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Even if so, knowing some background on these topics will help you a great deal to guide a web agency towards what they have to do.
What goes into building a good site.
Morte than we can describe in one thread! :-) Functionality is the prime objective, but if you look at the topics at the right of the home page here, almost every one of those goes into a "good site."
i see auction software. But do i need someone elses software?
Unless you want to spend 50 K paying someone or years learning to program it yourself, this might be the way to go. More on that below . . .
Do i need any kind of expensive equipment?
Eventually, yes. I'm sure eBay operates off of many multiple servers - at the very least, you would eventually want to move to a dedicated server plan. All depends, see below . . .
I need to know what kind of money time equipment/software goes into this sort of thing and the steps I should take to get there.
Like anything else, "baby steps." What I would suggest to you is to get your hosting started somewhere, install some auction software, see if there's even a need for the site. True, you won't get as much activity as you would if you set it up full blown with all the features you envision, but it will get your feet wet and is really the only way to see if your idea is viable.
Start off small, pay a programmer to possibly go in and customize some things for you, start marketing it, see what happens. It might take off, and if it does, you can spend more and more on marketing, equipment, and software development.
Also am i held in anyway resposible for transactions between buyer and seller. ... i don't want to be a mediator either.
Well, you're going to have to do *something.* I can tell you have some eBay experience by the language you use, *someone* has to do that. Check out the active auction sites' ways of managing this - this will be YOUR job, or the job of someone you hire. We all wish we could just load it up and collect the checks, but unfortunately, "stuff" rolls downhill, and guess who's always at the bottom? :-) It's the cost of doing business.
There is no adequate and affordable auction software available as far as I know.
What is available is so poor that I have never been willing to drop down "real" money on the expensive packages.
The NPO I have done this for raises $50-100k every year with the auction, so there is indeed money to be had in the right niche.
I would, however, suggest that there is not an easy, low cost point of entry. Off the shelf software, quite frankly, sucks air...
If you're willing to learn, go teach yourself PHP and mySQL. PHP allows you to create dynamic pages (unlike static HTML, which isn't usually changeable) and mySQL is the database of choice that would power it all.
They're not that hard all in all to learn, heck I learned them both pretty well in a few weeks! Although it's still a lot of work. There is also the security factors you'll need to take into consideration, so you don't get hacked.
If you're a beginning programmer, this is not going to be an easy venture. I'm not sure how many of us here could do this without some sort of struggle, to be honest with you. That said, with the right attitude it is possible.
You should be able to develop this for either nothing or relatively low cost...I would never recommend purchasing any auction site package just because you don't know what's going on if it breaks! Plus they're way overpriced, as willyb said.
Start small, get to grips with the internet basics. html/css will be a good start and will give you a solid foundation. Then you need to get a grasp on a scripting language. It's scripting that allows you to make your pages interactive.
This advise is under the understanding that you want to actually build the site yourself. The alternative is to hire a developer. This is a whole new ball game and will in deed cost you a lot more.
Hope this gives you some ideas.
It won't cost you 50 grand a year, at least not right away. Maybe $100 to $200 a year for hosting. As you increase traffic, and increase revenue, you can upgrade your hosting.
Developing your own code is definitely preferable to off-the-shelf products.
There is money to be made, but you have to market your site so that YOU are the one making the money.
Good luck! Please let us know how it works.
Can you really make a viable business out of this?
If I am a seller, why would I list with you and not them?
If I am a buyer why would I need to check out multiple sites when eBay has everything?
As a seller, maybe I might list my one item on both sites?
As a buyer, I see the same item on two sites. Is that two items, or the same item listed twice. Do I bid for both or just one of them?
I am interested in a website for one reason which is $$$.
Word of warning from an old fogie . . . . if this is your "one reason" you may be doomed to fail. There will be hard times that will test your patience beyond belief, if you don't have a strong love for what you do or some other fundamental purpose, you'll lose interest fast.
P.S: To all who are making it big doing what they want or enjoy doing I salute you
P.S.S: Please read the rest of the posts B4 you comment