Monday, April 9, 2007


That's what my friend, Rob, has been calling it anyway.


Ever since we sold our dinner table, we've transformed our kitchen to an ebay staging area. Last night as our 19 auctions were ending, we hit the 'refresh' button over and over for the last few minutes, watching the flurry of exuberant bidding push our sales higher and higher. I told Lauren it was more fun than watching a movie.

The best part? Things that we've owned for years that were clutter or junk to us were commanding prices close to what we originally paid for them. Sleeping bags, Motorola walkie-talkies, digital drawing tablet, 4 pairs of new-in-box running shoes...

These are tips I've accumulated or developed myself, and they seem to work well. Your mileage may vary, though.

It's all about the Photos

  • Include 4-6 GOOD photos (minimum of 2) of whatever you're selling. Sounds so obvious, but many people won't even look at an item without a picture and a good looking one goes a long way.
  • Photograph it on a bright white background to give a clear image of the item. You can use a window for a cheap light source.
  • Pay the extra $1 to have larger photos, and a photo included in the search listing.
  • Keep it brief. A nice headline, intro sentence and a list of 3-6 bullet points is all you need.
  • Don't write excuses about why you're selling an item. They're unnecessary. If someone wants to know, answer that individual's question.
  • Be honest and accurate about the condition of what you're selling, so people aren't surprised when they open your box.
  • Still don't know what to write? You might try copying and pasting a paragraph from a manufacturer, but editing it way down and converting it to a list of bullet points.
Other Considerations
  • Run a 10-day auction so that people have two weekends to find and become attached to your item.
  • Start your action so it ends at 6pm PST / 9pm EST on a Sunday, so the most people are available to watch your auction end. Ebay has a nice feature allowing you to select the starting time, so my $tart time is almost always Thursday at 6pm.
  • Start bidding at $.01 and run an auction with NO RESERVE. This will get the largest amount of views, allowing people to bookmark your item and watch it end.
  • Include a flat rate shipping amount that covers postage, and a bit extra if possible. People don't tend to "think" about shipping as part of the price and will pay more there.
  • For larger items and furniture, Craigslist is probably the way to go.
  • Pack your boxes ahead of time, so they're ready to ship immediately. But don't seal them completely because you might need answer a bidder's question.

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