Ebay pretended (or Lied) that Suzy Q could come to ebay and make money with 99 cent auctions. As Jeff S has stated you make 27 cents.
That is not what a 99 cent auction is for. I have an auction up right now that will finalize tonight. I listed a valuable item for .99 and it has gotten 8 bids and is currently at 64.20. It has 19 watchers and 3 hours to go. The idea is to get the bidding going and to generate interest in the item.
I cannot imagine the work it takes to sell items for .99 all day long. I wonder if one could have made just as much money selling the same items for 3.99, or 4.99.
I sell items under another user name and all my items start at 4.99, 7.99, 9.99, 14.99, 19.99. 24.99, 29.99, jump to 49.99 and then jump again to 99.99 and up. Some of these items do not sell, but on 3to4 rotations, most of them eventually sell through for a profit way more than 27 cents. Example: I've sold big mens Hawaiian shirts for 7.99 used and are easily obtained at any thrift store. How easy is that!