EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 167 - May 21, 2006 - ISSN 1528-6703     4 of 9

Broken? Sell It on eBay: An iPod Report

By Brian Cohen

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Recently I was featured in the debut of AuctionByte's "First Item Sold Online" feature ( I reminisced about the first item I ever sold on eBay - a broken watch. As we fast-forward nearly 8 years later, things haven't changed all that much - here's a recent auction I listed for a broken iPod (

There are countless reasons to buy and/or sell broken items on eBay. Buyers may be lured by the handyman's special and like to tinker around, or perhaps they are buying a broken item specifically for an unblemished part it contains. Sellers may be dumpster-diving profiteers, or do not have the technological know-how to fix an item (

Broken items on eBay should be tagged as either Broken, Damaged, Parts, Repair or Faulty (and may additionally be tagged "As Is"). Aptly, a search for "Broken iPod" on eBay yields the following:
"Related Searches : ipod as is, damaged ipod, ipod parts, ipod repair"

After the successful sale of my broken iPod Shuffle (I had put it through the wash!), and reading an article from Apple Matters Blog "How Much Cheaper Is the iPod Going to Get?" (, I was convinced that there was a flourishing market for broken iPods on eBay that needed to be further analyzed.

On March 26, 2006 (2:45p.m. EST), I ran a 90-day Completed Items Search and found the following results:
- 539 items found for broken ipod
- 101 items found for damaged ipod
- 145 items found for ipod for parts
- 78 items found for ipod faulty
- 20 items found for ipod needs repair

I further broke down the 539 results and found that there were 334 items that actually matched the criteria of a Broken iPod (I did not include lots, isolated parts including new parts, repair services, repair manuals, repair tools or unsold items).

Broken LCD screens, dead batteries and dead hard drive were some of the auctions that I encountered. One auction comically (or deceptively) was titled "Broken Mini iPod in Great condition."

Total goods sold were $25,173 for an average selling price of $75 for all versions of iPod. I further broke down Total and Average Selling Prices for iPods based on Generation, Version and Disk Space.

# SOLD 209 13 16 75 17 NA
$14,084 $1,356 $2,397 $4,970 $1,644 NA
AVG PRICE $67 $104 $150 $66 $97 NA


IPOD GENERATION 5** 4*** 3 2 1
# SOLD 34 126 51 NA NA
$4,301 $10,039 $2,372 NA NA
AVG PRICE $127 $80 $47 NA NA


IPOD GB 10 GB 15 GB 20 GB 30 GB 40 GB 60 GB
# SOLD 12 25 117 22 44 NA
$477 $1,069 $8,386 $2,806 $3,684 NA
AVG PRICE $40 $43 $72 $128 $84 NA

*Excludes Nano, Shuffle and Mini. Includes Video, Photo and standard models.
**Including Video and Nano and standard models.
***Including Shuffle, U2 and standard models.
Note: Data was insufficient to extrapolate subtotals for iPod Shuffle, 2nd & 1st Generation, 60GB and U2 iPods. Mini was not included in Generation Analysis.

A typical Auction Title is the following:
"BROKEN Apple iPod 40 GB color Photo 4th Gen PARTS"

Note that some sellers abbreviate G for Gen, which is an abbreviation for generation. Fifth generation iPod is the latest model, while 1st generation was the first iPod released in 2001. (Do not confuse G with GB, which is an abbreviation for Gigabytes - the amount of Disk Space.)

As you can see, the newer models demand a higher average selling price. However, it is an anomaly that the 40GB models had a lower average selling price than the 30GB. One would expect that larger the disk space, the higher the average selling point. A look at the auction descriptions might reveal the reason for this incongruity.

If you are interested in exploring this market further, Apple has compiled articles on how to identify different iPod models ( and how to identify the Serial, Model Number & Hard Drive Size of your iPod (

Additionally eBay's, and especially Wikipedia are good resources to use to help identify and/or describe an iPod.

About the author:

Brian Cohen has been an active member of the eBay community since May 1998. He currently trades under the member name His first AuctionBytes article was published in May 2002. Brian can be contacted through his website at where he always has a "little Bid of This and little Bid of That."

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