Mainly angry eBayers desperate for an auction site that is inexpensive to use and treats members fairly have been referred to OLA via eBay's own chat boards. If you Google-search "online auction alternative" or even "online auction site", which the average Joe may type in, you will not find Onlineauction.com. OLA is specifically found ONLY if "Online Auction" is typed, which is a very poor SEO practice--but, I suspect, done completely on purpose. Read on to see what I mean.
The OLA site itself is barely functional and user-friendly, and the owner, Chris Fain, refuses to add Google feeds so OLA is easily recognized on the 'net. The home page is updated many times more than the numerous site 'glitches' get resolved. For the money you pay ($8/month), not only do you merely buy a cobweb-laden storage area for your items with no lookers/buyers, but you have to perform heavy--HEAVY-- marketing, advertising, and manually adding your items to Google---for OLA, not for your OWN items, like it may seem. Widely suggested advertising measures include handing out flyers at your local mall, displaying a banner should you sell your wares at a local flea market, donating $10 toward advertising in an unknown antique collector-driven publication (this suggestion has failed to come to fruition numerous times), putting an ugly sticker on your car, and mailing out postcards. (This method is unclear: to whom are these postcards sent? Anyway, I digress.)
Yes, you pay $8 a month for no fees at all--that's true. It's what is LEFT OUT of the policy that is very deceptive.
The 196.00 'Founding Membership' allows you a 'store' and a hundred or so dollars in useless bonus features to get your items recognized (ie, credits used to advertise your items in a rotation on the home page which isn't recognized by Google anyway).
Message board Moderators are OLA "cheerleaders" who are quick to ban anyone--even members who paid for the 'Founding Membership'-- and kick them off the site--for telling the truth for exposing what OLA is: a SCAM. However, cheerleaders have a different name for the truth: 'negativity'. Say anything that the mods construe as 'negativity', and you're gone. Really helpful tips on getting Google recognition have been provided by members who ended up being ousted from the site for no known reason, and all their informative chats were removed. By constantly scrubbing the boards, OLA always provides a "clean slate" for new, unsuspecting victims visiting the chats.
There's a particularly well-known cheerleader on the chat boards who is extremely overbearing, condescending, and argumentative toward members who have legitimate concerns regarding low or no sales, lame advertising, and the dwindling hope of site improvements ever taking place at OLA. It does not take long to figure out who it is. Once you get on her bad side, your reputation is forever tainted.
Fain wants OLA to stay the way it is: unknown. Why shouldn't he? After all, he pushes members to recruit new affiliates, and the recruiters in turn receive a 36.00 cut in the process (see the obvious ploy clearly displayed on their home page at www.onlineauction.com), while the remaining 100.00 or so (after paying for possible office space as well as the highly incompetent staff) is pocketed by Fain, or used to make exorbitant purchases on things such as a huge, gas-guzzling bus for his family outings (Fain calls it "advertising" because OnlineAuction.com is emblazoned on each side of the vehicle).
The cheerleaders are constantly on the lookout for someone new who enters the chat with questions on how to get buyers on OLA since sales are very poor. Then the cheerleaders swoop in. It is a hideous thing to witness. They will urge you to play "games" several days a week to "get your items recognized" by others. Fact is, people who sign up for the games actually feel OBLIGATED to buy from another seller who has signed up. Also, buyers (who are other OLA sellers) will haggle over shipping charges, get something for nothing, then resell the item on eBay for a profit. But hey, somebody made a 'sale' on OLA, right? Even if you practically gave your widget away.
There are only several "game players"--the same small clique (somewhere between 6-10 members) you see on the chat boards day after day, week after week, month after month. The "super-friendly and helpful cheerleaders". The ones who basically jockey for the 36.00 they receive when the unsuspecting victim pays that hefty 196.00 fee.
The cheerleaders act excited at the weekly 'OLA radio show' where the host, Dave White, is not only absolutely grating to the ears, but no legitimate member issues are addressed directly--ESPECIALLY when Fain himself is the 'guest speaker'. Expect a whole lotta nothing except the host's constant stammering, pushing you to sell Founding Memberships, and more of the same broken promises for an hour or two. (Warning: Prolonged exposure will induce severe retching and extreme nausea.)
The latest 'OLA radio news', 1/9/09: Data feeds will be added. Fain has supposedly been in charge of OLA for about 5 years, and feeds STILL are not in place? We have to hear this BS yet AGAIN?
When you are constantly told, month after month, to wait for the same old promises to be fulfilled for site improvements/recognition, next thing you know another year comes and 96.00 is taken out of your bank account, each year thereafter. Once you sign up as a Founding Member for 196.00, you have only FIVE DAYS to change your mindclearly not enough time to list your widgets and test drive your store. If a sale is made in that ridiculously unreasonable time frame, it's more than likely from a "nice, welcoming cheerleader"--or Fain himself. Then you're sucked in for the year.
In addition, the countless people canceling their membership in hopes of getting their money back will not only not see one shiny dime, but will continue to have OLA fees automatically charged. Members are then forced to call their credit card issuers to haggle OLA, sometimes repeatedly, for a refund. Several members have had to resort to canceling their credit card altogether to avoid being charged.
STAY FAR, FAR AWAY FROM OLA! Get fewer headaches and more sales by sticking with eBay, no matter how much you hate the idea. After all, 8.00 a month for nothing is still nothing.