Good free online services have their own page
And good places for shopping online have their own page
Please note: The material on this page may be somewhat dated, at 2/18.
Why bother with this page? Why not use Google to find "EVERYTHING"?? Because Google will find everything, and it won't make any editorial comments. And you have to know what to search for. This page presents some things that I, not robot, commend to you.....
The following are services in which I have no interest, apart from being a happy user. Well, unless you count being a minor shareholder in some cases, or places where I have posted "stuff", or participate in affiliate programs. But something gets listed here only if I would recommend a product to my maiden aunt, regardless of any (slight, in every case, except the space I've given Google for their clearly- not- from- me ads) chance of personal gain.
Be careful. Be sure you learn a bit about spyware before you get too adventurous roaming the internet. (I've put together a little introduction to spyware avoidance for you.)
There are many sites which I would list here if I had not already listed them in the page about sites offering "free" services. These sites do offer genuinely useful free services... but they are limited. The same sites offer even better services to those who help them meet their expenses.
The links that follow are to the US site for most of the businesses. If you are in another part of the world, the site may re-direct you automatically, or maybe you'll want to seek out a local version. Sorry... I too resent the US seizing the ".gov" domain for the US government, as if any others were second class. My decision arose from the fact that this page is more likely to be found by a US reader than by anyone else.
1 and 1: (Still a very happy customer at 2/18.) Looking for email, domain registration, or web site hosting? You do, of course, have many, many options... many of them free. I wanted to have a web page at a site with a name of my choosing, and at the time I started, that meant paying someone. I started with one host, but eventually moved to 1 and 1, so long ago that the records are unclear... certainly before June 2001. I've never had cause to complain, and know that all sorts of good things await the day I decide to upgrade, so I haven't looked elsewhere. I should mention that if you click through via the link above, it does me good, but I wouldn't put the link in unless it was warranted anyway.
eBay (free for buyers, but sellers pay fees): Selling things via eBay is not difficult, or expensive. Replacing your day job may take a while. You can do it in a limited way without incurring any ongoing expenses... you only pay eBay when you list something. If it doesn't sell, the fee is very modest. If it does sell, they take a cut, but that's only reasonable?
It would be best to spend some time as an eBay buyer, to learn the ropes, and to build a reputation, but you can plunge in almost straight away if you wish to. (The nice people at eBay do make some checks on you that take just a few days to get out of the way.)
Be very attentive to your buyers. eBay is not a free ride to riches. You have to work at your eBay selling... be prepared for that, or don't start.
Be careful... I have never had a problem, but there are various scams that can be perpetrated by buyers or sellers. Be sure to send goods to your buyers via a "signed for" service, unless the transaction is so small that you can afford to write it off it it goes wrong.
Enough gloom and doom! Just today (and that's by coincidence), I received something I bought by eBay which turned out to be of outstanding quality, just what I wanted, and at a very reasonable price.
Some things suit the eBay marketplace better than others. Use your common sense. Don't buy the wrong things; don't waste your time trying to sell the wrong things... most eBay buyers are pretty savvy. You may be honest... but they don't know you.
Take the time to study the extensive online help eBay offers both buyers and sellers.
Amazon (free for buyers, but sellers pay fees): Amazon doesn't just sell new books! It also links buers and seller of second hand books.... and you can be one of the sellers.
I will "pay my dues" a bit more, but at the moment, I am actually losing money on my Amazon selling. I received £1.41 for a book this week... which cost £1.52 to post to my customer.
At least, though, as long as I choose to remain a small player, and forego some of the features provided to people who pay ongoing fees, I don't have to pay Amazon anything. They just take a big chunk of what my buyers send "me" when they buy from me.
There's nothing to stop you from selling books via eBay, of course. But the part of the Amazon site we're discussing is set up for books, nd well set up, at that.
Many of the comments I made above about selling with eBay also apply to selling with Amazon.
PayPal (free to senders of money, fee charged to recipients of payments): Not only can you send money to people via PayPal, which I discussed in that role elsewhere, you can set up a PayPal account that allows people to send money to you.
If you choose to remain on the lowest service tier, be warned: Some people will want to send you money that will come from them via their credit cards. You won't be able to accept that money unless you sign up for a pay-a-monthly-fee service level with PayPal... at least that was the situation the last time I checked. So, as ever, the rule is Read The Manual. Be sure you know what you are signing up for. It works well for what it does... that doesn't mean that it will work well for what you might wish it could be for.
The "problem" of credit card funded payments need not be a problem. Just tell people that you will only accept PayPal payments which are funded from their bank accounts, not from their credit cards.
Be advised: If you sell something and accept PayPal payment, and your buyer subsequently lodges a complaint with PayPal alledging that you never sent what they paid for, PayPal will take the money back from you unless you can satisfy them that you did deliver the goods. They are a little vague about how they can be convinced, but I think that if you have a signature for a received parcel from you buyer you may be in a strong position.
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