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Some random notes regarding eBay.

Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012, at 7:07 PM

Did you know the recommended pixel size is now 1600? No announcement but if you are actively listing you may have noticed the recommendation as you upload your pictures.

There seems to be some difference of opinion on how much this matters? If it does matter why, unless you use the zoom function? The pictures still look the same otherwise. Some of my fellow teachers are actually using larger pixel sizes.

BUT, after listening to a webinar put on by Julie Netzloff of eBay Search Science Team I am concerned about getting the pictures right according to eBay. (now 1600 pixels per side). My concerns stem from Julie's comments about how their search robots are now going to evaluate pictures as part of the Best Match algorithm.

According to what was said, if a picture is out of focus,or has a busy background it will be downgraded. If the description bar (search bar) has words that do not show it the picture, it may be downgraded. The example given was describing a painting of a scene, but some of the items listed were not in the picture.

The exact example was a picture of a Collie on a beach, but the description added seals, whales or a few other things that were not in the actual painting. Now that is pretty sophisticated search robots, unless questionable listings are flagged for human review.

So, if I have a picture with pixel size at 1,000 (the old standard) or 2,000, will it be downgraded? I don't know the answer yet, but IF I do get one, I will let you know.

Also, title bars used to be populated with key search words and little regard for sentence structure. Julie left me with the impression that the title bar needs to be more "buyer friendly" and she included some words in her example that previously was considered a waste of good space. (ex. the, a, with)

I understand not having a title bar that makes no sense about what you are selling, but search words are of key importance. We were always instructed to teach that people do not search for those miscellaneous words and therefore, don't wast the space. Hmmmm.

Sentence structure in the actual listing will be evaluated but they suggest getting right to the point on details. AFTER the details you can expound more on a story regarding the piece, or your shipping details, etc.

Anything that makes the listing easier to understand, such as bullet points and grouping similar details together will be a plus. So, avoid the one paragraph listing where everything is run together.

We always recommended that, but now the "Best Match" robots will be grading your listing. I suspect an English teacher has broken loose in eBay. Just kidding :-)

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Since these are random notes, here is something interesting. At any given time, you can look at a listing on Amazon that refers you to an item on eBay at a lower price and the same for eBay referring a potential buyer to Amazon.

Sanity seems to have gone through a warp of some kind. We who pay eBay for a listing page, cannot refer our customers to our own website or other selling venue, but they (eBay) can not only place ads between your listing title and description, but they are consorting with the competition?

Now I understand why some folks feel the water is different in California. From having lived there a short time, I think it may also be the slight tremors that go on constantly from earth shifting. It must do something to the brainwaves.

Anyway, it is still the best place to get started. :-)

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Feb 27, 2012, at 8:25 AM

As far as eBay buying/saving goes:

Check the feedback of the seller of any item that you want. Maybe send them a question about the item to see their responsiveness, if they don't reply back, maybe not the best seller to deal with.

If you send the seller a question about an item, find another of their listings, and send the question from that item page, rather than from the one that you actually want. This will add a little bit of work for the seller, if they want to add the q/a to the item description page that you are actually interested in. Maybe they won't bother, and maybe any potential bidders/buyers would not bother to send the seller the same question, instead just looking for another item.

If there is a particular item that you are looking for, and especially if it is relatively rare on eBay, use a site like Ebuyersedge.com to set up saved searches. You'd get an e-mail whenever a match is listed. Great for "Buy It Now"s priced right. You can use the price, category, exclude Word, etc. filters to narrow down the list of results that you receive in the e-mails.

Try a misspelling search site like Typojoe.com to hopefully find some deals with items that have main keywords misspelled in the title. Other interested buyers might never see them. Then, if the item is listed an auction format, after a few days of no bids (hopefully anyway) send the seller and offer to end the auction early and sell the item to you. They may worry that no one is interested, and take whatever they can get.

-- Posted by George513 on Sun, Feb 26, 2012, at 2:55 PM

Regarding the pictures, I re-read some of the eBay information and see where the maximum size file for a picture ia 7 MB. (7,000 kilobytes) http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/pictures...

Our pictures are nowhere near that so I am experimenting to see if we won't need to resize or even reduce density. If so, it can save me 30 seconds or more for each picture. In fact, taking a little extra care in taking the original photograph could cut my photo editing time to zero. I like that thought.

Of course, there is still the unanswered question about how Best Match will look at something outside the recommended pixel size. I need to get an answer to that before I make wholesale changes in the way I do things..

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Feb 25, 2012, at 10:11 PM

With all the complicated comments above, it may sound strange for me to say, eBay is STILL one of the best places to start your internet sales career. There are a few specialty sites that have done well, but overall, if you are selling your family treasures, auction finds or yard sale treasures, eBay's the place.

It can be a part-time job or hobby, but also a full-time career. http://www.wral.com/lifestyles/goaskmom/...

And even governments turn to eBay for clearing up their inventory. http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2012/02/...

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Feb 25, 2012, at 7:13 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.