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Learn How To eBay!
A Guide To The eBay Online Auction Place.

Part 1 - Introduction to eBay

Learn How To eBay!

eBay Article Content:

Part 1 - Introduction to eBay
Part 2 - An Overview Of eBay
Part 3 - Evaluating What And Where To Buy
Part 4 - Buying On eBay
Part 5 - Avoiding The Serious Scam
Part 6 - Selling On eBay
Part 7 - Auction Terms, Abbreviations, And Some HTML Code
Part 8 - Authentic Items Verses Fakes


This eBay article "Learn How To eBay!" was written for both the beginning eBayer and people who want to learn a little more about eBay. For in depth studies of eBay buying and selling there are numerous fine books available on the subject. Check out Amazon for a large selection of books about eBay You can, of course, find numerous books about eBay on eBay. For an indepth look into eBay selling, check out this resourse and directory website, Web Sellers' Lunch Club - How To Sell On eBay.


There are numerous on line auctions, but since eBay seems to be the most popular auction place it will be used as the standard in this article for teaching you about on line auctions. Actually, on line auctions and eBay have almost become synonymous.

Link to eBay
Find hard to find items on eBay!

It is obvious that people who like to garage sale, go to flea markets and antique shops should love eBay. It is also obvious that people who enjoying buying mail order should love eBay, but eBay is so exciting that it has attracted whole new groups of people. Virtually anything (legal) that you can imagine is being bought and sold on eBay including some very expensive, upscale items including jewelry, cars and homes. Also, eBay has become known as "the place" to locate unique and hard-to-find items.

In order to understand eBay, you must first have an understanding of on line auctions and auctions in general. Contrary to what you might have seen on TV or in the movies, the average person does not "accidentally" bid on a three million dollar statue that they obviously can not pay for; the same holds true for on line auctions. While it is not impossible to "accidentally" bid on an item, it is highly improbable. For those of you with helpful cats, it would take even the most agile cat several exact keystrokes to make a bid, and even if that fuzzy guy should manage to it, a bid can easily be undone. Should the unlikely occurrence of an unwanted bid ever happen, simply retract your bid. So the first lesson is - loosen up and have fun, don't be afraid of on line auctions. (Note: It is our understanding, that at eBay, a bid that ends an auction including a "Buy It Now" auction can not be retracted, that kind of mistake would require communicating with the seller and eBay so that the seller is not charged various selling fees for a bidding mistake. But as with general bidding, it would be hard to accidentally end an auction.)

The second thing that you need to know about on line auctions is that they are generally more like flea markets than live auctions. At a physical auction, the auction company represents and sells items for individuals or other companies. With on line auctions, it seems that the vast majority of sellers are individuals or companies just selling their own products. The are exceptions, of course; some auction sites, like eBay, do have some live auctions, and there are some auction companies that sell items on auction sites, and sometimes people do run auctions and sell stuff for other people. eBay is not actually an auction company, they don't collect or distribute any money from the sale of merchandise, they simply provide the software and mall-like atmosphere for buyers and sellers to meet; eBay is an auction site.

Also, like a flea market, buyer beware, there are good folks and there are bad folks and there are folks who just don't know much about the products they are selling. This will be discussed more in the section on "Buying", but in order to enjoy your on line auction experiences, you must understand that you are browsing something like a virtual flea market, not your local department store with their warranties, exchanges and return policies. A seller on an auction site may offer a great sounding guarantee or return option, but remember, they are probably hundreds of miles away and most likely in a different state, if their guarantees are bogus, you would probably never be able to get satisfaction and on top of that, the cost of pursuing false claims can far exceed whatever money you might or might not be awarded in a court of law. Do not let this idea turn you off, just remember where you are and what you are doing. Just as most people have a great day at their local flea market, most people seem to have a wonderful time browsing, buying, and selling on eBay, just don't forget to use your common sense.

The two most common questions I hear about eBay are: "Is buying on eBay safe" and "Can I make money selling on eBay"?

First, in my opinion, buying on eBay is as safe as buying from any individual or small business; the same risks and rewards apply. When you get a little deeper into eBay, you will find buyers who buy lots of merchandise, just like any mail order buyer, and there are sellers who have sold literally thousands or items, reflecting that buyers are buying and sellers are selling. You do not have to be a genius to figure this out, this information is obvious when you see the number of feedbacks that buyers' and sellers' have posted for one another on auctions sites (some sites allow buyers and sellers to post comments about their experiences with one another). Many people do not even leave feedback and yet you will still see people with hundreds even thousands of transaction feedbacks. There are no "safe" guarantees, problems can occur, but these records speak highly of people's basic trust and honesty. Any local flea market that you might go to can have crooks, both buyers and sellers. Sellers inevitably loose items to thieves and buyers sometimes get ripped off by unscrupulous sellers, but overall, most people have a grand day and go home happy. That's life at the flea market and the same holds true of on line auctions.

As to making money on eBay, I would venture to guess that most people selling on eBay are making money; how much money is altogether another matter. Still, so long as there are buyers there is money to be made. Granted, there will always be smart sellers and not so smart sellers and those who just want to have a little fun making a some extra money, but the serious sellers operate just like any small business, they work hard. Not everyone is cut out to sell, there are some people letting items sell for one dollar or listing items at too high a price so they don't get bids, others don't pay attention to details like shipping and listing expenses and they end up underestimating shipping costs and listing and settlement fees. (Sometimes, when you go and check out a seller's other auctions you will find a long list of items with only a couple of them having bids, all those listing have a cost attached to them, the listing fees.) But, yes, you can make money selling on eBay, there are plenty of people doing it.

To make money on eBay is like any business, you have to pay attention to the market, the buyers and the business details. How much money you make depends on how ambitious you are and how well you learn the online auction business. You need to look for and find your niche. When people ask me how to start, I always tell them to start by selling something that interests them, something that they already have some knowledge of. Your knowledge does not have to rival a PhD's education, but there should be a genuine interest and some knowledge. This is a starting point, where you go from there is up to you; surprisingly, you will find new interests and items to sell as you go along. You can make eBay a fun hobby to earn some extra income or you can turn it into a real business. Either way, learning how to eBay is fun and the more you eBay the more you will want to eBay.

Two of the most important pages of knowledge at eBay are:

The eBay Site Map

The eBay Support Page

Disclaimer: For obvious legal reasons I need to make a few things clear. The ideas in this article are simply my opinions. I can not guarantee that reading this article will save you money, make you money, or prevent you from loosing money. This article was written for adults (minors should not be entering into on line purchase agreements) and I expect adults to be responsible for their own actions and the actions of their children when it comes to Internet conduct. Before trying to follow my opinions you should check with your own authority, such as an attorney. While I did my best to do research before writing this article, errors are possible and eBay and other auction sites make changes to their web sites which could make some of my references obsolete or incorrect. As always, shop, read, and compare before you make your own decisions.

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