Consumer Product Reviews And Opinions



EBAY Exploit, manipulate, prey on the weak



What on earth is eBay?
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In short eBay is the most popular and well known auction site on the World Wide Web bringing online buying and selling to literally dozens of countries and languages. Not long ago the only place you could bid on an auction was at an auction house. The only places you could pick up decent 2nd hand items or genuine bargains were at car boot sales, dismal markets or charity shops. The only way you could earn money was to get a job or break the law. Not any more. With the introduction of eBay.com in 1995 came one of the biggest and most lucrative internet businesses ever seen and suddenly everyone, young and old, were eBaying.

www.eBay.co.uk is obviously my prefered site with me being a UK citizen so this particular site is the one i'm going to cover. I'm not gonna drone on about the obvious things such as how to become a registered member or how to place an item up for auction. If you want that kinda info there are eBay help pages which do a good enough job without me repeating it all here. I'm here to try to help you maximise your auction profits, teach you how to exploit other eBayers stupidity and laziness, and generally how to use eBay to your advantage. Make eBay work for you.


My perception of eBay before becoming an active member
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Firstly before we get onto the juicy stuff I should tell you I didn't always have a good opinion of eBay. I'm a cynical person by nature so when it comes to the internet i'm not exactly the most trusting person. I was especially wary of eBay because I expected to be ripped off. I didn't like the fact you couldn't touch or feel items before buying them. I worried about paying for things online. What if something went wrong?

As for selling my unwanted items/tat, I just couldn't be bothered. I thought it'd be too much hassle and hard work for not a lot of return. Rather than sell my items and make a bit of much needed dosh I either threw them in the bin, gave them to friends, or took them to the local charity shop. Let's face it, I was just too plain lazy to try.

I can honestly say now after being an active buyer and seller for a while I was right to be cynical about the buying part, being cynical helps you avoid the pitfalls. BUT I was wrong about selling being such hard work. In fact it's very easy work for quite a fair return and so much fun at the same time. My attitude to eBay has overall totally changed since I became actively involved and learnt my way around the site. I was a member for around a year before fully appreciating what eBay has to offer. I went from an extremely occasional browser to an every day eBayer within the blink of an eye. All it took was a little patience to learn the sly and crafty tricks of the trade and then there was no stopping me. Time to get to the interesting and juicy stuff then........


How to take advantage of sloppy and lazy sellers
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When i'm looking for a specific item i'll type combinations of keywords into the search bar. For example I recently searched for a Thomas The Tank Engine Bean Bag Chair. Rather than type in that whole sentence I would type in 'Thomas Chair' then i'd do another search for 'Thomas Bean Bag' then i'd do another one for 'Thomas Beanbag chair' etc. Even if 4 products are exactly the same the individual sellers may use totally different keywords in their item title so I research as much as possible and generally i'll go for the one where the seller has put less effort into the auction title and description. More often than not a poorly and sloppily written listing will reach a lower end price than a well written listing. Photos have the same effect, if not more so. A rubbish picture of a fantastic item will put no end of people off bidding. I've seen it happen before where one item has received zero bids and an identical item has reached over £10 come the auction end.

I've become an expert with regards to product/keyword searches, it's all about being inventive. Mis-spelt item titles are another favourite of mine for hunting out and exploiting. Search for Scoobydoo instead of Scooby Doo and sometimes you'll come across a little gem of a bargain. One purchase which instantly comes to mind is the iRobot DVD I bought. It was spelt with a number 'one' before the Robot rather than the correct letter 'i'. Well if sellers are gonna be sloppy with their listings it suits me fine so long as I can keep benefiting from their laziness.


Buy from sellers who eBayers stay away from
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I like to take my chances with newbie zero rated sellers. A lot of eBayers don't bid on auctions by zero rated newbies. Suits me fine as it means i'll hopefully bag another bargain. Hey there's nothing wrong with buying a low priced item off a newbie. If they turn out to be rip-off merchants you can always open an eBay or Paypal dispute against them. I'll take my chances if it means I may get a bargain thankyou

A fair amount of eBay sellers also put potential customers off bidding on their auctions by using the following phrase 'i'm not responsible for items lost/damaged in post' Lots of regular eBay forum members refuse to buy anything from a seller who washes their hands of all responsibility the minute the item is at the post office. You see the seller is actually FULLY RESPONSIBLE for items until the buyer receives them safely and soundly. I disregard the 'i'm not responsible' phrase cos I know damn well they are responsible no matter how much they protest, shout, kick or scream. Suits me if others refuse to bid on the auctions, it's less competition and more chance of a bargain for me.

As above those sellers who have strict and sometimes down right rude and aggresive T & Cs attached to their auctions usually find themselves with people refusing to bid. I don't care. If they get rude and aggresive with me they'll get the same attitude right back at them. Hey as long as I get my bargain and the item arrives safely I couldn't give a monkeys.


Choosing the right auction keywords to maximise profit potential
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How do you make your fortune out of something which rarely sells for even 99p? It's all in the power of marketing. Exploit certain product words and leave them open to more than one interpretation. Exagerate the greatness of something even if you think it's shite. Example, i've just sold a Madonna CD called Music. This CD rarely sells for even 99p as no-one wants it, it's a crap album and there's far too many of them listed on eBay. So how did I sell mine for £5.50 with £1.99 postage? Easy!! No-one else had bothered to market the CD as being a Special Limited Edition which included not one but TWO cds, one of which was a pink coloured cd and contained a video and loads of remixes. So with a carefully thought out auction title consisting of good keywords it attracted more potential customers than this CD would normally attract, plus by pointing out what everyone else had omitted it made my Madonna CD look quite unique (even though it's as common as muck in reality)

The correct auction title is probably the most important thing of all to consider as I proved with the Madonna CD. The words you choose are the words you're hoping people will type into the eBay search box. If good keywords have been chosen anyone who's looking for a product similar to what you're selling should be able to find your auction without a hint of bother. Use the entire title character allocation up, there's absolutely no excuse for leaving half the space blank. If you're selling a Simpsons Talking Radio Alarm Clock then make sure ALL those words are in the title, what's the point of just describing it as a Simpsons Talking Radio Alarm? All those people typing Simpsons Clock into the search box will not come across your auction cos you were to lazy to think about it logically and you missed out the word CLOCK. In the words of Homer Simpson, doh!! (this is a real example by the way)


Taking advantage of impulse buyers
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Oh impulse buyers are fab and there are so many of them. I've only recently started using the Buy It Now (known as BINs) feature to sell items and i've gotta admit it's much better than putting your item up for auction half the time. Of course it depends what the item is as to whether it'd be better on a BIN or an auction, but with things such as board games and PS2 games i've had much more success and made more money with BINs than I would've done if it'd gone through auction. With BINs you can afford to ask for more money than you really think you should be asking for your item. I just sold a used Yahtzee boxed game for £4.99 (BIN) with an extra £2.50 postage. At auction i'd have been lucky to get £3.50 for it. But when people want something immediately rather than wait a few days for an auction to finish they're usually willing to pay that bit extra. More fool them. With auctions the potential buyer has plenty of time to ummm and aaah about what they're willing to pay and whether they really want/need the item. With a BIN all it can take is 5 seconds of impulsive madness and they've gone and bought it before really thinking about it. I also try to undercut other BINs by 25/50p so mine is the best BIN deal to go for.


Let's not forget about the 'more money than sense' suckers
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I'm not experienced in this area as I don't sell the high value items that these suckers waste their money on. These suckers are the ones who think eBay is always the cheapest place to buy all items from and believe everything they see to be a bargain. It doesn't cross their naive minds that the item may be available elsewhere for a much cheaper price, they just don't bother to check. Mobile phones and MP3s (to name just 2 products) have been known to fetch a higher price when sold 2nd hand on eBay than it would cost to buy a brand new and boxed one from elsewhere. The sellers of these items must be rolling around crying with laughter. What an easy profit they must make. If I had the money to buy a couple of MP3s from a cheap shop (like Argos) i'd give it a shot myself. If people are willing to pay inflated prices then I wouldn't say no to taking advantage of these gullible sods and raking in the profit. It wouldn't be classed as ripping people off. An item is worth whatever people are prepared to pay for it so be it on their own stupid heads if they end up paying £50 over the value of the item.

How and where to buy resaleable easy profit making items
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Disclaimer - Incase the tax man is spying on me I must point out that I haven't specifically bought any items for the sole purpose of selling them at a profit on eBay or elsewhere. I'm just a normal private seller and do not operate as a business. Keep your smelly little noses out of my meagre little earnings and go catch those who make thousands in profit each year without declaring a penny of it whilst at the same time claiming disability benefit and every other allowance under the sun

BUT I can admit to buying items then flogging them for a profit on eBay a few months down the line when the item is no longer wanted. I've picked up a couple of things at car boots which have found there way onto my auction list. The latest item being a toy friction Noo Noo which was bought for 10p around a year ago and sold yesterday on eBay for £1.70 plus an extra £2.25 postage. I'm auctioning Scoop from Bob The Builder right now and that originally cost us 50p from the same car boot we bought Noo Noo from.

Products which are usually easily resaleable are childrens toys, childrens books and anything else relating to children (except clothes which I find a nightmare to flog) Buy popular branded toys for as little as possible from car boots. Haggle for all you're worth. Exploit the generosity and goodwill of car booters by getting as many items as you can for peanuts. Books by popular authors such as Rod Campbell and Mick Inkpen can be picked up 2nd hand for as little as20p, flog them on and make a good £1.50 profit on the pair. Unbranded toys will be more difficult to profit from but certain branded ones generally don't lose much value, and sometimes increase in value within a short period of time. Take the Cookie Monster puppet I bought just over a year ago from Woolworths for £9.99. I did a bit of research before deciding to put it up for auction and low and behold I found out this particular Cookie had been discontinued and was quite a rare item. It sold for over £30. I shall definitely be looking out for any of these at car boots (course i'll hang onto it for a few months before selling so the tax man doesn't get on his high horse)

In the meantime if anyone spies an old 70s/80s Brownie uniform can you forward it on to me please (it's a little known about money making treasure)


Pro-actively advertise your eBay auctions for FREE
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Such a simple idea and yet very much under-used. On the eBay home page down near the bottom is a link to the Want It Now section. This section is for members to place FREE adverts regarding products they WANT but are struggling (or too lazy) to find themselves. Now each time I put something up for auction I go straight to the Want It Now section to see if anyone is looking for a similar product to what i'm flogging. If I find someone that may be interested in my item I just click on the 'respond' link and place the eBay item number in there. It's such an easy and fast way to draw more potential customers to bid on your auctions. You're basically leading the horse to water. They're saying 'I WANT this kinda thing' and you go up and say 'hey i've GOT that kinda thing'. Hey presto!!


Exploitation, playing on weaknesses and profiting from laziness might seem wrong to some people.......
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.....but the name of the game on eBay is to grab a bargain and to sell at the best price. So long as rules are adhered to there's no harm in exploiting anything i've mentioned above. I can't say i've made enough of a profit to call it an income but the money has come in great use for various things. With just 11 weeks of proper eBaying under my belt i've made around £600/£700 which has paid for a family caravan holiday next year, dozens of bargain dvds, £80ish of Xmas pressies for my Son, i've withdrawn some money for general spending, bought other bits and bobs and still I have over £40 in my Paypal account which will go to buy more Xmas presents. I think i've done pretty damn well so far and it just goes to show if a lazy bum like me can do this well then so can anyone. I'd highly recommend you give it a shot. Just make sure you jump into eBaying with eyes wide open and full brain in gear. There's far worse people than me on there.

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