O'Reilly Hacks
oreilly.comO'Reilly NetworkSafari BookshelfConferences Sign In/My Account | View Cart   
Book List Learning Lab PDFs O'Reilly Gear Newsletters Press Room Jobs  


 
Buy the book!
eBay Hacks
By David A. Karp
June 2005
More Info

How do these hacks stand up? Comment on a hack from the book by choosing the associated "Discuss" link below. You can also view the code from any of the hacks by clicking on the "Listing" or "Code" links. A number of hacks have been selected to be featured online in their entirety; you may view those hacks by clicking on the hack titles that are linked.

Jump to: Diplomacy and Feedback  | Searching  | Bidding  | Selling  | Working with Photos  | Completing Transactions  | Running a Business on eBay  | The eBay API

Diplomacy and Feedback

HACK
#1

Searching Feedback
Use your browser's Find tool to quickly find complaints or other specific feedback comments in a member's feedback profile
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#2

Using Prefabricated Feedback
Save time by storing prewritten feedback for future use
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#3

How to Avoid Negative Feedback
Protect your feedback profile — and your reputation — from the proverbial slings and arrows of disgruntled eBayers
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#4

Replies and Followups to Feedback
A little damage control will help save a bruised reputation
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#5

Withholding Feedback
Know when to hold 'em, and know when to leave 'em.
[Discuss (11) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#6

Remove Unwanted Feedback
Use SquareTrade's mediation services to retract feedback
[Discuss (2) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#7

Improve Your Trustworthiness Quickly
Don't let an apparent lack of experience hurt your success on eBay
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#8

What to Do When Your Email Doesn't Get Through
Use other means to contact buyers and sellers, and avoid the most common cause of negative feedback
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Searching

HACK
#9

Focus Your Searches with eBay's Advanced Search Syntax
Simplify your searches by making them a little more complicated
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#10

Controlling Fuzzy Searches
Choose when and how plurals and variations of your search terms are used in searches
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#11

Jumping In and Out of Categories While Searching
Narrow your searches by confining them to certain categories, and filter categories while you browse
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#12

Tweaking Search URLs
Tap into eBay's massive database right from your own address bar
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#13

Find Similar Items
A simple JavaScript tool to quickly list auctions similar to the one you're looking at
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#14

Search by Seller
Easy ways to find items sold by a particular seller
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#15

Search Internationally
Use different eBay localizations to look for things outside your home town
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#16

Save Your Searches
Different ways to save your complex searches for repeated use
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#17

Create a Search Robot
Use the WWW::Search::eBay Perl module to perform your searches for you
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#18

Find Items by Shadowing
Become an auction stalker and leech off someone else's searching skills
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#19

The eBay Toolbar
Expand your browser with eBay's custom toolbar application
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Bidding

HACK
#20

Sniffing Out Dishonest Sellers
A little research can save you a big headache
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#21

Snipe It Manually
Bid at the last minute to simultaneously ensure that you win the auction and that you pay the lowest possible amount
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#22

Automatic Sniping
Use eSnipe to snipe without actually having to be there when the auction ends
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#23

Conditional Sniping with Bid Groups
Automatically discard future snipes once you win an auction
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#24

Keep Track of Auctions Outside of eBay
Use eBay's auction-tracking tools, or create a flexible auction-watching tool better than anything eBay has to offer
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#25

Take Advantage of Bid Increments
A slight adjustment to your bidding strategy will help you save money and win more auctions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#26

Manipulating Buy-It-Now Auctions
Save money with the loopholes of the Buy-It-Now feature
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#27

Retract Your Bid Without Retracting Your Bid
Back out of an auction before it's too late
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#28

Tools for Dealing with Fraud
Your last resort to get your money back
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#29

Send Payment Quickly and Safely
The best — and worst — ways to pay for an auction
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#30

International Transactions Made Easier
Tools to help overcome the hurdles and gotchas associated with trading with members in other countries
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#31

Save Money on Shipping
Save the seller time, get your item sooner, and cough up less money for shipping
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#32

Dealing with Disappointment: Getting Refunds
How to get your money back when an item isn't all it was made out to be
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Selling

HACK
#33

What's It Worth?
Determine an item's current market value using eBay's Completed Items search and set your price accordingly
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#34

To Bundle or Not to Bundle
A simple approach to choosing how and when to bundle your items for sale
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#35

Reserve Judgment
Use a reserve-price auction for items with unknown value or limited appeal
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#36

The Strategy of Listing Upgrades
Perform a simple cost/benefit analysis to determine which listing options to use
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#37

Putting Keywords in Your Auction
Hide keywords in your title and description to increase your exposure without violating eBay's keyword spamming rules
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#38

Track Your Exposure
Make sure your listing is findable before it's too late
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#39

Expectation Management
A few carefully chosen words in your auction descriptions will help avoid unhappy buyers, returns, and negative feedback
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#40

Formatting the Description with HTML
Use HTML tags to turn a drab block of text into an interesting, attractive, and effective sales tool
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#41

Customize Auction Page Backgrounds
Make your item stand out with a little personalization of the auction page using JavaScript
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#42

Framing Your Auctions
Use tables and carefully aligned images to place decorative frames around your auction descriptions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#43

Overriding eBay's Fonts and Styles
Use Cascading Style Sheets to change the look of more than just the description
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#44

Annoy Them with Sound
Drive away your bidders by putting background music and sound effects in your auctions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#45

Put a Shipping Cost Calculator in Your Auction
Use an HTML form and a little JavaScript to provide accurate shipping costs to your customers on the fly
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#46

Allow Visitors to Search Through Your Auctions
Put an HTML search form in your auction description to make it easier for your customers to find other items you're selling
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#47

List Your Other Auctions in the Description
Capitalize on a single auction's popularity by using it to promote your other items
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#48

Make Good Use of the About Me Page
Set up a static page on eBay for all the stuff that would otherwise clutter up your auction pages
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#49

Opting Out of Checkout
Keep the personal touch in your transactions by disabling eBay's controversial Checkout feature
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#50

Make Changes to Running Auctions
Keep your auctions looking and performing their best with post-listing revisions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#51

Dynamic Text in Auction Descriptions
Use inline frames to change the text in your auction descriptions, even after bids have been placed
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#52

Let's Make a Deal
How to handle impatient bidders without losing customers and without getting kicked off eBay
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#53

Diplomacy 101: Answering Dumb Questions
Good and bad ways to handle communications with seemingly lazy or dim-witted bidders
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#54

Keeping Out Deadbeat Bidders
A little diplomacy will help keep out deadbeats and still allow healthy bidding on your auction
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

Working with Photos

HACK
#55

How to Keep Your Item from Looking Pathetic
A simple approach to taking great photos of your items
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#56

Mastering Close-Up Photography
Control the depth of field to get a perfect close-up every time
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#57

Doctoring Photos
Techniques and tools for fixing up your photos after they've been taken
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#58

Protect Your Copyright
Prevent other sellers from stealing your photos
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#59

Host Your Own Photos
Bypass eBay's photo restrictions by hosting auction photos on your own server
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#60

Make Clickable Thumbnails
Use thumbnails for more professional-looking auction photos that load more quickly
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#61

Construct an Interactive Photo Album
Use JavaScript to save money and get a better photo album to boot
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#62

Show a 360-Degree View of Your Item
With a few photos of your item and a little JavaScript code, you can wow your customers with that showroom feel
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#63

Create a Photo Collage
Combine multiple photos into a single image for convenience
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#64

Create a Good Gallery Photo
Prepare your gallery photos to use the postage stamp-sized area to its fullest potential
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Completing Transactions

HACK
#65

Keep Track of Items You've Sold
Use a simple spreadsheet to record the details of all your closed auctions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#66

Sending Payment Instructions
How to communicate essential information to your bidders and avoid misunderstandings
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#67

Protect Yourself While Accepting Payments
Reduce your odds of getting burned by setting firm policies about the types of payments you accept
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#68

Cheap, Fast Shipping Without Waiting in Line
Generate prepaid shipping labels online to save money and time
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#69

Selling and Shipping Internationally
A few extra tools and tips to make shipping to customers in other countries go more smoothly
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#70

Damage Control Before and After You Ship
How to handle problems discovered by either you or the customer
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#71

Dealing with Stragglers, Deadbeats, and Returns
Filing non-paying bidder alerts and credit requests in the event of a failed transaction
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Running a Business on eBay

HACK
#72

eBay Stores
Open an eBay Store to build a more aggressive presence on eBay and on the Web
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#73

Streamlining Listings
Use eBay Turbo Lister to upload more listings in less time
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#74

Streamlining Communications
Use templates to send prewritten emails to your bidders
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#75

Streamlining Checkout and Payment
Use an off-eBay checkout system to integrate payments with shipping and accounting
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#76

Obtaining Sales Records
Extract detailed accounting data from My eBay, or do it automatically with eBay's Selling Manager
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#77

Make Money by Linking to eBay
Earn affiliate kickbacks without even selling anything on eBay
[Discuss (4) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#78

List Your Auctions on Another Site
Use the eBay Editor Kit and Merchant Kit to promote your auctions off-eBay
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#79

Accept PayPal Payments from Your Own Site
Integrate PayPal into your web site with a simple HTML form
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#80

Process PayPal Payments Automatically
Use Instant Payment Notification to fulfill orders without human intervention
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#81

Keep Tabs on the eBay Community
Use the Forums, Announcement boards, and New Feature Previews to keep up with the eBay community
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

The eBay API

HACK
#82

Climbing Out of the Sandbox
Dealing with certification and going "live.
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#83

API Searches
Perform reliable searches with GetSearchResults
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#84

Retrieve Details About an Auction
Use the GetItem API call to get listing details
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#85

Automatically Keep Track of Auctions You've Won
Maintain a permanent record of everything you've ever purchased
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#86

Track Items in Your Watching List
Link an off-eBay auction tracker with eBay's Items I'm Watching list
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#87

Automatically Keep Track of Auctions You've Sold
Retrieve and store completed auction data without typing
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#88

Submit an Auction Listing
Use AddItem to start new listings and make scheduling easier
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#89

Automate Auction Revisions
Simplify the task of revising several auctions at once with the ReviseItem API call
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#90

Spellcheck All Your Auctions
Ensure that your titles and descriptions are spelled correctly
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#91

Negative Feedback Bidder Alert
Have a script automatically notify you if an eBay member with negative feedback has bid on one of your auctions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#92

Automatically Relist Unsuccessful Auctions
Save time by automatically relisting auctions that have received no bids or have a reserve that wasn't met
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#93

Send Automatic Emails to High Bidders
Send payment instructions to your customers automatically
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#94

Generate a Custom Gallery
Insert a list of your running auctions, with photos, into your auction descriptions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#95

Leaving Feedback
Use the LeaveFeedback API call to more easily leave feedback
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#96

Negative Feedback Notification
Have a script notify you whenever you've received negative feedback
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#97

Automatic Reciprocal Feedback
Leave automatic feedback for any customer who has left positive feedback for you
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#98

Queue API Calls
How to work around eBay's API call limit
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#99

Cache Auction Data to Improve API Efficiency
Reduce the number of API calls your program makes and work within your daily API allotment
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#100

Working Without the eBay API
Programming eBay outside the confines of the eBay API
[Discuss (10) | Link to this hack]


O'Reilly Home | Privacy Policy

© 2007 O'Reilly Media, Inc.
Website: | Customer Service: | Book issues:

All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing on oreilly.com are the property of their respective owners.