geekhack Projects => Making Stuff Together! => Topic started by: Lanx on Tue, 08 January 2013, 01:34:53

Title: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: Lanx on Tue, 08 January 2013, 01:34:53
Preface: (read if you want to know stuff NOT concerning this guide, otherwise skip)
this guide is to let you guys find out how to use ebay to it's fullest to get good deals and to get those hard to find items, i don't do this anymore since it's a bit involved, but when you want to find that illusive item, it's worth it. Couple of things, i'm trying to just help you guys, chime in if i miss anything, this guide is written with the geek in mind, if you can't make an ebay account i really can't help you, the reason to use ebay is cuz the whole world uses ebay, other than flee markets, where else are we gonna find keyboards?

1. Log into Ebay ( (i'm assuming you know how to make an account and already have one)
2. start searching
( (
3. this is your normal ebay screen, we'll uncover a few gems to make us advanced users
4. start typing in what you want to search, we'll try the old model m first
( (

These are keywords, basically in all of search engine world, it boils down to typing in words that the search engine can find and give back results, make note of all the results being generated underneath your search, these are ebay suggestions, much like google suggestions, tho these are going to be more related to the subject matter at hand because it deals with the ebay/buyer side of things than google would (not that we won't be using google)
5. ( (
ok keep in mind that you now have related searches as a clickable link, so if you want just click those links also, if you want to stay on the same page, hold down "CTRL" and click and it should open it in a new tab so you don't loose your place.

see that star where it says save, this is where you become 99% better than the rest of the people using ebay, click it and you get.

( (

so now you'll get emails when ppl post up new(please don't reply with "i already knew that" a lot don't and if you reply with that and just that alone, i'll campaign against you!)

6. of course you can narrow down your search more, like you only want free shipping, a new/used item, blah blah
( (

7. Now that we know how to get ebay to us results directly to our email, how do we find more keywords. cuz as you've seen ebay only gives you a few related results, we use google. Get a google account, it's free and you get one anyway when you get a gmail account, most ppl have one, you should get one. then type in, Don't worry we won't be spending any money on here, we're just using the free tool called "google keywords tool" (iyou can use it without an account by going here but you might be limited on the amount of results and you have to enter in a captcha per result)
( (

now see all these varied results, don't make sense, click where it says only show ideas closely related and you get
8. ( (

there we go! lots of related keywords for us to use, plug into ebay and have ebay mail back to us the results.

9. why do we need so many keywords? well not everyone calling a model m, calls it a model m. Someone might call it a model m clicky, or just a 1390131, you need to have all variations, to "catch all the results". Why? it's like fishing, why fish with one pole when you can fish with 10!, you're bound to get more results and more hits. Also the more you get the chances you have of finding the lucky one that almost no one bids on, that's how these golden nuggets are found, sure everyone can seach for "ibm model m" and you'll get lots of results for a model m that bids for 40, but if you're the only one that searched for "ibm clicky keyboard" and no one has found it

advanced knowledge:
now sometimes you want to see how "popular" the item is, how many ppl have looked at the item? well only the seller chooses to show you this number, at the very bottom... but i'll show you how to find out this and more

you also might want to know how many ppl have "watched" this item, that means ppl are looking to bid on this item, you basically want to know if you have competition or not, i'll show you!

1. if you have the item you want to know all the hidden info on, goto your url bar, find the number code, it's gonna be different for every item, but the position of it in the url is always the same
( (

then goto

put in that number into the keyword search and bam
( (

look at all that delicious hidden info that we've uncovered, trust me this is valuable stuff.

now that's all great and all but how about bidding?

advanced bidding:
( (
ok so we've heard about this "sniping" thing what is it and how can it save me money? basically in short, it's a program or a server monitor, that will bid for you at the very last possible second. What does this try to discourage? it trys to discourage bidding wars and quite honestly lets you live a life, you don't have to sit at your computer at the oddest hours hoping to win a bid, cuz quite honestly a lot of the times, it comes down to the last few minutes to see who wins and who looses.

with this i've used esnipe, why? well i've used them there are others, so you can research for yourself, i'll just say my experiences with esnipe. They are server based so there's nothing to load on your pc, this might mean that some people don't want their pc on 24/7, that's a plus, it also means that esnipe has a boatload of servers with probably a better internet connection to bid for you than if you used some program to bid with. they only take a fee if you win, so this means you could bid for 10 items, win only 1, and have esnipe take only that one bid's fee. they have reasonable fee's, basically they take 1percent of the winning bid, so if you won a $100 keyboard you'd pay $1 for the service, which in theory could have saved you a lot more money than if you didn't use the service, there's a few more with the fee's like 10bucks is the max fee and stuff like that you can read all the rules on their site.

Ebay Issues:

Low/No Feedback- just registered for ebay? never bought/sold on ebay? but now you want to purchase your dream item but the seller won't accept anyone with a low/no feedback score? Depending on how much you want to spend for feedback, yes you are buying feedback.
1. pick a category, gifts/games anything small
2. goto advanced search
3. click on buy it now
4. click on free shipping
5. sort low to high+shipping
6. you'll see "whatever" for .99, buy from different ppl, basically if you want 10 feedback 100% spend 9.89, after you purchased, immediate give the seller feedback "A+++++++ SELLER SUPERFAST" or any traditional stupid ebay response, you're just trying to elicite the same feedback score, and 9 times out of 10 they do it, cuz that's how the game is played, sellers will happyily give good return feedback, especially since you already paid. (heck if you don't even get the item, the feedback score is more important, it's only a buck, and you probably didn't even want the .99 item anyway, remember you're just buying feedback)

Is this unethical? yes and no, you're gaming the way in which ppl are judging their buying/selling experiences, but then the score itself is treated like a commodity (sellers with less than 97% positive feedback do not last, and just end up making a new account anyway), so it's not really an opinion but rather a bought vote.

Don't use this for evil!
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: Lanx on Tue, 08 January 2013, 01:35:19
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: Turbo Slaab on Tue, 08 January 2013, 03:13:58
Good info here. Thanks!
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: precarious on Tue, 08 January 2013, 03:23:08
or you could search for "keyboard" and look at everything on earth, all at once, in gallery view

i guess that would require the ability to be able to discern objects by their physical characteristics with a great degree of rapidity, though

Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: razorsharpgears on Fri, 11 January 2013, 20:16:15
Thanks, bookmarked for future reference :)
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: funkymeeba on Sun, 27 January 2013, 11:53:17
Nice guide! Even though I don't intend to do a heck of a lot of eBay keyboard hunting, this will still come in handy for the other miscellaneous stuff I buy. :D

Not a huge fan of the sniping service, and so I don't use it, but I have only ever had an item sniped at the last minute once... and that was my first bid on eBay, so I may have had that one coming.
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: longweight on Sun, 27 January 2013, 11:58:16
Very nice!
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: Leslieann on Sun, 27 January 2013, 16:53:20
A bit more on sniping...
Many people will not bid on an item until someone else does, this happens with people in general,  "If they want it, it must be good".

The sooner you start the bidding on an item, the more people will be convinced that it must be worth it, or that the seller is trustworthy. Regardless or why, once you bid, others may join, and as more bid, it raises more and more people's trust. The more who bid, the higher the price.

This is not just bad for the obvious reason of raising the price, but if you attract a certain type of person, it can get out of control quickly. Some people get addicted to winning Ebay, just like gambling, and they hate to lose "if I bid just a little more, I will get it". I had a step father like this, even though he was buying items to re-sell, he would often knowingly over-pay because he just didn't want to lose.
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: Lanx on Wed, 06 February 2013, 15:30:46
nice post on oh
bidding theory

yea i'm pretty sure there is a theory behind it, it basically comes down to this, auction sites NEVER lose, because in the end they are able to boil down human emotion to one-click.

just like gambling, the best gamblers, are not usually the ones with a "system" or ones who can "count cards", it's the ones with enough will power to just "walk away" (and usually these are the gamblers that are blacklisted, because they just take and take)
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: Leslieann on Wed, 06 February 2013, 17:32:31
Another addition...
Do not count on Ebay search, it's terrible.

For some reason, and old school Ebay scroungers and sellers learned this a while back, is that some listings don't properly turn up in search. It may show up days into the auction or never, and the only way to find them is to go through the actual listings, or manage to find a magical keyword that triggers it. This problem is much more rare than it used to be, and Ebay will deny it happens anymore, if ever, but it certainly used to happen much more. In fact, it has been almost a year since I last saw one.

The last one I saw was the my netbook I just got for work just last week...
It didn't show up on a search for Lenovo S10, however a search for the part number (4231) made it show up. Lenovo S10 and the part number were all in the title, but searching Lenovo S10 returned nothing. In the end I got it for nearly half price. That part number was the ONLY way I ever found it other than just looking through every listing in the netbook/notebook section.

Searching Ebay through Google  (add to a Google search terms) can sometimes show you more listings. Another trick is don't use the search on Ebay's front page, instead go to the exact category, then search. Sometimes that brings up different results. The same applies to using an app or using the Firefox upper right corner search.  Yes, Ebay's search is screwy.

Finds like these are great for you, but bad for the seller.

Strangely enough, there are three ways for sellers to correct this. One is hope and pray, sometimes it fixes itself, if this happens, it usually happens 2 days into the auction. Another way is to cancel and relist it, and the last option is a bid. If someone bids on an item that fell through the cracks, that fixes the search problem almost immediately. As mentioned earlier you now just showed others that the item was worth buying as well as exposed it to the search engine.
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: Rollin45 on Wed, 17 April 2013, 23:54:07
Thanks to all here to giving us such great suggestions..
Will follow these while using eBay for purchasing..
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: Thimplum on Thu, 08 August 2013, 14:43:07
This should be a sticky.
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: Lanx on Thu, 29 August 2013, 20:16:55
Google has changed/ended their google keyword tool (GWT) and renamed it to keywordplanner, here is the link

of course you have to be logged into google to use it, again it's free so it really shouldn't change much

a note on ebay search... i've recently found out from some talks of ebay engineers and stuff that the reason why ebay search sucks, is that it's still using the same algorithm from 2003.

to compensate for this you can uses Google to search ebays site with this, "model m"

replace "model m" with whatever keyword you're looking for, you're basically searching ebay with google's index, this does depend on "IF" the listing has made it into the google indexed and is crawled, but imo, ebay is probably the most crawled and indexed site so this really shouldn't be an issue, just note that you'll probably not see "new" listings for maybe 12hours? this is my personal guesstimate. (it's probably only 1 hour, tbh)
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: SeriouSSpotS on Mon, 02 September 2013, 13:13:11
This will come in handy, thanks for posting this ;D
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: JonasDK on Tue, 03 September 2013, 16:02:31
This is helping a lot, thanks!
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: korrelate on Tue, 03 September 2013, 16:19:02
I hardly ever ebay but this was still worth reading. Thanks!
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: Lanx on Tue, 03 September 2013, 16:47:34
if anyone doesn't understand search terms/keywords and the like, just ask, i'm sensi level with this stuff. i'm at the beach now but when i get back to my main main i'll want to include a paypal guide since that is the main way to pay with ebay, i'm debating over if i should include ways to "skirt" around some paypal policies, and in the end i think i'll just keep it whitebread for all and as a general usage guide.

does anyone want a "sell on ebay" faq added with this? i haven't had an ebay store up in 6months, but i could give myself a refresher or someone else who currently is selling can chime in. (of course this will be going way beyond the scope of the thread)
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: Lanx on Tue, 10 September 2013, 03:24:18
PayPal mini guide:

I call it a mini guide b/c i don't want to post pics, i really shouldn't have to (plus i don't like to post pics from my account, the web is crazy!)

So you need paypal to buy or sell on ebay, you goto and sign up, actually i believe you can actually just use paypal as a "guest" and buy a quick item from ebay, but you might as well have your own account.

*NOTE* i will NOT entertain any "paypal is evil" "don't use paypal" types of talk, this thread is about about ebay and saving money with ebay, the current way to pay/get paid by ebay is with paypal, take your hatred elsewhere, this is a GUIDE.

you really *should* sign up with a regular email address with paypal, by this i mean


Paypal has 4 account types

if you just want to buy, get a personal, if you want to buy and sell, get premiere, if you have a business well... business and if you're a teen, your parents could set you up with a paypal and a refillable atm card, whoa!, you can always upgrade the accounts (free) whenever you want to, so if you don't know just start out with personal

you don't want the seller to see that "" has sent you money, heck it could scare away the seller, and if you're gonna make a paypal account, you might as well make a good sounding one, since you're one and only email will be tied to your paypal, you should kinda make it look nice (you can have alt alias', we'll go into that later)

From my own "opinion" the trouble that people run into with paypal is "limitations", i believe the easiest way to "not get into trouble" with paypal is to just get what is known as "verified"

So the instant you sign up for paypal, i believe they want you to verify your home address/location.

to do that, add either an atm card/credit card or if for some reason you have neither, ask for a confirmation code by mail.

i'm pretty sure even before that you have to verify your bank account with them, since that's how they withdraw (and deposit) money, you enter in your bank info, and wait a few days for paypal to deposit 2 separate transactions of a few cents and report back the values, either goto your bank to find these amounts or bank online.

this should pretty much put you in the "verified" category

i have never "put" money into my paypal, i've either had transactions or deposits into my account to pay with. Paying with your bank account is free, they just withdraw, you can also pay with your credit card (if you want credit card protection, which i RECOMMEND).

to do this, you of course have to have a linked credit card, and before you buy, the first option will ALWAYS be your bank account, and then there will be a link something like "other credit choices" click that and choose your credit card, this way you as a buyer will have the protection of your credit card. (as a buyer, again ALWAYS choose this option, also if you do get money deposited into your account, withdraw it into your bank account and THEN buy with your credit card, paypal will always...)
go with

paypal balance
bank account
credit card

in that order of taking out money. you get nearly ZERO protection if you pay with
paypal balance
bank account

always choose the credit card option. (this is to protect YOU, later on, you can always get your credit card to cancel the transaction, almost NO MATTER what, whereas if with paypal they do their stupid 7 day investigation, which is really just a game of "telephone" and he said/she said)

*i'll add more when it's not super late.
Title: Re: How to Search and Save on Ebay and maybe win
Post by: braydencrown on Tue, 20 January 2015, 02:47:20
Great Screen Shots You have shared here.