eBay Buying and Selling Online Auction Tips


eBay, the worlds largest online auction site, continues to dominate the online shopping world. With over 27 million active users buying and selling everything from web hosting to small towns. What’s next? Planets for sale on eBay? There’s no place in the galaxy like eBay! Review these basic tips for eBay buying and selling before starting.

eBay Buying Tips

  • on eBay.com, it is normally to the buyer’s advantage to pay with a credit card, whether via PayPal or direct or with an escrow service. Most credit card companies offer their cardholders some type of protection against fraud. Never pay using a check or money order, if possible. Online fraud is increasing according to consumer advisor Clark Howard.
  • Leave eBay feedback only after receiving the product and addressing any issues you may have with the seller via e-mail.
  • Use the numerous “My eBay” resources to keep track of your bids and offers and get e-mail notifications on your bids. The eBay community forums are the probably the best source for help available on eBay. Due to the huge volume of help requests, don’t get your hopes up for a human to respond back to a you and certainly not by phone.
  • Watch the eBay feedback very closely. This is most important in judging seller credibility. If over 5% of the feedback remarks are negative or neutral, consider purchasing from another seller. Don’t buy from eBay.com sellers with under 10 feedback ratings if possible. Be especially careful of anyone with negatives on large ticket items.
  • Be mindful of eBay sellers who consistently have a high percentage of 0 eBay feedback bidders. Some eBay sellers may be artificially running up the market for their item, hoping you will be the high bidder.
  • Pay promptly. You will receive higher praise from eBay.com sellers.
  • Always leave eBay feedback. Some eBay buyers with over 100 comments stop leaving eBay feedback, thinking that with such high numbers, they have achieved sellers nirvana. This could create a problem over time.
  • Don’t get emotional with eBay bidding. Set the price you are willing to pay ahead of time and stick with it. Be like Mr. Spock and don’t give in to emotion over logic.
  • Respond to all questions from inquiring eBay bidders promptly.

eBay Selling Tips

  • Always list a photo in your eBay.com auction, even if it’s a stock picture from the Internet.
  • List concise specs and details of your eBay item in the description. Is the item you’re posting on eBay new or just opened and never used or in fair condition? These seemingly small details can often make the difference in a higher bid for your product.
  • Mention comments in your follow up e-mail after your eBay.com auction is closed. Example:
    I sent your item today via Priority mail. I hope you enjoy it. I appreciate any positive ebay feedback you may want to leave and I plan to do the same for you as well.
  • Send the merchandise only after you have received payment for your eBay.com auction item, even if it’s from a family member.
  • Leave comments only after the eBay.com buyer confirms receipt of the product, either via e-mail or the eBay.com comments form.

Disclaimer: Clickfire does not assume any responsibility for losses incurred resulting from these eBay buyers/sellers online auction tips.

Visit www.ebay.com

On Another Note

eBay PAdWords Ad

This appeared on Google.com when I performed a search for “Liberals.” Don’t ask why I did that. To my surprise, I saw this single eBay ad.

Why would eBay want to sell their liberals? Are there too many in inventory? Do liberals constitute a high profit margin?

None of the above. It turns out that eBay is using a Google’s DKI to insert keywords into AdWords ads. Kevin Lee, writing for ClickZ, explained it this way:

Google has an automated method to allow you to have the searcher’s keywords inserted into your ad (assuming the keyword string isn’t too long to fit). The Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) system uses a creative template and keeps all the other ad copy the same.

I wonder what other interesting automated ads we’ll see during the election season.

Emory Rowland

Emory Rowland is editor and keeper of the flame at Clickfire. He's a fanatical blogger, entrepreneur and builder of Internet things from way back. Emory's love for social media and success with organic search led him to start a SEO consulting venture. Apart from the Internet, he could be considered by many as pretty worthless. More...


  1. jason

    im having problem with uploading the picture.
    ebay some how dont allow mw to upload picture from my computer.

  2. web development

    yea, ebay is by far th best place to buy and sell product.
    i know many people who make their living by selling on ebay.

  3. Jackie Anderson

    My Sister has a red rider BB gun for sale, ingood condition, used, but has all the neccessary things on it.
    It has the Red Rider Logo on the side of it.
    Jackie Anderson

  4. icctrade

    Ebay is good just to place scams through the net…
    Ebay, AKA “The Mother of All the Frauds.”

  5. icctrade, I really hope you are just be sarcastic. I am a hard working and honest Ebay Powerseller with 100% positive feedback. Sadly, life is full of dishonest people and it’s easy to just assume that if one person is dishonest, so is everyone and everything involved. There are many many hardworking Ebay sellers, just like myself that give Ebay a good name…not bad.

  6. eBay is the biggest and arguably the best, especially for beginners, however there are many smaller niche auction sites for experienced buyers and sellers that offer a far more personalised service than eBay, well worth a look for the enthusiasts

  7. Good point about sending up a follow up email. I recall once getting a business promo card, and a link to a seller’s general website, which were quite informative and useful.

    For Selling,
    - It helps if you can list equivalent model numbers for some items (e.g. mobile phones and their batteries), as some identical items, as I have discovered are re-branded differently in overseas markets.
    - Perhaps list benefits, dimensions, and even alternative but genuine uses for some items. This well help target specific buyers as well as un-targeted buyers. I eventually sold an old rope, but after I described it’s thickness, number of strands, “bundle height, length, (in feet and metric) and added photos as a tow rope between two vehicles, and as a kid’s swing, and described a range of possible uses.

  8. Andrew Cox

    Some really good tips here… My biggest lesson on eBay came when I miscalculated the postage on an item by $3 and overcharged the buyer… it was an accident but it cost me dearly – the buyer gave me negative feedback within minutes of receiving the item…

    I refunded the postage costs and they agreed to remove the negative feedback, however, eBay wouldn’t let them for some reason.

    Eitherway, I learnt a valuable lesson about postage!

    Despite this fact – I still love eBay…

  9. Good tips for anyone just getting started. Using PayPal is a good tip for sellers too though I think. By taking just a few minor precautions (using delivery confirmation/tracking for example), sellers can easily protect themselves against false claims.

    I’d also say go with a reliable shipper. I used USPS to ship right around 10,000 orders, and they consistently failed to reliably deliver about 1 in 200 shipments. Doesn’t seem like much, but over 10,000 items it adds up. I’m a Fed Ex man now.

  10. Ebay Guru's

    Definitely some good tips. I love using ebay to buy and sell. The most gratifying thing I have found is receiving good feedback. To date I haven’t had any negative feedback (touch wood), but I double check everything I do before submitting a listing.
    Good luck to anyone wishing to sell items on Ebay. It is definately worth it, you just need to keep ahead and sites like this are very helpful.

  11. Imogene Frye

    i have several trays, sterling silver,plated to sell.
    very pretty. new at this and not sure what to do.
    can you help.

    • Imogene, you can just go to ebay.com and click “sell” then “sell an item.” There’s also a seller information center to explore. Good luck!

  12. Good tips. I would also recommend doing some research before bidding by searching for completed listings. This way you get better idea on what the item you’re trying to buy is going for.

    Also, take advantage of Best Offers. Sometimes you can get good deal by submitting best offer. If seller offers this option, they’re willing to accept less than Buy It Now price.

  13. Beate

    Great tips for both buyers and sellers :) I would also recommend checking out this startup I’ve just become a beta user for. You have to sign up to get access now (since they’re in beta I guess), but it is totally free and you get price trends and fair market values for almost all used goods.
    This has been super useful for me, and because you know what the going price is for any item you’ll know you’re not overpaying or underselling your stuff!

    You should check it out, I highly recommend this site!



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