How to sell things over the internet

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Ebay - Lissa McGrath

Okay, I assume that everybody who is reading this on Goodreads probably has heard of and knows what Ebay is, and if you don't, well here is the link. Anyway, this book tells you how to use Ebay, both as a buyer and a seller, however don't expect to become an overnight millionaire (unless of course you find something incredibly valuable in your cellar and then sell it, or you manage to list something that people will pay top dollar for) from reading this book. In fact, surprise inheritances and discoveries of pirate treasure aside, people generally do not become overnight millionaires (oh, and also being born into a wealthy family). Usually they are either well connected, incredibly skilled, or simply fortunate (yes, I should also throw lotto and gambling wins as well, but please don't take your life savings down to Las Vegas and expect to win a fortune).

Ebay is pretty much an online marketplace and it is also pretty much a monopoly. It is a company like any other company that provides a service, and the service is to link buyers and sellers. While there are other online marketplaces around, Ebay tends to be the dominant player and is always a step ahead of the rest. It is similar to Facebook and Google in that everybody goes there so all of the advertisers flock there so as to reach the biggest audience. Basically, if you want to be a successful businessman you need to go to the people, or find a way of bringing the people to you.

There are some quite useful tips in this book which I never really used in my previous experiences on Ebay and have found could be quite useful. One of them is to actually check misspellings, because if you are looking for an item cheap and the seller pretty much can't spell then he will get nowhere near as much traffic as would a seller who can (but don't tell them though because those deals might suddenly vanish). The second, much much more useful tip, was to look at completed listings. As a buyer that is quite helpful because you can tell what people have paid for an item and thus you are able to compare what you want to buy with what other people have paid. As a seller, it is also helpful because it can give you an idea of what people will pay for your item. It is no good listing something at $700.00 and get no bids because that simply means that you are giving Ebay money for nothing (and I suspect they get a lot of that anyway – though as it turns out Ebay generally doesn't charge you for unsold listings, unless that listing includes a heap of bells and whistles).

The other trick is that if you want to be a successful seller on Ebay then look for a niche market, namely a market where there is a lot of interest from buyers but not much product coming from sellers. I have sold things using Ebay before and they have always been in a niche area (trading card games). Mind you I have also bought from that niche as well so I can't actually say that I have made any money. However, after reading this book it gave me the idea of looking at how much the cards that I do have can go for, and then to decide whether I want to convert them from cards into cash (and for anybody who has a number of Mazes of Ith lying about you can get a pretty decent price for them).

These days I am interested in books, particularly older books, but I am more of a buyer rather than a seller. Obviously one of the things to do if you want to sell some of the stuff that you have collecting dust (just not CRT TVs) then it is wise to do your research before actually listing the item. You may wish to sell your CRT TV, but it is highly unlikely that you will get any buyers, and in the end you will just end up giving Ebay money for nothing.

Oh, and if you don't know what a CRT TV is, this is what one looks like:

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