EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 152 - October 09, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     2 of 8

Using Flickr to Host Your eBay and Online-Auction Photos

By Mark O'Neill

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In this article, I want to return to the issue of online photo-hosting for eBay sellers and at the same time highlight another Yahoo service that has been making waves in the online world.

Online photo-hosting services are nothing new, but Yahoo's "Flickr" seems to have raised the bar (http://www.flickr.com). In the continual wars between the top dogs on the Internet (namely Google, Microsoft and Yahoo), innovative services such as Flickr also provide new possibilities for online sellers, namely a free and easy way to show photos for your auctions.

Right now, I want to get the big disadvantage out of the way: you can't directly link to individual images in Flickr. You can't put a Flickr URL in your auction HTML and then expect it to show up on your auction page. For some inexplicable reason, Yahoo has designed the page so photos are linked by category, not individual photos.

The major difference with Flickr compared to other photo-hosting sites is that there is no limit to the number of photos you can store on the site under your user name. The only restrictions are that you have a monthly upload bandwidth limit of 20 MB, and free accounts will only show the most recent 200 photos. Pro accounts for $24.95 a year remove those restrictions altogether.

The picture quality on Flickr is excellent and the website is very fast and easy to use. You can make your eBay photos public and your personal photos private, so there's no risk of your customers seeing your pics of you getting drunk at the party last week.

If direct linking is not possible, then how could Flickr possibly help eBay sellers? Well, let's take a look at Flickr's other features and possibilities.

First, if you have a high-value item, you will want the prospective customers to see as many pictures of the item as possible. So why not have one general photo in your auction then create an eBay folder in Flickr, place the other photos of the auction item in the Flickr folder and link to that folder? The prospective customer can then go to your Flickr folder and browse through the other photos at leisure. You can view a folder I made to get an idea: http://www.flickr.com/photos/camelot2302/sets/1030577.

Once you have your eBay folder set up on Flickr, you can then move onto a great feature that I really like - the ability to make photo strips, or "badges" as Flickr calls them. You can customize the badge to contain thumbnails of the photos you want, then insert the badge into your eBay auction. Badges come in either HTML or Flash, which look highly professional. Using the pictures from my eBay folder, I made both an HTML badge and a Flash badge, which you can see here http://camelotonline.net/ebaypics/ABU_flickr.html.

One other advantage is that Flickr is closely integrated with Blogger. If you have a blog on Blogger, you can insert your eBay picture badge on your Blog to publicize your auctions. When the auction ends though, you will need to manually delete the pictures from Flickr so the spaces can be taken by new pictures.

Do you use Flickr for your auctions? Have you thought of any innovative ways to use Flickr to promote your listings? Let us know about it!


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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