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Ebay Seller\'s Guide

Ebay Seller\'s Guide

- DECIDE WHAT TO SELL

Buying and selling things is not new . As a matter of fact, people have been buying and selling things in one form or another ever since time began. It is part of life. We all need or want things that we canít provide for ourselves, so we have to find someone who can supply us with the items, and we pay them to provide us with these items that we need or want.

Deciding what you want to sell is not as easy as it looks. There are two main types of items that you will be selling. The first and most obvious are those items that are lying around your house that you want to get rid of, you know, all of those CDís that you donít listen to anymore, that old toy you got when you were a kid, things like that. These items are great to sell to make some extra money, but they are a one time sale item, meaning once they are sold, they are gone and so is your chance at a recurring income!

The second category of items that you will be selling is a set of products that you create or buy in order to sell them. These can be a great source of income, things as simple as your motherís recipe for chocolate chip cookies, or a disk or book about Beanie Babies. These types of items are things you can sell over and over again. They may not bring in as much per item as other items, but you can sell them in a great quantity. Letís look at each of these item types in a little more detail.

ONE OF A KIND ITEMS- ITEMS THAT YOU OWN

First, weíll take the one of a kind items. These are the items that are taking up space in your closet, the things that you bought and donít have a use for anymore, or the things youíve gotten as presents that have never been taken out of the box! These items can put some fast cash in your pocket, as well as open up some much-needed space in your closets!

There is really no limit to the type of things that you currently own that you can auction off. Just by taking a look at an auction web site, or a Usenet Newsgroup, you will see people selling everything from toys, computer equipment, photo equipment, beanie babies, books, clothing, and even automobiles and homes! Your choices for what you can actually sell are unlimited!


ITEMS THAT YOU CAN SELL IN QUANTITY

Now, letís take a look at the other type of items. These are the items that you can sell in quantity. These can be things that you purchase in
quantity in order to sell. There are a lot of collectibles that are widely available in certain areas that arenít available worldwide. These can be
sports figures, dolls, trading cards, beanie babies, etc. Anything that you can buy and sell at a modest profit is fair game, remember people on
ebay DEMAND low prices. Better to sell 100 reports for $5 than 20 for $10

HOW TO DECIDE WHAT TO SELL

How do you decide what types of items that you want to sell? Well, there are a few different ways to do this. The first thing I would do is make up a list of the items that you are considering for sale. Look at the items carefully, and write down information such as a description of the item, what you paid for it, the condition it is in, etc. Being very specific here will help you greatly if you decide to list any of these items for auction. Sometimes the smallest details can mean much greater prices, and much greater profits for you!

Now, take your list; sit down at your computer and search eBay TM for the types of items that you have come up with. Now, this may not be effective for that one of a kind BABE RUTH autograph. For about 85% of the things you want to sell, however, it should give you a pretty good idea of the market value of the item, as well as consumer interest.

So, get on your computer and go to the auction web site. Click on the area where it says "SEARCH" and youíre on your way. If you want an even easier way to search eBay ô, check out the "Power Searching eBAYô" section of this disk.

Back to the search page on eBAY ô Ö.In the search box type a relevant term. If you want to know what GARTH BROOKS GREATEST HITíS CD is worth type "GARTH BROOKS" in the title. If youíre looking into selling your VCR, simply type "VCR" into the search categories at eBAY TM. Have you ever taken a look at just how many listings are in the Beanie Baby category? It is absolutely amazing!

As you can see, with searching for the proper words, it is very simple to see if the types of items you want to sell are already being sold at auctions. When you find the listings, you can learn a few very important things. The first is, you can get a good idea on what the market price is. By seeing what other people have sold similar items for, you can decide whether or not you want to sell the item, as well as what you should expect to get for the item when it sells! When you search, you can look at auctions that have recently been completed, as well as current ones, to see what items similar to yours are bringing in for other people. After you find out all of this good information, you can now set out with an idea of what you should bring in for selling your items.

The other thing you will learn by searching the web site for other similar products is the amount of people that want the type of item that you are selling. The auction web site lists the amount of bids along with all of its items. This will tell you how many people are bidding on those items. Obviously, if you have fifty different people bidding on an item, itís a lot more apt to bring in money than an item that is being bid on by only one or two people. This is not an iron-clad rule, though, since you only need one bidder to make money on your item!!

The best way to get started in the market of buying and selling is to decide how much money you can afford to invest right off the bat. I would recommend starting with at least two hundred dollars or so to begin your empire. Itís a small investment, and you should be able to double your money pretty quickly!

Then, you need to decide exactly what you want to buy and sell. Your choices here are virtually unlimited, as you have already seen. Hereís a good way to begin. If you have a hobby, or an expertise that gives you an edge in particular field, use it to your advantage! If you know computers, you might want to buy and sell computer equipment. If youíre a camera nut, then maybe photographic equipment would be your cup of tea! Remember, if you have an edge over 90% of the other people at the auction site, you will probably be able to spot the bargains that you can buy and then re-sell at a profit!

Another way to find out good items to buy and sell is to check out the auction web site, Usenet Newsgroups and your local classified ads to see what other people are buying and selling! Just because someone else is selling the product like yours does not mean that you should not try marketing your own version of it. As a matter of fact, just the opposite is true! After all, if someone is already successful selling something, you probably can be too! Imagine that everyone looked at HENRY FORDíS first car and said, "gee what a great ideaÖ Too bad itís been done, no need for me to try." We would all be driving Model A\'s if that was the case!

 

LOOK FOR ITEMS THAT ARE HOT

One of the things that I like to do is search the auction web site for collectable items that are extremely hot at that particular time. The beanie babies are the best example, but there are many, many others. I found out that some things that I would have never considered very highly collectable are bringing in a decent price at auction.

The most recent fad in this kind of a market was the Spice Girls dolls. They are an item that are literally flying off of the store shelves as soon as they come in, and people are willing to pay a premium to get them. Remember this, time is very valuable to the individual. The last thing anyone wants to do is scavenge all the local Wal-Mart and toy stores trying to get the latest toy. Most people would be much happier logging on to their computer, typing in a few keys and paying a little extra to get that special item.

Needless to say, I found a few cases of Spice Girls dolls, bought them, and resold them at a profit on both the auction site and on my own web site! If you are into collectibles, or something that you always have on hand, do consider getting your own web site where you can sell your products 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and you wonít have to pay eBAY ô to list the items for you! Later, I will talk more about setting up your own web site to sell items!

 

CREATE ITEMS THAT YOU CAN PRODUCE & SELL YOURSELF

Another type of item that can be extremely successful is something that you can produce on your own. Things like grandmaís recipes, a "how-to" manual on hooking up your VCR, etc. These are the items that can offer you immense profits! I know, youíre asking yourself "what kind of item can I produce?" Itís simple, look at what you are good at and use it. If you can make the best brownies in town, sell your recipe. If youíre the guy everyone calls when they canít figure it out how to do something on their computer, write a how to manual on that! Look at all of the books that are available "for dummies" on the store shelves. They sell like crazy, because everybody needs help to tell them how to do something! So take what you are good at and MARKET IT! People will gladly pay $5.00 to $10.00 for the information that they really need. After all, it is a very small price to pay in order to understand something, or to better yourself. And, while $5.00 or $10.00 is a relatively small amount for a buyer, it can really add up quickly for the seller! As I write this, my first listing for my "Auction Express" software has gotten over 70 bids in just the first five days that it has been listed! And, while it took a lot of time for me to put the program together, I can now sit back and duplicate that one disc and make a good amount of money on each one!

If youíve ever watched the TV Food Network, and I know I watch it too much sometimes, you may have seen the show the Essence of Emeril. Chef Emeril Lagasse has a saying that I think is very relevant to what you want to do with selling you items on eBAY ô. Emeril says, "Weíre not building a rocket ship here!" And, we are not building a rocket ship, nor are we reinventing the wheel. What you want to do is take a simple idea and nurture it, build it into something that you can offer the buyer. What you want to do is look for items that go for peopleís "hot buttons".

While it may be true that everybody is different, it is also just as true that everyone is the same in a few ways. Everyone wants to make more money! I donít care if you are near broke or Mr. Microsoft, Bill Gates himself; everyone wants to make more money! Everyone wants to be smarter. These are universal things that you can use to make yourself money!

Reference books, like the one that you are reading right now, are great items to sell! Trust me, they are not always easy to put together, and can challenging to get off of the ground! But, the payoff comes when you are finished! Not only can you sit back and feel you have accomplished something, you can now sell that one item over and over again! Printing costs are relatively low, and you can feel good making money by helping other people accomplish something that is important to them!

If you do decide to write a book, check your local print shops for a good deal on printing them up. When you are dealing with a lot of copies, and we certainly hope that they sell big, it is much easier to leave the copying, folding and stapling to the experts! Then, all you have to do is collect your checks and address the envelopes!

So, use your imagination. Examine your unique talents. Look at what products are in demand. The beanie baby craze canít last forever! Just imagine you were the person who came up with that idea! It really is the simple ideas that can change your life forever!

 

SELL A QUALITY PRODUCT AT A FAIR PRICE

I want you to keep in mind, and never ever forget Ö People will buy virtually anything! That is, as long as you are providing a quality product at a fair price, you can be a huge success in buying and selling! Look for products that people use on a day to day basis. Look for a unique idea that you think is in demand; or take an existing idea and make it better. One of the hottest things right now is specialty mail order items. Items like cigars, beer, and lobsters are being sold via mail order. Use your imagination and think about what kind of a service you would like to see and if it is something that you can put together on your own, go for it! Also remember this, if people are happy with your product, they will become repeat customers!

 

Now that you know what you want to sell, itís time to package it and market it for the auction process. Here is where it takes a little bit of planning and care to get your items noticed. Here is where youíll learn the techniques that will get your items higher bids on average than similar items. The things I will show you are simple, but they are very effective. Itís amazing to see ads on eBAY ô that are totally horrible. Ads that have misspellings are the kiss of death for me. If a seller cannot spell correctly in an ad, you can\'t completely trust their ability to address the package correctly! Maybe I should write a whole new book on the importance of the spell checker!

 

CHAPTER 2- CREATING THE PERFECT AD

THE TITLE GETS YOU NOTICED

Ok, youíve been to the auction web site, and youíve taken a look around. Itís a lot like looking the classified section of a newspaper, except for the fact that you have to click on the title to see the rest of the ad. It can be a very confusing task to find exactly what you are looking for. It is a virtual maze as you try to weed out just the items, that you are looking for. Thereís so many items, that the information overload makes you want to scream! Itís your job as a seller to help your prospective bidder cut through the red tape, and get your ad viewed by as many people as you can! There are a few ways to do this, so letís get to it!

Like I just said in the last paragraph, in order for someone to see your ad, they have to go through the trouble to take their mouse, put it over your title and click on it! If they do not do this one thing, I do not care how good your item is, and I do not care how good your ad is, the simply reality is you are not going to sell a darn thing to them! Therefore, one of the most important things that you will do is create a title for your ad.

 

USE RELEVANT WORDS IN YOUR TITLE

The thing that I feel is the MOST IMPORTANT when coming up with your title is to include the relevant words. Ok, this sounds really stupid, but you would be surprised at the amount of titles that tell you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. You must be extremely specific in your titles about exactly what you are selling. If you have an autographed Frank Sinatra photo, donít use the title "Frank Sinatra." I donít care if it is in the autograph section of the web site, this is not descriptive enough, and a lot of people may miss your ad. Use something more like "RARE Frank Sinatra AUTOGRAGHED LP" and you will be amazed at the difference in the amount of bids you will get.

Remember that a lot of people will use the search feature to find the items that they are looking for, and make sure you include the words that they are most likely to search for in your title! Iím a big NASCAR racing fan and absolutely love to purchase die-cast model cars over the Internet. If I am searching for the different paint schemes used by a particular driver, they had better have the driver\'s name in the title, or I am going to miss it! So remember, think about what your buyer is searching for, and give it to them in the title!

 

USE WORDS THAT WILL GRAB THE BUYERS ATTENTION

The other thing you want to do in the title is use words that will GRAB the attention of the buyer. After all, they have literally thousands and thousands of titles to look at, and you want them to take a closer look at yours. How do you get their attention?

First, you can pay the small extra fee, which is $2.00 at the time this is being written, to get your title listed in a bold face font. This is an easy way to set your ad apart from the rest of the ads that are out there. And while the bold face is a quick and easy way to get more attention, I donít believe that it is always the best way. The best thing, along with being descriptive, is using POWER WORDS.

What are power words? Theyíre things that you can use to add a sense of urgency to your items. Words such as RARE, LIMITED EDITION, UNIQUE, ONE-OF-A-KIND, BEAUTIFUL, will help you get attention. Other words like GREAT, UNBELIEVABLE, STUNNING, AWESOME will also help get your buyer to notice what you are selling.

Look at these two titles:

Bruce Springsteen Autograph

 

"RARE SPRINGSTEEN AUTOGRAPHED GUITAR-AWESOME!"

Ok which one grabs your attention? Iíd say that 98% of you said that the second title did, the other 2% of you need to take another look! There are a few things going on in the second title, the most noticeable is that the whole thing is using capital letters. Now, this is a great way to make your items stand out, but sometimes it can be overdone. Occasionally it can take away from the emphasis on what you want the buyer to see. Take a look at this title:

"RARE SPRINGSTEEN Autographed GUITAR Awesome!"

This can also be a very effective title. The buyer will see what is the most important in the title first, which is "Springsteen Guitar." Remember no matter how you use capitals and lower case letters, you want your title to stand out from the rest.

Many sellers like to use characters in their title, things like @, #, $, %, etc. to draw extra attention. Sometimes they look cheesy, and sometimes they work. That all depends on the product, and the type of buyer that you are trying to attract. Try a few different things and see what is most effective. Keep records on how well each individual ad title is received, and use the style that is most successful!

Remember, when it comes to the title: be descriptive, use exciting, attention grabbing words, and set your ad apart from the rest!

 

WRITING DESCRIPTIONS THAT SELL

Once youíve gotten someone to take a look at your ad; you want him or her to bid on the item you are offering! You need to make your product look as appealing as possible and you want to motivate the person to place a bid immediately. After all, if the person leaves without placing a bid, thereís a good chance that they will not be back.

 

BE SPECIFIC

There are a few things that are important in the ad itself. The first is the overall description of what you are selling. BE SPECIFIC. This is the most important thing in your description. Do not leave any room for error on what is for sale. Get as graphic and specific as you can to describe your item. If there is anything special about the item, list it. List any special features of the item. People do not feel comfortable bidding on something of which they are not 100% sure.

LIST ANY IMPERFECTIONS THAT THE ITEM HAS

If there are any flaws in the item, like a dent or scratch, you have to list that when you are selling the item to protect yourself. As long as you are 100% specific on what you are selling, you will save yourself a lot of time and hassle if someone decides to return the product to you because they were not aware of a defect.

Even if you are using a picture in your ad, and we do highly recommend using one, write your description for an ad without a picture. That way the picture can be there to totally reinforce what you are selling, but will not rely on the photo.

Once you have written an accurate and honest description of the item, add your own creative touch. Again, use wording that will motivate the buyer to bid on your item. If the item is difficult to find, use words like rare, one of a kind, and unique. If itís brand new in a box, let the buyer know that. Include things that may seem obvious to you, because the potential buyer may not be aware. This helps the buyer feel more comfortable in dealing with you.

 

BE CREATIVE

When writing your ad you want to paint pictures with your words. Use adjectives like great, awesome, beautiful, etc. to describe your item. Paint a visual picture that makes your item irresistible! Tell a story with the item if you can. Explain what the item is, and what it can do for the buyer. If you are selling a cute little teddy bear, play it up. Put something in the ad about the bear looking for a good new home, and some new friends to play with. Not only will the buyer get a kick out of the ad, they will be more likely to bid on the item if it is something that they are looking for. Going along with the theory that people do not want to bid on something that they are not 100% sure of, people are much more likely to bid on an item if they like the person that is selling the item. While it certainly is not easy to convey your personality through an eBAY ô ad, it does not hurt to try!

 

CHAPTER 3 Ė USE PHOTOS TO INCREASE YOUR SALES

It may be a clichť that a picture is worth a thousand words, but it is one hundred percent true! A simple picture included with your ad can increase your sales by over two hundred percent! Like Iíve said before, people are not comfortable bidding on an item unless they are absolutely sure what they are bidding on. A picture gives the buyer a strong visual image of what they are buying. Take a look at the items that have the most bids in almost any category on the auction web site, and Iíll bet you that the ads that have pictures have more bids, and also have higher bids than the ads that donít include a picture! Itís the simple fact that seeing is believing!

Ok, so you\'re sold on an idea that a picture will help your item sell. Now your asking yourself, how do I get a picture up on the Internet? Well, thatís a good question, and this next section is dedicated to showing you exactly how to take a picture of your item and post it to the Internet.

 

STEP 1- GET THE PICTURE INTO YOUR COMPUTER

Ok, so this is no brainer, even for the novice, but there are a few different ways that you cam accomplish this. The first is the old fashioned way, and that is to use a normal camera, take a photo, and then take it to your local photo shop and get it developed. Once you get the photo developed, you need to get the photo scanned into your computer.

You can either buy a scanner at you local computer shop for approximately $100 and up, or you can take your photos to many local copy shops like Kinkoís and they can scan your photos for you, and save them on floppy disk.

The other alternative you can use is a digital camera, which will take a photo and download it immediately to your computer. These cameras are great to use, but cost about $300 to $500.

 

You can also use a normal camcorder to grab the image. With a small device (like SNAPPY) you can hook any video source, Like camcorders, to your computer and transfer the image that way. These devices cost between $100 to $200 and are a good alternative if you already have a camcorder at home.

 

 

STEP 2-PROCESS THE PHOTO

Ok, youíve got your photo saved on your computer in either a .gif or .jpeg file. Next thing you may need to do is process the photo in a graphic program. Programs like Paint Shop Pro (http://www.jasc.com/psp.html) or LView Pro (http://www.lview.com) are available as sharaware on the Internet. You can use them to do things like crop the photo using only a portion of the photo with your item. You can use them to adjust thing like the brightness and contrast of the photo, or even add some cool text over the photo to create the perfect ad! Programs like Adobeís PhotoShop is a full blown graphics program that will help automate tasks like processing photos and adding some cool effects to both your photos and your text.

Take a look at the photo of the item you want to sell. The first thing you need to do is crop the photo to only show the item that you are selling. Each program will do this fairly simply. You need to click on the tool that selects a rectangular area of your photo. You then need to draw a box only around the area you wish to keep, and then select crop command from the main toolbars image or edit menu.

Then you should go and adjust the brightness, contrast and sharpness of the image as needed. Try to get as much visible detail as possible. Remember that the better the picture is, the more bids you will get!

You can also add text directly over the picture of the item. This may or may not be useful for you, since you can type in as much text as you want before or after the image on web page. If you do want to add text, simply click on the text button, which is the "T" button in 99% of graphics programs, and select an area on your photo and type away!

 

STEP3- POST THE PHOTO TO THE WEB

All right, the photo is taken, processed, and ready to be used in an advertisement on the auction web. The next step you have to do is to actually upload the picture to a web site. Most sites like eBAY ô do not allow you to actually put the picture on their site, so you have to have some web space of your own in which to store the picture. If youíre on AOL or a lot of other Internet Service Providers, you most likely have some web space allotted to you through them. You can check with your provider to find out how much space you have, and how to access it.

If you are on AOL, you can skip down to the next section, which will take you step by step through the process that you have to use to get your pictures up on AOLís web space!

If your Internet Service Provider does not offer you any web space, you can always find free web space through the Internet from services like Geocities (http://www.geocities.com). These services allow you to sign up for free web space that you can use to display your pictures on your website, or to create your own actual web site. There are a variety of places that offer you small free web sites, just do a search on http://www.yahoo.com for web providers and you will find some others besides Geocities.

Once you have someplace to put your picture, you have to upload the picture. Upload, for those of you who donít know, simply means to send that picture file from your computer to your web space. There are a variety of programs, which are called FTP programs that you can use to transfer files over the Internet. You can easily find them for download on the Internet from places like http://www.tucows.com or http://www.shareware.com.

The program called WS_FTP is very popular, and easy to use. You can download a copy directly from the manufacturer by going to their website at: http://www.ipswitch.com/Products/WS_FTP/index.html

Once you have your FTP program, you simply log onto your server and choose the files you want to send to the web site. For example, letís say that your picture file is called "auction1.jpg" and it shows the item you want to sell. You would start up your FTP program, choose the directory on your computer that your picture file is in, select your file "auction1.jpg" and press the button to transfer it to your web space.

Entering the following text to your auction\'s description can now access your photo:

 

http://www.yourhost.com/-directory/imagename.jpg

 

AOL PHOTO INSTRUCTIONS

This is for all of you who are on America On-line. This will take you step by step through the process that you need to follow to get your pictures posted to your personal web space with AOL.

First, Go to the keyword "MY PLACE". If you are a novice, you may want to click on the section called "My Place Help" for a quick overview on what to do.

Second, click on "MY PLACE" where you will find a folder that is called "private". This folder is where you will store all of your images for eBAY ô. You can also create a new folder, call it something like "auction" or "eBAY ô" and you can store your pictures there if you like.

Then click "ok" and cancel to go back to the screen where you see the folders that you have. You are now ready to post your pictures to the web. You must know where your photos are located on your hard drive.

 

Click on "UPLOAD".

You will now see the Remote Filename Screen. In the space that is provided, you must type in the name of your photo file, including the file type extension. The two types of files you can use are .gif and .jpg files. Overall, .jpg files are better for photographic images, but you can experiment with your photos if youíd like.

Press "CONTINUE".

Click on "SELECT FILE" and find the photo file that you want to use. Click on the photoís name to select it. You will see the name of the file that you selected on the bottom of your screen where it says "FILE".

Click on "SEND"! Your file is now stored on AOLís web server, where you can access it from anywhere on the Internet!

Your file can now be called by using the following text on your eBAY ô listing: http://members.aol.com/yourscreename/filename.fileextention

 

Please remember that web addresses are case sensitive, so be sure to type it in exactly as it appears on the server or you might have problems accessing them from the eBAY ô site!

 

CHAPTER 4-THE KILLER AD

This is what is all comes down to, you take everything that you have learned, and you put it to good use. You know what you want to sell, you know how you want to describe it, you know what your starting bid will be, and you have a picture or two up on the Internet that you want to use in your ad. You are primed for action!

This next step can really make or break any ad that you have come up with. If youíve looked around eBAY ô or other auction web sites, you couldnít tell one from another. You know what that means? You probably are not inclined to buy from those ads.

You did see a few ads through, that you thought "wow that\'s cool." You know the ones that used different fonts, in different sizes, with bold letters, or different colors that really caught your eye. And they used a great photo of the product, and even some cool graphics, right? And, those are not only the ads that people remember; they are the ads that people BUY FROM!

If you take the extra time to make your ad look good, the people who are bidding on the item will realize that they are dealing with someone who cares about what they are selling. They are dealing with someone who will go the extra mile to make sure that they are happy with their purchase!

If you are already familiar with HTML, the language that you use to create web sites, than you can pretty much skip this section. What Iím going to show you here is how to make your ads look like a custom web page using simple HTML.

There are a lot of different programs out there that can help automate this task for you. Programs like Microsoft Front Page are a full-blown web design tool that you can use. Or you can even use the more recent browsers from Microsoft or Netscape to create a simple web page. The programs will let you work in a WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET environment, and will let you create some awesome looking web pages without needing to know a whole lot about HTML.

The section on eBAY ô that asks you for a description of your item, the section that says that HTML code is accepted. What this basically means is that you can include any of the tags that HTML understands. These tags can do anything from make the text larger or smaller, make the text bold or italics, center the text and graphics on the page, or even link up to another website. The possibilities are endless.

 

BASIC HTML TAGS

What Iím going to give you here are the bare basic tags that you can add to your eBAY ô ads to make them look better. This is not a full course in HTML, but you can find a web site address later in this section that will take you to a full tutorial on HTML if you are interested in such things!

If you have placed any ads on eBAY ô, you have seen the screen where you enter the ads into the system. You enter your vitl information, like your e-mail address and your password. When you get down to the box where you enter your description, it says something there that you may or may not understand. It says that HTML tags are acceptable. What this is telling you is that you can use little bits of HTML tags to help your ads look batter.

Your browser, whether it is Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, or any of the other ones out there, reads HTML tags in a very special way. The way the browser knows that what it is reading is a tag, and not normal text is that the tag is surrounded by <>. So just typing in "b" will show up as a "b" on the web site. Typing in <b> will tell the computer that it is to put into bold text the words that come after the <b>and before the </b>. What the </b> command does is turn off the previous <b> command. So basically what you do with HTML tags is turn special features on and off to create the look that you want. Here are some tags that I think you will find handy in sprucing up your web sites quickly and easily:

 

BOLD FACE: <B> </B>

Any words or symbols that are between the <B> and the </B> will be in bold face. So, if you are typing you want to stress a section with bold face here is how you would do it. Say that you are selling an item that is brand new, and you want to emphasize that. Hereís what you would type into the description box on eBAY ô.

Here is the item you have been waiting for!! <B>A Brand New</B> whatever the item is!

When the browser reads that, it will show on your screen: A Brand New whatever the item is!

 

Horizontal Rule: <HR SIZE=# WIDTH="##%">

This command will put a line, or horizontal rule, across the screen. You replace the # after the HRSIZE= with the height of the line that you want. You replace the ## after the WIDTH= with a percentage of the screen that you want to cover with the horizontal rule. If you want to create a rule that covers half of the web page, you would type in: <HR SIZE=2 WIDTH="50%">

 

Italic Text: <I> </I>

Works just like the bold command, but puts the text in Italics!

 

Underline Text: <U> </U>

Works like both the bold and italic commands, but this will underline the text that it surrounds.

And, yes you can get fancy. If you type in <B><I><U> This is in bold face, italics and underlined</B></I></U> you will get:

 

This is in bold face, Italics and underlined

Link to another website: <A HREF="http://www.websiteaddress.com"> TEXT TO LINK </A>

 

If you want people to be able to click on some text where they will be taken to another web site, this is the command that you would use. You would replace the http://www.websiteaddress.com with your own address. And you would replace the TEXT TO LINK with whatever you want the text on the screen to say.

 

Link to your e-mail address: <A

HREF="mailto:your name@yourisp.com"> EMAIL ME </A>

This will make it easy for someone to send you e-mail. You simple change the your-name@yourisp.com to your full e-mail address. You now have a link that says E-MAIL ME on your ad, and when people click on it, it will automatically go into their e-mail program and start a message to you!

 

Load an image: <IMG SRC="http://www.websiteaddress.com/imagefile-name.extention>

This command will load an image from any other web site to your eBAYô ad. So, all you have to do is type in the address of the image, and it will load when the eBAYô ad is loaded!

 

Loading a background for the page:<BODY BACKGROUND="http://www.websiteaddress.com/imagename.extention>

This command is virtually similar to the last load an image command, except that this one calls the image to be used as a background of the ad page! This can really set your ads apart if used correctly. Use an image that adds class and pizzazz to the page, but do not make it distracting for the buyer! For a background image, remember light and faded out usually works the best!

Changing the color of any text: <FONT COLOR="000000">FREE DISK BONUS OFFER</FONT>

This is used anywhere in the text of your ad, simply change the #000000 to a number that represents the RGB value of a color. See below for more information on this. Anything that you type between the <FONT COLOR="000000"> and the </ FONT> will be in the color that is specified in the #000000.

Changing the background color, text color and link color: <BODY BGCOLOR="000000" TEXT="FFFFFF" LINK="#9690CC">

This goes at the beginning of your ad if you are going to change the background and text colors. The above examples show where the numbers are equal to the RGB value of the colors. You can find out all of the different colors and their corresponding codes by visiting the web site at: http://www.hidaho.com/colorcenter/

Again, this is by no means anywhere near a full explanation of the types of things that you can do with HTML tags. For a full tutorial on HTML, visit the NCSA web site at the following address:

http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/General/Internet/WWW/HTMLPrimer.html

After looking at this site, you will have an even more advanced understanding of HTML and how to use the tags of that language. Itís really a lot of fun once you get used to it! And, it will help you make an ad that will sell your products better!

SPRUCE UP YOUR AD WITH CLIP ART

Clip art is a great way to set yourself apart from the pack at eBAYô. It comes down to the simple principle that if your ad looks nicer than the rest, it will indeed sell more than the rest. This may not always make the most economic sense, but it is a fact that more people will buy from you if they like the ad! You can use clip art of various styles to get your points across, and to set your ads apart from the rest.

First find some clip art that you want to use. There is plenty out there that is free for use on your website. Go into any computer store and you will find CD-ROM\'s that contain 50,000 or more images of useable clip art! Or, you can find a lot of clip art on the Internet. Itís easy to find, simply go to your favorite search engine, like http://www.yahoo.com and search for clip art. The sites are to numerous to list here!!

HOW TO GRAB CLIP ART AND PHOTOS OFF ANY WEB SITE!

When you find the clip art, or any photo for that matter, that you would like to save, itís easy. With most browsers, you simply click the right button of your mouse, and select save image. Tell the computer which directory that you want to save it in, and youíve got it!!!

Remember that a lot of the images on the World Wide Web are copyrighted, and you should always check with the image owner if there is any doubt at all if you can copy the image for your own use!

No matter where you find the clip art, you will have to use the same steps for acquiring photos to get the clip art to your web space. You simply use the same steps that you used to get your pictures onto the web!

ADDING ANIMATION TO YOUR AD

This is no problem whatsoever.  If you can follow the directions in the previous section to cut and paste clipart, you can have animated clipart and text in your ad.  If you don\'t already have an animation library, a good place to start is the Animation Factory (http://www.animfactory.com).   This site offers literally thousands of animated clipart and animated letters that will make your page come to life.  They also provide simple instructions for downloading these files to your system. 

FREE COUNTER

We can see how many people have actually bid on our auctions, but how do we know how many people have stopped to look at our ad for the item we\'re selling?  You can obtain a FREE counter for your eBAYô ad from (http://www.honesty.com/cgi-bin/ebay-counter.cgi)

 

IíVE FOUND AN AD I REALLY LIKE, HOW CAN I USE THAT?

Itís bound to happen. Youíre searching the web, or looking through ads on eBAYô and you come across an ad that looks perfect for what you want to use! How do you take that ad and simply change the text and pictures to fit your needs? Itís simple to do if you have a browser like Netscape or Internet Explorer. After the page has loaded in your browser, choose "File" from the toolbar, and then select "Save" or "Save As" and save the file to your hard disk. You can now open it in any program like Microsoft FrontPage or Netscape Navigator Gold, or any other HTML editor that is out there, and change what you want! This is a great way to do as little work as possible formatting the ad, and working on ways to make more money!

IíVE GOT MY AD ON MY COMPUTER, HOW DO I GET IT TO EBAY ô?

All right, youíve worked on your ad, and you are ready to show it to the world. If youíve created the ad with FrontPage, Internet Explorer, or Netscape, you will have to click on something that says either show source code, or show HTML. When you see the plain text HTML code, all you have to do is cut and paste the information that you want to transfer to your ad on eBAY ô into the little box that says description on the eBAY ô add an item to auction page. You usually only want to cut and paste the HTML on the page that comes after the heading, and before the end of the page. If youíve got the </body> and </html> codes at the bottom of your page, DO NOT COPY those to eBAY ô. Everything else is ok! Donít worry if youíre not sure if it worked right, you can click on preview ad and see if everything is ok before you submit the ad.

You can, of course, simply use these simple HTML tags and type them in as you place the ads. This is fine for an ad that you are only going to use once. If you are planning to use an ad more than once, save it on your hard drive first, so that you can have it the next time that you need it!

If you donít know how to cut and paste, hereís a quick tutorial:

Step 1 Highlight the text you want

Step 2 Hit Control-C

Step 3 Go to eBayô auction site, specifically the description box.

Step 4 Put the mouse in the box and press the left button

Step 5 Hit Control ĖV

Thatís all there is to the magical world of cutting and pasting. It works for just about everything on your system from text to photos, so give it a try! Itíll make your life a whole lot easier!

    There are also many other useful, creative tools at this address (http://www.auctionpix.com/ebay/)

CHAPTER 5- HOW TO GET MORE PEOPLE TO SEE YOUR AD

There are a variety of ways to get your ad noticed by the people that would be interested in buying it. You can use the Usenet Newsgroups, e-mail or a personal web site to tell people about your items that are up for auction.

Usenet is the bulletin board area of the Internet. People post messages concerning just about any topic that you can think of. There are separate boards for each subject. You can search the newsgroups by typing in a word that should appear in its heading. If youíve got Internet Explorer, just go to the top where it says "GO" and click on "NEWS". Follow the instructions from there. Netscape Navigator has a similar feature that you can use to access the newsgroups.

You can post a message to any newsgroup, but remember that it is not always proper etiquette to post a for sale message in some groups. Look through the group first and see if there are other for sale messages.

Of course, there are some newsgroups that are set up for the sole purpose of buying and selling. Many of these have the word marketplace in their heading, so you can search for that to see what kinds of bulletin boards are available! E-mail! What a concept this is! Itís a great way to target your prospective buyer, especially if you specialize in one type of merchandise. After all, someone who bought a Star Trek figure from you in the past will most likely be interested in another Star Trek item in the future! Make sure you let them know where to look for your new auctions!

The other thing you can do is build an email address database of your own when you see people looking for items that you may have. If you are searching a web site or newsgroup and find someone with interests related to your products, cut and paste their e-mail address into a database, which you can use to send out e-mail about your products!

Finally, you can set up your own web site. It may not get as many hits as the auctions at eBAYô, but itís a good place to list items that are harder to sell, or that you want a set price for! Your own web site will give you total control over the environment. And, although you probably will get only a fraction of the traffic that eBAYô does, you can leave the items up for as long as you want, and you can set your own price. If you want a higher price, and are willing to wait for it, you can be successful running your own web site.

Weíve talked about getting free web space before, from such companies as Geocities, and these can be fine to use for a small web site to list a few products with your e-mail address. If you decide to get a little more involved, you may want to go out and find a company that rents web space that you can use. Most offer a small site for about $15 to $25 per month. These sites will offer you the ability to use a custom domain name, i.e.. www.mycompany.com, and will offer things like e-mail, on-line support, shopping cart programs etc.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING!

An eBAYô ad generally gets the most attention on its first day posted, and in the hours before the auction ends.  I have found there are certain really optimum times to begin and end an auction.  In my experience Saturday and Sunday afternoons have the heavies viewer traffic on eBAYô.  So, I suggest that you post your auction on Saturday or Sunday between the hours of noon and 3:00 p.m. (prime time viewing hits its peak between 3-4:00 p.m.   Allow it to run a seven day course so that it ends during these same high exposure viewing hours. 

CHAPTER 6-FOLLOWING AND ENDING THE AUCTION

HOW ARE MY AUCTIONS DOING?

eBAYô has included a user lookup in their search section. Simply click on "SEARCH", go down to the area that says Seller e-mail and enter your e-mail address, as well as the options that they list, such as current auctions only, how you want the results sorted, etc. Hit "STATUS" and you will receive a complete listing of all of the items that you have up for auction. These include the item numbers, the starting date of the auction, the ending date of the auction, the current price of the item, the item title, and who the high bidder is.

THE AUCTION\'S OVER, NOW WHAT?

Well, youíve sold your first items on eBAYô, and you are excited!! Now, you see that this stuff can really make you some money. The first thing you do is send an e-mail out to the winning bidder, letting them know where to send the money and any other special instruction that they may need.

Let them know that you will notify them when you receive their payment, and also that you will let them know when the item has been sent. This will accomplish two things, first it will help your money arrive more quickly, and second it will make the buyer feel more at ease. Everyone is a little cautious when dealing with someone new for the first time, so good communications are a must. If you are delayed in getting an item out for any reason, let the buyer know via e-mail.

Once you receive the buyer\'s payment, it is only fair to leave them some positive feedback on the system. After all, a lot of people use this factor to decide if they want to do business with someone. If they have been good to deal with, please let other people know, and perhaps they will do the same for you in return!

WHAT IF THE HIGH BIDDER BACKS OUT?

There is not a lot you can do if a bidder backs out on you. What you can do first is contact eBAYô and let them know that the item did not sell for the high bid. Remember that eBAYô takes a percentage of the highest bid, so let them know that the highest bid backed out on you.

If the high bidder refuses to respond to e-mail inquiring about their reasons for backing out on the bid or is rude, then, by all means, leave negative feedback about the user on eBAYô. Most problems can be settled via e-mail, so be sure before you affect the online reputation of a buyer through negative feedback. The buyer\'s hard drive could have crashed or have been shorted out by lightening. Family emergencies can also cause users to be away from their computers. Also remember, that if you need to re-list your item on eBAYô, you can probably do it for free! Just look at the link that eBAYô points to in the e-mail it sends you after the auction is over if for any reason you need to re-list the item.

Here is one of the most fun things that you can do besides make money, and that is spend some of that money!! Whether you are looking to buy at eBAYô for personal use or to resell, it can be a really fun experience! In this section, I will inform you of a few things that you will need to know in order to be a success at this auction stuff.

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