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eBay Hacks by David A. Karp

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Create a Search Robot

Use the WWW::Search::eBay Perl module to perform your searches for you.

A collector in search of a particular item or type of item may repeat the same search, often several times a week. A serious collector, knowing that items sometimes sell within hours of being listed (see [Hack #26]), may repeat a search several times a day for an item. But who has the time?

The Favorites tab of the My eBay page, which allows you to keep track of up to 100 favorite searches (see [Hack #16]), also has a feature to email you when new items matching your search criteria appear on the site. Just check the Preferences link next to the search caption, and then turn on the “Email me daily whenever there are new items” option.

Unfortunately, eBay’s new-item notification feature will send you notifications no more than once a day, and in that time, any number of juicy auctions could’ve started and ended. So I created this hack to do my searches for me, and do them as often as I see fit.

Constructing the Robot

By "scraping” eBay search results with the WWW::Search::eBay Perl module (developed by Martin Thurn), any Perl program can retrieve search results from eBay and manipulate them any way you want. You can download the module for free from http://search.cpan.org/perldoc?WWW::Search::eBay and install it on any computer that has Perl. See Installing Perl Modules for installation details.

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