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Well, it is official, you can now send pictures through the eBay email system.

Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012, at 7:01 AM

When eBay started policing their email system to stop buyers & sellers from exchanging e-mails, there was a major issue with the plan. No one could send extra pictures that the customer requested.

While we had heard about them fixing it, now it is reality. I went to my eBay email just before I wrote this to make sure the ability was there. It does exist and works. (at least for now)

It is still not as easy as using my own email program, and awkward to converse with potential students, but.....

A side note to my "buddy" Phil: We know you are upset about shill bidding, and we know that you dislike the eBay President, so.....

For those who are wondering why I made a special comment, Phil searches the web far and wide to find any opportunity to bash eBay. eBay is not always right, or fair but I believe most are trying to be as fair as possible in administering such a large entity.

So, I am hoping that if Phil finds this post (and he will) that he tries to comment more on the subject and not on his pet peeves. Whatcha think Phil? :-)

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Hi Steve,

Ah, yes, if only all sellers at auction were scrupulous; and I have no doubt that the majority are, but that still leaves an awful lot that aren't, and those that aren't are most likely to be amongst the professional sellers, a number of whom I have mentioned in my latest extensive rant ...

-- Posted by PhilipCohen on Tue, Oct 16, 2012, at 5:11 PM

Hi Phillip. :-)

When I used the proxy bid, I had better results. It stopped about 25% less than what I had put in.

I like how you worked in eDropOff and appreciate your personal response. Hope all is well across the Western Pond? (Eastern for you)

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Oct 16, 2012, at 11:44 AM

Oh Steve, eBay's proxy bidding system is fraught with danger; by all means, use it early if you want to pay the maximum you are prepared to pay, otherwise snipe.

In my research of the blatant shill bidder, eDropOff, for example, amongst the many shill bidding IDs placing bids on her auctions there are many with many bid retractions, the highest being 405 in the past six months. What do you think is the purpose of so many bid retractions on these obvious shill bidding IDs?

Why, it's to expose the value of the highest genuine bidder's proxy bid, of course ...

-- Posted by PhilipCohen on Tue, Oct 16, 2012, at 2:08 AM

Hi Steve,

Here's a few additional little eBay stories for everyone to consider:

"Now, how about some jewelry and watches ..."


"The eBay Collectables category ..."


"Seller-cancelled auctions ..."


-- Posted by PhilipCohen on Tue, Oct 16, 2012, at 1:52 AM

I used to point out to potential buyers that the initial bid would seal the deal as you suggested bentryder. Don't know if anyone ever read it but.... it did not hurt suggesting. :-)

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 7:08 AM

to the topic of photos in eBay mail; I've been doing that for years by using online photo hosting (Photobucket) and pasting the image link in eBay mail. Has always worked great and I may continue that rather than the new process.

I've never really been too concerned about shill bidding and in my long experience with eBay have never personally seen a problem. I do not use eBay's proxy bidding however. For a seller it is great as the buyers max bid is out there for new bidders to jack up. As a buyer that is not a good thing when you want something for the lowest possible bucks. I would rather use Esnipe or just manually snipe if the timing works. If concerned about a seller ending an auction early due to no bids, it is an easy thing to just do a minimum bid and snipe later just in case.

-- Posted by bentryder on Mon, Oct 1, 2012, at 4:53 PM

Thanks George513. I was thinking you were trying to cause the seller more work, but you are trying to avoid helping any competitors.

Likewise, you do not want to call early attention to your interest by bidding early. An opposite to that is the seller could end the auction early if there are no bids, but would have to answer to the bidder and eBay if they do it after the first bid. (unless it had a reserve not met)

Shill bidding can happen at any time but I suppose you could use the Proxy bid within the last minute or two to improve your chances of not alerting potential bidders.

For folks who are unfamiliar with the term Shill Bidding, that is when a friend or associate bids on your item with the sole intention being to run up the final selling price.

This is what Phil Cohen usually works into his comments. It is one of his pet peeves.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 6:52 PM

"I never quite understood why you started with the advice to ask a question from another listing. ... How does that help you save and why do it otherwise?"

When the seller answers a question, they have the option of the q/a to be posted on the item description page, just by checking a box I think.

The q/a showing would give more info to potential buyers who may not have bothered to ask the question, instead continuing their search for a similar item.

Also, it would show other potential buyers that there's some interest in the item, so, it would all of a sudden seem more desirable to them.

"I see no need for sniping services with eBay's "Proxy Bid" ... incremental bid above the competition."

Early bidding makes you an easy target for shill bidding sellers, and it draws attention to an item, usually resulting in a higher ending price.

-- Posted by George513 on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 9:04 AM

George, I believe you have posted this advice before and I never quite understood why you started with the advice to ask a question from another listing. "This will add a bit of work for the seller". How does that help you save and why do it otherwise?

I see no need for sniping services with eBay's "Proxy Bid" http://pages.ebay.com/help/buy/automatic... This will always keep you on top until it reaches your maximum bid, but will not bid more than the next incremental bid above the competition.

This is also a good way to keep YOUR finger off the button so you don't get caught up in "auction fever". A fellow in Italy used it to bid on an item we had for sale and he won it while asleep. We were happy too since we had started it at $1.99 and it sold for $1,326.01.

I've used it to help a fellow in Norway buy a fishing lure from someone here who would not sell internationally. I had already sold the Norwegian a $200 fishing reel so we had a buyer/seller relationship established. I got it for $6 less than his maximum.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 6:31 AM

Sending pictures through ebay's mail system is nice and all I imagine, it doesn't make up for all the changes they made the last few years, screwing smaller sellers and such with things like using 'Best Match' as the default results order, etc.

Anyway, as far as buying/saving on eBay goes:

If you have a question about an item, go to another of the seller's listings and ask the question from there. This will add a bit of work for the seller, if they want to add your question and their answer to the item description page. Maybe other interested buyers will not bother to ask a question, instead just continuing to look for a similar item that already has the question answered in the item description.

If you see an item that you want listed in auction format, send the seller a message asking if they will accept $x to end the auction early and sell the item to you. If that doesn't work, use a sniping service such as Bidball.com to bid for you. It'll bid in the last few seconds, helping to save $ and avoid shill bidding.

If there is a particular item that you want that is relatively rare on eBay or goes fast when one is listed, use ebuyersedge.com to set up a saved eBay search for it. You'd get an e-mail whenever a match is listed. You can use the price, category, exclude word, etc. filters to narrow down the results that you get in the e-mails. Excellent for "Buy It Now"s priced right.

If the item that you're looking for is difficult to spell, try a misspelling search site like Typojoe.com to find some deals with items that have main keywords misspelled in the title. Other interested buyers may never see them.

-- Posted by George513 on Tue, Sep 25, 2012, at 10:43 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.