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Absolute Beginner's Guide to eBay

Absolute Beginner's Guide to eBay

3rd Edition

Michael Miller

Jun 2005, Paperback, 408 pages
ISBN13: 9780789734310
ISBN10: 0789734311
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On any given day there are more than 28 million items listed for auction at eBay, the world's largest online trading community. Almost $34 billion worth of merchandise, in more than 1.4 billion individual auctions, was traded over eBay during the year 2004; that's $93 million a day, or more than $1,000 every second. At the end of 2004, eBay had more than 135 million registered users - more than double the number of users just two years previous.

The first two editions of this book were best-sellers, so it's only natural we would update this great book to reflect some of eBay's most recent upgrades such as: eBay Stores, Half.com, and Trading Assistants.

Introduction.

How This Book Is Organized

Conventions Used in This Book

Web Page Addresses

Special Elements

Further Reading

Let Me Know What You Think

I. ESSENTIAL EBAY.

1. Introducing eBay, the World's Largest Online Auction.

What Is eBay-And How Did It Come to Be?

The eBay Story

How Big Is eBay?

How Does an eBay Auction Work?

What You Can-And What You Can't-Trade on eBay

Major Categories

What You Can't Trade on eBay

What's What (and What's Where) on eBay

eBay's Home Page-For New Users

eBay's Home Page-For Registered Users

Where to Find Everything Else: eBay's Site Map

Contacting eBay

2. Joining Up and Getting Started.

Everybody Does It: Filling Out eBay's Registration Form

Checklist: Before You Register

Signing Up for Basic Membership

Creating a Seller's Account

The Costs of Using eBay

Protecting Yourself from Phishing Scams

Getting Started

II. EBAY FOR BIDDERS.

3. Bidding 101: A Tutorial for Beginning Bidders.

Understanding the Bidding Process

Deciding How Much to Bid

Understanding Proxy Bidding

How to Read an Item Listing

Title, Number, and Your Information

Auction Details

Seller Information

Description

Shipping, Payment Details, and Return Policy

Payment Methods Accepted

Ready to Bid?

Before You Bid

Checklist: Before You Bid

Just Do It-Placing a Bid

Bidding in Other Types of Auctions

Dutch Auctions

Reserve Price Auctions

What to Do After You've Bid

Keeping Track of Your Bids

Increasing Your Bid Amount

Oh, No! You've Been Outbid!

Retracting a Bad Bid

Bidding in the Final Moments

Five Common Bidding Mistakes

Mistake #1: Bidding Too Early

Mistake #2: Bidding Too Low

Mistake #3: Bidding Too High

Mistake #4: Getting Caught Up in a Bidding Frenzy

Mistake #5: Not Reading the Fine Print

You Won! Now What?

4. Searching for Items to Buy.

Browsing or Searching-Which One Is for You?

Browsing: The Easy Way to Find Things

Searching: The Powerful Way to Find Things

Using eBay's Basic Search Function

Using the Find It Now Page

Using the Advanced Search Page

Fine-Tuning Your Search Results

Complex Searches-For Simpler Results

Practice Makes Perfect: Some Sample Searches

Saving Your Searches-and Repeating Them

Get Notification of New Items That Match Your Search

5. The Best Ways to Pay.

Different Ways to Pay

Paying by Cash

Paying by Check

Paying by Money Order or Cashier's Check

Paying by Credit Card-Via PayPal

Paying by Credit Card (Without PayPal)

Paying Cash on Delivery

Using Escrow

Evaluating Different Methods of Payments

Which Method Is Fastest?

Which Method Is Safest?

Which Method Should You Use?

6. After the Auction: Taking Care of Business.

Using the Post-Auction Checklist

Checklist: After You've Won

Making Contact-And Paying

Calculating the Final Price

Paying via Credit Card

Paying via Check or Money Order

Contacting the Seller Directly

Waiting for Your Doorbell to Ring

Receiving the Goods

Finishing Things Up and Leaving Feedback

7. Dealing with Fraudulent Sellers.

Protecting Yourself Before You Buy

Protecting Yourself After the Auction

Getting Help from eBay

Resolving Conflicts

Beyond eBay

Reporting Inappropriate Behavior

Tips for Protecting Yourself on eBay

8. Other Ways to Buy on eBay.

Get It Quick with Buy It Now

Shopping at eBay Stores

Browsing and Buying from an eBay Store

Searching eBay Stores

Just Like Amazon: Half.com

Express Shopping for Books, CDs, DVDs, and Video Games

Want It Now? Then Ask for It!

9. Secrets of Successful Bidders.

The Guaranteed Way to Win an Auction-Be Sneaky and Snipe

Sniping: Pros and Cons

Successful Sniping, Step-by-Step

Using Software to Snipe

Forty Sure-Fire Tips for Placing a Winning Bid-And Getting the Most for Your Money

Tip #1: Bid in the Off Season

Tip #2: Look for Off-Peak Auctions

Tip #3: Do Your Research

Tip #4: Don't Bid on the First Item You See

Tip #5: Know When to Say No

Tip #6: Don't Let the Proxy Bid Things Up

Tip #7: There Are Other Fish in the Sea

Tip #8: If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

Tip #9: Ask Questions

Tip #10: Check the Feedback

Tip #11: Check the Seller's Past Auctions

Tip #12: Check the Seller's Other Current Auctions

Tip #13: Search; Don't Browse

Tip #14: Search Smart

Tip #15: Search for Misspellings

Tip #16: Search for Last-Minute Bargains

Tip #17: Don't Show Your Hand

Tip #18: Watch, Don't Bid

Tip #19: Use the eBay Toolbar

Tip #20: Watch the Finish

Tip #21: Get in Sync

Tip #22: Put Your Best Foot Forward

Tip #23: Bid in Odd Numbers

Tip #24: Don't Be a Deadbeat

Tip #25: Use My eBay to Track Your Auctions

Tip #26: Read the Fine Print

Tip #27: Don't Forget Shipping Costs

Tip #28: But Don't Overpay for Shipping

Tip #29: Pay Quickly

Tip #30: Pay by Credit Card

Tip #31: Money Orders Cost Money

Tip #32: Provide All the Information Necessary

Tip #33: Use a Middleman for Expensive Items

Tip #34: Insure It

Tip #35: Document Everything

Tip #36: Keep a Log

Tip #37: If You Win It, Inspect It

Tip #38: If You Get Ripped Off, Tell eBay About It

Tip #39: Communicate!

Tip #40: Be Nice

III. EBAY FOR SELLERS.

10. Selling 101: A Tutorial for Beginning Sellers.

Getting Ready to List

Checklist: Before You List an Item for Auction

Getting Started: Creating an Item Listing

Step 1: Get Ready to Sell

Step 2: Choose the Type of Auction

Step 3: Choose Your Category

Step 4: Choose a Listing Option

Step 5: Describe Your Item

Step 6: Fill in the Details

Step 7: Enter Payment and Shipping Info

Step 8: Review and Submit Your Listing

You're Done!

Selling Commonly Sold Items with Pre-Filled Item Information

Dealing with Different Types of Auctions

Set a Higher Minimum with a Reserve Price Auction

Sell Larger Quantities with a Dutch Auction

Keep It Anonymous with a Private Auction

End It Quick with Buy It Now

Managing Your Item Listing

Editing Your Listing

Canceling an Auction

Blocking Buyers

Relisting an Item

Five Common Selling Mistakes

Mistake #1: List in the Wrong Category

Mistake #2: Set Too High a Starting Price

Mistake #3: Don't Adequately Describe the Item

Mistake #4: Don't Include a Picture

Mistake #5: Don't Charge Enough Shipping and Handling

The Auction's Over! Now What?

11. Determining What to Sell-And for How Much.

Finding Items to Sell

Garage Sales and Yard Sales

Flea Markets

Estate Sales

Live Auctions

Vintage and Used Retailers

Thrift Stores

Discount and Dollar Stores

Closeout Sales

Going Out of Business Sales

Classified Ads

Friends and Family

Liquidators and Wholesalers

eBay!

Picking the Right Category

Setting the Right Price

Set It Low Enough to Be Attractive

But Don't Set It So Low That It's Not Believable

Make Sure You Recover Your Costs

But Not So High That You Pay Too High a Listing Fee

Make Sure You Can Live with a Single Bid

12. Deciding on Your Payment Methods-And Using PayPal.

Accepting Cash

Accepting C.O.D. Payments

Accepting Personal Checks

Accepting Money Orders and Cashier's Checks

Accepting Credit Cards-Via PayPal

Signing Up for PayPal

Paying for PayPal

Choosing PayPal in Your New Auction Listing

Collecting PayPal Payments

Withdrawing PayPal Funds

Which Way Is Best?

13. Choosing the Right Listing Options.

Choosing the Right Length

Choosing a Different Start Time

To Reserve, Or Not to Reserve

Sell It Now?

Public or Private?

A Pretty Picture

Grab Attention with Listing Upgrades

Subtitle

Gallery

Gallery Featured

Bold

Border

Highlight

Featured Plus!

Home Page Featured

Gift Icon

Listing Designer

Count 'em Up

14. Writing a Listing That Sells.

Write a Title That SELLS!

Include Key Information

Make Your Title Stand Out

Write the Right Description

Take All the Space You Need

First Things First

The Bare Necessities

Describe It-Accurately

Stress Benefits, Not Features

Break It Up

Don't Forget the Fine Print

Include Alternate Wording

Making the Grade

Making a Mint

Getting Graded

Other Ways to Describe Your Item

15. Using Pictures in Your Listings.

Checklist: eBay Pictures

Take a Picture-Or Make a Scan

Tips for Taking Great Product Photos

Scan Instead of Shoot

Use eBay's Stock Photos

Convert a Picture to a Digital Graphics File

Edit the Image File

Things to Edit

Graphics Editing Software

Resizing Your Photos

Resizing Your Files

Upload Your Image File to the Internet-Or Use eBay Picture Services

Using eBay Picture Services

Using Another Web Host

Adding a Picture Within Your Item Description

16. Creating a Great-Looking Listing.

Apply Cool Templates with eBay's Listing Designer

Create Fancy Listings with Listing-Creation Tools

eBay Turbo Lister

Free Listing Templates

Third-Party Listing-Creation Tools

Insert Simple HTML Formatting with eBay's HTML Editor

How HTML Works

Entering HTML Codes

Codes to Format Your Text

Codes for Font Type, Size, and Color

Codes for Paragraphs, Line Breaks, and Rules

Codes for Graphics

Codes for Links

Codes for Lists

17. Automating Item Listing with eBay Turbo Lister.

Downloading and Configuring the Turbo Lister Software

Downloading Turbo Lister

Configuring Turbo Lister

Creating an Item Listing

Creating Listings for Commonly Sold Items

Uploading Your Listings

18. Managing the Auction Process.

Keeping Tabs on Your Current Auctions

Receiving Daily Updates from eBay

Using My eBay

Using Auction Management Software and Services

Editing In-Process Auctions

Updating Your Auction Listing

Deleting Unwelcome Bidders

Canceling an Auction

Answering Bidder Questions

Promoting Your Auctions

Linking to Specific Item Listings

Linking to All Your Auction Listings

19. After the Auction: Concluding Your Business.

The Post-Auction Process

Checklist: After the Auction

Communicating with the Winning Bidder

Accepting Payment

Packing and Shipping

Finishing Things Up and Leaving Feedback

Handling Buyer Complaints and Problems

What If You Don't Sell Your Item?

What If the Buyer Doesn't Pay?

20. Automating Auction Management with eBay Selling Manager.

Introducing eBay Selling Manager

How Selling Manager Works

For Higher-Volume Sellers: eBay Selling Manager Pro

Sending Buyer Emails

Sending a Standard Email Message

Editing an Email Template

Receiving Payment

Printing Invoices and Shipping Labels

After the Item Is Shipped

Leaving Feedback

Archiving Completed Listings

21. Shipping It Out-Cheaply and Safely.

Packing 101

Essential Packing Supplies

Checklist: Packing Supplies

Where to Find Boxes and Packing Materials

Picking the Right Shipping Container

How to Pack

Packing for International Customers

How to Seal the Package

Labeling 101

Buying the Right Kinds of Labels

How to Create an Idiot-Proof Label

Printing Labels and Postage on Your Own Computer

Shipping 101

Examining the Major Shipping Services

How to Reduce Shipping Weight-And Shipping Costs

Shipping Large or Heavy Items

How to Price Shipping and Handling for Your Item Listings

How to Track Your Shipment

When to Recommend Insurance

What to Do When Things Go Wrong

Tips for Less-Painful Shipping

22. Dealing with Deadbeat Bidders.

How to Handle Bum Bidders

Checklist: Dealing with Deadbeat Bidders

Contacting an Unresponsive Bidder

Filing an Unpaid Item Dispute

Asking eBay to Refund Your Fees

Leaving Negative Feedback

Giving Other Bidders a Second Chance

Relisting Your Item

23. Other Ways to Sell on eBay.

Fixed-Price Selling on Half.com

Finding Buyers with Want It Now

Letting Someone Else Sell It for You

Listing Your Real Estate on eBay

24. Secrets of Successful Sellers.

Forty Sure-Fire Tips for Closing More Auctions-And Increasing Your Revenues

Tip #1: Research Your Price

Tip #2: Make Your Listing Stand Out

Tip #3: Use Turbo Lister to Create Your Listings

Tip #4: Get All the Buzzwords in the Title

Tip #5: A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Tip #6: Be Descriptive

Tip #7: Reuse Text That Sells

Tip #8: Include Shipping and Payment Details

Tip #9: Be Honest

Tip #10: Promote Yourself with Your About Me Page

Tip #11: Make the Buyer Pay

Tip #12: Go Long

Tip #13: Or Create a Short-Term Frenzy

Tip #14: There's No Reason to Reserve

Tip #15: Single Items Are Best

Tip #16: Although You Can Unload Some Dogs in a Pack

Tip #17: Don't Compete Against Yourself

Tip #18: Start and End in Prime Time

Tip #19: End on a Sunday

Tip #20: Don't End on a Friday or Saturday Night

Tip #21: Slow Down in the Summer

Tip #22: Promote Your Auctions

Tip #23: Use My eBay to Track Your Auctions

Tip #24: If You Sell a Lot, Use eBay Selling Manager

Tip #25: Avoid Premature Cancellation

Tip #26: Avoid Deadbeats

Tip #27: Include All Your Shipping Costs

Tip #28: Use a Middleman for Expensive Items

Tip #29: Document Everything

Tip #30: Communicate Quickly-And Clearly

Tip #31: Be Nice

Tip #32: Ship Promptly

Tip #33: If Nobody Buys, Relist-With a Different Description

Tip #34: If You Get Stiffed, Ask for a Refund

Tip #35: Don't Forget About Number Two

Tip #36: The Customer Is Always Right

Tip #37: Or All Sales Are Final

Tip #38: Accept Credit Cards-Via PayPal

Tip #39: Wait for the Check to Clear

Tip #40: If It's a Business, You Pay Taxes

One Extra Tip: Join the eBay Community

IV. USING EBAY'S ADVANCED FEATURES.

25. Creating a Home Base with My eBay.

Accessing and Using My eBay

My Summary View

All Buying Page

All Selling Page

My Messages Page

All Favorites Page

My Account Page

Managing and Personalizing My eBay

Sorting and Filtering

Hiding or Displaying Columns

Changing How Many Listings to Display

Leaving Notes to Yourself

Printing Key Information

26. Creating Your Own Personal About Me Page.

Introducing the About Me Page

Creating Your Own About Me Page

Publicizing Your eBay Auctions with About Me

27. Understanding and Using Feedback.

What Do All Those Stars and Numbers Mean?

Reading Feedback Comments-And Contacting Other Users

How to Leave Feedback

Figuring Out What Kind of Feedback to Leave

Dealing with Negative Feedback

V. BECOMING A POWER SELLER.

28. Using Auction Software and Services.

Listing and Auction Management

All My Auctions

Ándale

Auction Hawk

Auction Lizard

Auction Wizard 2000

AuctionHelper

AuctionSage

AuctionTamer

Auctiva

ChannelAdvisor

eBay Seller's Assistant

eBay Selling Manager

eBay Selling Manager Pro

eBay Turbo Lister

HammerTap

inkFrog

ManageAuctions

Marketworks

Shooting Star

SpareDollar

Vendio

Sniping and Bidding Tools

Auction Sentry

Auction Sniper

AuctionStealer

AuctionTamer

BidNapper

BidRobot

BidSlammer

Cricket Power Sniper

eSnipe

HammerSnipe

Vrane

29. Going International.

Pros and Cons of Selling Internationally

Selling Outside the United States

Communicating with International Bidders

Accepting Foreign Payments

Shipping Across Borders-And Oceans

eBay's International Marketplaces

30. Making a Living from eBay.

Becoming an eBay PowerSeller

Turning Your Online Auctions into a Real Business

Maintaining Your Sales Inventory

Automating Your Auction Activities

Tracking Revenues and Costs

Promoting Your Online Auctions

Supplementing Your Auctions with an eBay Store

Do You Qualify?

The Costs of Running an eBay Store

Setting Up Your eBay Store

Index.

Michael Miller is a top eBay seller and a successful and prolific author. He has a reputation for practical, real-world advice and an unerring empathy for the needs of his readers.

Mr. Miller has written more than 60 nonfiction books over the past 15 years, for Que and other major publishers. His books for Que include Tricks of the eBay Masters, Making a Living from Your eBay Business, Bad Pics Fixed Quick, and Absolute Beginner's Guide to Computer Basics. He is known for his casual, easy-to-read writing style and his ability to explain a wide variety of complex topics to an everyday audience.

Mr. Miller is also president of The Molehill Group, a strategic consulting and authoring firm based in Carmel, Indiana. As a consultant, he specializes in providing strategic advice to and writing business plans for Internet- and technology-based businesses.

You can email Mr. Miller directly at abg-ebay@molehillgroup.com. His website is located at http://www.molehillgroup.com, and his eBay user ID is trapperjohn2000.


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