Hello this is Badmike! Didn't want to cover the same ground as the My Store page so I'll try to cover some other info here.....
I live in Texas, and have my entire life. Yes it's always hot. You get used to it or you end up leaving!!!
I started gaming in 1978 when a neighbor who moved to Texas from Maryland introduced a bunch of us to the Holmes boxed set. The game quickly became an obsession and we gamed weekly until I graduated High School in 1981. Even then the game went on and I've been running a campaign or two ever since then. BTW that neighbor that introduced me became a Navy captain and is now a doctor...and I had the pleasure of introducing his kids to the amazing world of D&D many years later! Now his son is going to college to become a bio-engineer and his daughter is becoming a veternarian. So much for D&D warping young minds! (Well except for my own I guess...!)
All those years of playing none of us ever realized this old gaming stuff would be worth anything....until I got online for the first ever time about 1990 with a friend's service from a company called Prodigy and saw actual ads for swapping old D&D stuff! It wasn't until I signed up for AOL the next year that I actually thought there might be money in buying and selling old gaming stuff, when I saw some of the amazing prices being offered for older stuff that I had ready access to. I think my first few sales were some extra hardcover 1st Ed books I had, and I was hooked. For the next few years I would often sell or trade an item or two on the forums
I started really selling spare RPG items on the old AOL markeplace back in 1994...yes, they used to have actual spots where you could buy sell and trade items on AOL back then! Eventually I moved to the Usenet marketplaces a few years later, and for many years that was THE place to deal online in used games unless you had your own website. A lot of the successful retailers of the time, including Titan Games, Sage's Guild, Hit Pointe, NobleKnight, and Dragonstrove started out in that venue. It's crazy to think now that people would send $100 money orders around the world to someone who posted an ad sellling stuff in the marketplace with nothing but an online reputation to tell them they would get their items intact. But word of mouth...it really worked. And no 3rd partys got a piece of the pie, as everything back then was by check, money order....or cash. I did get some wrapped cash from overseas buyers back in the day, sometimes hundreds of dollars, thank goodness none of it was ever lost!
I started selling on Ebay in 1998 and it was a very cool time....the ebay experience brought in lots of people looking for games that hadn't been tech savvy enough to trade on the marketplace. Ah, the days of selling common letter modules for $25-$30 each!!!!! People would bid stuff up and pay enormous amounts because the used game sellers there were few and far between, a much different scene then now. About 25% of the postings had pictures or scans, so again trust and reputation was as big part of the equation. I don't know the actual year but I do remember I was one of the very first dealers to have a "store" on ebay...because it was free! And listings in a store were all free! So I decided why not, I think I started with a couple dozen items and put my goal forth as having 100 items before the end of the year. The goal got a little bigger every year until I seem to have topped out in the 1400-1700 item range...don't know if I'll ever make it back there as I have cut back a little every year.
It seems Ebay and their subsidiary Paypal are taking larger and larger pieces of the pie...well, not "seems" because they ARE taking more. It has actually gotten harder for someone with a good rep to make it there because of the increasing amounts of hoops to be jumped through, not to mention the ever changing regulations and rules that are enforced. This year in a new binge of price increases Ebay also implemented policies to make it nearly impossible for a small business to be successful on ebay. Their new business model appears to be geared towards turning Ebay into a Amazon type experience with a few large retailers and wholesellers selling a large percentage of the product there. What this means for niche products like used gaming no one knows yet.....but if it's not profitable people will leave and find new venues to dispose of their items. Unfortunately that's really not an option for gaming items as very few places exist that cater to the RPG gamer.
RPG marketplace while not being competition for Ebay (Ebay truly still is the 500 lb gorilla of selling and buying used games, make no mistake) will hopefully turn into a place where like minded gamers can buy, sell, and trade gaming items without middlemen sucking up the profit. I honestly feel that in 20 years we have pretty much come full circle, back to a forum and format where reputation and trust will be important in dealings. Hopefully this forum will help out the smaller collector that just wants to get rid of a few things, or doesn't want to have to maintain his own website just to sell a box full of item. Or maybe it will help facilitate swaps between collectors, or as a place where collectors can buy and sell lots, or someone that has that one white box set can sell it to someone who wants it for $150 and not have to hand Ebay $15 for the privilege of doing business there. The site will cater to the members of the two premier collectors/1st edition D&D forums in the internet, The Acaeum and Dragonsfoot, so the aim is to have everyone who lists or buys here with a verifyable reputation on one of these two forums. In the last few years RPG Marketplace has facilitated thousands of dollars in sales, many of them the super-rare D&D items, with no problems.
Every year Doug and I run the North Texas RPG con (first Thursday in June through Sunday) and this site will often have limited edition con items as well as many of the same vendors you see at the convention.