eBay For Fun and Profit – Buying, Selling, and Profiting on eBay


Imagine if you want to sell your old bike, and you put a classified ad in your local newspaper. It could be seen by many people, but putting that same bike on eBay would expose it to several million people searching for products on eBay everyday. eBay has built the largest person-to-person trading community on earth, using the Internet. eBay helps buyers and sellers come together in two main ways. Several sellers offer merchandise at a fixed price model “Buy It Now.” They are akin to traditional shopping mall retailers. This model accounted for almost thirty percent of eBay sales during the financial year of 2006. But most sellers prefer to use eBay’s auction engine. Auctions have been eBay’s long-term focus and success recipe.

Most auctions start with a minimum listed price and a fixed length of time (usually few weeks) over which the seller will accept bids. They typically follow a “second-price” a.k.a. the highest bidder wins but pays the price offered by the second highest bidder. These types of auction provide lots of information to buyers and sellers, and they are transparent. In practice, if not in theory, it tends to avoid the winner’s curse, which arises when the high bid is based on over-estimation of an item’s value, since the winner pays only the second-highest bid. Sellers can also opt to fix a reserve price at which they can refuse to sell the item. This price is higher than the minimum offered price; the fact that there is a reserve is disclosed to bidders, but in true auction spirit, the amount isn’t, making the pursuit all the more interesting.

However, hours of searching and evaluating auction pages can send your head spinning like the special effects in movie: Spiderman III. The question most people ask is, “Once I have homed in on two or three possibilities out of five gazillion auctions, how do I find them again? Sweat not. To keep you organized, eBay creates a personal page for you and you alone. Your “My eBay” pages highlights stuff you are bidding on, auctions where you have been outbid, and auctions you have won and have to pay for. With My eBay you can manage buying, selling, your favorites, and much more. You can access this section from any eBay page by clicking the “My eBay” link on the top navigation bar. The section actually offers several different pages, which you access by clicking the appropriate links contained in the navigation menu along the left side of the page.


Profitability from eBay auctions will come from consistent application the perennial mantra, buy low and sell high. Find sources of merchandise at the lowest possible prices and then sell those products at top dollar. Pay extensive attention to mixed lot auctions by eBay Power Sellers. Smart “eBayers” scour listings that are poorly designed and have very few or zero bids. They pick up real bargains this way and then, put up a more enticing “marketable” listing and sell those items for profit.

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