EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 113 - February 22, 2004 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 9

GoHook Allows eBay Sellers to Store & Search Historic Auction Data

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A new service called GoHook launched to help sellers store their completed eBay auctions ( GoHook acts on sellers' behalf and downloads their listings from eBay and stores them on in the same format they appeared on eBay. Anyone can search the site for free.

GoHook only downloads completed listings for which there is a buyer. At least one party must have left feedback to ensure it is a completed auction.

Robert Keller and Paul Smietan cooked up GoHook over coffee at the local IHOP restaurant one September morning last year. The two men have backgrounds in high-tech in both computer hardware and computer software development. They hope to fill the void that eBay leaves with its policy of removing completed auction data 90-120 days after an auction has ended. eBay has been further limiting access to its completed auctions: since December, users must now sign in to view completed auction data.

GoHook is not designed as a tool for doing analysis of sell-through rates or analyzing popularity of items. GoHook does not store listings that close without a winning bid, and does not calculate average selling prices. It acts as a tool for sellers who want to refer back to their auctions in the same format they originally appeared.

Many of the fields are searchable. You can enter a term, like "DVD" or an auction number. Most useful is being able to search by User ID, not only for the seller, but for the winning bidder as well.

GoHook also includes seller advertisements. Do a search on GoHook, and on the right side of the search results page, you'll see a blue box containing ads for sellers. GoHook will start charging for these ads next year, and plans to keep the service free for searchers.

GoHook does not license the eBay API when it downloads the auction data. According to Robert Keller, Partner at GoHook, eBay's user agreement prohibits third-party services from harvesting completed auctions. However, he said the user agreement "does allow the Sellers to download and store their own auctions. Thus, we have contracts with hundreds of sellers, who grant us permission to host (mirror) their completed auctions and images."

The service benefits eBay in at least one way: all the links in a GoHook archived auction work. So "view seller's other items" and links to eBay Stores all work, bringing GoHook traffic right back to the eBay site.

Interestingly, GoHook will store auctions from all auction sites. Keller said he'd love to host auctions from UBid, Yahoo and others.

Right now GoHook is free and worth a close look. Let us know what you think by posting your comments in the AuctionBytes forum. Your feedback could help make this a valuable seller tool.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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