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Useful Information for eBay 

eBay is the largest and most exciting auction service on the internet. With millions of auctions running, and many millions of users, if you want it you probably can find it there. If you want to sell it, you surely can find buyers. Warning: It can quickly become addicting!

 Below you will find some notes and links that offer help to eBay users, and general informational links that will assist you both on and off of eBay.

I had to remove many of the eBay links I once had on this page as eBay kept changing the urls, making it impossible for me to keep up with their changes. I felt it was better to just remove them, than to offer a page with a ton of dead links. I hope you will still find the information here useful. 

To begin selling on eBay:

1. Before even attempting to sell or use eBay, read everything you can on the eBay site, take the tutorials, and avail yourself of resources such as help pages and the community area. Tutorials and help pages can be found on the eBay site map, or in the Help sections reached by clicking on the Help button at the top of any eBay page. 

2.Take a look in your local area for products to sell. A unique local craft item, something manufactured in your area, Antiques, collectibles or the like. Find something you are knowledgeable about, like and can buy with enough profit left for it to be worth selling.

3. Research how similar items do on eBay. You can search completed auctions under the advanced search tab on the search page. If you can buy them at a price where you can make money, then it might be a good deal.

4. Get a few of the items and list them for sale on eBay. Write a good title and description, be sure to have good photographs of what you are selling. Provide good customer service including communicating with your buyers, offering convenient payment terms, and reasonable priced shipping. Ship quickly.

5. Handle problems as the occur cordially. Good communications is the key to success on eBay. If you do not know how to handle something, go to one of the community boards such as the eBay User to User Q & A Board and ask. users there will be glad to help.

Repeat steps 2-5, often, and you should do fine. As you gain experience, branch out into additional products, or consider handling some items on consignment.

Helping your Item Sell:

The following will definitely help:

Searchable title, accurate, with the right search terms in it. You have 55 characters available in the title, Use it! Write a good description, accurate, with all flaws described, shipping and payment terms/costs right in the auction.

Writing a Description to sell your item:

The fuller you make the description the better. If I am selling a piece of pottery I can either say:

"Pottery Ewer, Seagrove, North Carolina. Green glaze, good condition, 8 inches tall, no chips or cracks"

Which will get some bids, or I can say:

"Beautiful handmade pottery ewer, made in Seagrove, North Carolina 1960s. Very typical North Carolina form to this graceful pitcher. Notice the beautiful green luster glaze, made using chromium oxide, in a reduction firing process that takes many steps. A true expression of the potters art. Only a few area potters work with this difficult glazing technique. Seagrove pottery was started in 1958 by Dorthy Auman and her husband. Was continued by her, and her children, up until Dorothy's death in 1990. This piece was made in the 1960s. Good condition, 8 inches tall, no cracks or chips".

This will get many more bids.

Pictures and the Gallery:

I do think adequate pictures are necessary. Notice I didn't say great pictures, speed is important. In my opinion, an adequate picture that loads fast is better than a great one that loads slowly. I do think that the gallery option can help your sales. For it to have impact you need a dramatic picture, that will look nice as a thumbnail. With gallery pictures now being shows as thumbnails on search and category pages it has become even more important. I also do think some of the featured auction choices can help, but only if the piece is pretty expensive, rare, and warrants it. 

There are several methods of getting the pictures on the internet, and ready for eBay. Image editors should be used to crop and resize the pictures for optimum presentation and speed of loading. You can use an FTP program to post the picture to your own web space if your ISP provides space, or you can use one of the Image Hosts listed in my table on the first page. . eBay now offers image hosting for auction use. The tutorials, and other information on my first page will help you.

For capturing the images, there are several ways to go. A scanner is ideal for small flat items, such as paper, coins, even some three dimensional items such as small jewelry. I have had good success using a scanner for fishing lures. Good scanners are relatively inexpensive. Using the scanner you can also scan photographs of items taken with a regular camera,  but using film and scanning can get rather expensive. 

A regular film camera can be used, and the film developed on disk, or even automatically stored on the web. Kodak offers such a service, as well as other film developers.  For the occasional seller, this may be a way to go, it can be expensive in the long run if you plan to sell on a regular basis.

Digital cameras are an ideal solution for the Internet seller. The cameras are getting better, and cheaper, they do an excellent job, and with regular use, more than pay for themselves. This is one item where you really do get what you pay for. Some of the cheaper cameras really are not adequate for the seller. I recommend at least 640 x 480 resolution, a zoom lens, and good close-up capability, most cameras now will exceed this resolution. . I heartily recommend the line of Sony Mavica cameras, few cameras can match their ease of use and versatility. . 

For the serious seller, a combination of both a scanner and a good digital camera can hardly be beat. 

Backgrounds, Fonts and Music:

If you must use backgrounds, keep them simple and fast loading. Be very aware of browser compatibility. Some things that will work for Netscape will not work for Internet Explorer and vice versa. Make sure your font colors and sizes are easily readable. Avoid blinking or scrolling text. Animated Gifs: small, fast loading, animated gifs can be cute. Avoid large gifs with slow load times, or a great deal of motion, it can be distracting, and it can cause computer problems. I do not think music is a good idea in an auction, it causes browser problems for some, additionally if someone dislikes your music choice, it will drive the bidders away, it also slows down the loading considerably, and may lock up some computers. In addition, folks browsing at work, will get the shock of their lives when music comes blaring out of their speakers, and it may get them in trouble.

Feedback Your Reputation on eBay:

Build your feedback through fair dealing. The higher your feedback goes, and stays positive, the easier you will find dealing with bidders. They will see your fair treatment of customers, and will be more likely to bid in your auction. The same holds true with buyers, as feedback builds, you will find dealing with most sellers easier. If you do have to leave a negative feedback for a user, and they leave one for you in turn, most users will be able to see it is retaliatory. If you are forced to leave a negative or neutral, keep it calm, factual, and businesslike. As a seller, leave feedback for your customers. Not only is it a thank you, it also will help generate repeat business.

Terms in the Auction:

Some terms are necessary and desirable. Such as payment terms, whether you sell internationally, and shipping terms. For shipping, it is good if you can provide an exact amount. If you will check the USPS link above, there are rate calculators available on their site, eBay now offers a shipping calculator to use in auctions. . Some terms are not good, and can discourage bidders. If your terms and conditions get too long, and are too strict, folks will be reluctant to bid. Make sure payment terms are realistic. Requiring payment 5 days after auction closes is too tight, seven is iffy, ten to fourteen is much better. Consider the types of payment you will offer. It is better to be as flexible as you can, you will get more bidders. I think sellers who accept Money Order or Cashiers Checks only lose business. Avoid any mention of negative feedback or consequences in the auction description, it turns off bidders. Some categories may require stricter terms than others, I think it depends where you concentrate your selling.

E-mail and Keeping your Bidders Informed:

To me this is one of the most important points to consider. No one likes to be kept in the dark. Always notify your bidders of their wins as soon as possible. Let them know when you receive payment and ship. Hopefully they will keep you informed as to when they send payment or when the item is received. Always respond to questions on your items while the auction is running. Ignoring an e-mail inquiry will result in the possible loss of a bid. Always keep e-mails friendly, but keep them businesslike as well. Respond to problems promptly.

Handling Problems:

Always remain calm, cordial, and business like. You will find that you get much more accomplished both as a buyer, and seller, when problems occur. Being confrontational or rude rarely accomplishes your set goal. Yes, you have to be firm. Stick to your terms, and rights, but you can do so in a businesslike manner. You will find far fewer problems if you do this. "Kill them with kindness" is more than a cliché. It works. Say you get a nasty note from a bidder. Rather than returning it in kind, write them back, and be firm, but couch your reply in cordial businesslike tones. IE:

"Dear Mr. Jones, I'm sorry you were not pleased with your item. If I made a mistake in my description, I will be glad to accept a return. When the item is returned in the same condition as sent, I will send you a refund. "

This will defuse a bad situation. The same holds true for feedback. State "just the facts" Don't waste time with recriminations like calling the user a liar or thief. All that does is make you look bad, and lessen the impact of your feedback. It also invites  retaliation. 

No matter how often you sell, or buy, sooner or later you are going to run into a total jerk. Someone who cannot be pleased. You may have to absorb a negative feedback, but you don't have to put up with harassment or etc. if a user harasses you, report them to eBay and their ISP. Be firm, yet still cordial, and let them know you won't be bullied. Reacting emotionally often will feed their needs. and result in a continuation of the behavior. 

Build a Me Page:

Anything you can tell a bidder about yourself, and your business will help make them more confident in dealing with you. eBay allows you to build a page for doing this. Once you do a little  icon appears beside your name on eBay, folks can click on it and go to your me page. Click on this link to build a ME page: About Me

You can take a look at my ME page to get some idea of what I have done: Click Here


Finding Inventory:

Sell your own inventory. Dropshippers that specialize in eBay sales suffer from a couple of problems. Generally they either are selling poor quality merchandise, or if better merchandise, it is overpriced. Either way they flood the market with similarly priced items, making it very difficult to compete. Everyone is selling the same thing for the same price, just not that much demand. The only one who makes money is the dropshipper.

Next problem is the hit your feedback, your reputation on eBay will take if the dropshipper packs poorly, does not have the items in stock, or otherwise fouls up. 

Wholesalers that specialize in eBay are also a mistake. For some of the same reasons that dropshipping is not a good idea. The items are poor quality, expensive, and they flood the market with similar merchandise. . Many also charge membership or sign up fees. Many of the drop shippers or wholesale sellers that specialize in eBay sales are scams. Just get rich quick schemes that do not work.

Some people sell lists of wholesale suppliers, or dropshippers, on eBay. These lists are largely scams. You can find the same sources for free, if in fact the sources are real and not scams themselves. . 

Find your own source of wholesale inventory for something folks want, at a fair price where you can make money. Make it something you like, and something you are knowledgeable about. 

If you are an artist, or good at a craft, you might consider selling that. If you do, be sure to tell your buyers as much about your art or craft as you can. Show them the work that goes into the item. Sell yourself as well as the item. A Me page can help with this, also. 

If you want to sell antiques and collectibles yard or garage sales, antique auctions, flea markets, antique shows, antique shops, and antique malls are all good sources. Even the most overpriced shop will often have a few bargains that can be sold on eBay. Knowledge is the key. Buy some books on antiques, study them, learn how to judge value or be able to look it up. You can search completed listings on eBay to see what similar items sell for. 

You can even buy inventory on eBay. Wholesale lots, or lots of antiques or collectibles can often be bought fairly, and broken up to sell at retail. 

Some Thoughts:

Here are some things to keep in mind. The internet is fallible. E-mail can bounce, and get lost. Many folks have other things going on than eBay. Be as considerate of your bidders as possible. Remember not everyone can check e-mail hourly. While you may be in a hurry, the other party may not know that. Be reasonable in all your dealings. Its easy to get in a spitting contest with someone on the internet. The perceived anonymity of the internet lets some people's bad side show. Keep all dealings businesslike, unemotional, and friendly. Don't fight fire with fire. Remember a bidder is also a customer. To me the best rule has always been: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Basic Steps for Putting a picture on eBay using your own webspace or a Picture Host:

1. Scan or load the picture from your camera, save as a JPG file. Using your image editing program (Probably came with scanner or camera) crop as much from the picture as you can, keep it under 50kb, preferably 25-30kb to save loading time, save the image to your hard drive.

2.Next you will need somewhere to store the images. If you are going to use a picture host, they will tell you how to upload them to their site, (skip to last step) If you are going to store them yourself, read on.

3. You have to use an FTP program to upload them. Either Cute FTP or WS_FTP work (AOL users have built in ftp). You will need to get the info from your ISP to use the FTP uploading, including servers, ftp usernames, passwords, and location. You enter these into your FTP program. A list of some FTP programs is on the first page of my eBay help. 

4. Once uploaded, or stored on a picture host, you will need to find the url for the picture. That is where it actually is located on the internet. It will be something like: You enter this into the sell your item picture form. For multiple pictures you add <img of the picture>
to you description, susbstituting the urls of the pictures. It's much easier than it sounds.

eBay does offer image hosting, some users prefer to use other hosts or their own webspace. 

See my first eBay help page for links to additional image tutorials and other links that may help. 

A couple of things to never forget as a seller:

First, you are not doing the buyer a favor to sell them your items. They are doing you the favor of buying them.

Buyers are not the enemy, they are the folks who want your stuff, and send you money for it.

Second, since these folks are doing YOU the favor of buying your items, it pays to be a flexible as possible regarding shipping, terms, and payment methods, as possible. Communicate quickly and cordially. Communications and Customer Service are the key to success.

When you do run into problems, and you will, handle them cordially, in a business like fashion.

Treat others as you would like to be treated, even if the other person is nasty.

Kill them with kindness. Even the maddest customer can often be calmed down with reason, respect, and cordial treatment. Rather than continuing a fight, and adding fuel to a fire, there also comes a time to cut your loses and communication, rather than adding fuel to the fire.

Patience goes a long way toward success and the reduction of stress for both you, and your buyer.

A laid back, and easy going, selling style can benefit both you, and your customers. Just because a transaction goes sour, that is not the end of the world. Create consistent policies, and stick to them, but when creating them incorporate as much flexibility as possible.

Organization and structure benefit both you, and your customers. Send your communications in a timely manner, keep your items and communications organized. Be consistent in your time schedules.

 Be as efficient a seller as possible. Automate what tasks you can to make things easier for you, but remember to keep communications with your customers as personal as possible.

As a seller you need to insure you get good payment, but do not make minor business risks mountains you have to overcome to sell an item.

Weigh risk against the likelihood of its occurrence. What may be risky for an expensive item, might be safe for an inexpensive one. 

Describe your items fully as to condition, and you will have fewer problems. 

Know what you are selling. Stand behind what you have sold. 

Non-eBay Links:

Not necessarily part of eBay, but provide helpful information useful to eBay users.

General Links:

Both Buyers and Sellers

Nehi's Mystery Mail (payment without name, address, etc.) Mystery Mail
Tips for eBay, some tools, from Marsha Collier
The Auction Guild: Newsletter and Auction news
U.S. Patent Dating chart. (Design Patents also.) Patent Chart
English Registry Marks (Dating Charts) English Registry Marks
Collector's Clubs and Organizations Collector's Clubs
Antique Board's Helpful Links (Great info on Antiques)
Auction Insights: Tips and advice for auction users.
Amherst Robots-Many power tools for eBay users

International Trading:

Language Translator (To me this is the better of the two) www.freetranslation.com
Translator (Can be literal, check the translation)
International Codes for E-mail and the Web International Country Codes
International Currency Exchange (Calculator and tables) https://www.x-rates.com/
Kenzy's International Shipping Guide Links, calculators, info Kenzy's International Shipping Guide
Dave's Information on Trading With Canadians
International Postal Rate Calculator (USPS) International Rate Calculator
Helping Foreign Buyers Send Payment
Eddie's U.K. Board helpful Links U.K. Links
International Trading research & advisory, fee based. . www.tamtam.com

Seller's Links:

411 For eBay Users (Tutorials and Links)
Advice, newsletter with tips, tutorial you can purchase www.ukauctionline.co.uk
Bob's Tips: Image help, IPIX, advice, and much more.  Bob's Tips
Willy's tutorial multiple images in auctions.  WCDC's Tutorial Multiple Images
Ed O'Brien's HTML Tutorial for eBay
Assure buyers of your credibility, insure shipping
Power tools for eBay users Very useful to automate tasks
Reports on hot items, best keywords, profit analysis (monthly fee)
Nucite has auction profit calculators, and other tools for eBay (free)
Linda's State Sales Tax Requirements for eBay
Linda's Bookkeeping for eBay
Trans Row Inc. Bidder Verification Services
HTML tips,  editor, hosting, backgrounds, and etc. 
Very Good Article on Selling on eBay. Tips & Advice

Bidder's Links:

Insurance against fraud, misrepresentation,  and shipping
Feedback sorter and Sniping (bidding) system
AuctionTalk AuctionFind (multiple site search) auctiontalk.com
Searches eBay every half-hour for what you are looking for. baymonitor.com

Safety In Trading:

Tips for handling trading problem, what to do if you think fraud has been committed, additional tips under the eBay Links above. 

Federal Trade Commission's  Guide to Internet Auctions FTC Guide
Some Helpful tips if you have been Ripped Off on eBay Tessa's Tips If you've been ripped off!
Some Helpful tips if you have buyers who won't pay Tessa's Non-Paying Bidders
Item damaged or lost in shipping? What to do. Tessa's Lost or Damaged
FBI Internet Fraud Complaint Center IFCC
U.S. Postal Service Mail Fraud Information Mail Fraud
Feedback Sorter (view feedback by type)
Fraud Resources for Online Auctions

A Word About eBay & Paypal Spoofs:

Scammers are sending fake e-mails that look like eBay or Paypal e-mails to steal private information. They are also creating fake websites that imitate the real eBay and Paypal websites. Other websites have been copied as well. These scams are called spoofing, or phishing. eBay has created the following webpage to help identify and report eBay related spoofs: Spoof Email Protection Tutorial

What to do if an item was not received, was received damaged, or was misdescribed :

The first step is to communicate with the seller, do so cordially, because 90% of the time it will be just a simple mistake and the seller will make things right. Either e-mail the seller or request his contact information from eBay and give him a call. The item may have been insured if damaged or lost, or seller may be willing for you to return it, and he will issue a refund. 

If you are not able to contact the seller, seller is not helpful, or you cannot reach an agreement, you have several avenues for help. First is the eBay Fraud program, which will cover you up to $200, with a $25 deductible. You can file the fraud report even if the item was under $25. You also may have other ways  to recover your money depending on how you paid. If you paid with a credit card, contact your credit card company,  if you paid through Paypal or Billpoint both have a fraud protection programs. You have to file the eBay fraud report within 60 days of the end of the auction and you must file the Paypal fraud form within 30 days of making payment. If you paid with a check or money order, you may be able to trace and see if they were cashed. If you were defrauded, you should also consider filing a mail fraud report, a report with the FBI, and possibly a complaint with the FTC. You might also contact local law enforcement and have them contact law enforcement in the seller's location.

 See the Safety In Trading table above for more tips and information on how to handle these problems. 

Shipping & Shipping Supplies

Below are some links to shippers and to some shipping supply dealers on eBay. If you sell shipping supplies on eBay and would like me to include a link to your me page, please contact me. 

United States Postal Service www.usps.gov
United Parcel Service UPS
Federal Express www.fedex.com
Roadway Express
Vintage Transport: Pickup and delivery, antique furniture, high end antiques. vintagetransport.com
iShip.com Free Shipping Estimates from iShip.com
AuctionSupplies.com (Shipping calculators) auctionsupplies.com
PM Zone Freeware Priority Mail Calculator, very handy little program. 

FTP Programs:

To put images on the internet, you may need an FTP (File transfer protocol) program to actually post the files on the internet. Below are some programs that are fairly easy to use. Most are shareware, if you try them, and like them, a nominal fee will need to be paid to the program author.

WS_FTP (This is the program I use) ipswitch.com
Cute FTP globalscape.com
Coffeecup FTP (Free) coffeecup.com
Robot FTP (30 day free trial, many features)
Fetch (For Macintosh)
FTP Pro Download FTPPro
Ftp and more. Templates, clip art, html editor. 

Image Editors and Etc.:

If you don't have a decent image editor on your computer, click on the link below for a good free image editing program you can download:


Ulead Phhoto Explorer a free Image Editing and management suite. I haven't used this program so can't evaluate it. 
Fast Photos - Auction Photo Editor. Simplifies and speeds auction photo preparation. Browse, edit, and upload with one simple tool.
Paint Shop Pro is probably my favorite editor. Much more powerful than the free ones above, but frankly the free ones may be all you would really need. 
Image Optimizing. Free online service, or you can also buy their software. The online version works very well. Really lets you reduce the file size, and speed loading. 
Image Optimizer is a  program will really help you speed up the loading of your pictures, it allows you to compress them, if done in moderation you can cut in half the load time, and still have a quality picture.  xat.com
Want a website to go with your eBay sales, or for personal use?  Paid hosting is full featured. Can also be used for image hosting.

Help With Computers & Antivirus Software

Some of the links below will help you deal with computer problems you may experience, and the others will help you with antivirus and security issues. 

E-mailing many different people like you have to do on eBay, it is crucial that you have good antivirus software on your computer. Sooner or later you will get sent a computer virus. Most of the folks who send it to you will not know they are infected. I use, and recommend Norton's Antivirus. The sites below will help, including a free antivirus scanning tool. 

Help with computer errors, crashes, viruses, and much more. One of the easiest to understand and most helpful computer sites on the internet.  pchell.com 
Trend Mico Free online virus scan, plus PC-cillin antivirus software antivirus.com
Norton Antivirus: This is the program I use, offers full protection. Also many articles and fixes for viruses. Free online scanner. symantec.com
McAffee Antivirus Software mcafee-at-home.com
AVG Antivirus Free antivirus software
Bitdefender: Free online virus scan bitdefender.com

How To:

Images & Graphics:

Add an image to your auction, or how to do multiple images do so put the following html in your description:
Add a link to your auction or post one on the eBay boards. Use the following html:
Change font colors or sizes. (Be sure and close the font after you type the words you want to change the font or color for with: </font>) <font color=red><font size=4>Words you want changed</font></font>
Ed's tutorial, and copy and paste HTML Ed's copy and paste HTML page for eBay


Below are links to two workshops I was asked to do on the eBay Workshop Board. I think you will find them interesting and helpful.

eBay Expert Member Workshop: Creating Customer Friendly Listings

eBay Expert Member Workshop: Handling Problems in the eBay setting

Article I did for the March, 2003 eBay Chatter  Community Newsletter:

Chatter Article: Collecting Antique Fishing Tackle

Still having problems?

Visit the User to User Question & Answer board on eBay. Nice, friendly, and very knowledgeable users available there at all hours to help. The folks there are volunteers, and do this for fun, and out of the spirit of community that has kept eBay the #1 auction service. There is a very wide range of experience with shipping, HTML, selling, buying and identification of items. Few other places you can go and get such comprehensive advice. I can often be found there in the evenings, and would be happy to chat with you to discuss problems you are having and help any way I can,  To visit, click on the link below:

eBay User to User Q & A Board

Antiques & Collectibles Resources On This Site:

English Registry Marks Dating North Carolina & Catawba Valley Pottery Info
U.S. Patent Dating Chart So you want to be an Antique Dealer?
Information on Antique Fishing Tackle Thoughts on antiques and collectibles
Hunting & Fishing License Badges Collector's Clubs & Organizations
Field & Stream Badge Information North Carolina Hunting & Fishing License Badges

I hope you have found the above information helpful.  Feel free to share this link with anyone, and feel free to link to this page. If you have any links to suggest, please e-mail me using the e-mail address below. Please help me by reporting any dead links or  links where the content has changed.  I hope you will bookmark this page, and that you will find it helpful in the future.

I am not an eBay employee, I just use their service to sell and buy items. I am the owner of   of Drexel Grapevine Antiques, my antique shop in Western North Carolina.  If you have any questions, or if I can help in any way, feel free to e-mail me using the link below:

Click Here to e-mail me.

My userid on eBay is: drexelantiques

For a preview of my auctions on eBay, and a link to them, click on the link below:

Drexel Grapevine Antiques Auction Preview

My items on 

Click Here for my page on eBay, more
information about me, and my eBay sales.

Drexel Grapevine Antiques is not responsible for any use, or misuse, of this information. We make no claims as to the usability of any of the advice, software programs, links,  or services linked to on this page, nor are we responsible for any damages that may occur due to its use. I do hope you find the information useful.   

Our Mascot:

Just click the baby kitty for pictures and more about Thomas Joe

Text and Images Copyrights 1997-2011 Drexel Grapevine Antiques ©

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