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eBay (EBAY) is looking to re-stake its claim as the primary home of the secondary sneaker market. The online marketplace has teamed up with sneaker expert Jacques Slade to launch "Inside Drop," an initiative that looks to reward eBay’s community of sellers with some of the rarest sneakers on the planet. Slade joined Yahoo Finance Live to speak about the new initiative and discuss the sneaker market at large.
“I think one of the key things about eBay that sets us apart is the fact that they have no seller fees, on a lot of the other platforms they actually charge you to sell. eBay being the OGs in the game, recognizes the value in the community and they took away those seller fees. If you’re selling a sneaker over a $100,” Slade said.
eBay users who list a pair of sneakers to sell can have a chance to win one of 25 pairs of authentic, incredibly hard-to-find sneakers — the Air Jordan 1 Fragment High Friends & Family and the Adidas x Pharrell NMD Human Race Trail Friends & Family. The “Friends & Family” aspect of eBay’s drop is what sets it apart from other sneaker promotions. Sneakers in this exclusive category are created solely for friends of the designer, athlete, or brand and are rarely made available to the public.
Getting their hands (or feet) on a rare or coveted pair is one of the hallmarks of being a sneakerhead. However, due to bots — software designed to automate the purchase of sneakers — many people end up striking out. In an effort to thwart this, major sneaker companies such as Nike (NKE) and Adidas (ADDYY) have committed to take measures to stop bots from taking shoes from the average consumer.
Slade believes that these companies, though making an honest effort, have their work cut out for them. “I think they are doing a good job of trying to root them out. It’s a very difficult process. It’s like a moving target. A lot of these people that make bots, they’re constantly refining and constantly improving the things that they’re doing for their systems. And so it makes it harder for these brands to keep up. But I think the brands know how this is affecting the community and they’re getting a lot of pushback from the community,” Slade said
“So it’s in their best interest to try their best to fix things and get rid of those bots as much as possible. So you see a lot more raffles happening. Nike has their draw on the sneakers app. Adidas has confirmed on their confirmed app. So these brands they’re definitely taking the steps to make it possible so that the consumer can actually get the shoes and that they’re not dealing with the bots,” he added.
When it comes to positive changes within the sneaker game, Slade points to the diversity within the community, particularly when it comes to gender.
“One of the biggest changes I think we’ve seen in the sneaker world is the influence of women. Women have always been a part of the sneaker culture, but their voices haven’t always been heard. I think over the last two, maybe three years, you’ve seen a huge influx of women into the conversation of sneakers, women in positions at brands and decisions being a decision-maker at a brand and brands pushing the women forward and having them out there in the public,” said Slade.
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.