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eBay Hacks, 2nd Edition by David A. Karp

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Create a Listing

Use the Sell Your Item form to create an auction or fixed-price listing and start selling on eBay in just a few minutes.

There’s a bit of subtle (and not-so-subtle) strategy involved in creating a listing, from writing a catchy and concise title and adequately describing your item to choosing among the extra-cost listing options. The important thing is to take your time and have a little fun with it; attention to detail will pay off in the long run, while rushed listings cause nothing but problems.

Before you try to sell anything on eBay, take a moment to find out what it’s worth [Hack #42] . That way, you’ll know ahead of time if the potential payoff is worth your time.

When you’re ready, click Sell at the top of any eBay page. If you’ve never sold on eBay before, you’ll be asked to sign up for a Seller’s Account; just follow the prompts and answer the questions; it shouldn’t take more than a minute or two.

Tip

eBay makes most of its money in two ways: insertion (listing) fees and final value fees. You’ll be charged an insertion fee when you list your item, regardless of whether or not it sells. The fees depend on the specific options you choose (discussed throughout this chapter); a summary of fees for each listing you create is shown at the end of the listing process.

If all goes well, you should see the first page of the Sell Your Item form, at which point you’ll be given a choice as to the listing format:

Online Auction.

Select this option to create a standard Chinese auction, wherein bidding takes place as described in the beginning of Chapter 3. You select the starting price, and optionally a Buy It Now price [Hack #31] and Reserve [Hack #45] and let bidders do the rest.

Fixed Price.

If you have a feedback score of at least 10, you can use this option to set a firm price and, optionally, use eBay’s Best Offer feature [Hack #66] .

Fixed-price listings are nearly identical to auction listings, except that you specify only one price: the Buy It Now price. There’s no starting bid (no bidding at all, actually), so if the item sells, you know exactly what it’ll go for. There’s no mystery and no suspense, which can be good if you just want to move your merchandise. But since this format doesn’t have the excitement and uncertainty of a traditional auction, it’s not such a great choice for collectibles and other items whose price is determined (and inflated) by your customers’ frenzied bidding.

Store Inventory.

Provided you’ve opened an eBay Store [Hack #91] , you can create new fixed-price Store listings with this option. These are essentially the same as Fixed Price listings, except they last much longer (30, 60, or 90 days) and cost much less. The downside is that they won’t show up in standard eBay searches or category listings.

Real Estate.

The last option here is Real Estate, set aside as its own format because real estate is handled so differently from anything else on eBay. Essentially, you don’t sell real estate on eBay; you advertise it. This is understandable, considering what’s typically involved in purchasing a house or— if you live in California—a parking space.

Real estate listings last much longer than conventional listings (30 or 90 days) and are substantially more expensive. But since there’s no bidding (and therefore no final value fees), the $150.00 insertion fee to advertise a quarter-million-dollar home for a full month suddenly doesn’t sound so expensive.

Tip

You can list your real estate as a conventional auction, complete with bidding and a Buy It Now price, by choosing the “Sell at online auction” format and then choosing “Real Estate” for the category. This will also give you the option of a short 3-, 5-, 7-, or 10-day listing at a lower $35.00 insertion fee. As with 30-and 90-day real estate listings, eBay charges no final value fee for real estate listings.

Next to the Start a New Listing button, you might also see a Complete your listing link. If you didn’t finish creating your listing the last time you used this form, you’ll have the opportunity to pick up where you left off. Among other things, this means that you don’t have to start over if the power suddenly goes out.

The rest of the Sell Your Item form is divided into the following five pages:

Category.

This step involves choosing a category (or two [Hack #46] ) in which to file your item. The best way to find the appropriate category for your item (particularly if you’re not yet familiar with eBay’s hierarchy of categories) is to search for completed listings [Hack #42] and see which categories [Hack #12] were used by the most successful listings.

Title & Description.

Use these fields to type the title, subtitle, and description [Hack #47] your customers will see in search results and on the listing page itself. Note that most of the hacks in this chapter make use of HTML [Hack #52] and JavaScript (discussed in the Preface) code placed into the Description field.

Pictures & Details.

Here, you indicate a price [Hack #42] , duration [Hack #48] , quantity [Hack #44] , and location [Hack #39] . You can also specify one or more extra-cost upgrades [Hack #46] and even elect to have a counter [Hack #49] appear on your page. The most important thing on this page, however, is the picture, fully covered in Chapter 5.

Payment & Shipping.

Here, you choose what types of payment you’re willing to accept [Hack#85] and what parts of the world to which you’re willing to ship. Then, choose either a flat shipping cost [Hack #86] or use eBay’s optional Calculated Shipping feature [Hack #59] . Also on this page are boxes for your return policy and payment instructions [Hack #64] .

Review & Submit.

This last page shows a summary of the choices you made on the previous pages. At any point, you can return to an earlier step by clicking the step captions at the top of the page. (Avoid using your browser’s Back button here, as this can cause eBay to lose information.) Finally, you’ll see a summary of the insertion fees incurred by this new listing.

Click the Submit Listing button at the bottom of the page to start your listing; unless you’ve elected to have eBay schedule your listing [Hack #48] , it starts right away. In most cases, it’ll show up in search results within a few minutes, which you can confirm with the “Where is an item” feature [Hack #49] .

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