eBay Hacks: 100 Industrial Strength Tips and Tools

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Want to know how best to use eBay? Whether you're a newcomer or longtime user, eBay Hacks will teach you to become efficient as both a buyer and seller. You'll find a wide range of topics, from monitoring the bidding process, getting refunds, and fixing photos so that sale items look their best, to in-depth tips for running a business on eBay and writing scripts that automate some of the most tedious tasks.That's just the nuts and bolts. The book also gives you an inside look into the unique eBay community, where...

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Overview

Want to know how best to use eBay? Whether you're a newcomer or longtime user, eBay Hacks will teach you to become efficient as both a buyer and seller. You'll find a wide range of topics, from monitoring the bidding process, getting refunds, and fixing photos so that sale items look their best, to in-depth tips for running a business on eBay and writing scripts that automate some of the most tedious tasks.That's just the nuts and bolts. The book also gives you an inside look into the unique eBay community, where millions of people gather online to buy and sell. Author David Karp—an eBay user himself, with years of experience—teaches you how to work within this community to maximize your success. eBay Hacks includes four powerful sections:

  • "Hacks for All" covers eBay's diplomacy and feedback system, describing how you can maintain a good feedback profile and use it to inspire trust in others.
  • "Hacks for Buyers" shows you how to focus your searches to find auctions before anyone else—including ways to create an automated search robot. Then, learn how bidding works in the real world, using eBay's proxy bidding system to improve your win rate while spending less money.
  • "Hacks for Sellers" teaches strategies for competitive selling, like promoting your items without spending extra money and protecting yourself from deadbeat buyers. Learn how to run a fulltime business on eBay by streamlining the listing process, communications and checkout.
  • "Hacks for Developers" delves into eBay's API, an interface for writing programs that do the work that most users have to do by hand through a web browser.
With eBay Hacks, you'll be more than a buyer or seller. You will become a savvy power user who knows the smart way to save time, save money, and dramatically improve auction success.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596005641
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

David A. Karp is the author of twelve power-user books, including the bestselling Windows Annoyances series of books and O'Reilly's eBay Hacks. David's books are available in ten languages, and can be found under the short legs of tables around the world.

David is the founder of Annoyances.org, one of the most respected and popular computer help sites on the Interwebs. He writes for PC Magazine, but they're curiously reluctant to publish photos of his bicycle. Notable recognition has come from PC Computing, Windows Magazine, the San Francisco Examiner, and the New York Times.

He scored 30.96647% on the Geek Test (http://www.innergeek.us/), earning a rating of "Total Geek." He hopes future revisions of the test reward publishing his score in the backs of computer books. David spends nearly every spare moment with his son.

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Table of Contents

Credits;
About the Author;
Contributors;
Best eBay Pop-Culture References;
Acknowledgments;
Foreword: This Magic Marketplace;
Preface;
Origins;
What This Book Is . . . and Isn’t;
Hacking a Dynamic System;
Practical Matters;
How This Book Is Organized;
How to Use This Book;
Conventions Used in This Book;
How to Contact Us;
Got a Hack?;
Chapter 1: Diplomacy and Feedback;
1.1 Hacks #1-8;
1.2 Searching Feedback;
1.3 Using Prefabricated Feedback;
1.4 How to Avoid Negative Feedback;
1.5 Replies and Followups to Feedback;
1.6 Withholding Feedback;
1.7 Remove Unwanted Feedback;
1.8 Improve Your Trustworthiness Quickly;
1.9 What to Do When Your Email Doesn’t Get Through;
Chapter 2: Searching;
2.1 Hacks #9-19;
2.2 Focus Your Searches with eBay’s Advanced Search Syntax;
2.3 Controlling Fuzzy Searches;
2.4 Jumping In and Out of Categories While Searching;
2.5 Tweaking Search URLs;
2.6 Find Similar Items;
2.7 Search by Seller;
2.8 Search Internationally;
2.9 Save Your Searches;
2.10 Create a Search Robot;
2.11 Find Items by Shadowing;
2.12 The eBay Toolbar;
Chapter 3: Bidding;
3.1 Hacks #20-32;
3.2 Sniffing Out Dishonest Sellers;
3.3 Snipe It Manually;
3.4 Automatic Sniping;
3.5 Conditional Sniping with Bid Groups;
3.6 Keep Track of Auctions Outside of eBay;
3.7 Take Advantage of Bid Increments;
3.8 Manipulating Buy-It-Now Auctions;
3.9 Retract Your Bid Without Retracting Your Bid;
3.10 Tools for Dealing with Fraud;
3.11 Send Payment Quickly and Safely;
3.12 International Transactions Made Easier;
3.13 Save Money on Shipping;
3.14 Dealing with Disappointment: Getting Refunds;
Chapter 4: Selling;
4.1 Hacks #33-54;
4.2 What’s It Worth?;
4.3 To Bundle or Not to Bundle;
4.4 Reserve Judgment;
4.5 The Strategy of Listing Upgrades;
4.6 Putting Keywords in Your Auction;
4.7 Track Your Exposure;
4.8 Expectation Management;
4.9 Formatting the Description with HTML;
4.10 Customize Auction Page Backgrounds;
4.11 Framing Your Auctions;
4.12 Overriding eBay’s Fonts and Styles;
4.13 Annoy Them with Sound;
4.14 Put a Shipping Cost Calculator in Your Auction;
4.15 Allow Visitors to Search Through Your Auctions;
4.16 List Your Other Auctions in the Description;
4.17 Make Good Use of the About Me Page;
4.18 Opting Out of Checkout;
4.19 Make Changes to Running Auctions;
4.20 Dynamic Text in Auction Descriptions;
4.21 Let’s Make a Deal;
4.22 Diplomacy 101: Answering Dumb Questions;
4.23 Keeping Out Deadbeat Bidders;
Chapter 5: Working with Photos;
5.1 Hacks #55-64;
5.2 How to Keep Your Item from Looking Pathetic;
5.3 Mastering Close-Up Photography;
5.4 Doctoring Photos;
5.5 Protect Your Copyright;
5.6 Host Your Own Photos;
5.7 Make Clickable Thumbnails;
5.8 Construct an Interactive Photo Album;
5.9 Show a 360-Degree View of Your Item;
5.10 Create a Photo Collage;
5.11 Create a Good Gallery Photo;
Chapter 6: Completing Transactions;
6.1 Hacks #65-71;
6.2 Keep Track of Items You’ve Sold;
6.3 Sending Payment Instructions;
6.4 Protect Yourself While Accepting Payments;
6.5 Cheap, Fast Shipping Without Waiting in Line;
6.6 Selling and Shipping Internationally;
6.7 Damage Control Before and After You Ship;
6.8 Dealing with Stragglers, Deadbeats, and Returns;
Chapter 7: Running a Business on eBay;
7.1 Hacks #72-81;
7.2 eBay Stores;
7.3 Streamlining Listings;
7.4 Streamlining Communications;
7.5 Streamlining Checkout and Payment;
7.6 Obtaining Sales Records;
7.7 Make Money by Linking to eBay;
7.8 List Your Auctions on Another Site;
7.9 Accept PayPal Payments from Your Own Site;
7.10 Process PayPal Payments Automatically;
7.11 Keep Tabs on the eBay Community;
Chapter 8: The eBay API;
8.1 Hacks #82-100;
8.2 Climbing Out of the Sandbox;
8.3 API Searches;
8.4 Retrieve Details About an Auction;
8.5 Automatically Keep Track of Auctions You’ve Won;
8.6 Track Items in Your Watching List;
8.7 Automatically Keep Track of Auctions You’ve Sold;
8.8 Submit an Auction Listing;
8.9 Automate Auction Revisions;
8.10 Spellcheck All Your Auctions;
8.11 Negative Feedback Bidder Alert;
8.12 Automatically Relist Unsuccessful Auctions;
8.13 Send Automatic Emails to High Bidders;
8.14 Generate a Custom Gallery;
8.15 Leaving Feedback;
8.16 Negative Feedback Notification;
8.17 Automatic Reciprocal Feedback;
8.18 Queue API Calls;
8.19 Cache Auction Data to Improve API Efficiency;
8.20 Working Without the eBay API;
Colophon;

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2003

    Informative Tips

    The book is titled 'eBay hacks,' but some of these hacks are more like useful tips. Either way, anyone using eBay to either buy and/or sell items will find this book quite useful. It could almost be a kind of 'how to use eBay guide,' the hacks contained in this book are that helpful and useful. From the first chapter that contains hacks about 'buyer feedback,' to bidding on and selling items, to completing eBay transactions, even running a business on eBay, these hacks provide countless ways to ensure your use of eBay will be much easier. I haven't used eBay much in the past, but reading this book has motivated me to change that.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2003

    The perfect eBay book

    I was admittedly skeptical, given the abysmal selection of eBay books out there, but I was pleasantly surprised at the level of detail and professionalism in eBay Hacks. With topics like sniping and negotiating with sellers, this is not just another eBay-sanctioned user's guide; it's a meaty, thorough, entertaining, and well-written handbook, and a must-have for any buyer or seller on eBay. No eBay user should be without this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2004

    Not for many eBay Sellers

    While the author includes a lot of good tips, his programming bent shows. So unless you're comfortable with coding and technical stuff like that, I recommend a book that's more appropriate for a wider audience. Why spend money for information you don't really understand or plan to use?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2004

    Really Useful!!

    I found this book very helpful as I started learning to sell on ebay. The techinical tips were wonderful. Would definitely recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2003

    A nice-to-have book.

    A nice-to-have book for both eBay newcomers and long-time buyers and sellers. Along with providing a number of practical how-to tips, it gives essential knowledge of notorious eBay pitfalls, illustrates how to avoid them, and teaches what to do if you find yourself trapped in an ill-natured deal. Software developers might be interested in eBay API and code examples enclosed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2003

    Not Bad, But Omits Important Tips

    Tired of facile books about eBay? (You know, something like 'Moron's Guide to eBay'.) Are you wavering on going to buy or sell on it, never having done so? Or you are already on eBay. But you are wondering if there are ways to get better prices, where 'better' of course depends on whether you are buying or selling. Well, here is an excellent how-to manual that still keeps some objective distance from its subject. That separation lets the author offer some disinterested advice. You can best see this when Karp evaluates the various listing options available to a seller. His suggestions, especially on one option, which he considers a total waste of money, are excellent. There are some omissions that would have made this a stronger book. He offers 100 tips. But... He discusses Phishing. Which has been used against eBay and Paypal users. But, as far as I can tell, he never uses this term. He really should. We can imagine new users hearing about it, wanting to know more and not finding it in this book's index and hence passing on the book. And phishing is actually more dangerous than just one bad auction. Also, he omits three important tips. Firstly, once you have sold to a satisfied buyer, you should add that buyer to an email list. Next time you offer a similar item, very politely email her about it. (Of course, drop her if she opts out.) You can also add unsuccessful bidders in your auctions to this list, though you may have to go thru eBay's mailer to contact them. He mentions keeping a spreadsheet of your auctions, including the email addresses of your buyers. But he doesn't take the next simple step. Secondly, consider first offering future items directly to previous buyers, instead of listing on eBay. If no takers, then put on eBay. This does NOT violate any eBay rules because the buyer and seller now know each other and can talk about nonlisted items. There have been reports in the media about businesses selling on eBay partly to get just such a list of customers. Of course, there is now no eBay protection for buyer or seller. But if you are a business with a website and a good eBay rating, this reassures buyers. And you, as a seller, have a defacto credit check on buyers, by looking at their ratings. Thirdly, what would have been good is a tip on when it is NOT economic to list an item on eBay. Note that I did not say 'sell'. Amongst some power sellers, there has been increasing dissatisfaction. Prices are falling, eBay raises its fees and more auctions end without any bids. If you have an item for which there is little demand, then what is the chance that within 7 or 10 days of an auction, potential buyers will go to eBay and look for it? Remember, eBay always charges a listing fee. Of course, you can lower your price, to spur demand. But that costs you. At some point, things become uneconomic. In fact, if you have specialised books with a limited audience, Amazon is a viable alternative as it levies no listing fee, albeit with a higher commission if the book actually sells. Karp is a very experienced eBay user and a good programmer. But I really do not think the greatest readership for this book are people who want to or are able to program, and they will not be enamoured by the code examples. I suspect he could have expanded greatly on the points I raised, to the benefit of that readership.

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