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ebay buying tipsMillions of people all over the world use eBay. Nothing new here as they have been around since the beginning of the internet. But what if I show you some of the tricks I have picked up in my 10+ years of eBaying? (Is that a word yet?)

I have some interesting tips to share with you MakeUseOf readers – just in time for the holidays.

eBay can be great to buy gifts at discounted prices or to sell items to make some money to buy gifts! What a magically time of the year. :)

Looking for deals? Let’s see what we can do you for…

Check out other eBay’s in your native language or use Babelfish to translate. The wife uses Ebay UK habitually and now thanks to Babelfish she is all into eBay France and eBay Italy. I showed her how to browse over to the foreign eBay sites and do a brand name search.

Then using a little ingenuity we try and pin it down to a category (if you can figure it out great, if not it’s OK. Just a little more clicking around later).

ebay tips and tricks

Then we copy the URL from the search page and plug it into BabelFish. We choose the “Translate a web page” option and select the appropriate language – here it is French to English (this will translate the French eBay search page into English so we can understand it). Don’t press the back button on your browser – it will bring you back to the BabelFish page no matter how deep you go into eBay.

translate ebay page

Now you have a browser opened with your search translated! Sweet!

ebay tips

2. Use a Sniper app to help you get the lowest price and win a auction at the last possible minute. I have been using AuctionSniper (last minute bid software) now for well over 4 years.

ebay last minute bid software

AuctionSniper is not a free service but your first 10 snipes are free so hey close enough! Then if you get your friends to sign up for the free 10 snipes as well, they will give you more for free. You can also go on to purchase “snipes” if you run out. But hey I haven’t run out in years and if I do I will move on to another free/similar service.

The way Auction Sniper works is quite simple. You give them your eBay user name and password and they will automate your bid at 5 seconds before the end of the auction (this is the default and can be changed). This way all those bidding wars don’t start between you and some 12 year old kid in Kentucky.This also gives the highest bidder a sense of winning so they are not closely watching.  This lets you and your sniper swoop in for the win at the last second. Just remember the currency is the website’s default – meaning if you are buying from it will be in British pounds, France will be in Euros and if you are hitting it will be in US dollars. So don’t think they will be converting your 10 Euros to 10 dollars – dig?

ebay last minute bidding

3. How about finding great deals because other users mis-spelled their auction?! Check out Misspelled Auctions

ebay misspellings search

Type in what you are looking for and it will try various popular mis-spellings to get you to a low traffic auction. This is a great breeding ground for deals! Low competition = BIG SAVINGS!

Here is a search for the awesome HTC Touch Pro:

ebay mispellings

You can see it searched for “tc touch pro”, “hc touch pro”, “tuch pro” and a whole bunch more – and look – we got a hit in the above picture!

Selling stuff? Do your homework first!

4. After logging into eBay you have the option of Advanced Search features. These are an eBay seller’s best friend. The advanced search feature I use most often is the Completed Auctions option. Why you ask?

It’s simple – if you quickly peruse the list of completed auctions for what you are looking to sell you can see at a glance the green prices sold and the red prices did not. You can get a pretty good idea of how much you can get for your collection (of something that meant something to you at one time and would be better off spent on beer money now!).

You can then also click on the little icon next to the auction that brought in the most money and use the “Sell Similar”. This will save you a bunch of steps in setting up your auction.

ebay seller tips

5. Tips and tricks are all well and good but do you know what helps more than anything else with selling on eBay? Pictures, pictures and more pictures!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – let’s just say it can be worth a hundred bids here! People want to see what they are buying. Take these STRANGE eBay listings… Do you think they would have sold without images?

weird ebay auctions.

(Images are linked to the completed auctions..)

Think those auctions were strange? Check out Weird eBay Listings for more!

Also be responsive to questions asked by potential buyers and offer a slew of payment options like Paypal and credit cards.

Do you have any eBay tips or tricks to add? We would love to hear from you in the comments. Just think it might get you that internet fame you have been wanting for so long :)

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  1. crazylister
    March 16, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Do you have an article about selling on eBay - tips and tricks?

  2. Tony Cutty
    February 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Beware of this app: - it's not the same thing as Yahoo Babelfish. It offers a cr@pware toolbar which hijacks Firefox (but apparently not IE, but I wouldn't know). Steer clear, folks.

  3. pankit
    February 1, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Apart from advance search, there are some other things to be considered.

    - payment methods
    - auction type: "Buy it now" or "Bid"?
    - description.
    - used or new?

  4. Dave P
    December 10, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I would look into JBidWatcher. It's free, open source, actively maintained, and written in Java. It will snipe from your own computer (no need to give your password or money to an outside company). It can deal with multiple snipes, conditional snipes (i.e. snipe multiple auctions but quit when you win one), shipping costs, etc.

    The only downside is that each time eBay changes the rules or page formats, the author may have to change the program. The upside is that he's very upfront about what, exactly, is broken at any given time.

  5. phil
    December 8, 2008 at 9:58 am

    How to sell better on ebay? Don't bother. Ebay has decided they want to become Amazon Light, and since April has been taking steps to chase away the small and part-time seller. Unless you're a full-time retail outlet, it's no longer worth it to sell on ebay, and I personally know several brick-and-mortar shops that have given up.

    • pankit
      February 1, 2009 at 9:22 am

      I can tell u that eBay has cut down in their selling fees few months back. Now it's more cheaper to sell on eBay. I think more and more part-time seller will come in to sell more items on eBay due to this change.

  6. Steve Cornelius
    December 7, 2008 at 9:39 am

    These are very useful tips. I will try out "Misspelled Auctions" as I have personally gotten some great deals due to the seller's misspelling.

  7. Coupon shipping
    December 6, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing!