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on March 15, 2004
I have been selling for 5 years and have 6000+ rating with 100% positive. If I had read this book first, I would have been scared away, thinking eBay was too complicated. I leave feedback as soon as the person pays...they have fulfilled their requirement. Pictures must be clear and fill the entire field. Scanning small items works well for the beginner without a digital. EBay Hacks gives much time to the details of picture taking with film. If a person has a film camera, they know how to use it. And I can not imagine someone using my photo in their sales and if they did, I doubt that I would know. Mr. Karp says they use his and he has had to deal with these people. I use Multi Block Storage for my canned messages. Free for a month to try it out and then $10.00 one time payment. This is the only money I have spent on frills. Did the cut and paste recommended by eBay Hacks for several years and it works fine but Multi Block is better. But NEVER put a negative in your canned messages as eBay Hacks recommends. He recommended giving it lots of space so you don't copy and paste it by mistake. Negative should be written fresh each time and from the facts of that sale. It should be so rare that you do not need a short cut to save time. People should start slowly to see if eBay is for them. Some people just don't have the temperament for listing, waiting for payment, packing, mailing and living with the clutter of packaging materials and items to list. Mr. Karp had a lot of information for the beginner that would help avoid costly putting in a counter that can slow the loading of the page and avoiding noises and wall paper. But I think the book should have had a beginners section with the balance of the book written for after sellers got their eBay feet wet.
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on January 2, 2004
There's a nice range of topics covered in eBay Hacks - from the simplest diplomacy and feedback tips to well thought-out selling strategies and even programming. Each "hack" is marked with a little green thermometer that provides a clue to its complexity (e.g. how advanced it is), so you can quickly tell whether it's going to be something you might already know or something you'll have to study.
I've been on eBay for quite some time, so I already know a lot of the tips marked "beginner," but I have found enough stuff in just a short time with the book to make it well worth the price. I've found the analysis of listing options to be insightful and for the most part, spot-on. And there's a chapter on photos that goes far beyond the rudimentary aspects of file formats and hosting; I've already improved my close-up photography with the depth-of-field tricks in Hack #56, and there's a ton of JavaScript to produce some nice slideshows and photo-presentation effects. Buyers are not left out, either - there are three hacks on sniping alone and a nice tip on tripping up buy it now auctions that are set too high.
The last part of the book covers the API, eBay's "back-door." About twenty hacks contain straightforward code anybody with a little programming background can use to manage auctions, spell-check listings, and (my favorite) perform searches automatically every hour on the hour.
All in all, it's a good, meaty book with a wide range of appeal. Yes, there's some beginner tips, but they're clearly marked so that more advanced ebayers can get right to the good stuff.
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on January 1, 2004
Rookies only
If you've been doing business on eBay for a long time, you don't need a book like this. Take me as an example; I don't consider myself an eBay expert. Six year experience will make you have an idea about the name of the head of SafeHarbor and how to remove unwanted negative feedback. The book, in my personal opinion, just scratches the surface without giving you enough inside info that would eventually help you.
For example, Hack #5 Withholding Feedback. It teaches how to lower the probability of being left unwanted feedbacks. It only works when you're either a contract seller or a power seller. Meaning that you really don't care about your feedback since you generated about 20 plus feedbacks per day. Ratio is your priority concern. On the other hand, those beginners, who are not high volume sellers but want nothing but doing honest business on eBay and have fun. The tip will impede their speed of cumulating feedbacks and directly hurts their sales. Like I said, the tip just scratches the surface without giving valuable information that will help you ultimately.
Again, the book is not bad but having a wrong name. If the name was "eBay Fundamentals", it'll be a 5 star. eBay Hacks? Sorry, one star.
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on December 27, 2003
Don't get me wrong. I liked the book, and passed a pleasant hour with it. Very entertaining, good writing style, overall a pleasant experience.

But a more descriptive (and honest) title would have been something like _eBay For Dummies_, or _The Complete Idiot's Guide to eBay_. There are a smattering of light-weight hacks written in (retch, puke, barf) Perl, but if you've bought and/or sold more than ten items on eBay you already know virtually everything that's in this book.

And the only "hack" (read as: URL to a configuration page) that would've made the book worth the money (Hack #49: Opting Out Of Checkout) has been changed by eBay so that it no longer points to a page that will let you kill the ultra-stupid and very annoying "Checkout Now" feature in your auctions.

If you're looking for an intro/novice guide to eBay, then this is your book. Karp covers everything you need to know about how to buy and sell on eBay, and serves up some excellent advice in an informative and engaging manner.

But if you're looking for *real* hacks to help you whip eBay into submission, this isn't the book for you. There are a handful of interesting intellectual exercises in Javascript and (ee-yech!) Perl, but certainly nothing that would warrant a $24.95 cover price.
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on November 13, 2003
O'Reilly's "hacks" series continues to impress. I've been buying and selling on eBay for nearly two years now, and have already learned a lot. In the few days it took me to read this book I learned as much again and more. Although split into 100 separate "hacks", this book is surprisingly enjoyable to read from cover to cover, and gives a real sense that the author knows what he is writing about.
The book is 1/3 buying advice and 2/3 selling advice. It's way more than just a user manual. As well as eBay itself, it covers a selection of third party tools and web sites which can help you get the best from your eBay transactions. Learning from the sections on "dealing with disappointment" and "keeping out deadbeats", could mean you can avoid those problems yourself. The tips on how and when to use the eBay "feedback" system are golden. There's even some detailed advice (with perl code) about how to use the "eBay API" from your own software.
If you buy or sell more than one or two things on things on eBay in the next year you really should get this book. It will easily pay for itself in saved time, shipping costs, and stress; it will help you win the items you really want, and it can probably get you better prices too. Go out and buy it.
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on October 20, 2003
A book, like a computer program, does somthing that make s it worth the cost. Everything in this book, like everything done by software, are things that you could do without it... If you had an endless amount of time. This book will save you time, and time is the most precious of all comodities.
The information contained in this book will save you time and is faiirly robust though it does not cover everything.
One area that is extremely important that is just grazed over is avoiding disreputable bidders. A novice seller might think that it's good to get all bidders but the reality is that there are many bidders that will just make your life worse. Deadbeat bidders , stalkers, check bouncers etc.
The best way to avoid these types are by what essentially amounts to a credit check on your bidders. The easiest way I have found to accomplish this is by just doing a scan on them at DeadbeatBuster.Com
It is a real time database of problem bidders on all internet auction sites and can be accessed by going to [...] or by simply typing DeadbeatBuster.Com into your browsers address bar.
You will instantly find out if one of your bidders has a history of not paying or other such information before your auction ends so that you can cancel their bid and sell it to the buyer with the good record.
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on October 3, 2003
Tired of facile books on eBay? (You know, something like 'Moron's Guide to eBay'.) Are you wavering on going to buy or sell on it, never having done so? Or you are already on eBay. But you are wondering if there are ways to get better prices, where 'better' of course depends on whether you are buying or selling. Well, here is an excellent how-to manual that still keeps some objective distance from its subject. That separation lets the author offer some disinterested advice. You can best see this when Karp evaluates the various listing options available to a seller. His suggestions, especially on one option, which he considers a total waste of money, are excellent.
There are some omissions that would have made this a stronger book. He offers 100 tips. But...
He discusses Phishing. Which has been used against eBay and Paypal users. But, as far as I can tell, he never uses this term. He REALLY should. We can imagine new users hearing about it, wanting to know more and not finding it in this book's index and hence passing on the book. And phishing is actually more dangerous than just one bad auction.
Also, he omits three important tips. Firstly, once you have sold to a satisfied buyer, you should add that buyer to an email list. Next time you offer a similar item, very politely email her about it. (Of course, drop her if she opts out.) You can also add unsuccessful bidders in your auctions to this list, though you may have to go thru eBay's mailer to contact them. He mentions keeping a spreadsheet of your auctions, including the email addresses of your buyers. But he doesn't take the next simple step.
Secondly, consider first offering future items directly to previous buyers, instead of listing on eBay. If no takers, then put on eBay. This does NOT violate any eBay rules because the buyer and seller now know each other and can talk about nonlisted items. There have been reports in the media about businesses selling on eBay partly to get just such a list of customers. Of course, there is now no eBay protection for buyer or seller. But if you are a business with a website and a good eBay rating, this reassures buyers. And you, as a seller, have a defacto credit check on buyers, by looking at their ratings.
Thirdly, what would have been good is a tip on when it is NOT economic to list an item on eBay. Note that I did not say 'sell'. Amongst some power sellers, there has been increasing dissatisfaction. Prices are falling, eBay raises its fees and more auctions end without any bids. If you have an item for which there is little demand, then what is the chance that within 7 or 10 days of an auction, potential buyers will go to eBay and look for it? Remember, eBay always charges a listing fee. Of course, you can lower your price, to spur demand. But that costs you. At some point, things become uneconomic. In fact, if you have specialised books with a limited audience, Amazon is a viable alternative as it levies no listing fee, albeit with a higher commission if the book actually sells.
Karp is a very experienced eBay user and a good programmer. But I really do not think the greatest readership for this book is people who want to or are able to program, and they will not be enamoured by the code examples. I suspect he could have expanded greatly on the points I raised, to the benefit of that readership.
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on October 1, 2003
Reading through this book, one gets the sense this could be a slightly abbreviated "how to use eBay" guide, rather than a book of "eBay hacks." Many of the hacks offered in the book are not only informative and helpful, but a few almost seem like common sense tips, such as ways to avoid having bad feedback written about you when you sell an item to someone on eBay.
Since I'm a "eBay novice," I found a few of the hacks a bit confusing. But I think this is due much more to my inexperience with eBay than anything else. And after reading this book I will attest that it has increased my curiosity and willingness to both buy and sell items on eBay in the future.
The book offers numerous excellent "tips" (er hacks) in several main areas. As with other books in the O'Reilly Hacks series, these areas are divided into several chapters. Areas covered in various chapters include Diplomacy and Feedback, searching for auction items, ways to bid on items offered, using photos to help "sell" your items, and completing transactions.
If you do any buying and/or selling on eBay, you need this book.
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on January 22, 2004
I bought this book to pick up some of the finer points of selling on eBay, but what impressed me the most was what I didn't expect. Sure, this book has tons of selling strategy, but it's intermixed with keen insights into the physchology of buyers and sellers alike. I never expected that from a book like this.
Another thing I never anticipated was the rich coverage of auction photographs, including tips like jpeg compression and depth of field for closeup photography. And if you are into programming (as I am), your eyes will be opened to the ebay api and the prospect of replacing hours of tedious work with a few lines of code.
Did you know you could spellcheck your auctions or set it up so that you'll be notified whenever someone with zero or negative feedback bids on one of your auctions? It's in there, and more.
Overall, Ebay Hacks is well written and a great ebay book with tons of tricks you never knew existed. Nothing else touches it. Highly recommended!
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on March 6, 2004
Like Amazon Hacks, this book is for serious users of the EBay Web Application only. Those would be people who buy and sell on EBay for a living, or are likely to do that in the near future. For those this book has 330 pages of in-depth material about how to buy and sell, and, at some level, about how to automate that process. This book is less like the other Hacks book in that it has more expository detail about the human side of the story, and less about writing small Perl programs to do stuff. That's fine though, since no Perl program will help you get positive reviews from your buyer's and sellers, but the tips in this book just may help you do that.
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