook and Twitter. In the past, it’s always been Google, Google, Google. Boy, six months down the road – that’s an eternity in Bonanza time.
You’re obviously getting a lot more traffic than 1000 Markets.
Yes. That’s another positive thing for the community. While 1000 Markets was a clean site, truth told, traffic was very light. At Bonanza we’ve got a good amount of traffic.
For more about how the recent name change from Bonanzle to Bonanza is going to affect that traffic, the site just posted FAQs.