EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 37 - May 05, 2001 - ISSN 1528-6703     5 of 7

Auction Creation Using HTML and Mister Lister

By Mike Marino

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Using eBay was a natural decision given my background in computers. I quickly discovered there are two necessities in creating clear, concise listings without unnecessary 'fluff': a basic knowledge of HTML, and a user-friendly interface where I could create, store and modify my auction listings.

HTML is the code used to change fonts, create tables and display pictures on the Internet. I found HTML easy to understand; anyone could easily learn this language, even those without extensive computer language experience.

I've become a big fan of the SAMS Publishing line of books, most with titles such as "Learn HTML 4.0 in 21 days." These books take great pains to explain each step of the process and examples to illustrate the concepts, and they provide exercises at the end of each chapter. Whatever type of instruction used, it is critically important to do some type of hands on learning.

After I bought a book to learn HTML, I needed an HTML editor, an application that allows you to type in the HTML tags, text and hyperlink addresses and have them display as Web pages. I found a free download for HTML Pad at http://www.intermania.com/htmlpad. I use this application to type in my eBay listings and inventory lists.

Using HTML, I have created a generic header that contains a pseudo title and a list of links to all other auctions I have running. I also created a generic footer with shipping information, an auction counter and a direct link to my Web site. These files can be cut-and-pasted into the listing, where I only have to change the auction title and type in the main body text with a brief description. This saves a great deal of time. I then use eBay's Mister Lister program, allowing for creation of dozens of listings, all with a similar look and feel.

Mister Lister is a free application from eBay whereby you can enter listings offline at your leisure. Instead of waiting until 10pm Sunday to start listing, a few listings can be created each day during the week, the collection submitted to eBay (this is actually done via email internally to the application) and started at whatever time you designate.

Mister Lister is available for download on eBay's site at http://pages.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/mr.html. I highly recommend it if you submit a great many items each week.

In Mister Lister, you create the listing title, copy in the shell header/footer portion, add the picture, shipping options, category and regional options for each item. Then all that is left to do is to add information to the body of the listing specific to that item. Each auction collection can be saved on your PC for reuse later, if necessary.

Once the listings have been completed in Mister Lister, you are ready to submit them to eBay and preview what you've created. After connecting to the Internet, Mister Lister sends the file of the listings you've created to eBay, where it is plugged into each of the listing options as though it were typed in manually. Once you receive the confirmation email, you are ready to go preview each of your listings.

At this point, the auctions haven't started, but you can actually see what you've created as the bidder will see it, including any pictures you've included prior to the start of the auctions. Edits or deletions can be performed at this point as each item is previewed and checked. Once you're happy with everything, you can either submit your entries then or wait until a later time to start them. EBay says you have a limit of two weeks for every "collection" submitted, but I have had some remain in pending status for longer than that.

I hope these tips and tricks will prove themselves useful in your auction pursuits.


About the author:

Mike Marino can be contacted at orioles35 @ aol.com. He is registered at eBay under the same name, where he specializes in sports memorabilia, namely baseball and football trading cards.


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