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7 ways to be an online-auction champ

PC World

May 19, 2000
Web posted at: 9:12 a.m. EDT (1312 GMT)

(IDG) -- If you're listing an item for sale on an Internet auction site, you can maximize the bids for that item by following these tips:

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  1. Some sites cater to specific kinds of products. Before you list your item on an auction site, visit each of the three big sites (eBay, Yahoo Auctions and Amazon.com Auctions, links below) and search for similar items, taking note of how many bids there are. After all, you want the most possible bidders for your item.


  2. List your item in the right category. To find the right category, search for similar items and note the categories in which they appear. Auction bidders go where the items are, and it's often not clear which category is the best one.


  3. Create an effective title for the item, by including all the important keywords relating to the item. For example, "Early Conn Baritone Saxophone" is far more effective at attracting bidders than "Cool Old Sax." Be specific, spell all words correctly, and avoid auction buzzwords, like "Wow!" or "Look!"


  4. When writing the description of an item, include all pertinent information. Always include model numbers, serial numbers, measurements, the age, and a description of the item's condition (including any flaws), plus any additional information that will inform bidders. Avoid exaggerations; they only hurt your chances. Include information on shipping costs and restrictions to avoid having to answer e-mail questions later.


  5. Set a reasonable starting bid and reserve price (a reserve is the minimum price you'd accept for the item). If either of these is too high, you'll frighten away early bidders, and that usually means a lower price for your item. Most experienced auction sellers understand that the words No Reserve are a magic formula for grabbing bidders' interest.


  6. Always include a photo or photos with your item, if possible. This is a must if you want to realize the highest possible price. Use a digital camera or scan a regular photo. If you don't have your own Web space to store images, try using a free Web-hosting service, such as GeoCities or an image-hosting service, such as Pongo, PixHost, or Twaze. (Unlike the free Web-hosting services, image-hosting services sometimes charge a small fee to store images.)


  7. Answer all e-mail questions promptly, courteously, and completely. Anyone who bothers to write to you is genuinely interested in your item.



RELATED STORIES:
Opinion: The trouble with online auctions and gambling
March 16, 2000
Businesses take to eBay
March 2, 2000
FTC issues warning on fraudulent cyberauctions
February 16, 2000
Gavel down: Yahoo's auctions are the speediest
July 14, 1999
Online auctions take the high road
March 16, 1999

RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
How to win at Web auctions
(PC World Online)
Don't get fleeced at online auctions
(PC World Online)
Online auctions: Buyer beware
(PC World Online)
The bidding game
(PC World Online)
Feds join online-auction craze
(FCW)
EBay's weird sideshow
(The Industry Standard)
Amazon.com takes on eBay
(The Industry Standard)
Yahoo opens for bid-ness
(The Industry Standard)

RELATED SITES:
eBay
Yahoo! Auctions
Amazon.com Auctions

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