Author Topic: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?  (Read 2072 times)

Offline Fritzkrieg

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Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« on: January 31, 2006, 05:49 PM »
I've had a some request for commissioned Customs lately. But, I have some reservations about making Customs that are for someone else's taste and standards. I like making customs and if I can create a way for my customizing hobby to help pay for it's self, it would only alow me to make more customs. Great right? The only thing is, if I'm making customs on someonelse's dime, I have to cater to their quirks and whims, which could make my hobby not so fun. So, I am Considering Ebay as an option. This way if some one likes a custom they can pick what they feel it's worth and I don't have to worry about unsadisfied clients because they see what's available and choose whether or not they want to purchase it. My question is does this help or hurt our Customizing Community? Please LMk your opinions on this matter.

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Offline Nirvana

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2006, 06:20 PM »
I think it could help. I've seen alot of topics lately about people complaining about their commissions and talking about them. I would definitely say it would help as long as you don't advertise them. If you know what I mean.
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Offline Gregorbian

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2006, 07:44 PM »
Admittedly, at first I thought that selling figures on eBay was a lame way to "make a buck."  That was my initial knee-jerk reaction though.  After thinking about it a bit more, I don't see a problem with selling a customs to recoup expenses and maybe even make a few extra bucks.  Customizing is an expensive hobby and selling some on eBay seems like a relatively harmless way to make up for it.

Still, I can't shake the inherent dislike for people that I see that seem to only customize so that they can sell on eBay.  Some of these customs are really good, but I would much rather look at/admire a custom by somebody that I know gives back to the community as opposed to trying to attach themselves to eBay's latest favorite clone fad. 

If a customizer is willing to give back to the community by answering questions, posting recipes, critiquing others' work, etc., then I do not have a problem with them selling their work.  The only way that I feel it would cheapen the hobby would be if somebody was just lifting ideas off of the forums and then pump out half-assed customs with the sole purpose of selling them on eBay.

Of course, that's just my opinion on the matter; everybody is entitled to sell their work for whatever reason ... blah blah ... capitalist society ... they don't need to give back to the community ... blah blah, that's fine. 

Personally, I feel weird whenever somebody asks me for a commission.  I normally turn them down but give them fairly detailed instructions on how I made the figure, in case they want to try it themselves.  I figure it's always better try to convert potential customizers than to just sell them one of my figures.  I've only accepted one commission but I was so stressed out about the quality that it wasn't as much fun as when I make them for myself. 

Again, Fritz, I say go for it.  You definitely contribute a lot to the customizing community and if you need/want to sell some of your excellent customs, do it!

- Just a disclaimer - none of my comments were meant to be or should be taken as an attack on any member here, I was not referring to anybody on JD.com (or any of the other forums that I visit).  All of the members here that I have seen selling stuff on eBay definitely contribute tons to the customizing community.
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Offline BrentS

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2006, 08:50 PM »
I've been on both sides of this issue.  I've sold a lot of customs (mostly all clones) on eBay.  I did this so that I could help pay for my Star Wars habits.  It was also a good way to get into the hobby, make a few mistakes and recoup some of my costs.  I'm finding out that customizing as a hobby is as expensive (if not more than) my previous collecting habits.  So anything I can do to defer the costs are good. 

Unfortunately, most of my collections exist in rubermaid tubs in my basement, so I don't really get to enjoy my customs as much as I'd like.  Therefore, in some aspects, customs that I've made a sold are probably being enjoyed by others more than myself.  For me the fun part has been making them and not necessarily digging them out of the basement to look at them.

However, now that I'm more a part of this community (albeit a very new member) and as I've been branching out more with my customs (e.g. group projects) I find myself with mixed feelings.  Some of the my newer customs I do for me and do not think I would sell.  However, to be honest, I do think that I could make some again (in duplicate) and sell.

Offline Jesse James

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2006, 09:05 PM »
I'll chime in that I don't PERSONALLY agree with selling customs.  If we're talking ethics, it's simply an act that is infringing against another's intellectual property for profit which isn't "right" I guess...  I don't personally care if people do though, if they are good members of the customizing community, as Gregorbian more or less stated.  That to me is where selling customs becomes an irritant in my eyes and where I simply lose respect for the customizer.

When I was at C3, the www.FFURG.com booth busted ass to make this hobby better and show it off to a broader audience.  There were a few people in the group who were camped out at the booth the majority of their weekend there, and they were doing that to simply better this hobby and get new people into it...  They were representing this niche of Star Wars collecting to the mass Star Wars fandom community.  You have to respect that, and that they did this on their time and their dime at the show.

And there's lots of guys who post their wares and share all their knowledge (recipes, techniques, tips, etc.) in all the various forums.  The customizing community goes beyond one forum that way, and it's a big positive...  However, like all hobbies there's people in there who really simply use the forums as a means of advertisement, which I don't care for on any site much less the two I work at to keep clean of this behavior...  If you're only here to show your stuff and ask people how many they want to buy, you're not part of the community.  You're a bootlegger, plain and simple, and I can't see anything to contradict that.

If you're here to share though, and perhaps sell stuff (from your own site), well that's your thing...  And you are at least giving back by sharing how you did this or that, what your recipes are, what your tools you use are, etc...  That's a positive.  That doesn't make customizing sales "right" in my eyes as it is something that can be ceased if Hasbro wanted to...  Hell they came down on Lego even, haha, but they've also swept through Ebay when they've felt like raising a stink...  That's just my personal stance, I don't hold it against people on a personal level though so long as they are the kind of people who really give back to the hobby.  I respect that...  People who share knowledge, ideas, or help are always good to have in the hobby, so that's cool.

I think if you want to Ebay some things Fritz, I wouldn't personally disrespect you for it...  I don't agree with it, but I also think you're pretty good in this hobby overall and you are helpful and add to the hobby.  Even if I don't agree with you deciding to sell some stuff, I still think you're a good guy in the hobby and am glad to always check out what you make and I know you'll reply to any critiques or questions with positive thoughts.  That's good man.

I hope that covers my opinion well enough without it being offensive or anything.  

Oh, and there's also a secondary circumstance where you sell customs due to necessity.  Sometimes you just NEED money...  At that point I still hold firm to my belief it's not ethically "right", but at the same time I think when you have to do what you have to do to survive or whatnot, you may as well sell...  Though I think when people get to a point they can't afford to live as they want to live and feel they "need" to sell this or that...  I think it's time to re-estimate financial sitautions, budgets, etc...  I'm not sure "funding" the hobby is such a great excuse since this is the same argument I see scalpers make about collecting...  "Well I'm a collector and I only sell stuff so I can fund my hobby of collecting..."  Well yeah, but that's still scalping (just making a general argument with this point).  I'm not sure I agree then that you NEED to fund a hobby by selling customs, but again like I said, if you're adding to the community, if you're free with knowledge and tips...  This changes my opinion some.  I still view custom sales as not overall "good" or positive for the hobby, and customizing sales are what  I believe has led to bootlegging, recards, frauds...  Vintage collectors have often looked down on customizers for that reason and they have some basis for this.

At the same time though, as I said, good people in the hobby are appreciated irregardless of what they do with their customs generally.  It's at least someone trying to build the community upward, instead of just taking from it what they can and not giving anything back.  That's my stance on it...  It's an old debate.  I remember arguing this back in the 90's during the old listserver days, haha.  It's been around as long as this hobby's had any sort of organization to it.
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Offline CHEWIE

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2006, 09:09 PM »
I say go for it Rob.  I've made a few commissions for people, and most of them have run smooth, but I don't particularly enjoy doing it.  I just always feel that the person has expectations that I can't meet.  I would rather make a custom the way I like, and if I decided to part with it, offer it either here or on ebay.  I know that Owen D. recently went through a living hell with someone commissioning a project... I don't know how he does it!  

So, in a nutshell, you are a very respected person in this community, always offer advice and input, etc.  So go for it.  If anyone looks down on you for it, well that's their opinion, but I say you have every right (and you can PM me the links).

 :P

Offline PenDragon

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2006, 09:35 PM »
For a different angle, and on a rather introspective (or perhaps just selfish) note:

(And I only offer the following from personal experience...)

If you view your custom as a labor of love (cheesey, I know), or as a work born of your creativity (which is what I define as art), then ANY time you take money for it, you RISK compromising yourself, your works, and your creativity. 

But if you are stong in your LOVE of this hobby as a creative outlet, if the draw comes from the challenge, or art of it, then you're not taking too much of a risk.

Far beyond any thoughts about legality or creative 'property,' what concerns me most as an (self-proclaimed) artist is WHY I do what I do.  I enjoy making visual representaions of what goes on in my head. I do it for ME.

If someone feels that my work is good enough to trade their hard earned money for, if they feel that the work that they do in life, to get that money, is worth trading for my art so that they can look at as often as they please, then so be it.

I may not 'own' it anymore, but it's still MINE. I created it.  It is something new that I brought into the world that did not exist before. Even if it's someone else's design, even if it sucks, that's good enough for me.

But if you start cutting corners and stop putting your best care and creativity into your work, when you almost mass produce things just so you can turn a buck, you become no better than Hasbro or a scalper. That's the only difference, that I can see, between a wally wolrd factory and a craftman, (or between a Scalper and a collector who helps out other collectors).

Both create. Both sell a product. But only one loves thier work and can be truely proud of it and of themselves.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2006, 10:12 PM by PenDragon »

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2006, 11:32 PM »
PenDragon, that's a damn good explanation.  I like it.  So was Jesse's and everyone else's opinion.

Rob, I think you have the green light from the gang here.  The best thing about it is that you have the respect for everyone here as you mentioned it here, asking our opinions.

 :P

Offline Ruprecht

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2006, 11:40 PM »
Sell, sell away! 

I've thought about doing that with some of mine, to get extra dough to pay for various things, including bills and more sw figures, but I haven't as of yet been able to part with them.  Not because of any ethics concerns, but due to how much I like them and how much time went into them I can't justify it.

If I need extra money, it's worth more to me to just work a couple more hours a week.  Whereas, for me to sell a quality product that I consider worthy of resale, it takes at least 5-10 hours to get it right.  If I make 50 bucks including shipping off of 1 custom figure (that's a very high price for 1 figure on ebay, by the way), once I account for time taken both to acquire the figure, materials, packing materials, and actually create the figure --- I've made at best 8 bucks an hour if it only took 5 hours to make it. 

I could cut down on costs by "mini mass producing" figures, but that would just turn the hobby I love into a job I hate.  I would also have to reduce the quality of work that I put into each one, which I just CAN'T do.  I'd make more money working at 7-11 part-time, anyway.

Offline jokabofe

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #9 on: February 1, 2006, 12:16 AM »
Personally, I am against the selling of customs on ebay as a way to fund your hobby. It's the same as scalping, if that's why you're going it. You're basically taking advantage of people who can't sculpt/paint/etc - the same way scalpers take advantage of people who can't find new toys. Now I know that some of you will disagree with that outlook, but that's my opinion.

Now, you may think that this next statement contradicts what I just said: I don't see a problem with taking commisions from people to make specific figures. How is that any different, you may ask? I look at it like this: I make a Clone, because Clones are hot, and I put it up on ebay, and hope that the bidding goes up as high as it can. Like I said, basically the same thing as scalping - find hot figures, put them up on ebay, make money.

When a person contacts you about making a specific figure for them, first of all it is a customer who contacts you, not you making something to see how much you can get for it. You're also going to give that person a price before starting to create the figure. And if that person is okay with that, then that's okay.

To me, it's just too very different things.

However, if you have been customizing for a while, and just need to get some of your older works and want to put them on ebay, I don't see a problem with that. I know it sounds like I'm contradicting myself here by saying what I'm saying, but it makes sense to me  :P

Offline TR1ER

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #10 on: February 1, 2006, 02:31 AM »
Do it man what better way to restock on your supplys and support your hobby that you love so much. this way when you buy $60.00 star wars toys with the money that you made from a custom you don't feel so bad.  ;D
« Last Edit: February 1, 2006, 03:05 AM by TR1ER »
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Offline Ryan

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #11 on: February 1, 2006, 03:00 AM »
As usual Jesse seems to have taken the words right out of my mouth. :P I agree wholeheartedly with him. Especially when it comes down to the Scalping vs. Selling cstoms argument. I understand that someimes you need to sell one or two because you no longer have room for them or you no longer really like them, or I guess if some major finacial crissis came up. I'm not a fan of people who make figure just to sell them though, even if you say "But it is just to fund my hobby." As Jesse and Dave have already pointed out, that is the exact same argument. And from what little time I spent at the FFURG booth at C3 I saw all the effort Jason, Doug, Tim, Ash, and all the other guys put in. It was really cool to see guys that loved their hobby so much and were willing to spend so much time and effort trying to get other people involved.

That being said there are almost always exceptions to the rule. When CHEWIE sold some of his customs a little while back I wasn't in the least bit offended, he is such a great guy to have in this community and has done so much for it, and the figures were sold in lots of 5 for $25, he probably lost a lot of money, and that is based solely on parts and supplies, He had a good reasons to sell them though, so I have no reason to hold that against him.

Do it man what better way to restock on your supplys and support your hobby that you love so much. this way when you buy $60.00 start wars toys with the money that you made from a custom you don't feel so bad. ;D

As Jesse has already pointed out, I really don't see how this helps the hobby, in fact it probably hurts it, as well as collecting in general, a la the recards and repos. Like Dave said it really is taking advantage of those who can't paint.

BTW what are "start wars" toys? ;)
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Offline TR1ER

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #12 on: February 1, 2006, 03:06 AM »
As usual Jesse seems to have taken the words right out of my mouth. :P I agree wholeheartedly with him. Especially when it comes down to the Scalping vs. Selling cstoms argument. I understand that someimes you need to sell one or two because you no longer have room for them or you no longer really like them, or I guess if some major finacial crissis came up. I'm not a fan of people who make figure just to sell them though, even if you say "But it is just to fund my hobby." As Jesse and Dave have already pointed out, that is the exact same argument. And from what little time I spent at the FFURG booth at C3 I saw all the effort Jason, Doug, Tim, Ash, and all the other guys put in. It was really cool to see guys that loved their hobby so much and were willing to spend so much time and effort trying to get other people involved.

That being said there are almost always exceptions to the rule. When CHEWIE sold some of his customs a little while back I wasn't in the least bit offended, he is such a great guy to have in this community and has done so much for it, and the figures were sold in lots of 5 for $25, he probably lost a lot of money, and that is based solely on parts and supplies, He had a good reasons to sell them though, so I have no reason to hold that against him.

Do it man what better way to restock on your supplys and support your hobby that you love so much. this way when you buy $60.00 start wars toys with the money that you made from a custom you don't feel so bad. ;D

As Jesse has already pointed out, I really don't see how this helps the hobby, in fact it probably hurts it, as well as collecting in general, a la the recards and repos. Like Dave said it really is taking advantage of those who can't paint.

BTW what are "start wars" toys? ;)

What are you talking about? ;D
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Offline aeseven7

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #13 on: February 1, 2006, 03:42 AM »
Its always interesting when one of these 'selling on eBay' threads pops up and to see what everyones thoughts are on said topic.

I like to think I'm a pretty open person, I may feel and think one way but if someone comes along with a better way to see something, if its a sound reason theres always the chance I might change my stance.  what I'm wondering is if those that are against selling on eBay can help me by guiding me through your line of thinking.

From what I understand (and have gathered from these posts), those that sell on eBay are taking advantage of those who can't paint.  By that line of reasoning, aren't any sculptor/painter/carpenter etc etc taking advantage of others that can't do what they do? 

I don't fully understand the scalper/eBay custom seller comparison either:(  So someone who goes out and buys a base figure, spends any amount of time on that custom sculpting/painting/carding it, photographs it, puts it on eBay and sells it is the same as the loathesome scalper who goes and buys every single SA Clone Trooper when they first come out so they can go online and make a $10-20 profit?

I can see the individual customizers decision not to sell their work because its either made for them, or it has sentimental value, etc etc.  but i struggle with the line of reasoning that flat out says that selling on eBay is bad and shouldn't be done under any circumstances. 

What is the REAL problem people have with selling customs on eBay?  Chewie, whom I respect a GREAT deal not only for his artistic ability but also his insightful comments on all customs he posts on, has listed customs on eBay.  I haven't read one post that condemns what he did, it actually seems to get justified because his customs either sold for under $30 or he chose to sell them for less.  I may be WAY off base here, (and i probably am lol) but it seems like an underlying tone is that its NOT ok to sell customs if you're getting a lot for them. . .but if you sell them for cheap than its ok, you're not ripping anyone off.

Again, i mean no disrespect to ANYone on these forums, I'm only trying to look for others to help me see their point of view.

Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #14 on: February 1, 2006, 10:27 AM »
I've got to agree with Jesse and add that I personally don't think its worth selling customs on ebay. The amount of money I've received in the past just doesn't justify the work and hassle of ebay to me. Besides, the only thing that seems to sell well there is clones and I'm not going to make a clone just to cash in. I don't need the little bit of money I'd make from the sale of customs to make it worth it.

I would however love to have at least one custom made by each person that posts here. I've collected a number of customs over the years made by online friends that I admire their work. I think I would rather offer up some customs here to people at a cheap price (say $5)  to free up shelf space for future customs.
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