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Absolute Beginner’s Guide to eBay, Fifth Edition

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Absolute Beginner’s Guide to eBay®

Fifth Edition

Michael Miller

No prior eBay experience necessary!

Absolute Beginner’s Guide to eBay will show you how to successfully bid and sell on eBay, the world’s largest online auction site. eBay expert Michael Miller walks you through the process of buying and selling any type of item on eBay. You’ll learn how to safely place bids, win auctions with last-minute snipes, buy fixed-priced items in eBay Stores and Half.com, and use My eBay to track all your auction activity. His eBay tips and tricks will also show you how to create great-looking item listings and safely collect credit card payments via PayPal. Absolute Beginner’s Guide to eBay reveals all the secrets necessary to become a thriving eBay user–whether you bid or auction one item a month or a thousand!

Who knew how simple eBay can be?

Absolute Beginner’s Guide to eBay will have you bidding and selling in online auctions in no time! Here’s a small sample of what you’ll find inside:

  • Learn how to place a last-second “snipe” bid–and win the auction without paying too much

  • Discover how to buy fixed-price items on eBay without bidding

  • Find out how to create eye-catching auction listings, complete with pictures

  • Learn how to use PayPal to accept credit card payments

  • Discover how to pack different types of items–and ship them out cheaply and safely

  • Learn how to design cool-looking listings with eBayTurbo Lister–and track all your auctions with

  • eBay Selling Manager

  • Find out how to find a Trading Assistant to sell your items for you

  • Uncover the secrets of successful eBay buyers and sellers

  • Michael Miller is a top eBay seller and a successful and prolific author. He has a reputation for practical, real-world advice and an unerring empathy for the needs of his readers. Miller has written more than 75 nonfiction books over the past two decades, including Easy eBay, eBay Auction Templates Starter Kit, Tricks of the eBay Masters, and Making a Living from Your eBay Business. He has been interviewed about eBay by Family Circle magazine, Black Enterprise magazine, and numerous radio stations across the country. Miller’s eBay user ID is trapperjohn2000.

    Category: Collectibles

    Covers: eBay

    User Level: Beginning

    Table of Contents

    1. Copyright
      1. Dedication
    2. About the Author
    3. Acknowledgments
    4. We Want to Hear from You!
    5. Reader Services
    6. Introduction
      1. How This Book Is Organized
      2. Conventions Used in This Book
        1. Web Page Addresses
        2. Special Elements
      3. Further Reading
      4. Let Me Know What You Think
    7. I. Welcome to eBay
      1. 1. Getting to Know the eBay Marketplace
        1. What eBay Is—And How It Came to Be
          1. The eBay Story
          2. How Big Is eBay?
        2. Who Sells on eBay?
        3. Different Ways to Buy and Sell on eBay
        4. How eBay Auctions Work
        5. What You Can—And Can’t—Trade on eBay
          1. eBay’s Product Categories
          2. What You Can’t Trade on eBay
        6. What’s What (and What’s Where) on eBay
          1. eBay’s Home Page—For New Users
          2. eBay’s Home Page—For Registered Users
          3. Where to Find Everything Else: eBay’s Site Map
          4. Contacting eBay
        7. Signing Up: Filling Out eBay’s Registration Form
          1. Signing Up for Basic Membership
          2. Registering to Sell
        8. The Costs of Using eBay
        9. Getting Started
      2. 2. Protecting Yourself on eBay
        1. Protecting Yourself from Phishing Scams
        2. Protecting Yourself Against Fraudulent Sellers
        3. Protecting Yourself Against Fraudulent Buyers
    8. II. Buying on eBay
      1. 3. Browsing and Searching for Merchandise
        1. Browsing or Searching—Which One Is for You?
        2. Browsing: The Easy (?) Way to Find Things
        3. Searching: The Powerful Way to Find Things
          1. Using eBay’s Basic Search Function
          2. Using Advanced Search
          3. Using the Expanded Find Items Page
          4. Fine-Tuning Your Search Results
          5. Complex Searches—For Simpler Results
          6. Saving Your Searches—And Receiving Notification of New Matching Items
      2. 4. Bidding in Online Auctions
        1. Understanding the Bidding Process
          1. Deciding How Much to Bid
          2. Understanding Proxy Bidding
            1. Bid Increments
            2. Proxy Bidding, by Example
            3. Proxy Bidding Advice
        2. How to Read an Item Listing
          1. Title, Number, and Your Information
          2. Auction Details
          3. Seller Information
          4. Description
          5. Shipping and Return Policy
          6. Payment Details
          7. Ready to Bid?
        3. Before You Bid
        4. Just Do It—Placing a Bid
        5. Bidding in Other Types of Auctions
          1. Dutch Auctions
            1. Dutch Auctions, by Example
            2. Tips on Bidding in Dutch Auctions
          2. Reserve Price Auctions
            1. Reserve Price Auctions, by Example
            2. Tips for Bidding in Reserve Price Auctions
        6. What to Do After You’ve Bid
          1. Keeping Track of Your Bids
          2. Increasing Your Bid Amount
          3. Oh, No! You’ve Been Outbid!
          4. Retracting a Bad Bid
          5. Bidding in the Final Moments
        7. Five Common Bidding Mistakes
          1. Mistake #1: Bidding Too Early
          2. Mistake #2: Bidding Too Low
          3. Mistake #3: Bidding Too High
          4. Mistake #4: Getting Caught Up in a Bidding Frenzy
          5. Mistake #5: Not Reading the Fine Print
        8. You Won! Now What?
      3. 5. Sniping to Win
        1. What Sniping Is—And How It Works
        2. Sniping: Pros and Cons
        3. Successful Sniping, Step-by-Step
        4. Using Automated Sniping Services and Software
      4. 6. Using Bid Assistant and Other Bidding Tools
        1. Bidding on Similar Items with Bid Assistant
        2. Searching for Deals with the Deal Finder
        3. Want It Now? Then Ask for It!
        4. Don’t Like the Price? Then Make an Offer!
      5. 7. Buying Fixed-Price Items
        1. Get It Quick with Buy It Now
          1. Understanding Buy It Now
          2. Purchasing with the Buy It Now Option
          3. Bidding a Lower Price in a Buy It Now Auction
        2. Buy It Easier with eBay Express
        3. Do Your Shopping at eBay Stores
          1. Browsing and Buying in an eBay Store
          2. Searching eBay Stores
        4. Just Like Amazon: Half.com
      6. 8. Paying for Your Purchase—And Waiting for It to Arrive
        1. Making Contact with the Seller
        2. Calculating the Final Price
        3. Paying for Your Item
          1. Paying by Credit Card—Via PayPal
          2. Other Payment Methods
            1. Paying by Check
            2. Paying by Money Order or Cashier’s Check
            3. Paying by Cash
          3. Using Escrow
          4. Evaluating Different Methods of Payments
            1. Which Method Is Fastest?
            2. Which Method Is Safest?
            3. Which Method Should You Use?
        4. Waiting for Your Doorbell to Ring...
        5. Receiving the Goods
        6. Finishing Things Up and Leaving Feedback
      7. 9. Buying Safely
        1. Protecting Yourself Before You Buy—With Feedback
          1. Understanding Feedback
          2. Reading Feedback Comments—And Contacting Other Users
          3. Using Feedback to Check Out Sellers
          4. Paying Safely
        2. Protecting Yourself After the Auction
          1. Getting Help from eBay and PayPal
          2. Mediate Conflicts
          3. Beyond eBay
        3. Reporting Inappropriate Behavior
        4. Tips for Protecting Yourself on eBay
      8. 10. Secrets of Successful Bidders
        1. Secrets for Finding What You Want
          1. Secret #1: Search, Don’t Browse
          2. Secret #2: Search Smart
          3. Secret #3: Search for Misspellings
          4. Secret #4: Search for Last-Minute Bargains
          5. Secret #5: Check the Seller’s Other Current Auctions
        2. Secrets for Winning the Auction—At a Reasonable Price
          1. Secret #6: Do Your Research
          2. Secret #7: There’s More Where That Came From
          3. Secret #8: Don’t Show Your Hand
          4. Secret #9: Wait Until the Last Seconds to Bid
          5. Secret #10: Watch, Don’t Bid
          6. Secret #11: Watch the Finish
          7. Secret #12: Get in Sync
          8. Secret #13: Look for Off-Peak Auctions
          9. Secret #14: Bid in the Off Season
          10. Secret #15: Put Your Best Foot Forward
          11. Secret #16: Don’t Let the Proxy Bid Things Up
          12. Secret #17: Know When to Say No
          13. Secret #18: Check the Seller’s Past Auctions
          14. Secret #19: Bid in Odd Numbers
        3. Secrets for Safer Bidding
          1. Secret #20: Check the Feedback
          2. Secret #21: Ask Questions
          3. Secret #22: If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
          4. Secret #23: Use a Middleman for Expensive Items
          5. Secret #24: When You Win It, Inspect It
          6. Secret #25: If You Get Ripped Off, Tell eBay About It
        4. Secrets That Any Bidder Can Use
          1. Secret #26: Use the eBay Toolbar
          2. Secret #27: Use My eBay to Track Your Auctions
          3. Secret #28: Read the Fine Print
          4. Secret #29: Don’t Forget Shipping Costs...
          5. Secret #30: ...But Don’t Overpay for Shipping
          6. Secret #31: Pay Quickly
          7. Secret #32: Don’t Be a Deadbeat
          8. Secret #33: Pay by Credit Card
          9. Secret #34: Money Orders Cost Money
          10. Secret #35: Provide All the Information Necessary
          11. Secret #36: If It’s Pricy, Insure It
          12. Secret #37: Document Everything
          13. Secret #38: Keep a Log
          14. Secret #39: Communicate!
          15. Secret #40: Be Nice
    9. III. Selling on eBay
      1. 11. What to Do Before You Sell
        1. Finding Items to Sell
          1. Garage Sales and Yard Sales
          2. Flea Markets
          3. Estate Sales
          4. Live Auctions
          5. Vintage and Used Retailers
          6. Thrift Stores
          7. Discount and Dollar Stores
          8. Closeout Sales
          9. Going Out of Business Sales
          10. Classified Ads
          11. Friends and Family
          12. Liquidators and Wholesalers
          13. eBay!
        2. Picking the Right Category
        3. Setting the Right Price
          1. Set It Low Enough to Be Attractive...
          2. ...But Don’t Set It So Low That It’s Not Believable
          3. Make Sure You Recover Your Costs...
          4. ...But Not So High That You Pay Too High a Listing Fee
          5. Make Sure You Can Live with a Single Bid
        4. Letting Somebody Else Sell It for You
          1. Finding a Trading Assistant
          2. What to Expect from a Consignment Sale
      2. 12. Selling Items via Online Auction
        1. Getting Ready to List
        2. Getting Started: Creating an Item Listing
          1. Step 1: Get Ready to Sell
          2. Step 2: Start Creating Your Listing
          3. Step 3: Enter Your Title
          4. Step 4: Pick a Category
          5. Step 5: Enter Item Information
          6. Step 6: Add a Photo
          7. Step 7: Enter Your Item Description
          8. Step 8: Set Price and Length
          9. Step 9: Enter Shipping Details
          10. Step 10: Enter Payment Information
          11. Step 11: Review Your Listing
        3. Creating Customized Item Listings
          1. Set a Higher Minimum with a Reserve Price Auction
          2. Sell Larger Quantities with a Dutch Auction
          3. Draw More Attention with Listing Enhancements
        4. Managing Your Item Listing
          1. Editing Your Listing
          2. Canceling an Auction
          3. Blocking Buyers
          4. Relisting an Item
        5. Five Common Selling Mistakes
          1. Mistake #1: List in the Wrong Category
          2. Mistake #2: Set Too High a Starting Price
          3. Mistake #3: Don’t Adequately Describe the Item
          4. Mistake #4: Don’t Include a Picture
          5. Mistake #5: Don’t Charge Enough Shipping and Handling
        6. The Auction’s Over! Now What?
      3. 13. Selling Items at a Fixed Price
        1. Add Fixed-Price Selling to Your Auctions with Buy It Now
        2. Creating Fixed-Price Listings—No Bidding Required
        3. Fixed-Price Selling with an eBay Store
          1. Do You Qualify?
          2. The Costs of Running an eBay Store
          3. Setting Up Your eBay Store
        4. Fixed-Price Selling on Half.com
        5. Fixed-Price Selling with eBay Express
        6. Finding Buyers with Want It Now
      4. 14. Creating More Effective Item Listings
        1. Write a Title That SELLS!
          1. Include Key Information
          2. Make Your Title Stand Out
        2. Write the Right Description
          1. Take All the Space You Need
          2. First Things First
          3. The Bare Necessities
          4. Describe It—Accurately
          5. Stress Benefits, Not Features
          6. Break It Up
          7. Don’t Forget the Fine Print
          8. Include Alternative Wording
        3. Making the Grade
          1. Making a Mint
          2. Getting Graded
          3. Other Ways to Describe Your Item
        4. Apply Cool Templates with eBay’s Listing Designer
        5. Create Fancy Listings with Listing-Creation Tools
          1. Create-Your-Own Listing Websites
          2. Downloadable Auction Templates
          3. Auction Listing Services
          4. Auction Listing Software
        6. Format Your Listings with HTML
          1. How HTML Works
          2. Entering HTML Codes
          3. Codes to Format Your Text
          4. Codes for Font Type, Size, and Color
          5. Codes for Paragraphs
          6. Codes for Line Breaks and Rules
          7. Codes for Graphics
          8. Codes for Links
          9. Codes for Lists
      5. 15. Using Pictures in Your Listings
        1. Take a Picture—Or Make a Scan
          1. Tips for Taking Great Product Photos
          2. Scan Instead of Shoot
          3. Use eBay’s Stock Photos
        2. Edit the Image File
          1. Things to Edit
          2. Graphics-Editing Software
          3. Resizing Your Photos
          4. Resizing Your Files
        3. Upload Your Image File to the Internet—Or Use eBay Picture Services
          1. Using eBay Picture Services
          2. Using Another Web Host
          3. Adding a Picture Within Your Item Description
      6. 16. Accepting PayPal and Other Methods of Payment
        1. Accepting Credit Cards—Via PayPal
          1. Signing Up for PayPal
          2. Paying for PayPal
          3. Choosing PayPal in Your New Auction Listing
          4. Collecting PayPal Payments
          5. Withdrawing PayPal Funds
        2. Accepting Money Orders and Cashier’s Checks
        3. Accepting Personal Checks
        4. Accepting C.O.D. Payments
        5. Accepting Cash
        6. Which Way Is Best?
      7. 17. After the Sale: Concluding the Transaction
        1. The Post-Auction Process
        2. Communicating with the Winning Bidder
        3. Accepting Payment
        4. Packing and Shipping
        5. Finishing Things Up and Leaving Feedback
        6. Handling Buyer Complaints and Problems
        7. What If You Don’t Sell Your Item?
        8. What If the Buyer Doesn’t Pay?
      8. 18. Packing and Shipping Your Items—Cheaply and Safely
        1. Packing 101
          1. Essential Packing Supplies
          2. Where to Find Boxes and Packing Materials
          3. Picking the Right Shipping Container
          4. How to Pack
          5. Packing for International Customers
          6. How to Seal the Package
        2. Labeling 101
          1. Buying the Right Kinds of Labels
          2. How to Create an Idiot-Proof Label
          3. Printing Labels and Postage on Your Own Computer
        3. Shipping 101
          1. Examining the Major Shipping Services
            1. Using the U.S. Postal Service
            2. Using UPS
            3. Using FedEx
            4. Using a Professional Packing and Shipping Service
          2. How to Reduce Shipping Weight—And Shipping Costs
          3. Shipping Large or Heavy Items
          4. How to Price Shipping and Handling for Your Item Listings
            1. Working with Flat Fees
            2. Working with Variable Fees
            3. Using eBay’s Shipping Calculator
            4. Determining the Handling Charge
          5. How to Track Your Shipment
          6. When to Recommend Insurance
          7. What to Do When Things Go Wrong
          8. Tips for Less Painful Shipping
      9. 19. Dealing with Nonpaying Buyers
        1. How to Handle Bum Buyers
          1. Checklist: Dealing with Deadbeat Bidders
        2. Contacting an Unresponsive Bidder
        3. Filing an Unpaid Item Dispute
        4. Asking eBay to Refund Your Fees
        5. Giving Other Bidders a Second Chance
        6. Relisting Your Item
      10. 20. Secrets of Successful Sellers
        1. Secrets for Selling and Promoting Your Items
          1. Secret #1: Research Your Price
          2. Secret #2: Go Long...
          3. Secret #3: ...Or Create a Short-Term Frenzy
          4. Secret #4: There’s No Reason to Reserve
          5. Secret #5: Single Items Are Best...
          6. Secret #6: ...Although You Can Unload Some Dogs in a Pack
          7. Secret #7: Don’t Compete Against Yourself
          8. Secret #8: Start and End in Prime Time
          9. Secret #9: End on a Sunday
          10. Secret #10: Don’t End on a Friday or Saturday Night
          11. Secret #11: Slow Down in the Summer
          12. Secret #12: Avoid Premature Cancellation
          13. Secret #13: Avoid Deadbeats
          14. Secret #14: Accept Credit Cards—Via PayPal
          15. Secret #15: Use a Middleman for Expensive Items
          16. Secret #16: Promote Your Auctions
          17. Secret #17: Promote Yourself with Your About Me and My World Pages
        2. Secrets for Creating More Effective Item Listings
          1. Secret #18: Make Your Listing Stand Out
          2. Secret #19: Get All the Buzzwords in the Title
          3. Secret #20: Be Descriptive
          4. Secret #21: Reuse Text That Sells
          5. Secret #22: A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words
          6. Secret #23: Include Shipping and Payment Details
          7. Secret #24: Remember All Your Shipping Costs
          8. Secret #25: Be Honest
        3. Secrets for Managing Your Auctions
          1. Secret #26: Use Turbo Lister to Create Your Listings
          2. Secret #27: If You Sell a Lot, Use eBay Selling Manager
          3. Secret #28: Use My eBay to Track Your Auctions
        4. Secrets for After the Auction
          1. Secret #29: Communicate Quickly—And Clearly
          2. Secret #30: Wait for the Check to Clear
          3. Secret #31: Ship Promptly
          4. Secret #32: If Nobody Buys, Relist—With a Different Description
          5. Secret #33: If You Get Stiffed, Ask for a Refund
          6. Secret #34: Don’t Forget About Number Two
        5. Secrets for Any eBay Seller
          1. Secret #35: Document Everything
          2. Secret #36: The Customer Is Always Right...
          3. Secret #37: ...Or All Sales Are Final
          4. Secret #38: If It’s a Business, You Pay Taxes
          5. Secret #39: Join the eBay Community
          6. Secret #40: Be Nice
    10. IV. Becoming an eBay Power Seller
      1. 21. Researching eBay Sales
        1. Search eBay’s Completed Auctions
        2. Use eBay’s Hot Categories Report
        3. Search eBay’s Marketplace Research Database
        4. Take eBay’s Pulse
        5. Discover the Most Popular Searches
        6. Use Third-Party Research Tools
          1. AuctionIntelligence
          2. eSeller Street
          3. Get4It
          4. HammerTap
          5. Mpire Research
          6. Terapeak
          7. Vendio
      2. 22. Using eBay’s Selling Tools
        1. Using Turbo Lister to Create Auction Listings
          1. Configuring Turbo Lister
          2. Creating an Item Listing
          3. Creating Listings with Prefilled Information
          4. Uploading Your Listings
        2. Using Selling Manager to Manage Your Auctions
          1. Basic Versus Pro: Which One for You?
          2. Using Selling Manager
          3. Sending Buyer Emails
          4. Receiving Payment
          5. Printing Invoices and Shipping Labels
          6. Leaving Feedback
          7. Archiving Completed Listings
        3. Using Blackthorne to Create and Manage Your Auctions
      3. 23. Using Other Selling Tools
        1. Understanding eBay Selling Tools
        2. Selling Management Software
          1. All My Auctions
          2. Auction Lizard
          3. Auction Wizard 2000
          4. AuctionSage
          5. AuctionTamer
          6. Shooting Star
        3. Selling Management Services
          1. Auction Hawk
          2. Auctiva
          3. eHarbors
          4. inkFrog
          5. Vendio
      4. 24. Selling Internationally
        1. Pros and Cons of Selling Internationally
        2. Selling Outside the United States
          1. Communicating with International Bidders
          2. Accepting Foreign Payments
          3. Shipping Across Borders—And Oceans
        3. eBay’s International Marketplaces
      5. 25. Opening a Trading Assistant Business
        1. How to Become an eBay Trading Assistant
        2. Setting Up Shop—And Setting Prices
          1. Create a Consignment Contract
          2. Set Your Fee Schedule
          3. Consider Opening a Drop-Off Location
          4. Go the Franchise Route
        3. Running Your Trading Assistant Business
          1. Finding Clients
          2. Taking Possession of the Merchandise
          3. Managing the Auction Process
          4. Packing and Shipping—And Settling with the Client
      6. 26. Making a Living from eBay
        1. Becoming an eBay PowerSeller
        2. Turning Your Online Auctions into a Real Business
        3. Maintaining Your Sales Inventory
        4. Automating Your Auction Activities
        5. Tracking Revenues and Costs
        6. Promoting Your Online Auctions
    11. V. Participating in the eBay Community
      1. 27. Managing Your eBay Activity with My eBay
        1. My eBay’s Home Page: My eBay Today
        2. Managing Your Buying and Bidding Activity with the Buying View
        3. Managing Your Selling Activity with the Selling View
        4. Viewing Saved Searches and Favorites with the Saved Stuff View
        5. Reading Messages and Announcements with My Messages
        6. Managing Your eBay Account with My Account Links
      2. 28. Creating Your Own eBay Identity
        1. Introducing Yourself with an About Me Page
          1. Creating Your Own About Me Page
          2. Publicizing Your eBay Auctions with About Me
        2. Welcome People to Your World with eBay’s My World Page
      3. 29. Communicating with Other Users in Groups, Boards, and Blogs
        1. Discuss Important Topics on eBay’s Discussion Boards
        2. Talk with Other Users in eBay’s Chat Rooms
        3. Find Others with Similar Interests in eBay Groups
        4. Connect with People Like You in eBay’s Neighborhoods
        5. Get Personal with eBay Blogs
        6. Ask a Question at the Answer Center
      4. 30. Reading and Writing Reviews and Guides
        1. Reading the Reviews and Guides
          1. Browsing and Searching the Product Reviews
          2. Browsing and Searching the Guides
        2. Writing Your Own Reviews and Guides
          1. Writing a Product Review
          2. Creating a Guide