Guide to eBay


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It seems that every few days another variation on the theme of  "How to make loadsamoney on eBay" appears on the Internet and on the groaning shelves of a bookstore near you.

This is not one of them. If you want to make lots of money on eBay then the chances are that you are, or want to be a Megaseller (more on them later) and this guide is not for you.

On the other hand, if you are an eBay noob looking for information on how to bid and win, or a small-time eBayer like me looking for tips to buy and sell more effectively, then read on…

About me

I go by the nom-de-plume of Wizard Prang. A self-styled "Alpha Geek", I am a developer by trade. My involvement with eBay started when I won my first auction way back in 1997, shortly after Al Gore invented the Internet. About a year later I sold my first item, and I have been buying and selling ever since.

While I am sure that I am not the most experienced eBayer reading this, I suspect that I may have learned a few things along the way. 

Since I enjoy writing, and The Radnificent One was good enough to allow me the privilege of putting my frenzied scribblings on his site, I have taken this opportunity to pass along some of the nuggets of wisdom that I have unearthed along the way - sometimes painfully - so strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride... and I promise that you will encounter no more sentences as long as this one.

Here are some of the highlights of my eBay "career"

Item Bought Sold

ATI Radeon 8500
Video Card

August 2002
$84+$13 (New)
Jan 2004
Palm Tungsten T
February 2005
September 2004
Intel PIII 550
Jan 2000
Jan 2002
Intel PIII 850
Jan 2002
August 2002
Intel PIII 1GHz
June 2002
November 2003
Swiss Army
Cybertool 41
August 2001
$58+4 (New)
October 2001
Internal ATAPI ZIP Drive May 2002
November 2003

As you can see, most of my purchases were computer-related. That happens to be my area of expertise. I will never make a living from selling this stuff, but with a little patience and alleged intelligence, it is possible to sell a used item for more than you bought it new.

About this guide

Unlike the US Constitution, this is a living document. By that I mean that it will change from time to time, as new experiences allow me to add to it. Also remember that anything you read here is my opinion and mine alone.

You may disagree, and that's fine with me. If you feel that I am totally, completely and horribly wrong, let me know. If you can get me to change my position, I will change the appropriate entry in the guide. If not... go and write your own guide!

I have found eBay's built-in help to be less than completely helpful. While it is a good source of general information, there is much that eBay cannot and will not tell you, and there are lessons that only experience can teach... and that is why I wrote this guide.

It started life as a collection of disparate bits; an attempt at an "about me" page, an opinion piece on "Megasellers", hints and tips on buying and selling, bits and pieces. Then the call went out for Radified Guides… and I thought "Why not?" So I gathered up the pieces and tred to arrange them in some semblance of order. I have organized the document as follows:

Also in the works is an "Odds & Sods" page of stuff that does not belong anywhere else (such as Paypal, Feedback, Shipping etc), and a page of  "Changes that I would like to see on eBay".

One thing that you will not find in this guide are any references to specific sellers or listings; the former because it could be construed as libel, the latter because listings "expire" after three months or so, and are no longer available.

eBay eVolves (or "When I were a lad…")

In the years that I have been trading on eBay, I have seen many changes. For me, the early days of eBay were like a Global Yard Sale (US)/Jumble sale (UK), where a large proportion of the sellers were simply ordinary peeps looking for ways to make some money out of the junk in their basements and garages. Over the years, such sellers have become increasingly hard to find.

Why? Here are some theories.

  • With basements and garages cleared out, the sellers have lost interest.

  • Like any good Capitalist, eBay has raised prices as high as the market will bear; this may have driven away some of the small-time sellers.

  • The Big Boys have become attracted to the business opportunity (see MegaSellers and why I avoid them).

Whatever the reason, the small-time sellers have become increasingly difficult to find, and in many cases the listings have become saturated with a plethora of MegaSeller-style auctions.