Monthly Archives: August 2011

SafeHarbor; eBay’s Own Scotland Yard.

SafeHarbor are the eBay police department. If you break the rules, commit fraud or try to buy something you’re not supposed to, they’ll be after you.

When You Don’t Pay.

This is the most common rule buyers break – it’s all too easy to just change your mind and try to get out of the auction. eBay regards every auction as a contract, and will punish you if you don’t go through with your end of the deal. If you decide not to pay then expect to get a few nasty warning emails from eBay threatening you with banning if you do it again. Not to mention, of course, that you’ll get a big negative ‘DID NOT PAY’ feedback comment from the seller.

So There Are Things You Can’t Buy on eBay?

Yes, there are: more things than you’d expect. It makes sense that you can’t buy firearms, for example, but you also can’t buy fireworks – eBay are worried about the risks of sending them in the post. Laws in many countries mean that you can’t buy alcohol or tobacco. You can’t buy illegal or prescription drugs, stocks and shares, or lottery tickets. No underwear, either. You can’t buy any little pet puppies or kittens, as animals are banned. If items infringe on copyright, like pirate CDs or software, then they’re not allowed either.

eBay’s policy is controversial, not least because it is somewhat random in its enforcement – and there have been accusations that they’re more responsive to the copyright concerns of big businesses than to auctions for items that might actually be dangerous. If they do decide to go after you or the seller, though, they will cancel the auction and may also suspend your accounts.

Fraud.

eBay runs remarkably well considering how unregulated it is, but there are still fraudsters. If you are a victim of fraud – for example, you pay for an item that never turns up – then SafeHarbor will investigate for you. eBay’s standard purchase protection will give you up to $200 back if your claim is successful. Be aware, though, that this can take a few months.

In addition, if you paid by PayPal, then they can usually reverse the transaction relatively easily and get you more (if not all) of your money back. This is another reason why many buyers prefer to use PayPal. Some sellers are a little scared of the effectiveness of the refund system, as they can send out items in good faith only to find that their buyer was fraudulent and the transaction has been reversed. If you’re worried about fraud, as a buyer, you should always use PayPal.

What’s that? You don’t know how to use PayPal? Well, luckily for you, the next article is all about using PayPal to improve your eBay life.

You Won that eBay Auction! Now What Do You Do?

It’s a heady feeling when you win your first eBay auction: a mixture of happiness and perhaps just a little fear. After all, there seems to be so much to do before you can actually get your item. What do you do next?

The simple answer is: you send payment to the seller, as quickly as possible. The quicker you pay, the more your seller will like you, and the sooner your item will arrive. But how you go about it? That all depends on how you plan to pay.

PayPal.

PayPal is one of the most popular options for paying on eBay, to the point where eBay decided to buy the company. It allows instant electronic payment across the Internet. Money goes instantly from your credit or debit card to the seller’s PayPal account, where they can either use it for Internet purchases or transfer it out to their bank.

eBay offer incentives for using PayPal, and almost all sellers now accept it. Its instant nature makes sellers very happy, and means that they can have your item packed and sent and leave you some positive feedback within a few hours of the auction ending. When paying by PayPal, you will be covered by PayPal’s own insurances and guarantees, as well as any that your card might have.

Cheques and Money Orders.

This is payment the old-fashioned way, and will lead to a long wait to your item. You need to post the cheque or money order, then the seller has to take it to the bank and get it cleared, and only then do they send the item. The only reason to use this method is if either you or the seller distrusts electronic payment methods. If you’re willing to go to the trouble with these sellers, though, you might get an item very cheaply, as most buyers just can’t be bothered.

When you pay by cheque or money order, make sure to print the eBay order confirmation page (it will be emailed to you) and put it in the envelope with your payment. Underline or circle key information like your mailing address and the item number. Finally, remember to be patient: keep in contact with the seller, as it really can take a month or two before everything falls into place and your item turns up.

Money Transfers and Bank Deposits.

Some sellers may ask you to pay them using a wire service like Western Union, or simply give you a bank account number and ask you to pay money into it. Unless you really trust the seller, this is generally a bad idea – these methods are hard to trace and you’re unlikely to get any money back if anything goes wrong. Paying in cash, it hardly needs to be said, is an even worse idea.

It’s all a lot to take in, isn’t it? I’m sure by now you’ve got a few questions, which is why the next email will be a little eBay buyer’s FAQ. Let’s hope we can solve any problems you might have.

3 Things You Must Do Before You Submit To Article Directories

To all writers and non-writers out there, now is the time to start digging up those creative writing skills back.

With modern communication technology comes the popularity of information-based marketing, which is one of the oldest and most effective techniques in getting targeted prospects to sites and converting them into buyers. This is why article writing, submissions and publications are also getting popular.

There are already many tools that people can use to make the process of distributing their articles more easily. Though this is invaluable in getting the contents more exposure, which is only half of the story.

Let us take a look first at the common mistakes that some people make before submitting their contents to article directories:

1. Confusing the reason to promote the articles with the reason to write them.

In article writing, there are three key benefits why you are promoting them; branding, lead generation and promotion, which are all part of your optimization efforts.

But there is only one reason why you write an article, and that is to inform your audience. If the article is not focused on this primary and most important purpose, it will fail to achieve the three promotion benefits because no one will be interested in reading them.

You need to figure out first how to get people to read what is in your article, then make them click on your resource box. You can achieve this by producing better contents.

2. Failing to maximize the promotional opportunities of article marketing.

You may know already that your articles can help you generate additional links back to your site. But do you know that you can get more visitors and better search engine results from that same articles?

Mention keywords at strategic places. Just be sure not to overdo them. Some are even using anchor texts which is also an effective method. But it is important to know that majority of the directories are not able to support this.

Remember that is not only about the links back to your site. Part of doing well in your article marketing is getting picked up by publishers with a large number of audiences and gaining the ability of leveraging other brands because of the quality of your work. Better search engine results also are great benefits.

But these things do not put much money in your pocket. There are other factors that can turn your article marketing efforts into an opportunity that can boost your earnings. Not just increase the number of visitors to your site.

Start out with a plan and see to it that your article will serve the function that you intended it to have.

3. Publishing content that does not help your readers.

Maybe in the process of writing articles, you are thinking that all that is you wanted is links back to your site. And any visitors it can generate are fine.

Guess what? Not all article banks and directories are going to accept your content automatically. Oftentimes, they have some guidelines and specifications on the articles that they are accepting.

You can double the number of sites you can submit to by writing articles that the directories want to share with other people. All it takes is one publisher with a hundred thousand readers to increase your potential audience overnight.

Write the articles that publishers want in their publications if you want your article marketing to work the most effective way for you. This also means you have to obey the standard guidelines, spell checks, researching on a good topic and even hiring a writer to produce a good content on your behalf.

In the end, it is all really a matter of choice on your part. You can start getting a little exposure from increased links back but on a very basic level. Or enjoy massive exposure from a little extra time making quality contents.

It will be your choice. You may not be aware of the fact that an article submitted on directories is not meant to have the same level of exposure as highly-targeted content ones geared on a narrow group of people.

Learn the difference between these two and it will surely help you know what kinds of articles to write and to submit.

3 Quick And Easy Ways To Build A Profitable Opt In List

You finally realize that you need a good opt-in list. After reading countless articles and sought expert advices and have read many success stories of people creating a small fortune with opt-in lists you finally decide to have one of your own. Then it happens, you think you have known everything there is to know about opt-in lists and have followed their advices to the T and you still weren’t able to make a profit.

In fact, you may be losing money. You maybe hiring writers to help you out, or there are some expenses incurred, even if you have a big list, but only a very small percentage actually buys from you, your still losing profit. You’ll realize that after a few months when you see your statistics and sales figures.

So what could have gone wrong? Why have others succeeded where you have failed? The most common mistake is that you dived straight right in. You chose a topic where you think could be quite popular and would earn you money. This just not the case. Just because you wrote people from the list doesn’t mean they are going to buy instantly.

Here I will offer more advice, for those who have started an opt-in list and have failed, you can rejuvenate your failed venture. For those who are starting, here are three quick and easy ways to build a profitable opt-in list.

1) Get your customers to trust you and your products first. Just launching your opt-in list would not make you an expert and a believable seller. Put many articles first before you start an opt-in list. Write about the topic you know and have started and used for your site. Try to put forums first to gain knowledge about your customers about their wants and needs and target those wants and needs.

Join forums from other sites as well. Provide expert advices and recommendations. When you feel that people trust you already, you will be able to start your own opt-in list. You can build a base as well with other forum users. You can ask them to join your list. Friends are always good customers. Put up a link to your site so that they may be able to see what you’re business is all about.

The certain truth is, the money will only come in when the consumers and subscribers believe and trust in you. They want a product or service that could be a good exchange for their money. People are not going to buy something out of your recommendation if they don’t know you.

2) Find a product or service that people want and need. Although it may not be your forte, if you provide a service and product that you have researched and learned about well, you can carry it on forward. Invest your time, effort and money that you could sell as well as the buyers or subscribers of your opt-in list can use.

While it is true that it is best to sell something that you have interest in, there are not many people who have the same interest as you if you decide to sell something that is not entirely popular or profitable. Do your research well and you would see the profits come in. Also provide your subscribers with promotional material that they could actually use and spread around.

3) Make friends with other opt-in list users. This is basically beneficial especially if it is someone who has already launched a successful opt-in list. These are people that have the experience in this venture and experience is still the best teacher. While there are many articles available for you in the internet to use, there is nothing like getting a first hand account from someone you trust.

Experienced opt-in list users will be able to tell you what to do and what not to do because they have gone through it. While different situations occur for different people, the general concept can still be very helpful. There are many things to avoid and these people will be able to tell you which ones.

Building a profitable opt-in list don’t just happen overnight. There are many preparations and effort to do. Opt-in lists are built from scratch, as your list grows, you should also maintain the quality of your list. Keep it organized and manageable. Get or hire help if need be, just make sure that your subscribers are happy and satisfied and they will be willing to buy from you.

3 Necessary Tools for the High Rolling Affiliate Marketer

What does it take to become a successful Affiliate Marketer? What are the ingredients of an affiliate marketing success story? Is there a shortcut to Affiliate Marketing glory? All these questions play around in the minds of affiliate marketers who want to make it big in this business.

Although affiliate marketing is touted as one of the easiest and most effective ways to earn money online, it is not as easy as it sounds. The wise affiliate marketer plans every action and executes it the best way he can. He should also maximize the potential to earn by utilizing the right tools necessary for a successful Affiliate Marketing business. We have consulted some of the most successful affiliate marketers in the business and below are the top three necessary tools for a successful affiliate marketing business.

Important Tool #1: Your Own Website

The most important and indispensable tool in Affiliate Marketing is your own website. The first step in any successful affiliate marketing business is building a good, credible and professional looking website. Your website is the jump off point of all your marketing efforts. Thus, you must first build a user-friendly website, which will appeal to your prospects and encourage them to click on the links to the products and service you are promoting and make a purchase. Therefore, you must first concentrate your efforts in building a website that will cater to what your prospects need.

The most important thing you should consider is that almost all web users go online to look for information, not necessarily to go and buy something. Above all else, make your website full of original, relevant and useful content. People will love articles that are appealing and helpful. Keep in mind that, in the internet, content is still king and good quality content will not only build your credibility, it can also help you achieve a higher search engine ranking. By posting relevant and useful articles, you establish yourself as a credible expert in the field, making you a more trustworthy endorser of the product or service you promote. Establishing a good reputation is a good step in building up a loyal consumer base.

Important Tool #2: Incentives

Competition is extremely tight in the internet world. You must always be one-step ahead of your rivals to ensure that you capture a significant share of your target market. Therefore, you must use every possible means to encourage people not only to visit your site but also to click and proceed to the websites of the products and services you are promoting. Building an opt-in email list is one of the best ways to gather prospects. Offer a newsletter or an e-zine. Better yet, offer incentives to your prospects to encourage them to subscribe to your newsletters. You can present free softwares, access to exclusive services and other freebies that will be helpful to your prospects.

Important Tool #3: Link Popularity

The importance of driving highly targeted traffic to your website cannot be emphasized enough. The all-important web traffic is at the top of the list of the most important entities in the internet world. Attracting people to your site should be the first step you should carry out. Do everything to achieve a high search engine ranking. Link Popularity is one of the factors that search engines use to determine search engine rankings. Therefore, to enhance your link popularity, you must launch an aggressive reciprocal link campaign.

One of the best ways to do this at no cost at all is by submitting articles, with your website’s link at the resource box, to e-zines and free article sites. You will not only gain exposure, you will also have the opportunity to advertise for free, just include a link back to your site. The more sites you submit your articles to, the better your link popularity is. Make your articles original, relevant and useful so that more websites will pick it up and post it.

These are but three of the many tools that an affiliate marketer can use to maximize earning potential. The possibilities are endless and are limited only by your imagination, creativity, resourcefulness and determination. You can always explore other ideas and adapt other strategies, which you think might help you become a high rolling affiliate marketer.

Top 3 Ways To Boost Your Affiliate Commissions Overnight

The ideal world of affiliate marketing does not require having your won website, dealing with customers, refunds, product development and maintenance. This is one of the easiest ways of launching into an online business and earning more profits.

Assuming you are already into an affiliate program, what would be the next thing you would want to do? Double, or even triple, your commissions, right? How do you do that?

Here are some powerful tips on how to boost your affiliate program commissions overnight.

1. Know the best program and products to promote. Obviously, you would want to promote a program that will enable you to achieve the greatest profits in the shortest possible time.

There are several factors to consider in selecting such a program. Choose the ones that have a generous commission structure. Have products that fit in with your target audience. And that has a solid track record of paying their affiliate easily and on time. If you cannot seem to increase your investments, dump that program and keep looking for better ones.

There are thousands of affiliate programs online which gives you the reason to be picky. You may want to select the best to avoid losing your advertising dollars.

Write free reports or short ebooks to distribute from your site. There is a great possibility that you are competing with other affiliates that are promoting the same program. If you start writing short report related to the product you are promoting, you will be able to distinguish yourself from the other affiliates.

In the reports, provide some valuable information for free. If possible, add some recommendations about the products. With ebooks, you get credibility. Customers will see that in you and they will be enticed to try out what you are offering.

2. Collect and save the email addresses of those who download your free ebooks. It is a known fact that people do not make a purchase on the first solicitation. You may want to send out your message more than six times to make a sale.

This is the simple reason why you should collect the contact information of those who downloaded your reports and ebooks. You can make follow-ups on these contacts to remind them to make a purchase from you.

Get the contact information of a prospect before sending them to the vendor’s website. Keep in mind that you are providing free advertisement for the product owners. You get paid only when you make a sale. If you send prospects directly to the vendors, chances are they would be lost to you forever.

But when you get their names, you can always send other marketing messages to them to be able to earn an ongoing commission instead of a one-time sale only.

Publish an online newsletter or Ezine. It is always best to recommend a product to someone you know than to sell to a stranger. This is the purpose behind publishing your own newsletter. This also allows you to develop a relationship based on trust with your subscribers.

This strategy is a delicate balance between providing useful information with a sales pitch. If you continue to write informative editorials you will be able to build a sense of reciprocity in your readers that may lead them to support you by buying your products.

3. Ask for higher than normal commission from merchants. If you are already successful with a particular promotion, you should try and approach the merchant and negotiate a percentage commission for your sales.

If the merchant is smart, he or she will likely grant your request rather than lose a valuable asset in you. Keep in mind that you are a zero-risk investment to your merchant; so do not be shy about requesting for addition in your commissions. Just try to be reasonable about it.

Write strong pay Per Click ads. PPC search engine is the most effective means of advertising online. As an affiliate, you can make a small income just by managing PPC campaigns such as Google AdWords and Overture. Then you should try and monitor them to see which ads are more effective and which ones to dispose of.

Try out these strategies and see the difference it can make to your commission checks in the shortest of time.

3 Things All Affiliate Marketers Need To Survive Online

Every affiliate marketer is always looking for the successful market that gives the biggest paycheck. Sometimes they think it is a magic formula that is readily available for them. Actually, it is more complicated than that. It is just good marketing practices that have been proven over years of hard work and dedication.

There are tactics that have worked before with online marketing and is continuing to work in the online affiliate marketing world of today. With these top three marketing tips, you will be able to able to increase your sales and survive in the affiliate marketing online.

What are these three tactics?

1. Using unique web pages to promote each separate product you are marketing. Do not lump all of it together just to save some money on web hosting. It is best to have a site focusing on each and every product and nothing more.

Always include product reviews on the website so visitors will have an initial understanding on what the product can do to those who buys them. Also include testimonials from users who have already tried the product. Be sure that these customers are more than willing to allow you to use their names and photos on the site of the specific product you are marketing.

You can also write articles highlighting the uses of the product and include them on the website as an additional page. Make the pages attractive compelling and include calls to act on the information. Each headline should attract the readers to try and read more, even contact you. Highlight your special points. This will help your readers to learn what the page is about and will want to find out more.

2. Offer free reports to your readers. If possible position them at the very top side of your page so it they simply cannot be missed. Try to create autoresponder messages that will be mailed to those who input their personal information into your sign up box. According to research, a sale is closed usually on the seventh contact with a prospect.

Only two things can possibly happen with the web page alone: closed sale or the prospect leaving the page and never return again. By placing useful information into their inboxes at certain specified period, you will remind them of the product they thought they want later and will find out that the sale is closed. Be sure that the content is directed toward specific reasons to buy the product. Do not make it sound like a sales pitch.

Focus on important points like how your product can make life and things easier and more enjoyable. Include compelling subject lines in the email. As much as possible, avoid using the word “free” because there are still older spam filters that dumps those kind of contents into the junk before even anyone reading them first. Convince those who signed up for your free reports that they will be missing something big if they do not avail of your products and services.

3. Get the kind of traffic that is targeted to your product. Just think, if the person who visited your website has no interest whatsoever in what you are offering, they will be among those who move on and never come back. Write articles for publication in e-zines and e-reports. This way you can locate publications that is focusing on your target customers and what you have put up might just grab their interest.

Try to write a minimum of 2 articles per week, with at least 300-600 words in length. By continuously writing and maintaining these articles you can generate as many as 100 targeted readers to your site in a day.

Always remember that only 1 out of 100 people are likely to buy your product or get your services. If you can generate as much as 1,000 targeted hits for your website in a day, that means you can made 10 sales based on the average statistic.

The tactics given above does not really sound very difficult to do, if you think about it. It just requires a little time and an action plan on your part.

Try to use these tips for several affiliate marketing programs. You can end maintaining a good source of income and surviving in this business that not all marketers can do.

Besides, think of the huge paychecks you will be receiving

eBay Auction Buyer’s Tips and Tricks.

eBay isn’t just an auction and a marketplace: often it can feel quite a lot like a game. Like any game, you can get ahead if you think strategically, using your head to outwit the other buyers and get the best price. Here are a few things you can try.

Shop in the Summer.

This is simple, but effective. Summer is the quiet season on eBay – almost everything sells for less. While everyone else is out enjoying the sun, invest a little time to find some real bargains.

Beat Them by a Few Cents.

Outbid people by a few cents instead of a few dollars – if they don’t check back before the auction ends, then you will be the winner. To avoid people using this tactic on you, though, always bid strange, hard-to-guess amounts instead of round numbers.

Play Dirty.

If you know when the auction ends, you can get in there at the very last second and outbid your rivals. The chances are that they won’t have the time to sit in front of the auction waiting for it to end – as a rule, he who stays wins. If someone else does retaliate at the end of the auction, though, try not to get carried away in those last few seconds and end up paying too much!

Take Risks.

This is a strategy for the braver eBay buyer. All of the advice you will see for eBay beginners tells you to buy items that have good pictures, clear descriptions, trustworthy sellers and all the rest. If you’re brave, why not take a risk and do the exact opposite?

Many buyers won’t want that item from the seller with a feedback rating of 5, no picture and a one-line description. If you take a calculated risk and bid anyway, you might be able to make a tiny bid and win by default. There are people on eBay who make their living from winning auctions like these, taking good pictures of the item, writing a good description and then reselling it at a huge profit. Be careful, though: do this for long enough, and you will inevitably lose your money at some point. It’s especially unwise to try it with very high-value items.

Avoid Bidding Wars.

There are few things on eBay that are so rare that you’ll only see them once and never again. There are usually quite a few sellers who have an item. What’s more, they will generally have more than one to sell, even if they haven’t listed them all at once. Always check your seller’s history to see whether they sell your item all the time – and if they do, then wait for the next one instead of bidding to the skies.

Now, there may come a time in your eBay life when you realise that you’ve screwed up your bid, and you wish there was an ‘undo’ button. Here’s the good news for you: there is! The next email will be all about withdrawing your eBay bids.

When to “Buy Now” and When to Bid.

You will often find yourself facing the choice of whether to pay a fixed price or keep on bidding. This choice might be presented to you in a single auction, or you might be choosing between different auctions of the different types. So should you use that ‘Buy it Now’ button or keep on trying to outbid everyone else? It’s all a question of weighing up the advantages and disadvantages.

Buy it Now.

– The Advantages.

When you use Buy it Now, you know the asking price and you can take some time to decide whether to pay it or not – you can even negotiate. You don’t need to keeping your eye on the auction, or get caught up in the last-minute bidding frenzy that is now inevitable on any popular item. Not only that, but the seller will be happy to get a fixed price for their item, and they’re likely to nicer to you than usual. Some sellers can be a little resentful when they feel that you got a little too much of a bargain on their item.

– The Disadvantages.

You will almost certainly pay more for the item, especially with more expensive items. Also, it takes some of the fun out of eBay. Aren’t you there for an auction, after all? If you want to pay a fixed price then there are thousands of online stores you could be visiting. It’s like pressing ‘collect’ instead of ‘gamble’ on a fruit machine: it’s the boring option. But then, maybe that’s what you want.

These rules are relatively constant: there are few times when using Buy it Now would allow you to get something cheaper, or when bidding would be an easier way to do it. In the end, as with so many things in life, it’s a simple question of price vs. convenience, and it’s up to you.

There are those times, though, when the strategic use of the Buy it Now button can be a useful tool to help you outwit your competition. If the current bid is almost as high as the Buy it Now price, then why bid higher and keep the contest going? Clicking that button is a no-brainer. The same goes for times when a seller has, for some reason, set the Buy it Now price only slightly higher than their starting price for bids. Why bother to go through all the hassle of bidding?

You might also find that there are times when you should leave the Buy it Now button as a last resort: it can be a useful way of ending last-minute contests with a decisive ‘this is mine’ gesture.

In fact, there are all sorts of tricks you can use on eBay, if you want to get ahead of the game. Remember that most buyers on eBay are casual, and don’t know what they’re doing: a little knowledge can go a long way in getting you an advantage. Our next email will have a few tips and tricks for you.

Understanding the Different eBay Auction Types.

Over the years, eBay has introduced all sorts of different auction types, in an effort to give people more options when they buy and sell their things on eBay. There are many people who don’t like the idea that their item might sell for a far lower price than they intend. Equally, there are people who have hundreds of the same item and don’t want to sell them individually. This email gives you an overview of the different kinds of auctions and how to spot them.

Normal Auctions.

These are the bread-and-butter of eBay, the auctions everyone knows: you bid, others outbid you, you outbid them, and the winner gets the item. Simple.

Reserve Auctions.

Reserve auctions are for sellers who don’t want their items to sell for less than a certain price – a concept you’ll know about if you’re familiar with real auctions. They work just like normal auctions on eBay, except that you will be told if your bid has not met the reserve price set by the seller. If no-one is willing to meet this price, then the auction is cancelled, and the seller keeps the item.

You can spot these auctions by looking out for ‘Reserve not met’ or ‘Reserve met’ written next to the current bid on an item’s description page.

Fixed Price (‘Buy it Now’) Auctions.

Buy it Now auctions can work in one of two ways. A seller might add a Buy it Now button to a normal auction, meaning that you can choose either to bid normally or to simply pay the asking price and avoid the whole bidding process. Some sellers, though, now cut out the auction process altogether and simply list all their items at fixed price. Recently, eBay added a twist to fixed price auctions: the ‘best offer’. This means that you can negotiate a price to someone who offers their items using Buy it Now, which could be a great way to get a bargain on things that don’t seem to be selling.

Fixed price auctions are easy to spot, as they have a little ‘Buy it Now’ logo either next to or instead of the current number of bids on the search listings page.

Multiple Item (‘Dutch’) Auctions.

These are auctions where a seller is selling more than one of a certain item. Dutch auctions can be done by bidding. Buyers bid a price and say how many items they want, and then everyone pays the lowest price that was bid by one of the winning bidders. If you have trouble getting your head around that, then don’t worry – everyone else does too! These auctions are very rare.

What is more common is when a seller has a lot of one item, and lists it using a combination of two auction types: a multiple-item fixed price auction. This just means that they say how many they have, and offer them at a fixed price. You can enter how many you want and then just click Buy it Now to get them.

After all this, you might find yourself facing a dilemma: when you have the option, should you bid, or should you just use Buy it Now and save yourself the hassle? That’s what the next email will be about.

How to Check an eBay Seller’s Reputation (and Why You Should Do It).

When you buy something from an eBay seller, you are giving them your money and hoping that you will get something in return. However many guarantees of safety eBay might make to you, nothing is certain: if you just give your money to scammers all the time without doing any checks then the chances are you won’t get all of that money back.

That’s why you should always check the seller’s reputation, or ‘feedback rating’. This is a quick and easy-to-read summary of their history as an eBay seller, which gives you some idea of whether or not you should trust them with your money. Buying anything is a calculated risk: you want to minimise that risk.

How to Check Feedback Ratings.

On each item’s description page, there is a box in the top-right hand corner about the seller, with the title ‘Seller information’. This contains the seller’s name, their feedback score, and their positive feedback percentage, as well as any stars they have earned.

Different coloured stars are given to eBay sellers depending on their rating, in this sequence: yellow, blue, turquoise, purple, red, green, shooting yellow, shooting turquoise, shooting purple, shooting red. Anyone with a ‘shooting’ star is an experienced eBay member who you should be able to trust.

If you click on the seller’s name, you can get to a more detailed view of their reputation – their ‘member profile’ page. This page shows the total number of people who gave them a positive or negative rating, as well as a breakdown by time. You can also see a complete history of all the comments that have ever been left about them, with the most recent first.

What to Look For.

You might assume that anyone with a very high number can be trusted, but that isn’t always true. It is more important to look at their positive feedback percentage – and you should really consider anything below 99% to be a red flag and investigate further.

Take a look through the first visible page with the most recent transactions: are there any negative comments? What do they say? Take others’ experiences into account, as they could happen to you if you deal with this person. Be careful not to punish sellers unfairly, however, if they did bad things in their past on eBay but have improved since. You should look at the breakdown by time and ignore any negative feedback that was left a long time ago. Equally, though, you should sit up and pay attention if a seller seems to have been left an out-of-character amount of bad feedback in the last month or so.

Now that you know who to trust, it is worth learning a little more about how the different kinds of auctions work, so that you don’t accidentally slip up and make yourself and your feedback page look bad. Our next email will be about the different kinds of auctions you can expect to encounter during your time on eBay.