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eBay Hacks, 2nd Edition by David A. Karp

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Tweak 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. Among other things, this makes it easier to share links with others, as well as quickly jump to certain pages on the eBay site.

Auction/Listing Pages

Most pages on eBay are generated dynamically so that you can see up-to-date listing information and customized content. In order for this to work, certain details need to be sent to eBay, and this is typically done with parameters included in web page addresses (URLs). For instance, the address of an auction page usually looks like this:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.
    dll?ViewItem&category=19117&item=5958951586&rd=1

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=5958951586 is a parameter. Any additional parameters are separated by ampersands (&).

As you can see, this URL is too long to fit on one line. If you’ve ever tried to email a long URL to a customer or friend, you know that the word-wrap feature found in most email programs will break long lines, thus disabling the URL. The solution is to shorten the URL by removing unnecessary elements. In this case, both the category and rd parameters ...

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