One of the ways to make money on Ebay is to find something to sell that no one else has. Or, you could have something manufactured especially for you. Definitely easier said than done, though.
I used to have a pinball machine and I found out about the powerball that is used in all Twilight Zone pinball machines. The powerball is a ceramic ball that is slightly lighter than a regular steel pinball. Every TZ pinball machine came with one powerball that was released onto the play field when you hit a combination of things. The ball was non-magnetic, lightning fast, and harder to aim than a regular pinball. If you were able to load the powerball back into the gumball machine it would set off a special multi-ball session.
The TZ pinball machine was made by Williams and since they are no longer in business, the powerballs are hard to come by. Six years ago they sold for between $50 and $60 on Ebay and I bought one because I thought it would be cool to put one in my South Park pinball machine to see if it was more fun. It was!
Let me tell you, playing pinball with one of those ceramic powerballs absolutely rocks! It makes you feel like a pinball wizard. The ball goes so much faster than the regular steel pinball that it seems like you are playing the game on steroids. You get the feeling you have so much more power with the flippers because the ball is lighter and you can hit any target hard. I hate putting my money in a pinball machine only to find that the flippers are weak and need to be serviced and with the powerball you get that feeling of extra strength with your flippers.
I noticed that only one guy was selling these ceramic powerballs on Ebay so I made a few calls. I was looking for work from home jobs and I wanted to see how much I could get them made for as they seemed to be in constant demand on Ebay. I tried to find a company that could make them for me but the problem was that I didn’t even know what they were made of. I knew they were ceramic in nature, but any more than that I had no clue. The best situation would have been for me to take the ball to someone so they could handle it and see exactly what I wanted.
In the end I did get a quote from some company in Pennsylvania but it was for $30 a ball and I had to order 2000 to get that price. I quickly realized I was way out of my league as I certainly didn’t want to invest $60,000 and I wasn’t even sure that they understood what I wanted. I have no technical or manufacturing background so it seemed having the powerball specially made for me was not the right path.
Six years later, “tennisdoc” is still selling those same powerballs on Ebay and he is still the only one. He is now selling them for $36 per ball and he sells anywhere from 1 to 3 a week and he has been doing that for at least 6 years! This guy has an absolute monopoly and he must love it! (If you click on the link it will take you to the page that lists everything he has up for auction at the moment and if you don’t see a powerball, go into his completed listings and you will see them).
I wish I knew his secret of how he got them made but I am sure I will never know. I have been looking and brainstorming for years for another item like the powerball that I can get made and be the only one selling on Ebay. I don’t think there are too many like it where the barrier to entry is so tough that no one is willing to compete with you.
If you ever get a chance to try out the Twilight Zone pinball machine and the powerball in it I recommend you do. The Twilight Zone machine is one of the all time most popular pinball games and they are always in high demand with home collectors. The game is super fun and if you can get the powerball to come out, you will be rewarded with a pinball experience like no other!
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