You are hereLinks / Proxy Services
Proxy services are used to buy items from Japanese auction sites, websites, or marketplaces.
You buy an item from one of these places, then that place ships to one of the proxy service of your choice, and the proxy service ships to you. As you can imagine, with fees and shipping it can get expensive quickly.
Most of them have you log in, place a deposit, and then start bidding. Oftentimes this is not an automatic process, so plan ahead, before that can't-miss auction ends!
A good tip is to wait to bid on auctions until the last few hours if possible, as sellers can easily shill bid your item up to your maximum when they see a proxy service's high-feedback account.
For MUCH more info on how to get started, please see this FAQ on the forums.
Here is a list in the order of the services our members use the most:
1. Shopping Mall Japan - By far the most-used by our members. This site offers several features that some other proxy services make you pay for, such as sniping and automatic bidding. SMJ will do auction bidding on multiple auction sites, buy from any Japanese online store, or even special orders. Special orders consist of entering you in Japanese contests, special site orders, and even on-foot shopping for items you want in the Akihabara district in Tokyo. Everything is a breeze, and fees are fair. A deposit via credit card authorization, sent cash, or Paypal is required. Shipping inside Japan to their center can be a little higher than some services, but you save when they bulk ship with other member's auctions to the USA. You can also opt to have them ship directly to you though. Their search page offers a nice tutorial and overview of how to search through them or various other methods.
2. Japonica Market - Previously Japonica Records, this side business took off well enough to get its own distinguishing name. This service does multiple auction site bidding and online store shopping. It does NOT require a credit card like many services do, and does not charge bank fees. A deposit didn't used to be required, but now is required via Paypal. You send a request to bid on or buy an item by giving the service a URL. They place a bid for you and then you can pay via your deposit. You have to have a valid eBay username to use their service. They have the right to refuse business to you if you have a poor eBay rating or are a new eBay member. Fees are standard and shipping uses the direct-to-you method.
3. "Jauce" - or Japan Auction Center - This service focuses on auction bidding but also has Japanese site shopping, and does NOT require a credit card. Instead, you deposit funds using Paypal, and then place bids based on your funds. This ends up being a little messy, but it's good if you don't use credit cards. Of course, if you have a Paypal account, you probably use a credit card online. You can pay for any of their fees and shipping using your deposit, and they'll credit or refund if you request. Fees are reasonable, and you can purchase "discount tickets" to save on big ticket items.
4. Rinkya - They've been doing this for years and have a good system set up for searching auctions, managing bids and orders, and paying. However, their fees are a bit steep. They use several flat fees for shipping and bank fees, which can be disadvantageous. Under 1000 yen and you avoid the $20 commission, but after that it gets pretty steep. As most items exceed 1000 yen, this proxy option must be weighed carefully. Occasionally things will be faster, as they ship directly to you. Items can only be held for two months, so bulk shipping isn't as easy as SMJ, but still decent.
5. Japamart - This proxy does auction sites, online Japanese stores, and even a special order service. This special order system simply has you describe an item as best you can and someone will search for it in Japan via online stores from several resources. They return with an estimate if they find it, and this service is surprisingly cheap. It's free for them to search, and the commission on found items is very reasonable. They also compare well on their auction and shopping services.
6. Celga - Celga has been around a while as well, but lacks some of the infrastructure and features of the other sites like dynamic search translating and automatic bidding. You have to know what you are doing a little bit more with Celga, but the fees are low and their experience can help. They can also do online shopping sites. They place bids manually close to the end of the auction, so it can be advantageous at times. Celga can also help you sell in Japan, which is a rare service. You just send them the item along with info and pictures of the item and they translate and list. They pay you via Paypal, less a 20% commission.
7. From Japan - Auctions, Shopping, real-time bidding, sniping, points awards, finding, and in-person shopping makes this service worth trying. In-person shopping means an employee would go to an event or store and try to purchase or win items for you, but it incurs special fees. Finding will search online and is free but other fees are added once an item is found. What is special about this site? No commission. NONE! How do they do it?
8. Japan Shopping Service (JapanToy) - This service does auctions, Japanese site shopping, "finding", and selling. There are several unique options here. Finding has you describe an item you like and give as much info as possible, and someone will spend a week trying to find it for you online in Japan for free. Selling accepts individual sales without having to send the item over to Japan first before listing; JSS will send you an address once the item sells and you ship direct to the buyer. They can even offer you your own YJA ID to bid yourself (this can get difficult and tough, but they can help you out). Definitely worth a look, and their fees are reasonable for their various services. The website is difficult to maneuver at times, and can get confusing.
9. Noppin - Previously Crescent Shop, this service has added several features, including credit card acceptance outside of Paypal, multiple auction site bidding, and more robust online store shopping. They will also ship large items via FedEx Express. Fees are decent and they have added a search feature. The fees seem a little out of control on their site, but for most auctions they are on par with most other services, if not a bit higher.
10. Goody Japan - This service is unique, as it does not require a deposit for auctions under 5,000yen. The site also offers selling, but only if you are a business (they can't accept individual sales). The fees are comparable, but the advantage of this website lies in its size. It has a very small staff and can therefore do more for customers individually and lie under the shill radar.
11. Suto Corp - This service is very professional and does auction bidding, buying from online Japanese sites, and selling on auction sites for individuals. Customer support is unmatched, as they have live chat, phone, email, etc., and have all manner of translation services and other options. They specialize in high-end items, but can handle small orders as well. Fees are a little higher because of the professionalism of the service.
12. Goods from Japan - This service has some unique options. It does auction bidding and online Japanese shopping, but it can also do finding (someone searches for goods or info in Japan for a $40 initial fee - others can do it for free above), Japanese personals/friend finding, and even drop shipping for businesses. This is also a good option for international folks, as most proxies focus on the USA. This service allows payments in several forms of currency.
13. Import Monster - Specializes in cars, but don't count them out. Based in Australia (where they actually own an import shop), they will bid on anything for you and send it anywhere . . . legally. Though they say fees are upfront and honest, info can't be found directly on the website. You have to contact them.
14. Treasure Japan - This service does auction bidding and online shopping, and deposit is via Paypal. Nothing has really made it stand out amongst its competitors.
15. Juno's Bid Service - This service only does auction bidding and has higher fees by comparison to the sites above. Underwhelming.