These were the ads appearing at the top of Google recently:
How It Works
Each vendor (secretly) tells the search provider how much it is willing to spend to appear at the top of search results. Those bidding the highest appear first so to appear higher on the page, bids have to be raised, making Google and others the beneficiaries of bidding wars. It's quite possible that the cost per month runs into the thousands of dollars. That expense of course is passed on to those who purchase the software.
Conversely, a software publisher like Best Consignment Shop Software who doesn't participate in advertising campaigns keeps cost low and offers similar programs for much less ($195 to $795) - without annual service fees.
Rico: $99 per month never ending
Software Advice: Doesn't provide software but makes recommendations allegedly based upon needs. The fact is they only recommend programs costing the most and they are paid for their recommendations by the software vendors - hardly an unbiased opinion.
Resaleworld: One of the most costly programs on the market with lots of add-on fees after purchase.
Terso: not a consignment-software program
wws5: A POS (not a consignment program) and prices are so high that they aren't published on the website
Traxia: the 'mother' of all costs at $150 per month forever (for shops with more than 150 consignors)
All of these vendors (and those recommended by software advice) charge annual service fees and impose penalties if annual fees aren't paid, or those charging monthly fees claim that they aren't charging 'annual service fees' touting 'free customer support'. For $1,800 per year every year, there better be a whole lot more than that.
Those who don't do their homework (and those who are persuaded by false advertising and slick sales spiels) who purchase any of those (or similar) programs are essentially paying for the advertising. Coming full circle, buyers of the software are paying to assure that the most costly programs will be presented first (and hopefully exclusively), so in essence, potential buyers are paying to be solicited. Of course the vendors hope that their websites will be visited first, giving them first opportunities to persuade shoppers to ignore programs at much lower cost and without trailing fees.
To paraphrase Jonathan Gruber: 'Lack of transparency is a huge advantage and basically call it the stupidity of the American consumer that is really critical in getting consumers to buy over-priced consignment software.'
Some programs will cost thousands of dollars over time and those add-on/hiddens fees are not up on the home page for all to see. See which ones pile on fees and raise fees after purchase.