Listia Auctions: Your New Addiction

If you haven’t already heard of Listia, let me introduce you to your next obsession.

Listia is a relatively new kind of online auction site — where you bid on other people’s stuff using credits instead of real money.

We make it easy for you to give away stuff you don’t need anymore and get stuff you want in return for free. If you enjoy giving and getting items for free, then you’ll love Listia!

The premise is simple: you list the stuff you don’t want anymore and use the site credits you received from your auctions to buy items from others. And, yes, there are antiques and vintage collectibles at Listia!

This marketplace has a wide variety of items, which means if you collect vintage books but find yourself with unwanted modern paperbacks in that box lot you purchased, you can sell those unwanted paperbacks and use the credits to buy vintage copies — or craft items, or whatever you want.  Most items have free shipping, but those that do require shipping (charges are stated up front), you and the seller arrange payment for — which means you are not held hostage to any payment methods Listia wants.  And there are no listing fees. None. Though there are options for perks, paid with credits, if you’re interested in such things.  I, and most sellers, don’t find them necessary. (But when I get offered a free chance to use them, I take them!)

Along with receiving credits for selling, you also get credits when signing up, for referring friends, and occasionally bonus credits at “random” for doing simple things like visiting the site, listing auctions, bidding, commenting, leaving feedback, etc.

To some, the idea of commerce based on artificial currency seems odd… It’s one thing when using play money in a game or achieving credits in gaming, but using it for tangible goods, for collectibles, seems odd. Or at least less reliable. But Listia thought of that too and uses community and badges to keep things real and safe for commerce. Members can earn badges for validating their accounts, flagging fraud, leaving and receiving feedback, and for other site participation. And money isn’t so different from Listia site credits; it’s just an agreed upon transaction currency.

What’s addictive about Listia, aside from the offerings, is that it’s a more pure form of trading — the credits keep you on budget. You can’t bid (or get the instant gratification of using the Get It Now set price items) unless you have the credits in your account. Ideally, this is how your real world bank account works too *wink* But we all know how easy opting for plastic is… Instead, the premise behind Listia’s marketplace is that you need to sell stuff to get the credits to buy more stuff. This keeps the eye on the physical space issues as well as the finances.

But, if you can’t stay within your budget — especially in the beginning, when you’re waiting for your auctions to bring in your credits — you can get credits by flat-out purchasing them or “earning” them by participating in “special offers.”

I personally dislike the “special offers” route; but the pure paying for credits option brings up the issue of value…

Since credits can be purchased, each credit is worth between three and ten cents a piece. That’s useful to consider not only in terms of bidding (especially if you’re buying credit points), but in terms of pricing your Get It Now listings and auction start prices.  I keep that in mind when listing my items.

Would I be better off listing on eBay or selling in some other marketplace for cash?  Sometimes, sure. But then I wouldn’t have the credits to spend on the goodies I find at Listia. (And I’ve found a great number of things I covet there!)  Sure, I could buy them, but not only does that seem less financially prudent (because some people bid as if the credits have no value and bid really high), but it also seems to miss the real purpose of the game: sell in order to buy.  It makes the thrill of the hunt even more challenging for this collector to stay within the confines of that concept.

Joining Listia is free; and if you’re a Facebook member, you can join with one click.

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Deanna is the founder of Inherited Values, among other sites. She is also an antique dealer.

10 thoughts on “Listia Auctions: Your New Addiction”

  1. I’m sorry, but Listia seems to be 90% people who are ebay’s rejects and 10% decent people with something to offer. I did it for a month and now just have other people’s stuff in my house. Clutter from one house to another really and after watching some of the hoarder shows who knows where this stuff is coming from. They also do not police their people at all. People get away with murder there. They write whatever they want for feedback and can bid without a NAME. I just got ripped off big time by a lady in Georgia because she didn’t have to give her name when she won and the post office could not deliver her mail. The item is lost and Listia Kevin refunded her points…..No more of that stuff…it would never fly on eBAY. It is good for kids looking for condoms (really, not kidding) and people who don’t know value, but with all due respect, it is not worth it. Trust me, I tried.

  2. Well,on Listia you can win things without paying any real money.You use the credits and get free stuff if you’re lucky to win the auction.Sure you can’t win God knows what as you don’t give a single penny but compared to what you give (free credits that they give you once you sign up) you get enough.PLus the number of credits increses if you list auctions which go all the way to free pdfcopies which you can get for free on the internet.I personally have been using it for a couple of months and so far I won several prizes.I just got a package from the USA (I live in Europe).There are always bad people around the world who won’t respond after you win their auction but truest me,those are few on Listia.I do think it’s worth trying it.

  3. Martha, I’m sorry you had bad experiences at Listia. I’ll agree there are bad apples everywhere, online and off, but my experiences have been great with Listia — including how disagreements have been handled. I’ve been dealing online for over 15 years now and find that not every place is for everyone, but don’t let a few bad apples ruin a site for you!

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