Selling on Ebay Suggestions and Tips

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baltbottles

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So now that Ebay has decided to raise there fees again As a seller what are you going to do to keep theses fees at a minimum but still get the most exposure for your items? Here is a few tips I’m going to offer the bottle collecting community. These will help keep your listing fees to a minimum and help you achieve better results from your auctions. I want to start off by saying I have been selling and buying on ebay for about 5 years. And remember the good old days when it was both cheap to sell and you got great prices for common bottles.

Picture Hosting: Ebay will host pictures for you but they charge you a fee I believe its free for the first picture and 15 cents for each additional. These fees in my mind are a total waste Don’t pay them Host your pictures yourself. Its cheaper to go buy some web storage space from your internet service provider or from some other online source. I recommend Yahoo Geocities http://geocities.yahoo.com/ This site is very easy to use for about $5 bucks a month you get 25 megs of storage space More then enough for hosting pictures for your ebay auctions. This also allows you to have as many pictures as you want in your auction and the size and quality of the pictures are much better. (This space is also great for setting up your own website.)

Pictures: Now in general you want good clear pictures for your auctions I recommend taking your pictures in a fairly well lit window. Not direct sun as this tends to wash out color. After you take your pictures You should learn how to use a good photo editing program. I recommend Corel Photopaint or Adobe Photoshop A good photo editor will allow you to crop your image This is basically just cutting out the area of the picture that your interested in (the bottle or other item) Because you want people to focus on the item your selling not what’s outside your window. Also you should resize this cropped out area to something that fits well on most computer users monitor. The most common resolution on a computer screen is 800 wide by 600 high pixles. So you don’t want your pictures to be so big that your scrolling all around to see the whole picture. I recommend about 550 high by 300 wide pixles this is a good large sized picture that should be easily viewable on most computers. And a good photo editor will allow you to compress your pictures for faster down load. Many people only have dial up internet access. And I hate auctions with pictures that take along time to load The the amount of compression in a jpeg or jpg picture file format can vary greatly most digital cameras don’t use very high compression this is good for printing but not for downloading as it creates very large file sizes I suggest about a 50% compression on your pictures this should provide a good quality picture with a small file size. File sizes of between 20 and 40 Kb should be your goal.

Auction Title: This is fairly self explanatory but try to put a brief description of the bottle your selling. I like to try to include the city or state that the bottle is from or if its pontiled or the color if its an odd color. These will help catch peoples eye and will help those doing a search by city or state as many people are interested in local bottles.

Auction Description: This is a big one. Try to include all the important information about the item. Such as exact embossing, size, lip type, BIMAL or ABM, about when it was made, color, and condition, also its ok to talk it up a bit in the description but don’t over do it focus on the bottles selling points crudeness, good color, nice pontil, provenance, perhaps were it was found (such as Dug from a 15 brick lined privy in down town wherever last month.)

Listing Designer: Ebay offers some fancy templates for sellers the charge 15 cents to use them. This same effect can be achieved for free simply by using some HTML code in your description. I write all my descriptions offline and then I just copy and past to ebays description page. I recommend Microsoft Frontpage for writing your auctions in. It’s a fairly easy program to use I made a fancy template for my auctions all I have to do is change the item description and the picture information for each item. See this link for an example http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=6147537819 Using HTML code in your description can allow you lost of creativity with your auctions such as a small logo image so buyers know right away that its one of your listings (this can help build a clientele of repeat buyers because they know and respect you as a seller.) Also Html code will allow you to put an E-mail link in your auction so that potential buyers simply have to click the link to send you an e-mail they don’t have to go through ebay to ask you questions. Ebay also allows you one link in your description to your Ebay about me page (more on this later).

Insertion Fees: This fee is based on the starting price of your auction. The higher the starting price the higher the fee. The cheapest your going to get away on this is 35 cents this is for starting things off from $1.00 to $9.99 I usually start things at $5.00 this is the mininum that I’m willing to sell something on ebay for. If you get less then $5.00 for something you pretty much don’t make any profit. A $5.00 sale usually = about $3.00 profit.

Reserve Fee: Another price based fee the higher the reserve the more the fee is. However there is one way to avoid this fee. The thing about this fee is ebay says its REFUNDED if your item sells. This is only partly true. Ebay dose refund the RESERVE FEE however they do not refund the higher Insertion fee they charge on top of this reserve price fee. For example IF you start your bottle off at $5.00 with a reserve of $200.00 you will be charged a Reserve fee of $2.00 and an Insertion Fee of $3.60 and if your item sells ebay only refunds the $2.00 Reserve fee So you may ask Why were you charged a $3.60 insertion fee when your starting bid was only $5.00 which ebay charges only 35 cents for on a non reserve auction. This is because ebay charges you the equivalent insertion fee for the price of your reserve basically they charge you the insertion fee price as if you started your auction off at $200 instead of $5.00 So it would simply be cheaper to Not use a reserve and just start you items at what you want. But I’ve found that a high starting price will scare off potential bidders. I’ve seen items that should have done much better die at the starting price with just one bid. This high starting price kills the competition and spirt of an auction. Auctions serve two purposes for buyers the chance to get a deal and for sellers to dispose of something quickly at the best possible price. The only way to get around paying ebay a Reserve fee and still have a true auction is to create a second ebay user id and bid $1.00 less then your willing to sell your item for. Now some mite consider this to be shill bidding but the reserve price fee is basically ebay just bidding on your own behalf so I say why pay them when I can do it myself for free. Its only shill bidding if you bid multiple times to purposely run up another bidder. One bid at the price that your willing to sell your item for is just protecting your investment. If you only bid once and at $1.00 less then your selling price is it will act exactly like ebays reserve if someone bids and they meet your selling price they will beat out your bid in your own behalf. However if you end up winning your own item you only have to pay the insertion fee and a final value fee up to the price your item ended at. This will always be the cheaper way on items under $500.00.

Listing In 2 Categories: This is a great option for items that cross over to other collectable areas. I use it quite often to gain more bids. The only draw back is they double your listing fees and if you have a reserve on something the fees get big quick. I suggest only using this on items that don’t require a reserve or to bid your own reserve.

My Ebay Page: I stated earlier that ebay allows you a link to this page in your auction description. I suggest using this page to link directly to your own private for sale page. This is a great way to sell things with out listing them on ebay and get lots of looks at your items. Ebay allows you to use HTML code in your about me page so I built a copy of my personal website there complete with working links. http://cgi3.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=baltimorebottles

Create A Website: I suggest you do this even if its simply a for sale page if you spend the money for some Web hosting space for your ebay pictures why not make a site of your own for sales and to tell a bit about yourself. I’ve bought many great bottles cause of people that visited my website. And let all your ebay auctions advertise it for you.

This is just a few suggestions and Tips

Chris
 

Maine Digger

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Great 'article' Chris![:)] I feel the need to comment on your tact regarding how to get around paying the fees for reserve prices through the use of a second e-bay identity. I did this ONCE very early on when I first started on e-bay. I placed a bid towrds the end of the auction (using another computer in the house and my wife's ebay id) to cover the 'minimum' I was willing to accept. I only placed the one bid, about an hour before the end of the auction. The bid I placed was more than 3x the next higher one. My thought was that the privious bidders would just say "that's way too much", and stop bidding; which they did. [8|] Ebay promptly pulled the auction, sent me an email accusing me of Shill Bidding and suspended my membership. [:eek:] They traced the second bid back to my house (I have a 6 position hub) and determined that we had a 'scam ' going on![&:] Too make matters worse, I already had several auctions that had closed and did not have some of the contact information. It took several weeks of mia copas via e-mail to ebays governing board to get my account activated again. Fortunately, I managed to clear things up with those people with winning bids who had been left hanging after ebay's suspension. I retained 100% satisfaction rating - whew[:D] I won't do this again! Hopefully the ebay undercover squad doesn't see your post here![8D]
 

baltbottles

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Hi Norm,

Wow thats pretty bad luck there that ebay caught you. Its probably because you used an id in your wifes name. i know someone else that did the same thing and also got caught. If your going to do this i suggest just have a good friend bid the resreve for you and you do the same for there auctions. I think its much more easyer for ebay to prove when the seller and the high bidder have the same address on there account.

Chris
 

Flaschenjager

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Hi Chris and readers (all),
Anyone who needs a good CHEATER page for HTML and eBay selling...well, here's a link to one I've used for years and I use HTML a lot and still use this site from time to time to save time. If you can copy/paste then this should help your sales.

http://www.eobcards.com/tutorial3.htm
 

kumtow

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I don't think it is appropriate to bid on your own item to set a reserve price. If you get caught and kicked off .....well. It is against eBay rules and there are eBay members that will actively pursue getting sellers kicked off if they suspect the seller of doing this.
 

Maine Digger

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Alan, I am in full agreement with you regarding 'self-bidding'. As I said, I was a newbie on ebay and didn't think I was doing anything underhanded.[:eek:] The shipping for the item in question would have cost the then high bidder 5x his bid, In my ignorance of the rules, (I never read them - ouch[&:]) I thought I was doing him a favor. Fortunately, the ebay sheriffs patrol accepted my explanation and reactivated my account.[:)] But that aside, I feel ebay has gotten a wee bit greedy, especially in light of their record breaking profit statement.
 

BRIAN S.

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Myself , I don't agree with bidding on your own item. But , in reality it happens everyday and not just on ebay. And I don't agree with reserve prices on an auction either. ( just my opinion ) .
It's an auction ! Not a fixed price on a bottle......that's an Antique Show or Bottle Show ! Most of the thrill of an auction is the thrill of the competition and the hopes of getting a good deal on an item.
I have sold many items on ebay and very few I have put a reserve on ( 99 % of the time only when selling someones elses stuff for them ). And most my auctions started out at 9.99 no reserve. I have sold several bottles in this manner that brought several thousand dollars each. And believe me I was sweating it out on a couple . But , Aha ! The snipers saved my butt and I made a proffit. I have found that your better bottles usually bring a fair market value on ebay. And I have only lost $$$ on a couple. But that is to be expected . You can't win them all as the old saying goes!
Well , that's just my opinion on the matter and you all know how they are ! Let's keep the thrill and excitment in our auctions ! Brian
Norm we all have made some mistakes over the years .... We forgive you just this once ! LOL Good to see you back on the forum !
 

wootten

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you all are so high tech on this stuff-I couldn't believe what goes on with the ebay-good luck you all-I just was hoping to find a great bottle and sell it (on ebay) -oops, wendy
 

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