Recognizing the Many Faces of eBay Transactions

eBay has grown into this massive mega-marketplace that even the best of eBay-expert buyers can find daunting from time to time. This section looks at the available types of eBay transactions and gives you the goods on how they work.

For any transaction type, you find the key information at the top of each item page.

All bidding on eBay is based on the proxy system — if you'd like to bid more than the minimum, eBay will hold you to your high bid, outbidding anyone else who bids against you, until your high bid is met (or until you win when the auction ends).

Scanning through traditional auctions

Single-item auctions are the mainstay of eBay; they're also the easiest to recognize. Looking at Figure 2-1, you can see that the current high bid is listed at the top of the item's information area. You can also see a button to click if you want to place a bid. Simple. Although clicking the Place Bid button at this point would be a bit preemptive (unless you're putting in a snipe — in which case, see Technique 3 for more on sniping techniques).

Save Time By

I Breezing through the different types of eBay transactions

I Solving the shipping mystery

I Paying quickly and securely through PayPal

Before placing your bid, save yourself some time and aggravation by scrolling down the item page to study the description, shipping terms, and shipping costs involved with the transaction.

• Figure 2-1: The auction information area.

Just below the Place Bid box, you can find the amount of time left in the auction and (below that) how many bids have been placed. This information helps you evaluate the auction for how much time you have left to do your research about the sale, and how strong your competition is for winning the item.

At the bottom of the page, you see an area entitled Ready to bid?, as in Figure 2-2. Now you can place your bid by typing the highest amount you wish to bid and clicking the Place Bid button. (In Technique 3, I tell you about bidding strategies that can help you win.)

1 Figure 2-2: Placing a bid on an auction.

Homing in on Multiple Item (Dutch) auctions

Multiple Item (or Dutch) auctions offer more than one of the same item in an auction-style format. Although Dutch auctions seem to be a dying breed on eBay, you occasionally still come across them while browsing, and they can be a bit confusing. Normally you see a quantity of available items (more than one), as in Figure 2-3.

Figure 2-3: A Dutch auction with 5 items up for auction.

Even an experienced buyer can find it hard to tell Dutch auctions from Buy It Now, multipleitem listings. The clue that identifies a listing as Dutch: Look for a Starting Bid and the Place Bid button. Multiple-item, single-sale listings have only a Buy It Now button.

In a Dutch auction, bidding progresses just as in normal eBay auctions. You may bid on one or more of the items available, and the highest bidders win (based on the quantity bid for and won). The only trick to this type of auction is that more than one bidder can win — so all bidders win their items at the lowest successful bid — not the highest!

Before bidding on a Dutch auction, click the High Bidders link to see where the bidding stands and how many of the items are currently bid upon. This way you can gauge how much you want to bid. For Dutch-auction bidding strategies, please read Technique 3.

To place a bid in a Multiple Item (Dutch) auction, follow these steps:

1. Scroll to the Ready To Bid area at the bottom of the page, as shown in Figure 2-4.

2. Type the amount you want to bid in the Your Maximum Bid box.

3. Type the number of items you want to bid on in the Quantity box.

4. Click the Place Bid button.

• Figure 2-4: Bidding on one or many items in a Multiple Item (Dutch) auction.

After you place your bid, eBay shows you a confirmation page where you can verify that what you bid on is what you want. Confirm your bid and you're in the fray.

With Multiple Item auctions, the trick is to keep the winning price low. Find out how to do this with the handy bidding strategies I describe in Technique 3.

Saving time at auctions with the Buy It Now option

Often you'll come across auctions where the seller offers a Buy It Now option, as shown in Figure 2-5.

^By clicking the Buy It Now button, any interested party can close the sale at the listed Buy It Now price and end the auction immediately. Buy It Now is your fastest choice if you're certain that you can't live without the auctioned item and you're also okay with the price.

• Figure 2-5: An eBay auction with the Buy It Now option.

If you don't want to use the Buy It Now option and you think you can get the item for a lower price (that is, you hope no one else will see your chosen item), you can place a bid and hope for the best.

The Ready to bid or buy? area for this type of sale is pictured in Figure 2-6. And this choice — bid or buy — is truly an "or" proposition. As soon as anyone chooses to bid in the auction (rather than using Buy It Now), the Buy It Now option disappears forever — and bidding proceeds as usual until the last second of the auction.

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• Figure 2-6: Ready to bid or buy? (shown in a Buy It Now transaction).

Buy it quickly with Fixed Price sales

Buying on eBay offers yet another timesaving way to get the goods you want. Items can be purchased quickly and easily on the eBay site as Fixed Price sales or directly in eBay Stores. You can easily recognize these sales because they have no Place Bid option. And you can quickly find these sales by using the eBay search engine and following these steps:

1. Type the key words that describe the item you're looking for (using any of the eBay search boxes), and then click Search.

2. On your results page, click the yellow Buy It Now tab above the listings to re-sort the search results so they show only items you can buy immediately. (See Figure 2-7.)

• Figure 2-7: Sorting an eBay search to view only Buy It Now items.

Making a purchase in a fixed-price sale is as simple as clicking the Buy It Now button, as shown in Figure 2-9. Indicate the quantity you want to buy (if more than one is up for sale).

• Figure 2-9: A multiple-item Fixed Price sale.

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3. To find more of your item that you can buy immediately, scroll down the results page until you come to the yellow More on eBay box on the left side of the page, as shown in Figure 2-8.

4. Click links in the More on eBay box to visit eBay Stores that carry items that match your search.

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1 Figure 2-8: More Buy It Now items in eBay Stores.

Ebay Cash Insider

Ebay Cash Insider

I refined my information, added notes as things came up and took out old or outdated information. Each time I discovered a new little tip or trick as I was making money with EBay, I added that information. Today, I bring home anywhere from 500 to 2000 each week with EBay. Thats not too shabby for someone who was just a year ago afraid to even purchase something from the site.

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