Archive for eBay Tutorial

How Much Is Your eBay Reputation Really Worth

Your eBay reputation is everything you are on eBay – without it, you’re nothing. Your reputation is worth as much as every sale you will ever make.

If you’ve ever bought anything on eBay (and the chances are you have), then think about your own behaviour. Buying from a seller with a low feedback rating makes you feel a little nervous and insecure, while buying from a PowerSeller with their reputation in the thousands doesn’t require any thought or fear – it feels just like buying from a shop.

A Bad Reputation Will Lose You Sales.

In fact, a bad reputation will lose you almost all your sales. If someone leaves you negative feedback, you will feel the pain straight away, as that rating will go right at the top of your user page for everyone to see. Who’s going to want to do business with you when they’ve just read that you “took a month to deliver the item”, or that you had “bad communication and sent a damaged item”? The answer is no-one.

Your next few items will need to be very cheap things, just to push that negative down the page. You might have to spend days or even weeks selling cheap stuff to get enough positive feedback to make anyone deal with you again.

It’s even worse if you consistently let buyers leave negative feedback – once you get below 90% positive ratings, you might as well be invisible.

You Can’t Just Open a New Account.

Besides eBay’s rules about only having one account, there are far more downsides than that to getting a new account. You literally have to start all over again from scratch.

You won’t be able to use all the different eBay features. Your existing customers won’t be able to find you any more. Your auctions will finish at a lower price because of your low feedback rating. Opening a new account is like moving to a new town to get away from a few people who are spreading rumours about you: it’s throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

A Good Reputation Will Get You Sales.

When a PowerSeller tells me something, I tend to believe them. They can be selling a pretty unlikely item, but if they guarantee it is what they say it is, then I trust them – they’re not going to risk their reputation, after all. This is the power of a reputation: people know you want to keep it, and they know you’ll go to almost any lengths to do so.

This is true even to the point that I would sooner buy something for $20 from a seller I know I can trust than for $15 from someone with average feedback. It’s worth the extra money to feel like the seller knows what they’re doing, has all their systems in place and will get me the item quickly and efficiently.

You really will find selling on eBay so much easier, and there’s only way to get a good reputation: make sure you please your customers every time. But some customers can be, well, just a little difficult to please. In the next email, we ask: is the eBay customer always right?

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How To Avoid eBay Scams And Fraud: For Ebay Sellers & Buyers

Countless people have been scammed and defrauded on eBay. eBay is a fun place to bid on items and to sell items – but you must know how to recognize a scam, and how to avoid them, them or you quickly join the ranks of those who have lost their money to eBay scams. Of course, if you are scammed, there are some actions you can take the correct the situation – but in many cases, the scammer does indeed get away! The best option is to avoid being scammed.

You can easily avoid many scams with the payment method that you use – whether you are a buyer or a seller. eBay owns Paypal, and in most cases, Paypal is the payment method you should use. First, as a buyer, if you are scammed or less than satisfied with the item when it arrives, you can dispute the charge easily, and demand a refund. The seller must reply and show proof that the item was shipped, and that it arrived in the condition that you expected, or Paypal will return your funds to your account.

As a seller, you can protect yourself by only accepting Paypal. This will eliminate the chances of receiving a bad check or having the buyer dispute a credit card charge. Instead, they must dispute the charge through paypal, and you of course will be able to prove that you shipped the product. You cannot, however, prove that the product arrived in the condition that was expected. In this case, you should demand that the product be returned to you before the refund is issued.

Another common scam that buyers use is the bidding scam. This type of scam is run either with two separate eBay accounts – with one person in control of both of them, or with two friends with separate eBay accounts. A very small bid is placed on your item, using one account. This is followed by a very high bid, from the other eBay account. Right before the bidding ends, the high bid is cancelled or withdrawn, leaving the low bid as the winning bid. This bid can only be avoided by setting a reserve price – the lowest bid that can be placed is the same as the reserve price that you set.

If you are an eBay seller, you can further protect your auctions by placing a notice on your auctions page, declaring that you have the right to back out of the sale if you suspect potential fraud. As both a buyer and a seller, also beware of spoofed emails. These emails appear to be from eBay. The email may claim that you need to verify your information, and ask you to login to your eBay account, using the link provided. If you follow that link, the site looks exactly like eBay, but it is actually a scam to get your eBay login details, as well as your credit card details! eBay will never ask you to do this. If you suspect a spoofed email, report it to eBay immediately!

Don’t let scammers ruin your eBay fun! Just use good common sense, and a reasonable amount of caution, and everything should run smoothly. Report suspicious activity to eBay, and if a deal doesn’t feel right, simply back away from it and move on to the next auction.

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How To Find Hot Selling Items For eBay Auctions

Many people who are trying to start an eBay business spend a great deal of time trying to figure out which items sell the best on eBay. Many of these people have elaborate systems for determining this information, and many others purchase expensive courses that teach them how to find this information as well. None of that is necessary. Everything you need to know is right in front of you – on the eBay website!

Take a look at any category, and you will see the word ‘hot’ beside some items. These items are not marked as hot sellers randomly – there is a method to the madness! Items only get marked as hot when there have been more than thirty bids placed on the item. All you have to do is wonder around the eBay website for a while to find an item that will do well.

However, most power sellers will agree that there is more to figuring out which items sell best than this. In fact, they claim that it is a science. A great way to start your search for items that will result in a successful auction in the future is to do research on the auctions that were successful in the past. You can view old listings that have completed at: http://listings.ebay.com

A new way to determine what items sell best on eBay is ‘eBay Marketplace Research.’ Marketplace Research will allow you to view important statistical information on the buying trends at eBay. This product contains all of the data one could possibly ever need to determine how well – or how poorly – an item will do in an eBay auction. There is a small fee for using the eBay Marketplace Research tools, however.

Another tool that will be very useful in your quest for finding hot selling items for your eBay auctions is the listing of popular eBay search terms that is found on the site. This list can be found at: http://popular.ebay.com

This list is divided into categories, which will make it easier to determine how popular your potential item may be.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that an item will do poorly, or that it will do well without doing your homework on the item first. Some of the strangest things sell for the highest prices, while items that would sell quickly in any other environment just sit there. Almost any eBay Power Seller will tell you that the key to a successful auction rests in the amount of research you put into the items you hope to sell.

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How to Avoid Being a Victim of eBay Buyer’s Fraud

From everything you’ve heard about the risk of fraud on eBay, you might think it’s only buyers getting scammed – but you couldn’t be more wrong. Here are a few common scams that sellers fall for every day.

The Rubber Cheque.

This one obviously isn’t limited to eBay – it’s been going on for years in all kinds of business. It works like this: a buyer sends you a cheque that they don’t have the funds to cover and you pay it in your bank. You then send the goods right away, only to find out a few days later that the cheque bounced.

The solution to this is simple: don’t send anything to a buyer until their payment has cleared, no matter how quickly they might say they need it. Advise them to pay electronically if they don’t want to wait so long for their items. Then again, if your items are quite small, you could just take the loss from an occasional bounced cheque. Think of it as a small price to pay for faster and better customer service.

‘I Never Bought Anything!’

This is one of the riskiest scams to fall victim to. In this case, the credit card’s real owner still has control over it – no-one has stolen their details. They have realised, however, that they can phone up the bank who issued their card to say that it’s being used fraudulently and they never bought any such thing, and the bank will often reverse the transaction without even investigating. The only way to beat this scam is to make all your sales through eBay, as they keep a record of transactions.

The Unconfirmed Address.

It is quite easy to steal PayPal accounts from inexperienced users: all you need, after all, is their email address and password. PayPal tries to protect against credit cards registered on stolen accounts being used to buy things by listing a ‘confirmed address’ for each buyer – an address that matches what is registered with their credit card issuer.

What many scammers will do is ask you to ship to a different address – unless you’re very sure of them, this is a bad idea, as they could be trying to commit credit card fraud. Be especially suspicious of anyone who wants to pay a higher price and get overnight shipping, especially if not even to the same country as the confirmed address. The fraudster is trying to make sure the item reaches them before they are discovered.

It’s up to you to take responsibility for fraud on PayPal, as eBay’s favourite way to refund fraudulent payments to their rightful owner is to just reverse it from you! This is considered an occupational risk of PayPal usage, and sellers who get burned severely sometimes go as far as moving to a rival electronic payment service. See http://www.nopaypal.com for more.

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Tips To Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft cannot be 100% fully prevented. To do so would require a policy of never sharing financial information with anyone, anywhere, anytime. You would not be able to conduct financial transactions in society with that policy. And even if you were able to, your information is already in the records of your physician, bank, the IRS, department of motor vehicles, etc. There is no way to remove this information. Therefore you could become victim to identity theft. However, there are steps you can take to reduce those chances. Internet mail is one of the main sources that perpetrators of identity theft are using to gain access to your personal information. The perpetrator may send threatening emails, or emails that seem appealing. Emails requesting personal financial information are linked to identity theft and arrive in millions of mailboxes worldwide each and every day.

In most cases, no one person is being specifically singled out to become the next victim. It is just not worth the effort involved. Identity thieves are not interested from whom they are stealing the identity from. Instead they focus on targeting as many people as possible as it is a numbers game. The more people they target the higher are the chances that someone will be tricked into volunteering personal financial information.

The senders of these emails are challenging the receiver by using deception, hoping the receiver will give out personal information, such as bank numbers, PIN and passwords, Social Security numbers and other precious information that the thief can use to gain control over your identity. Often these emails state that a bank account or Paypal account has been frozen until information is verified. The victim, being worried that pending transactions will not clear properly, will follow the demand of the email that account information be “updated”. The criminal who sent the email will always include a handy link to click on for updating the requested information. Never click on those links.

If you want to avoid identity theft, there are several emails that you may want to bear in mind are SPAM, and you should completely ignore them. One is the forzen account along with a request to update your personal financial information. Another is a claim that you have won x amount of cash, and to act now to receive your prize. If you have not joined a contest, then chances are you have not actually won a prize. A third is an email claiming that you could receive scholarships or grants to attend such and such a college; to earn your degree act now by providing your personal information. These are all fake and designed by criminals to steal your personal financial information. Delete them without a second thought!

Companies that already have your personal information, such as your bank have no reason to ask for this again in an email. In fact, most banks clearly state in their Terms & Conditions that they will never send electronic mail requesting information from the customer at any time. Giving your personal information to someone that sent an email that has your bank name listed in the header is only asking for trouble.

Identity thieves are extremely creative when it comes to stealing identities, including sending emails in respected names. The prestigious FDIC was targeted by thieves; the sender sent emails to recipients of the bank requesting that they provide personal information to avoid closure of their accounts. Microsoft was also targeted by thieves when emails were sent to various inboxes requesting the receiver to download patches to protect their computers. Once the receiver downloaded the attachment, a dangerous virus took control of their computer, leaving a backdoor entry that would give the hacker access to the information stored on the computer.

EBay is also a target for thieves. EBay scams abound. False Paypal payments are common, as well as false or counterfeit checks. Be very wary of anything purported to be from EBay that seems fishy. If you have to think twice about the legitimacy, it is likely a scam. Beware. Here are some helpful tips for you to avoid identity theft as much as possible: 1) Do not open emails if you do not trust the sender.

2) Never give out your personal information over the internet, unless you know that the company can be trusted and is using encryption to secure the web page(s). If Paypal or EBay request your information, which they never have done to this author. go directly to their home page, log into your account there, and see if the request is associated with your account. Never click the link in an email requesting information.

3) Do a background check on any site you are thinking of giving your information to or you are considering buying from. This includes calling the state attorney general’s office. 4) Change your PIN numbers and passwords regularly, at as minimum every 6 months. 5) Do not post even general financial information on forums, bulletin boards or discussion boards online.

6) Conceal your personal information at all times, including at home. 7) Never give your personal information over the phone line. 8) When using ATM or other machines to make deposits, withdrawals, or purchases make sure no one sees you type in your PIN number.

9) Do not just throw personal information, such as bank statements or letters containing your postal address, account numbers or any sensitive information in the trash. This is a favorite place for criminals to search. Put it through a shredder first. 10) Never mail your tax return by putting it in your mailbox with the flag up. Criminals will drive neighborhoods during tax season searching for tax returns. These are the ultimate sources of information for identity theft.

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The Lookout: Phishing for eBay Users

E-mail scams known as phishers continue to evolve. According to antispam company MailFrontier, a new bogus e-mail that appears to be from eBay indicates that the site has suspended your account because it suspects the account has been hijacked by a foreign IP address. As with previous scams, you are asked to click on a link to a form to confirm your identity. What’s different about this scam is that the link doesn’t take you to a fake site that looks like eBay; rather, it takes you to a redirection page that uses JavaScript to spawn a pop-up form and then redirects you to the legitimate eBay site. What you see is the fraudulent form on top of a real eBay page.

Be suspicious of any e-mail message that asks for your personal information. Don’t ever follow a link in an e-mail that asks you to enter or edit sensitive information. Close the message and either log on to your account directly or call the company.

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10 Hot eBay Tips

Think of eBay as the ultimate return policy. No matter where or when you bought an item (or from which crazy relative you received it as a gift), you can turn around and sell it, sometimes for more than what you paid. The eBay marketplace is no longer a phenomenon; it’s a hobby, a livelihood, and even a way of life for millions of addicts around the globe. But no matter how much you sell on eBay, odds are you’re missing a few opportunities to maximize your bottom line. Here are some tips that can help.

Look before you list. The most effective way to get the most money is to know your market. Before you list your item, perform a quick, title-only search on eBay for items similar to yours. Then, click on Completed items (under the Display heading) and sort the results by price (highest-priced first). Keep in mind that any given item on eBay is worth only what others are willing to pay for it, so ignore any listings that never received bids. Scrutinize the most successful sales and see how the sellers have described and promoted their items in order to earn top dollar.

Price to sell. When you’re ready to list, set your Buy-It-Now price in the neighborhood of what you expect your item is worth; raise it a little for particularly in-demand or scarce objects, or take a few dollars off if you want to move your merchandise fast. Set the starting price (the opening bid) much lower, though, anywhere from a single dollar to no more than half your item’s value; this will encourage healthy bidding, thus raising the perceived value and the final price. If you’ve done your research, you won’t have to worry about your item selling for too little.

Reserve judgment. If you’re considering a reserve price for your listings—don’t. The reserve price is a secret dollar amount below which you’re under no obligation to sell, and it is useful only if you don’t know the value of your item. Reserves tend to scare away bidders and accomplish nothing more than lowering the closing price unnecessarily. Even worse is the use of a Buy-It-Now price alongside a reserve price, as bidders easily confuse the two and give up any hope of getting a bargain.

Spelling counts. The success of any auction item relies almost entirely on the likelihood of its being found in searches and—to a lesser extent—eBay’s category listings. eBay searches are seeded by the words you place in your auction titles, so include as many relevant keywords as possible without wasting space with unnecessary punctuation, nonsense such as “@@ Look! @@,” or any other terms for which your customers won’t be searching. Since eBay uses exact-match (as opposed to fuzzy) searches, the words in your titles must be spelled correctly in order to show up in search results. But if you have the space, be sure to include some intentional misspellings (Delorean, Delorian, or Delorion, for example) to accommodate your more spelling-challenged customers; just make sure the correct spelling is also there.

With only a scant 45 characters in which to work, there’s rarely room to spare in an auction title. If you’re inclined to highlight the condition, scarcity, or other special aspects of your item, do so in the subtitle. Although subtitles are indexed only in title-and-description searches (not the more common title-only searches), they do appear in all search results and category listings and are effective in getting extra attention. A subtitle costs 50 cents, so don’t bother for any item worth less than about $25.

Dress for success. A little color and spice in your auction will not only make it more inviting and more professional-looking, it will help emphasize important details in the auction description. Among the most vital are the payment and shipping details, both of which are unfortunately buried far beneath the photos in eBay’s new auction page design. The clearer, simpler, and easier to find your terms are, the less likely you are to be hassled by confused or disappointed customers or deadbeat bidders.

HTML: Make it look good. A rudimentary WYSIWYG description editor is part of eBay’s Sell Your Item form (Internet Explorer only), but it offers little more than basic control over the font size and appearance. For the best-looking and most feature-rich descriptions (including such niceties as in-line images, tables, and even JavaScript), you’ll want to turn to your favorite Web page editor; Adobe GoLive, Netscape Composer, or even Microsoft Word will do. The problem with these applications is that they generate complete, standalone pages, not insertable HTML code that can be pasted into a Web form. Fortunately, Creative Element Power Tools (free trial, $18 registration fee, http://www.creativelement.com/powertools) comes with an Extract HTML Page Content tool, which bridges this gap. Type and format your auction description in your Web page editor and save it as an HTML file. Then, right-click on the file, select Extract Page Content, and paste the formatted text into the description field of eBay’s Sell Your Item form. Finally, click on Preview Your Description to double-check your work.

Easy payment plan. The easier you make payment for customers, the more likely they’ll be to give you their business. The most popular payment method these days is PayPal, which lets members send money to anyone with an e-mail address. The only cost is assessed to sellers, on the order of about 3 percent of the amount a seller receives. But don’t be put off; the extra bids you’ll get with that PayPal logo in your auction will more than make up for the measly 3 percent fee.

Although PayPal goes to some lengths to safeguard its members, you’ll want to take a few extra steps to protect yourself. As a seller, refuse any payments from buyers who don’t provide confirmed addresses (meaning that PayPal has verified them through their credit card records). Otherwise, you’ll be forced to forfeit any money later found to be from a stolen credit card. And as a buyer, always fund your payments with a credit card for an extra layer of protection from your credit card company’s charge-dispute department.

Worth a thousand bids. Nothing sells your auction better than a good photo, and you can improve your auction photo– taking skills with a few simple tricks. Shoot your item at an angle to exaggerate its depth and to make it look like it’s about to jump out of the screen. Light your item from two different sources (including your camera’s flash) to reduce shadows and enhance detail. Finally, make sure it’s in focus! Move farther away from your item to help your camera focus on the whole thing, and crop out excess background later.

Open communication. Everyone hates junk e-mail, but your attempts to curb it may be costing you more than you realize. Overly aggressive spam filters are probably the biggest cause of negative feedback on eBay, as sellers’ payment instructions often don’t get to their customers’ in-boxes. And bidders frequently retract bids after receiving no replies to questions sent to sellers, usually because of spam filters on both ends. Start by disabling any spam-blocking services you (or your ISP) may be employing and replacing them with a more passive spam scanner. PC Magazine recommends Norton AntiSpam 2004 (www.symantec.com/antispam) or SpamCatcher (www.mailshell.com), which mark suspected spam so that your e-mail program can trash the messages—but only after you’ve had a chance to inspect them.

If you suspect that your e-mail isn’t reaching its destination, there are a number of back doors you can use. First, use eBay’s Contact Member form whenever possible, as e-mail originating directly from eBay’s servers is less likely to be trapped by an errant junk filter. If that doesn’t work, send your message from an alternate account just in case your return address is what’s causing the problem. If you’re a seller, put a note in your auction and payment instructions that tells customers to disable their spam filters if they don’t get e-mail from you. Finally, try to answer your bidders’ questions right in the auction description to educate—as well as reassure—all your potential customers.

Tools to use. Creating new eBay listings can be cumbersome and time-consuming, especially if you’re listing a dozen or more items at once. Automated listing software lets you create templates into which you can insert item-specific information. You can save the listings on your hard drive, which makes selling similar items or relisting the same item easy.

You can also use listing tools to schedule your listings without additional fees (a service for which eBay otherwise charges a dime per listing). You can also take your time to compose your listings at 1:00 A.M. and then upload them to eBay the next day at work. Auctions that begin and end during the daytime (by your customers’ clocks) fetch higher prices than those that close while your customers are asleep.

eBay’s own very capable Turbo Lister application for Windows is available for free from http://pages.ebay.com/turbo_lister (although normal listing fees still apply). Another worthy and free tool is Auction Submit (www.auctionsubmit.com), which adds post-auction record keeping, such as the final price and high bidder of each successful auction. Both tools help you list more items in less time and fund your own binge shopping at the world’s largest flea market.

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