EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 120 - June 06, 2004 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 7

Using the Power of Your Web Site to Boost Your eBay Profits

By Mark O'Neill

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As eBay gets more and more competitive, sellers have to think of unique ways to stand out from the crowd. If you sell something very common, your items can easily get lost in the flood of competing products. One feature offered by eBay that is often overlooked is the ability to place your auction listings directly onto your own Web site.

Called the eBay Merchant Kit, this feature allows you to obtain a short HTML code from eBay that you can place on your Web site. Your eBay auctions then appear on your site organized under five columns: Picture, Title, Price, Bid Status and Ending Time. A logo at the top of the list reads, "An eBay Marketplace."

After logging in, you have various options at your disposal including font type and size; the number of auctions that you want to show; and which auction categories you want to show. If you have different pages for books, music, etc., then you can split the auction listings up into their correct Web pages.

These options enable you to customize the auction listings to fit into your Web site design. You need to agree to an eBay user agreement, and you can preview what the listings will look like before you put it on your Web site for the whole world to see.

Every 20 minutes, the listings are automatically updated to show new bids and the time left before the auction ends. Of course, it goes without saying that the auction listing links directly to your auction on eBay, so if any of your Web site visitors fancies owning that combined shoe-rack and bowler hat you're selling, then they will only have to double-click on the link on your site. I have to admit that out of all the inventions that eBay has given us, Marketplace is one that I really like. The irony is that one of eBay's best inventions is one that is not known by many people.

At the moment, there only appears to be a Marketplace version for U.S. eBay listings. A quick scan of eBay UK and eBay Germany seems to confirm that there isn't a Marketplace version for these sites. For sellers outside the USA, you can still use the U.S. version, but the listings will connect to eBay.com with the finishing times in U.S. time. A bit awkward if you are living outside the U.S. Hopefully eBay will correct this problem soon and offer versions for international eBay sites.

For Webmasters who don't have the space on their site for full auction listings, there is a smaller and easier alternative if your Web site needs an eBay presence. You can place eBay "buttons" on your site that link directly to your live auctions on eBay. This is what I normally have on my Web site. There is a choice of two buttons with different text on each one. You have to state which Web page the button will appear on and, after clicking a button, you get the HTML code needed to make that button appear on your page. Again, the buttons are only in English. If anyone knows of German-language eBay buttons, then please email me and let me know.

Since I am a nice guy, I have deleted a few Halle Berry pictures from my site and have made some space to show you what the Marketplace listings look like on a Web site. Just click here:
http://www.camelotonline.net/marketplace.html

eBay Merchant Kit - to place auction listings on your Web site:
http://www.ebay.com/api/merchantkit.html

Placing eBay buttons on your Web page:
http://pages.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/link-buttons.html


About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, MakeUseOf.com. He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'Neill.org.


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