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eBay Hacks by David A. Karp

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Focus Your Searches with eBay’s Advanced Search Syntax

Simplify your searches by making them a little more complicated.

Why should exhaustive searches be so . . . exhausting? Whether you’re performing a quick one-time search or repeating the same search every other day, you can dramatically improve the efficiency of your searches and the relevance of your search results with some simple modifications to your queries.

You could fine-tune your searches by going to Search Advanced Search, but this can be cumbersome and is mostly unnecessary due to the advanced search syntax.

Excluding Unwanted Results

Simply precede a search term with a minus sign (-) to eliminate any search results containing that term. For example, the query:

sunglasses -men's

will show all auctions containing “sunglasses” but not “men’s”, which should, at least in theory, show you a list of women’s sunglasses. (Note that there’s no space between the minus sign and the term “men’s”.) This approach is typically more effective than something like “women’s sunglasses” because it will also include any auctions for gender-neutral sunglasses.

Naturally, you can exclude multiple terms, like this:

sunglasses -men's -children's -ugly

The scope of the excluded terms is the same as the scope of the search; that is, if you’re searching only titles, the exclusions will apply only to titles. For example, the above example may bring up some auctions with “ugly” in the description, even though it doesn’t appear in the title. Only ...

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