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eBay Hacks by David A. Karp

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Tweaking Search URLs

Tap into eBay’s massive database right from your own address bar.

eBay is essentially a massive database. Every time you view an auction page, you’re just looking at a single database record. Every time you search, you’re performing a query. But even if you’re not familiar with DB lingo, you can play with eBay’s URLs to tweak what you see.

Auction Pages

Many pages on eBay use a standard CGI (Common Gateway Interface) format, which is nothing more than a program name followed by a command and one or more parameters:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3128013703

Here, cgi.ebay.com is the name of the server, eBayISAPI.dll is the filename of the program, ViewItem is the command to execute, and item=3128013703 is a parameter. Any additional parameters are separated by ampersands (&).

In this case, 3128013703 is the auction number. Simply replace this with another valid auction number, press Enter, and you’ll see the corresponding auction page. This is typically quicker and more convenient than using the Search page to open an auction by its number.

Tip

Some sellers reference other auctions by simply including the auction number in their descriptions, usually because they don’t know how to make links (see [Hack #40]). To view the auction by its number, simply copy and paste the number into the URL, replacing the one that’s there.

Search Pages

A typical search page URL looks something like this:

http://search.ebay.com/ws/search/SaleSearch?satitle=avocado+green ...

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