Cover image for eBay: The Missing Manual

Book description

It's the undisputed king of Internet auction sites. It's a global bazaar offering a range of goods from Antiques to Zulu Daisies. Cars, clothing, collectibles: you name it, and it's likely that you can find on eBay. But along with the vast selection of goods available, buyers and sellers also encounter all the other elements that markets are known for: tricks and swindlers, overpriced goods, deceptive labeling, small print, recycled items marked as new, and the occasional rare priceless find or undiscovered treasure. Seasoned eBay traders know that to successfully buy and sell within this mega-shopping platform, you need to understand the system. Unfortunately, the secrets of the site are often tightly held by other buyers and sellers seeking a competitive edge. But what if you're a newcomer? Or an experienced trader who wants to make the jump to power buyer or seller? eBay: The Missing Manual gives you the inside information you'll need to become an eBay expert. Buyers will find the most effective ways to find you want and pay prices that are sure to bring a smile to your face. And you'll get authoritative advice on strategic bidding: how to watch for elusive items, time your bids to take the competition by surprise, and--above all--avoid paying more than you ought to. Sellers will get sure-fire tips from eBay veterans who have discovered ways to ramp up their own auctions and sell at the highest possible prices. From the smallest details, such as how to take and post the most effective photos of your goods, to pricing strategies, inventory management, and shipping methods, this user-friendly manual will help you make more money on eBay. Whether you're selling a single item or running fulltime business on the site, you'll find tips to help you do it more effectively. As in any community, problems and disputes arise, and you'll learn how other eBayers resolve such troubles or work around them. eBay: The Missing Manual has gems of wisdom for everyone from total novices to more experienced traders. If you're looking to improve your eBay auction experience, you'll savor the tips and trick revealed in this guided exploration.

Table of Contents

  1. eBay: The Missing Manual
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. Copyright
    3. The Missing Credits
      1. About the Author
      2. About the Creative Team
      3. Acknowledgements
      4. The Missing Manual Series
    4. Introduction
      1. A Little eBay History
        1. Why It Works
        2. eBay Now
      2. About This Book
        1. About the Outline
      3. The Very Basics
        1. About → These → Arrows
        2. About MissingManuals.com
        3. Safari® Enabled
    5. I. Buying on eBay
      1. 1. Ready, Set, Shop!
        1. 1.1. Get Registered and Get Going
          1. 1.1.1. Step One: Who Are You?
          2. 1.1.2. Step Two: Who Do You Want to Be (on eBay, Anyway)?
          3. 1.1.3. Step Three: Check Your Email
        2. 1.2. How to Find What You're Looking For
          1. 1.2.1. Just Browsing, Thanks
          2. 1.2.2. Searching
            1. 1.2.2.1. Reading your search results
          3. 1.2.3. Better Searching
            1. 1.2.3.1. Matching Categories
            2. 1.2.3.2. Finder
            3. 1.2.3.3. Picture Gallery
            4. 1.2.3.4. Searching within a category
            5. 1.2.3.5. Advanced Search
        3. 1.3. Deciphering Auction Pages
        4. 1.4. Auction Types
          1. 1.4.1. Timed Auctions
          2. 1.4.2. Reserve Auctions
          3. 1.4.3. Buy It Now
          4. 1.4.4. Best Offer
          5. 1.4.5. Private Auctions
          6. 1.4.6. Mature Audiences
          7. 1.4.7. Preapproved Bidder Auctions
          8. 1.4.8. Dutch Auctions
          9. 1.4.9. Live Auctions
        5. 1.5. My eBay—Your Shopping HQ
          1. 1.5.1. My Summary
          2. 1.5.2. All Buying
          3. 1.5.3. Start Selling!
          4. 1.5.4. My Messages
          5. 1.5.5. All Favorites
          6. 1.5.6. My Account
      2. 2. Bidding, Paying, and Following Up
        1. 2.1. Is This Seller Trustworthy? How to Read Feedback
          1. 2.1.1. Tips for Interpreting Feedback
        2. 2.2. Bidding on eBay
          1. 2.2.1. Placing a Bid
          2. 2.2.2. When to Bid Again
        3. 2.3. After the Auction
          1. 2.3.1. Paying the Price
            1. 2.3.1.1. Paying with PayPal
            2. 2.3.1.2. Other payment methods
          2. 2.3.2. Where's My Stuff? Communicating with the Seller
            1. 2.3.2.1. From buyer to seller: what to say
            2. 2.3.2.2. From seller to buyer: what to expect if you're the buyer
          3. 2.3.3. Having Your Say: How and When to Leave Feedback
            1. 2.3.3.1. How to leave feedback
            2. 2.3.3.2. How to rate a transaction
            3. 2.3.3.3. Leaving feedback comments
            4. 2.3.3.4. Responding to feedback
            5. 2.3.3.5. Agreeing to disagree: mutual feedback withdrawal
        4. 2.4. Buyers' Woes and What to Do About Them
          1. 2.4.1. The Seller Cancels Your Bid on Your Very First Auction
          2. 2.4.2. You Made a Mistake in Your Bid
          3. 2.4.3. You Don't Hear from the Seller After the Auction
            1. 2.4.3.1. When to contact the seller
            2. 2.4.3.2. When to report the seller
          4. 2.4.4. You Bought It Now when You Meant to Bid
          5. 2.4.5. You Were Outbid—But Then You Won
          6. 2.4.6. You Bid Against Yourself
      3. 3. Finding—and Getting—Bargains
        1. 3.1. Tips and Tricks for Serious Searchers
          1. 3.1.1. Speak the Search Engine's Language
          2. 3.1.2. Search for Items by Bidder
          3. 3.1.3. Search for Items by Seller
          4. 3.1.4. Have Searches Find You
          5. 3.1.5. Search Within a Price Range
          6. 3.1.6. Think Globally, Search Locally
          7. 3.1.7. Find What Other Shoppers Miss
          8. 3.1.8. Going, Going, Gone!
          9. 3.1.9. Buy It First, Buy It Now
          10. 3.1.10. Watch the Clock—and the Calendar
          11. 3.1.11. List It Again, Sam
          12. 3.1.12. Have Sellers Search for You
          13. 3.1.13. The eBay Toolbar
          14. 3.1.14. Go Wireless
            1. 3.1.14.1. Searching with Anywhere Wireless
            2. 3.1.14.2. Receiving email notifications from Anywhere Wireless
          15. 3.1.15. Offsite Searching
        2. 3.2. What's It Worth?
          1. 3.2.1. Do Your Research
          2. 3.2.2. Comparison Shopping
          3. 3.2.3. Bidding Wars
        3. 3.3. Bid to Win
          1. 3.3.1. How to Win by Two Cents
            1. 3.3.1.1. For example
            2. 3.3.1.2. The moral of the story
          2. 3.3.2. Swoop in and Snipe
            1. 3.3.2.1. Snipe it manually
            2. 3.3.2.2. Snipe it automatically
          3. 3.3.3. Other Proxy Bidding Strategies
          4. 3.3.4. How to Win Dutch Auctions
        4. 3.4. More Ways to Get a Good Deal
          1. 3.4.1. About Me
          2. 3.4.2. eBay Anything Points
            1. 3.4.2.1. Earning Anything Points
            2. 3.4.2.2. Redeeming Anything Points
      4. 4. Power Buying Strategies
        1. 4.1. Tools for Power Buyers
          1. 4.1.1. Price-Analysis Tools
          2. 4.1.2. Feedback-Analysis Tools
          3. 4.1.3. Tools for Collectors
        2. 4.2. Hey, Big Spender
          1. 4.2.1. Smart Shopping for Big Spenders
          2. 4.2.2. Jewelry
          3. 4.2.3. eBay Motors
            1. 4.2.3.1. Run a vehicle history report
            2. 4.2.3.2. Get an inspection
            3. 4.2.3.3. Know what it's worth
            4. 4.2.3.4. Calculate all costs
            5. 4.2.3.5. Arrange financing
            6. 4.2.3.6. Watch out for scams
          4. 4.2.4. Real Estate
        3. 4.3. Avoid Scams
          1. 4.3.1. Designer Fakes
          2. 4.3.2. Shill Game
          3. 4.3.3. Spoof Emails
            1. 4.3.3.1. Detecting spoof emails
            2. 4.3.3.2. Recovering from spoof emails
          4. 4.3.4. Sham Auctions
          5. 4.3.5. Bogus Escrow Services
          6. 4.3.6. Illegitimate Second Chance Offers
    6. II. Selling on eBay
      1. 5. Sell Stuff, Make Money
        1. 5.1. Get the Lay of the Land
          1. 5.1.1. Learn from Others
        2. 5.2. What Should You Sell?
        3. 5.3. How Much Is It Going to Cost You?
        4. 5.4. Listing an item
          1. 5.4.1. Register as a Seller
          2. 5.4.2. Choose an Auction Type
          3. 5.4.3. Step 1: Choose a Category
          4. 5.4.4. Step 2: Write a Title and Description
            1. 5.4.4.1. Writing good titles and descriptions
          5. 5.4.5. Step 3: Add Pictures and Details
          6. 5.4.6. Step 4: Specify Payment and Shipping Details
            1. 5.4.6.1. Payment
            2. 5.4.6.2. Shipping
            3. 5.4.6.3. Insurance
            4. 5.4.6.4. Return policy
            5. 5.4.6.5. Payment instructions
            6. 5.4.6.6. Buyer requirements
          7. 5.4.7. Step 5: Review and Submit Your Listing
        5. 5.5. During the Auction
          1. 5.5.1. Finding Your Item
          2. 5.5.2. Answering Buyers' Questions
          3. 5.5.3. Revising the Listing
          4. 5.5.4. Ending a Listing Early
        6. 5.6. After the Auction
          1. 5.6.1. Invoicing the Buyer
          2. 5.6.2. Getting Your Money
          3. 5.6.3. Packing and Shipping
            1. 5.6.3.1. Pack smart
            2. 5.6.3.2. Shipping
          4. 5.6.4. Leaving Feedback
        7. 5.7. Common Problems
          1. 5.7.1. Miscommunication
          2. 5.7.2. Deadbeat Bidders
            1. 5.7.2.1. Report a UPI
            2. 5.7.2.2. Offer someone else a second chance
          3. 5.7.3. The Item Doesn't Arrive
          4. 5.7.4. The Item Arrives Damaged
          5. 5.7.5. The Buyer Wants to Return the Item
          6. 5.7.6. You Dealt with a Problem—and Got Negative Feedback for Your Trouble
      2. 6. Honing Your Competitive Edge
        1. 6.1. It's All About You
        2. 6.2. Build a Better Auction
          1. 6.2.1. Tempting Titles
          2. 6.2.2. Irresistible Descriptions
          3. 6.2.3. Photos That Sell
            1. 6.2.3.1. Choosing equipment
            2. 6.2.3.2. Getting a great shot
            3. 6.2.3.3. Image editing 101
          4. 6.2.4. More Photos, More Bidders
            1. 6.2.4.1. Host your photos on eBay
            2. 6.2.4.2. Host your photos off eBay
            3. 6.2.4.3. Super-size me
        3. 6.3. Auction Tips and Tricks
          1. 6.3.1. Best Category, Best Price
          2. 6.3.2. Meet or Exceed Buyers' Expectations
          3. 6.3.3. The More Auctions, the Merrier
          4. 6.3.4. Donate Some of Your Profits
          5. 6.3.5. Offer Incentives
          6. 6.3.6. Offer Anything Points
          7. 6.3.7. Sell in Lots
          8. 6.3.8. How to Get More Feedback
        4. 6.4. Big-Time Marketing Strategies
          1. 6.4.1. Identify—and Reach—Your Market
          2. 6.4.2. Get Some Buzz Going
          3. 6.4.3. Promote, Promote, Promote
            1. 6.4.3.1. Newsletters
            2. 6.4.3.2. eBay Groups
            3. 6.4.3.3. Want It Now
            4. 6.4.3.4. Your own Web site
        5. 6.5. Just Say No
          1. 6.5.1. Shill Bidding
          2. 6.5.2. Keyword Spamming
          3. 6.5.3. Stealing Photos
          4. 6.5.4. Violating VeRO
          5. 6.5.5. Avoiding Fees
          6. 6.5.6. Padding S&H Charges
        6. 6.6. Protecting Your Auctions
          1. 6.6.1. Blocking Unwelcome Bidders
            1. 6.6.1.1. Blocking groups of bidders
            2. 6.6.1.2. Blocking individual bidders
          2. 6.6.2. Canceling Bids
          3. 6.6.3. Defending Your Auction
        7. 6.7. Scams to Watch Out For
          1. 6.7.1. The Check's in the Mail
          2. 6.7.2. Phishing for Sellers
          3. 6.7.3. "Damaged" Goods
          4. 6.7.4. Fake Escrow Sites
          5. 6.7.5. The I'll-Ship-It-Myself Scam
          6. 6.7.6. Overpayment
      3. 7. Going from Hobby to Business
        1. 7.1. What Should I Sell?
          1. 7.1.1. Research the Market
          2. 7.1.2. Finding Merchandise
            1. 7.1.2.1. Secondhand trash and treasures
            2. 7.1.2.2. Wholesalers and liquidators
            3. 7.1.2.3. Drop shippers
            4. 7.1.2.4. Manufacturers
        2. 7.2. Doing the Paperwork
          1. 7.2.1. Write a Business Plan
          2. 7.2.2. What Kind of Business Are You?
            1. 7.2.2.1. Sole proprietorship
            2. 7.2.2.2. Partnership
            3. 7.2.2.3. Corporation
          3. 7.2.3. Keep Good Records
          4. 7.2.4. Account for Yourself
          5. 7.2.5. Keep It Legal
            1. 7.2.5.1. License to sell
            2. 7.2.5.2. Taxing issues
        3. 7.3. Setting Up Shop with an eBay Store
          1. 7.3.1. Creating Your Store
          2. 7.3.2. Managing Your Store
            1. 7.3.2.1. I-need-a-vacation mode
            2. 7.3.2.2. Bulk editing
            3. 7.3.2.3. Cross-promotions
        4. 7.4. Selling Internationally
          1. 7.4.1. Parlez-Vous eBay?
          2. 7.4.2. Money Makes the World Go 'Round
          3. 7.4.3. Worldwide Shipping
        5. 7.5. Sell for Others
          1. 7.5.1. Become a Trading Assistant
            1. 7.5.1.1. Setting up shop as a trading assistant
          2. 7.5.2. Find Business Beyond eBay
          3. 7.5.3. Franchise Fever
        6. 7.6. Become a PowerSeller
          1. 7.6.1. Join the Big Leagues
          2. 7.6.2. Membership Has Its Privileges (and Problems)
      4. 8. Specialty Selling
        1. 8.1. Half.com: Mass Media Mania
          1. 8.1.1. Registering on Half.com
          2. 8.1.2. Listing an Item
          3. 8.1.3. Managing Your Inventory
          4. 8.1.4. Making a Sale
        2. 8.2. Selling on eBay Motors
          1. 8.2.1. Revving Up
          2. 8.2.2. Creating Your Listing
          3. 8.2.3. During the Auction
          4. 8.2.4. Crossing the Finish Line
            1. 8.2.4.1. What if there's no sale?
          5. 8.2.5. Tips for a Successful Sale
            1. 8.2.5.1. Build up your feedback score
            2. 8.2.5.2. Make your vehicle look great
            3. 8.2.5.3. Perform needed maintenance
            4. 8.2.5.4. Think like a buyer
            5. 8.2.5.5. Advertise locally
            6. 8.2.5.6. Have the vehicle inspected
            7. 8.2.5.7. Spiff up your listing with CARad
            8. 8.2.5.8. Get Help
        3. 8.3. Selling Real Estate Online
          1. 8.3.1. Two Ways to Sell
            1. 8.3.1.1. Auction it off
            2. 8.3.1.2. Advertise on eBay
          2. 8.3.2. Tips for Selling Property on eBay
            1. 8.3.2.1. Spell it out
            2. 8.3.2.2. Include the neighborhood profile
            3. 8.3.2.3. Be careful about down-payment-only auctions
            4. 8.3.2.4. Court investors
            5. 8.3.2.5. Consider owner financing
            6. 8.3.2.6. Use photos to show curb appeal
            7. 8.3.2.7. Market (or rent) your time-share
        4. 8.4. Live Auctions
        5. 8.5. eBay Giving Works
          1. 8.5.1. Signing Up to Contribute
          2. 8.5.2. How Can Buyers Tell It's for Charity?
          3. 8.5.3. After the Auction
        6. 8.6. eBay B2B
        7. 8.7. Sell Your Services on Elance
          1. 8.7.1. How Elance Works
          2. 8.7.2. Elance Professional Services
          3. 8.7.3. Signing Up and Bidding
          4. 8.7.4. The Drawback
          5. 8.7.5. Other Sites
      5. 9. Cool Tools for Sellers
        1. 9.1. eBay Tools
          1. 9.1.1. Turbo Lister
            1. 9.1.1.1. Specifying settings
            2. 9.1.1.2. Creating new listings
            3. 9.1.1.3. Uploading your listings
            4. 9.1.1.4. Turbo Lister tricks
          2. 9.1.2. Selling Manager
          3. 9.1.3. eBay Blackthorne
            1. 9.1.3.1. Listing items
            2. 9.1.3.2. During the auction
            3. 9.1.3.3. After the auction
          4. 9.1.4. Accounting Assistant
          5. 9.1.5. eBay Sales Reports
        2. 9.2. Third-Party Software
          1. 9.2.1. Market Analysis
            1. 9.2.1.1. Web-based market analysis
              1. 9.2.1.1.1. Vrane.
              2. 9.2.1.1.2. Andale Market Research.
              3. 9.2.1.1.3. Terapeak
            2. 9.2.1.2. Downloadable market-analysis software (for Windows)
              1. 9.2.1.2.1. AuctionIntelligence.
              2. 9.2.1.2.2. HammerTap's Deep Analysis.
          2. 9.2.2. Listing and Auction Management
            1. 9.2.2.1. For Mac fans
              1. 9.2.2.1.1. eLister and Auction Monitor.
              2. 9.2.2.1.2. CALC for OS X.
              3. 9.2.2.1.3. GarageSale.
              4. 9.2.2.1.4. iSale.
            2. 9.2.2.2. For Windows
              1. 9.2.2.2.1. Lister Pro.
              2. 9.2.2.2.2. Auction Wizard 2000.
              3. 9.2.2.2.3. HammerTap.
              4. 9.2.2.2.4. Other Windows-based listing and management tools.
            3. 9.2.2.3. Web-based (Windows or Mac)
              1. 9.2.2.3.1. Andale One-Step Lister.
              2. 9.2.2.3.2. Auction Hawk.
              3. 9.2.2.3.3. Meridian.
              4. 9.2.2.3.4. Vendio.
              5. 9.2.2.3.5. Other online auction-management services.
          3. 9.2.3. Email and Feedback Automation
          4. 9.2.4. Other Tools
            1. 9.2.4.1. Auction checkout
            2. 9.2.4.2. Seriously miscellaneous: FVF calculation and bombing
    7. III. Finding Other eBayers and Getting Help
      1. 10. Connecting with Other eBayers
        1. 10.1. Connect with the Community
          1. 10.1.1. Discussion Boards
          2. 10.1.2. Groups
          3. 10.1.3. Answer Center
          4. 10.1.4. Chat Rooms
        2. 10.2. eBay Affiliates
        3. 10.3. Other Places to Talk About eBay
          1. 10.3.1. Google Groups
          2. 10.3.2. Yahoo! Groups
          3. 10.3.3. Forums on Other Sites
            1. 10.3.3.1. FatWallet
            2. 10.3.3.2. Online Traders Web Alliance
            3. 10.3.3.3. AuctionBytes
        4. 10.4. eBay Live!
      2. 11. Finding Help
        1. 11.1. Learning Center
        2. 11.2. Help Page
        3. 11.3. Help via Email
        4. 11.4. Live Help
        5. 11.5. Site Map
        6. 11.6. eBay Services
        7. 11.7. Help from Other eBayers
          1. 11.7.1. Answer Center
          2. 11.7.2. Discussion Boards
          3. 11.7.3. Chat
    8. IV. Appendixes
      1. A. Where to Learn More
        1. A.1. eBay Updates
        2. A.2. Start Spreading the News(letters)
          1. A.2.1. Specialized Newsletters
          2. A.2.2. The Chatter
          3. A.2.3. Seller Newsflash
          4. A.2.4. Newsletters for Buyers
        3. A.3. eBay on the Air
          1. A.3.1. More Radio Programs
        4. A.4. The Unofficial Scoop
          1. A.4.1. Auction News
          2. A.4.2. Software Reviews
        5. A.5. Further Education
          1. A.5.1. Take a Workshop
          2. A.5.2. Take a Live Class
          3. A.5.3. Get Your B.A. in eBay
      2. B. HTML for eBayers
        1. B.1. Getting Started
        2. B.2. Adding Colors and Backgrounds
          1. B.2.1. Coloring Text
        3. B.3. Adding Pictures
        4. B.4. Adding Links
        5. B.5. Creating Lists and Tables
          1. B.5.1. Tables
      3. C. Other Auction Sites
        1. C.1. Amazon Auctions and Marketplace
        2. C.2. AuctionAddict.com
        3. C.3. Bid4Assets
        4. C.4. Bidera
        5. C.5. BidMonkey
        6. C.6. Bidville
        7. C.7. Bidz
        8. C.8. Blujay
        9. C.9. iOffer
        10. C.10. Overstock Auctions
        11. C.11. The Auction Man
        12. C.12. uBid
        13. C.13. Yahoo! Auctions
    9. Index
    10. About the Author
    11. Colophon
    12. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly