In a recent survey conducted by ACNielsen International Research, record numbers of entrepreneurs are using eBay ( to supplement or earn their living entirely on the site.

According to the survey, over 724,000 Americans use the site to earn their primary or secondary source of income, and another 1.5 million supplement their income by selling goods and services on the site.

Since 2003, the number of US entrepreneurs making money on eBay has increased by 68 percent. Over 10.6 billion dollars with of merchandise was sold in the first six months of 2005 on eBay.

"In just 10 years, eBay has become the destination for Americans pursuing their visions of entrepreneurship, said Bill Cobb, president of eBay North America.

In a press release on July 20, the company reported a record Q2 net income of over 1 billion dollars, up 40 percent since last year. The company also operates local sites in 24 countries.

The ACNielsen survey also reported that 58 percent of Americans say they have dreamed about starting a business, “and becoming their own boss.

And as that number grows, the number of people who are scammed and ripped off on ebay grows also.

I like to find bargins on ebay, but I am very skeptical. I have heard of too many horror stories of scams and scheisters stealing peoples money on the site. I also hear too much about bid scalping as well. Basically a group gets together, posts auctions, then they all bump the bids until some sucker comes along and gets caught up in the action. If the bid goes to one of those in the group, they just put it down as a sale and repost.

I do personally use eBay quite a bit -- and so far I've been very successful. It's usually not very hard to detect fraud behavior, and even so, its a rare thing.

As much as I hate to admit it, I think eBay corporate has done a very good job cleaning up the site. As long as users act responsibly (don't wire John Doe $1k), eBay is an economical, fun, easy, and quick way to sell and buy some really unique items.

It should be noted however, that eBay bargains are very limited. As the number of dedicated sellers grows (and independent people disappear) -- the prices (with shipping) are higher or comparable to going to your local store -- so for many item's the added risk of using the site just doesn't pay off.

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