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Determining Where to Sell Online

From eBay to Craigslist, there is an assortment of e-commerce sites that can help you sell your junk or expand your online retail operations
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Whether you're unloading collectibles from your attic or taking your thriving brick-and-mortar store online, there's a surfeit of Internet marketplaces where you can set up shop. From giants like eBay (EBAY) to niche sites like Etsy to listing services like Craigslist, the choices can overwhelm a small business owner venturing into e-commerce. How do you decide which marketplaces best fit your business? For small retailers facing what some economists are predicting to be the toughest holiday season since 1991 (BusinessWeek.com, 9/23/08), it's a particularly compelling question.

There's no one-size-fits-all answer, though e-commerce experts tend to agree it's worth listing on multiple sites. The e-commerce market is huge, with $60 billion worth of goods traded on eBay alone in 2007, according to the company. More than 85,000 businesses primarily operated as electronic or mail-order retailers in 2006, according to the latest U.S. Census data, and 77,000 of them had no employees. Finding the best platforms for your company depends on what you sell.