Author Topic: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?  (Read 2352 times)

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #15 on: February 1, 2006, 10:52 AM »
Well, I've read most of what you have all said and you all have good points.  I don't have a problem with somebody selling anything on ebay.  I don't really like seeing people make stuff soley to do that, but if you are going to say that's wrong, then you should be against artists selling their work too.

Anyways, I've sold lots of figures on here of custom figures averaging out at just $5.00 - I've lost my ass on them but thought it best to try and do that rather than risk someone going bonkers on me for selling something on ebay.  I've only done it to clear out some older stuff, not to make a profit.  And the custom lots that didn't sell, I ended up putting them on ebay, and sold most of them for twice or more than what my asking price here was...

Just go for it Fritz.  People are going to have different opinions, some are going to say go for it, others will label you as whatever they want.  It's great that you asked this question here, but ultimately it's your choice.  And it's not the same as scalping to me; it's not like you went to all the Walmarts in your area and grabbed every AT-AT driver and then put them on ebay.  Which, even if you did do that it's your God given right.

 :P

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #16 on: February 1, 2006, 12:17 PM »
Capitalism

An economic system based on a free market, open competition, profit motive and private ownership of the means of production. Capitalism encourages private investment and business, compared to a government-controlled economy. Investors in these private companies (i.e. shareholders) also own the firms and are known as capitalists.

In such a system, individuals and firms have the right to own and use wealth to earn income and to sell and purchase labor for wages with little or no government control. The function of regulating the economy is then achieved mainly through the operation of market forces where prices and profit dictate where and how resources are used and allocated. The U.S. is a capitalistic system.

 :P

Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #17 on: February 1, 2006, 03:16 PM »
Capitalism
 The U.S. is a capitalistic system.

Depending on the type of industry, that statement is debatable.
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Offline Fritzkrieg

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #18 on: February 1, 2006, 03:58 PM »
Thanks for all the Great feed back guys. But I think some of you have missed my point. I don't belive I could ever possibly fund my hobby by selling Custom on ebay. I am an Army Builder and Spend Thousands of dollars every year on My Legions of Various troopers. I have been contacted by several members of our Custom Community about Commissioned Customs. But, the customs they are interested in are not simple repaints, they are time Consuming very detailed pieces of work. I would love to make everyone happy including myself. But commission Work is done on someonelse's dime and therefore the pressure of getting the Job done to their satisfaction takes the fun out of the Hobby I love. I thought ebay would be a better option because I could offer these customs up for sale to people whom  asked for them without dealing with the preasures of putting a Dollar figure on your Art, or being told to revise it because your client is not happy with the results. And if the Sale of one Customs allows for me to Pay for the Material Cost of two or three Other customs a lot of the Guilt of spending Money on plastic toys is lifted off of my shoulders.
« Last Edit: February 1, 2006, 04:01 PM by Fritzkrieg »
Fritzkrieg

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #19 on: February 1, 2006, 04:40 PM »
Fritz, I think I understood your point.  That's why I rarely do commissions either.  Ebay is such a better route for someone like myself, or making something and then putting what I think is a fair price - not starting something from scratch based on a request from somebody.  This thread right here illustrates why I don't do commissions -

super-long-link to the thread

I think that anyone thinking you were trying to do this to help pay for your hobby or make a lot of money missed the point like you said.

 :P

edit: had to fix that super-long-link! Jeff[/color]
« Last Edit: February 1, 2006, 05:23 PM by Jeff »

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #20 on: February 1, 2006, 05:31 PM »
I've sold customs on eBay before.   :-[

Like CHEWIE, I didn't do it to make money (and I didn't make much around $5 a fig or less).  I just wanted to get rid of a few of my older/simpler/boring customs.  I got rid of figures that I had better verions of, figures I no longer wanted, and such.  I needed to make some room for new stuf I was working on and to make some money so I could make it to C3.

I don't think that anyone should set out to make selling customs on eBay their main business - it takes something away from the hobby.  But, occasionally selling stuff that you no longer want/need to generate some cash (which will no doubt be spent on more fodder for future customs)?  Seems OK to me.

I guess it's all about the intent of the sale - kinda like Dave said.  If you are doing it simply to make money, almost like it's your business, then it just doesn't feel right.
 
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Offline CHEWIE

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #21 on: February 1, 2006, 06:02 PM »
Thanks for fixing that link for me Jeff.  It was extremely long and annoying and I couldn't get it to link right on my own.

I really don't like when some people make stuff just for the sole purpose of selling it... but I guess in a way I do, as Owen D. makes commissions for me quite a bit, and commissions are most of his income from what I understand.

 :P

Offline Darth_Ennis

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #22 on: February 1, 2006, 06:18 PM »
Though I have never sold any of my customs on ebay, I cant say weather I would or not. I have done a few comissions, but those were just for freinds, and though they offered me money to do so I didn't accept it. Personally, I dont see it as being wrong to put something youve made up for auction. I think it helps others who aren't as talented get something they will really enjoy.

I actually enjoy doing these and thats why I do it. Simply churning out customs for the sake of profit is not the way I would go. It would then become more of a job, and the joy just wouldn't be there for me anymore.

This is going to sound cheezy as hell, but as long as you can do this and still look in the mirror it shouldn't be a problem.

But thats just me. :P

Offline BrentS

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #23 on: February 1, 2006, 06:20 PM »
I’ve been thinking about this question a lot since I posted my response last night and I wanted to clarify a few things.  First, although I’ve said that I have sold customs on eBay as a source of “funding the hobby” I don’t customize just to make money.  If you break down the time it takes to make a custom figure and the resources that goes into it, you are making on the order of something like $5/hour for your efforts.  There are much easier ways I could  earn $5/hour.  So I agree that customizing is not going to pay for all the bills.  However, I agree with Fritz’s last point in that you can earn enough to pay for supplies for 2 or 3 more figures. 

I don’t know everyone’s personal situation but I have a wife and two kids.  My wife thinks my Star Wars “thing” is crazy and couldn’t possible understand why I would want to buy so many toys.  “You need how many of those white colored toys?”  So if I can sell a couple of custom figures to help me buy more toys, it keeps her off my back (at least for the time being).  So in that essence, I’ve used customs to help “fund the hobby.”

Another point that was raised was does selling customs hurt the hobby in general?  Until I saw custom figures on eBay, I didn’t even know there was this phenomenon of customizing toys.  I was floored by the high quality of work that I saw there.  As I did more research on some SW fan sites, I found out more information about this customization hobby.  I attended C3 (my first fan convention) last year and one of the booths I wanted to see the most was the FFURG customs booth and NiubNiubs diorama area.  I was only able to go to C3 for 1 day and I brought my 6 old son with me to soak it all in.  He was a real trooper (no pun intended, he actually dressed like a Jedi) but he didn’t have the patience to allow me to sit down and create my little piece of the death star.  I did however stand at the FFURG booth and do my first ever custom figure (head swap on an Endor Rebel Soldier), nothing fancy but I was hooked.

So far for me, the fun part has been in actually creating the customs.  As I’ve said before, I don’t have an ideal place to display the customs, so many of my best figures are just sitting in my basement.  So for know, the fun I have is in the creation of a toy that isn’t already available or improving on one that is.

Like I said before, I’m new to this community, I’ve only been posting here for about a month.  I used to only get my custom “fixes” on another SW website and quite frankly, that site wasn’t very active on the customs front.  I love all the work that I see here and I really enjoy the group that I’ve started to interact.  I hope to continue to be regular.  Even if I’m “one of those guys”, I’d like to think that I contribute the hobby as a whole even if I ask more questions than provide answers.  I certainly hope that people are not shunned for selling customs on eBay.  Don’t get me wrong; in reading through the responses to this thread, I don’t get that feeling.  I would certainly agree with the majority that if people just started posting their customs in attempt to attract business on eBay, then that is likely detrimental to the community overall. 

Offline Darth Delicious

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #24 on: February 2, 2006, 12:57 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.

I like you, jokabofe, but that's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. If I paint a custom and I put it on E-Bay starting at a reasonable price, and the bidding goes crazy, I not only deserve every penny of what I get for it, but I have in no way "taken advantage of people who can't sculpt, paint etc." I have created a piece of art...and if someone wants to pay me $100 for it, I've taken advantage of no one... I didn't force anyone to buy anything. Someone decided it was worth the price paid to have it. The market has decided the value of the item.

Furthermore, when it comes to "scalping..." while I think it's sleazy, I don't think anyone is being taken advantage of. It's not like someone buying all the food in a starving town and charging people ungodly prices for the basic survival necessities. It's a hunk of plastic, for god's sake...and you don't NEED it, and you're certainly not entitled to it just because you like it. You don't want to pay more than retail for a Commander Cody? Then get out there and find one at retail. Trade someone who has it. Get it from a friend on the boards who has two. But is John Q. Scalper gets to the store and all five are on the hook and he buys them, well, that's his right. You should have beaten him to them.

By your definition everyone who sold customs on Ebay a few months back for charity "took advantage of someone" even though it was for a good cause.

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Offline JesseVader08

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #25 on: February 2, 2006, 01:52 AM »
OK, so I'm very new to the world of customs, but my opinion is much the same as many others have stated.  Why are you selling customs?  Is it purely to make money?  Not so cool.  Is it simply because you've gotten bored of the ones you have, or want to make room for other customs you love to make, or even a way to challenge yourself to make the best possible item you can?  Cool by me.  I don't really see selling customs as scalping.

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.

I like you, jokabofe, but that's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.

Furthermore, when it comes to "scalping..." while I think it's sleazy, I don't think anyone is being taken advantage of. ... You don't want to pay more than retail for a Commander Cody? Then get out there and find one at retail. Trade someone who has it. Get it from a friend on the boards who has two. But is John Q. Scalper gets to the store and all five are on the hook and he buys them, well, that's his right. You should have beaten him to them.

Nope, that's a hell of a lot more ridiculous.  While I disagree with Dave that selling customs is like scalping, I find your support of scalping quite disturbing.  Scalpers take figures out of the hands of others who simply want to pay a retail price for a figure they like.  Why should they have to go to the store every morning at 7am to beat John Q. ******* Scalper simply to get one without having to pay a higher price?  Absolute hogwash.

Offline jokabofe

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #26 on: February 2, 2006, 02:09 AM »
I had an entire, long winded response to your post typed out, but then decided against posting it. I'll just post this instead:

By your definition everyone who sold customs on Ebay a few months back for charity "took advantage of someone" even though it was for a good cause.

No. If you read my post, you would see that it says "Personally, I am against the selling of customs on ebay as a way to fund your hobby." How did my selling a custom clone on ebay a few months back, and donating ALL (i.e. 100%) of the auction end price to the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief help me fund my hobby? It didn't.

Offline Darth Delicious

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #27 on: February 2, 2006, 04:20 AM »
No, but by your own definition, the mere act of selling your custom meant the buyer (who may or may not have had any interest on where the proceeds went) was being taken advantage of by you, simply because he did not posess the skill to make the custom himself.

Your argument impunes the entire act of anyone selling anything, despite what caveats you might add. The supermarket takes advantage of me because I can't grow and harvest my own vegetables. Clothing stores take advantage of people who have no skill with the loom.

And JesseVader...nowhere did I say I support scalping or like it in the least. As a matter of fact, I made it clear I don't support scalping because I get out there off my ass and find what I want at retail. I just don't have the same crybaby mentality about it that most collectors seem to. You know why you should get up at 7 a.m. and get to the store to beat the scalpers? BECAUSE you want it at a fair price. If you choose not to do that, then you take your chances that you might not get what you want. You've made the choice that sleeping in is more important than you getting a figure you seek. The "scalper" made the opposite decision. Early bird gets the worm. Or do you feel that the world owes you plentiful figures on the hooks to be purchased at your leisure?

That would be nice, but so would having a little leprechaun that lives on our knee that occasionally reached up and patted us on the ass, making money magically come out of our mouth. It's just not reality.  ;)

You say scalping "takes figures out of the hands of people who simply want to pay a retail price for the figures they like." Only if the scalper grabs it out of your hands after you found it on the shelf. If he got there first, he's entitled to buy whatever he wishes and you have no claim on it. Obviously, this doesn't include guys who pay employees to hold stuff for them so it never sees the shelf, and underhanded practices like that. But if it is on the shelf, it's fair game.

I find it funny collectors dare to take the high and mighty moral ground, when it could just as easily be said that children should not have to go without finding their favorite characters because men in their twenties and thirties feel the need to collect children's playthings. How many children have you deprived of even being able to get one clone because you were building an army?

You may not like it, (I don't like it much myself) but that's life and it doesn't owe any of us anything. You want something? Then be willing to work for it.

The funny thing is, I don't sell customs on E-Bay myself (except for the charity auction we did) mostly because I am far too attached to what I make. I do commissions for people, but I try to do it in trade for figures to increase my collection/fodder box because although I see nothing wrong with it, I'm personally uncomfortable setting a dollar amount on my work.

And I'm not slamming you guys too hard for feeling differently (well, not MUCH anyway  ;D ) because I really do understand where you're coming from. Awhile back I thought Kryart was a jerk because my perception of him was that he just posted his admittedly amazing work to get more people to check out his auctions. However, I have since not only revised my opinion of him as he has become a more active member of our community, but also because it's none of my damn business, and I realized I was sitting in judgement not because of anything he did, but because I was acting holier than thou.

Bottom line, Fritzkrieg...you have the right to make whatver you want and get whatever the market will bear. Just be prepared for the holier than thou hobby nazis to pass judgement on you for it for not being as pure as they.  ;D


-DD
« Last Edit: February 2, 2006, 04:36 AM by Darth Delicious »
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Offline CHEWIE

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #28 on: February 2, 2006, 11:16 AM »
Well I hope this doesn't turn into any bad blood brewing, but it's clear that some of us have very different views on this.  Kinda like politics!   ;D

I must say though, that I agree anyone has a right to sell any item they own, buy whatever they want, etc.  I dont' support scalping, but I don't worry about it.  The stuff is out there if I want to find it.  I've been beaten by scalpers to items before, but I've beaten them too, and have bought new figures to trade - and I know people do that too (isn't that in a way scalping, getting new figures for trade bait to get the figures you need??).

Anyways, there is a moral high ground that I know we try to achieve in a collecting community, but I do get pretty tired of people looking down on others just because they may not do things the same way.  I believe in 'collect to collect' but some seem to think you are breaking some sort of law if you sell *anything* on ebay, buy a new figure that you don't really need, and some even get mad when others open or don't open their figures.  Just differences of opinion... all different scenarios but still linked as these things always spark debate among collectors.  And I find it interesting that the people in this section who post here a lot and show a lot of our work seem to have a different view than those that pop in occasionaly with a comment or the rare custom to show.

Kind of a funny story at least in my opinion... on Monday, I was at a local Walmart on my lunch break.  I found an AT-AT Driver, Veers, and a Snowtrooper, left the rest.  Just wanted another of each to open.  While I was standing in line, some guy rushes up to me (saw him take about 10 big strides to get to me) - he jumps in my face and starts asking me questions -

(1) Do you collect those?  - Duh
(2) How much are those worth?  - $5.88 each...
(3) What are you going to do with them?  - Open them...
(4) You open them?  - Yeah...
(5) Why? - Because they're toys!

With that, he had the most confused look on his face that I've seen on a person in a long time... I felt like slapping some sense into him.  But I just paid for my figures and told him to have a nice day.

My point is, sometimes there are people out there who don't understand your point of view.  Maybe he was a scalper, maybe he was someone who likes to keep things carded, maybe he was just curious, or he may have been a lunatic, hell if I know.

But again, sometimes people have differences in opinion.  While some of us disagree with what others are saying, we should respect each other's opinions.

 :P

Offline Master_Phruby

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Re: Ethics of selling Customs on ebay?
« Reply #29 on: February 2, 2006, 11:55 AM »
The guy sounds mentally ill. What a bizarre story. 
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