Since you don’t have to be a member of eBid.net in order to read the this blog, it’s entirely possible you - the reader - have not joined eBid yet. What’s keeping you? :) If you’re thinking about giving eBid a try, here are some personal views on why I think it’s a good idea, and how I’d suggest you set about it. I hope you find them useful.
eBid is an online auction site that provides a venue for selling by auction (bids), fixed price, or auction with a “snap it up quick” buyer price (called BuyNow) attached. It’s easy to use, free to join, has great offers for upgrading and extremely reasonable fees. The community is friendly and supportive, the management listens to its users.
Is there no down-side? Well, of course there is - no site’s perfect, any more than any person is. So there are occasional glitches on the site. The good news is that these are openly reported and rapidly fixed in a forum provided for the purpose, and the site owners actually drop in to the forum and take part in discussions when it helps. The site’s smaller and younger than some you might have tried (and bigger and older than others, of course!) so it’s important to be realistic in your approach. You probably won’t get the foot-traffic here that you would with some of the big players, so it’s best to start auctions at a realistic level rather than assume that you’ll get enough bids to push the price up to true market value. If you prefer low starts, there’s a reserve option.
eBid is partnered with Google Shopping, so any item with a “buy now” price attached that meets Google’s own rules is uploaded automatically for you, increasing item visibility massively.
There are a number of questions that regularly get asked that it’s useful to have the answers to before you decide; sadly, many people never ask them until later, which can cause bad feeling. So let’s address the main ones now, and I hope it’s soon enough for you!
No, eBid does not do a great deal of advertising. No, not that many people - prior to signing up - have heard of the site. But word of mouth is achieving much, along with Google visibility and the enthusiasm of eBid’s existing members. People who join first, and ask questions afterwards are inclined to appear on the forums demanding massive advertising campaigns. Well sorry, but there’s no sign that’s going to happen. But there’s nothing to stop you advertising your own wares, eBid shop, or the site itself. The bottom line is: it’s cheap to join, cheap to list, cheap to sell… and that sort of bargain isn’t going to fund a massive ad campaign any time soon. You need to be realistic about that, and if you think marketing is essential have your own plan. Effectively you’re renting a market pitch, now promote yourself - the market owners have a different agenda.
Yes, and then again, no. It really is free to join, yep! (And easy to, did I mention that?) However, if you stick with the free membership you will have to pay to list. Not much, but fair’s fair - it’s not a charity, right? If you go for one of the subscriptions (and see my advice below about that), then you can list for free. It’s worth noting, though, that the free listings don’t have a thumbnail picture in the search results list - to achieve that (and I highly recommend it) you’ll want to go for the Gallery upgrade. Great news is, it’s only 2% of final selling price - there’s no listing charge. If it doesn’t sell, you’ve not spent a penny / cent / brass razoo. Free listing, cheap selling.
Membership of eBid is essential to buy and sell. As mentioned, at the basic level it’s free. If you just want to buy, you simply register and away you go. You can register as part of the buying process, though it can get a little confusing, so you might find it better to register in advance or while browsing to save tripping over the process mid-purchase. Many sellers will include a link in their listings to “join here” - a good route to get signed-up while you’re still thinking about purchasing, and the seller will get “buddy points” (loyalty rewards) so they’ll really like you for it. :)
To sell you will need to register as a seller, which will involve some financial information even if you go for the free level - this is a security measure to ensure you’re recording legitimate information, to keep the venue safe to use for all concerned.
If you go for the seller + upgrade (provides better per listing prices and additional benefits such as integrated invoicing) you need to decide on the duration of your membership (weekly, monthly etc) and be aware that a subscription means a recurring charge - so you stay a member, and pay per chosen period, until you choose to either cancel or go for lifetime membership.
The subscriptions currently offered are:
- SELLER+ :
- 7 Day £1.99
- 30 Day £6.99
- 90 Day £16.99
- 365 Day £49.99
- Lifetime £74.99 (currently available for £49.49 if upgrade takes place within 24 hours of registration OR any other upgrade)
For US prices see here, and for other countries visit the help section of your own country site. The help section is available via the Help link top right of eBid’s site at all times.
If you want to try the site before committing massively, the shorter subscriptions are an excellent way into the site (remember, they keep running till you cancel or upgrade). A little known bonus is that (at time of writing) eBid will reduce your lifetime joining fee, if you go for it, by the amount you’ve already paid in subscriptions. And since the half-price offer currently running is available for 24hrs after any upgrade, all you have to do is try for a while, and when you’re ready go for the next step up, then immediately choose lifetime. The step-up qualifies you for the lifetime half-price deal, and your previous payments are deducted from what you owe - you can’t lose! If, of course, you find the site doesn’t work for you, simply cancel your subscription (via the upgrade page, slightly confusingly!) and you can call it quits.
To the best of my knowledge the definition of “lifetime” here has yet to be fully tested, but yes it really does mean lifetime. Nobody who’s paid for lifetime seller + membership should ever have to pay another penny in membership. Of course, the Dalai Lama might need to make special arrangements. ;)
I strongly recommend that you explore the forums, the site and other relevant pages out on the web (maybe Facebook for example) before you commit to paying for a subscription - it’s much better to come into a new site armed with as much information as possible so that expectations are realistic and you’ve a good grasp of how to use the site before you start.
The help section here offers a number of How-To Videos (HTVs) that you might find give a useful insight into how the site operates. I hope so, I made most of them!
Additional information, by Kimbo!
I’ve been selling on eBid since 2008. I first joined the site as a free member in 2004 and explored the selling side, before deciding it wasn’t quite what I was looking for at that time (a little too quiet, and too little known). In 2008 I returned, started selling, and quickly got back my lifetime fee. I now provide various technical support services for eBid sellers, both free and business, and sell a variety of items from listing templates to books and gifts. I buy too!
In late 2010 I took on the role of eBid Newsletter Editor, this a freelance position and I am not an employee of eBid - just an enthusiastic supporter who’s happy to be part of the team in a small way.
In addition to my free (www.ebidhelp.com) and commercial sites (www.ebidwidgets.com) I also offer a couple of Squidoo lenses (just information pages really, if you’re not familiar with Squidoo) that you might find helpful.
My full list of Squidoo pages is available here: http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/bykimbo
ThisTumblr Blog is more geared-up for registered sellers and looks at the detail of selling successfully on eBid. Feel free to explore!
Thank you. :)
So now you know, join for free, and I’ll see you there!
eBid is unusually open to suggestions for improvements in the site, providing forums for both category and site-wide improvements. In this blog post I’m going to look at category suggestions.
If you want a new selling category to be added to the site you can suggest it in the New & Ghost Category Suggestions forum. The first post in that forum explains Gazza’s rules for making your suggestion, and you can’t go wrong if you follow those to the letter… but a little extra explanation and some additional guidelines might help.
The first thing to do is make sure your suggestion is necessary. You might not spot a suitable category for your item immediately, but perhaps it’s tucked away somewhere you didn’t immediately think to look, or is spelt in a different manner to how you expect (British/American differences can cause some confusion here.) So, first browse the existing categories to check - this is most easily done via the front page or from the “buy” tag, rather than trying to do it from the selling form, since the layout is clearer and more easily read. Alternatively you can check my full list of categories. Though be aware, I don’t claim to keep that up-to-date in real time, so it might lag a little when recent updates have occurred.
If you don’t spot a suitable category by browsing, next do a search on the system for items similar to your own and see where they’ve been listed. If you check down the left side of any search results list you’ll see the categories that are represented in the returned list.
If you’ve established there is definitely no specialist category, you also need to think about if one really needs to exist. How many of this gizmo do you have? How popular do you think they’ll be with other sellers - will your category be quickly populated and used by buyers and sellers alike, or is it going to sit there with your one or two items in it for a few weeks then fizzle out? If so - there’s almost certainly an “other” category attached to the top-level cat’ you’re looking at, so that’s the place to put your item. If there’s a gazillion things already there and you’re worried your item will be swamped - make sure they are all supposed to be there, and that there isn’t another set of items that do need a category of their own, even though yours doesn’t. You can suggest that category instead, since it’s more obviously needed.
If you’ve checked and double-checked an you know the category definitely doesn’t exist, and there is a positive need for it, it’s time to form your request.
First, think about what the category name is going to be, make sure you know how to spell it, and where it ought to go.
What the name is going to be? It might be obvious, a single word such as “cats” with no room for options or dispute. Or maybe you’re thinking about something with a complicated name, that covers several types of items, and where there are possibly different views on which terminology is appropriate? As it happens, if you’re not sure it’s not the end of the world - the suggestion forum is a discussion forum like all others, just with a special additional function. So you can always chat with your fellow eBidders about the best way to go. In fact, if you make a suggestion that others are interested in they’ll jump in anyway! You might get a chorus of support, you might get some interested questions, or you might get a bunch of disagreement - but if your suggestion has merit a consensus will probably be reached which can be recommended to Gazza as “this is what we’ve agreed we want”. A suggestion that gets clarified and/or supported in this way stand a good chance of being accepted.
When you’ve decided, at least in your own view, on your name and location in the hierarchy you need to word your request.
When posting to the category suggestion forum it’s best to make your request clear and unequivocal. Gazza will want to know exactly what you want, and where it’s supposed to go. So something like a cats section in the area for books about pets shouldn’t be worded that flabbily. Or just “cat books”. You need to layout each category in a way that makes it clear what the structure is. I prefer the chevron or “greater than sign”, but others use commas, slashes, whatever. It’s the information that matters, not the symbol. So…
Books > Pets > Cats shows how you want it to work. Please note, these aren’t real suggestions and I’ve not checked the structure, they’re made-up examples!
If you want several categories then
Books > Pets > Cats
Books > Pets > Dogs shows what you have in mind better than
Books > Pets > Cats and Dogs which might produce a result you didn’t intend. If you do want Cats and Dogs together as one category, that’s fine of course.
As well as asking for your category to be added, it’s good practice to explain why you want it. “I have three thousand of these to list”, for example, or “there are five hundred in the other category already that could be split out”.
I’d also suggest a please and thank you in there - you’d be surprised how many are worded as demands, even if that wasn’t the way the poster was thinking, they just forget how abrupt written words can look!
Once you’ve put your request in, be patient. Gazza processes category suggestions as and when he has the time, and there’s no schedule, and no guarantee that he will feel that your suggestion has merit. The forum is called “suggestions”. I tend to think of them as “requests”. They are not demands, nor are any promises implicit. Ask, and you might receive. Eventually.
It’s probably best not to wait for your category to appear before listing your items, you may be setting yourself up for a wait of several months, during which you can’t sell if it ain’t listed. Additionally, if you back up your request with “I’ve listed two hundred already in the other category” you’ve proved the validity of your request up-front and greatly improved your chances of success.
So, that’s my recipe for a successful category request. It takes much longer to explain than it takes to make one!
In an ideal world when using a new selling site one should read all the rules, check all the small print, and familiarise oneself with all the dos and don’ts up-front. The reality is that most people rush in keen to play with their new toy, and only find out about the differences from the sites they’re used to when things don’t work, or they get their wrist slapped for breaking rules. Both in the selling side of the site, and in the forums, there are various things you’re not allowed to do on eBid that might differ from places you’ve used before.
So what are the eBid rules that most people break, albeit accidentally in many cases?
- Do not post duplicate items. If you have multiples of something to sell, you have to do that as a “dutch auction”. Note, there’s nothing Dutch about it and it doesn’t have to be an auction! On eBid the term is used simply to describe any listing with more than one item.
- Do not put your contact details on view. You may not put snail mail or email address information in your listings, about me page, or in the forum. Your details will be sent to your buyers when they purchase and you are not permitted to make them visible within eBid before that.
- Do not list banned items. These included knives and ebooks - the most common pair listed by mistake. The list of banned items is available in the help pages, but also includes a “catch all” of anything eBid deem unsuitable.
- Do not put items with lewd or revealing pictures, or of an adult nature, outside the adult section. Even if your item is fairly tame underwear, for example, if the picture with which it is illustrated is considered OTT it will need to go in the adult section.
- Do not pimp your stuff in the forums outside the plug forum, or more than the one-per-day quota allowed.
- Do not put on messages warning viewers that items are offered elsewhere and might not be available when bought. If you offer it on eBid you’re supposed to be able to deliver.
- Do not post on the forum about items for sale elsewhere, or provide any links to other selling sites. No commercial links are allowed, even if the items in question are not currently available on eBid.
- Do not post just to be offensive about eBid or other sellers. Rudeness, personal attacks, swearing and other playground behaviour is not tolerated and such posts (and often the entire thread) will be removed.
- Do not “name and shame” when you’ve had a bad a experience - you can ask for help or advice about a situation, but “XYZ has scammed me, what a thief” will rarely see out the day.
- Do not refuse to sell if the price reached is insufficient. That’s what the start price and reserve price are for. Do not set an item to sell at a price you’re not going to be happy with. If it sells, it sells, you can’t say “I expected more bids”.
That handful of rules probably account for the majority of the complaints about mysterious disappearances of either listings or forum posts. Follow the rules and I’m sure you’ll find selling on eBid a pleasant and productive occupation.
Thank you for joining me. You can also find eBid Widgets at www.ebidwidgets.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.