eBay Hacks
100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools
By David A. Karp
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: August 2003
Pages: 368

Want to know how best to use eBay? Whether you're a newcomer or longtime user, eBay Hacks will teach you to become efficient as both a buyer and seller. You'll find a wide range of topics, from monitoring the bidding process, getting refunds, and fixing photos so that sale items look their best, to in-depth tips for running a business on eBay and writing scripts that automate some of the most tedious tasks.That's just the nuts and bolts. The book also gives you an inside look into the unique eBay community, where millions of people gather online to buy and sell. Author David Karp--an eBay user himself, with years of experience--teaches you how to work within this community to maximize your success. eBay Hacks includes four powerful sections:

  • "Hacks for All" covers eBay's diplomacy and feedback system, describing how you can maintain a good feedback profile and use it to inspire trust in others.
  • "Hacks for Buyers" shows you how to focus your searches to find auctions before anyone else--including ways to create an automated search robot. Then, learn how bidding works in the real world, using eBay's proxy bidding system to improve your win rate while spending less money.
  • "Hacks for Sellers" teaches strategies for competitive selling, like promoting your items without spending extra money and protecting yourself from deadbeat buyers. Learn how to run a fulltime business on eBay by streamlining the listing process, communications and checkout.
  • "Hacks for Developers" delves into eBay's API, an interface for writing programs that do the work that most users have to do by hand through a web browser.
With eBay Hacks, you'll be more than a buyer or seller. You will become a savvy power user who knows the smart way to save time, save money, and dramatically improve auction success.
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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Sample Code is poorly tested on Windows Machines

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly eBay Hacks:

A goood read, but try Hack 17 on a windows computer running activestate perl. The WWW::Search and WWW::Search::Ebay modules won't run under any MS-Windows computers. The hack even tells you how to install modules for ActiveState perl which obviously hasn't been tested. I've spent many hours hacking the modules to work under XP, W2K and NT with no luck. I suggest the author(s) test their code in the environments they say works or at least say its only UNIX.

I haven't tried any other Perl based hacks yet, but I will and update the reviews. Not up to O'reilly's usual standard.



eBay Hacks Review

By Thomas Duff

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly eBay Hacks:

My contact at O'Reilly kindly sent me the book eBay Hacks (David A. Karp) a few weeks ago, and I decided to start reading it this last week. I was motivated as my dad wanted me to attempt to sell a very expensive item on eBay since I've successfully sold there before. By using some of the tips in this book, I was able to spruce up the listing a little more than I usually do, as well as selecting some additional options that seem to have paid off with more traffic than I expected.

As with all Hacks books, it spends some time explaining the basics of the subject (like how to bid). Most of the material is how to best take advantage of the features that are offered. Some of the info is common sense, but some of the info is invaluable (like which add-on listing options are most valuable in generating a better chance at selling).

If you sell on eBay (or if you'd like to get into selling), this is a book you should get. It will save you time and money in a very short time...

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


eBay Hacks Review

By Janet Rojas

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly eBay Hacks:

The information contained in this book will save you time and is fairly 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 http://www.firewallx.com 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.

If you do have trouble with a bidder you can report them there as well without the fear of retaliation that would go with auction feedback.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


eBay Hacks Review

By David Ford

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly eBay Hacks:

This book is essential to becoming a successful bidder or seller on eBay. Sure, you think you know how eBay works, but this book provides all those little details that help you win bids, and become a top notch seller. It covers all the facets of buying, like how to snipe, and the significance of peoples' minimum bids and Buy It Now prices. For sellers, it covers all the elements you need to put items up for auction, and much about how to add special features to your items that make them stand out. The author, David Karp is giving us the benefit of his "addiction" to eBay. Get this book and you'll be able to manage your eBay addiction before they cart you away.

(0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


eBay Hacks Review

By Dale Farris

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly eBay Hacks:

eBay Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools

By Dale Farris, Secretary

Golden Triangle PC Club

September 2003

General Overview

Nearly everybody who now uses a computer knows that eBay has become the world's leading computer application for buying and selling goods online. A worldwide electronic garage sale, eBay now boasts buyers and sellers of nearly anything imaginable, including the Segway people mover.

eBay is more than just an auction web site. It is a vast community of millions of buyers and sellers around the world, all of whom are competing for collectibles and customers, respectively. But eBay is also a complex computer system, one that requires experience and the right tools to master.

In "eBay Hacks," author David A. Karp provides tools and strategies to master eBay, whether you are a buyer trying to win an auction without getting ripped off, or a seller dealing with anxious customers and deadbeat bidders.

eBay is a community, a platform, a social experiment, a successful business, and a microcosm of important Information Age precepts like "network effects," "positive returns to scale," "frictionless economics," even "the changing nature of intellectual property." eBay has a couple dozen knockout dissertations lurking in its depths, as well as any number of statutory reforms, sermons, and life-lessons.

According to Cory Doctorow, who wrote the foreword to the book, "eBay is becoming the most important way for people to exchange goods. Exchanging goods, exchanging information, and exchanging culture are the three most important activities undertaken by human beings, with the exception of exchanging fluids."

eBay makes us all into participants in the market. It is no coincidence that eBay's first great wave of participation came from the collectibles trade. The collectibles market occurs at the intersection of luck, knowledge, and salesmanship.

eBay has found a most cost-effective means of cataloging the world's attics and basements. It's an attic-Napster, and it has spread the cost and effort around. When you spy a nice casino ashtray on the 25-cent shelf at Thrift Town, and snap its picture and put it up on eBay, and when the renowned collector of glass ashtrays, ColBatGuano, bids it up to $400, you have taken part in a market transaction that has simultaneously cataloged a nice bit of bric-a-brac and moved it to a collection where it will be lovingly cared for. What's more, you have left a record of where it is and what it was worth when we last saw it.

eBay is big, very big. At any given time, there are over 18 million items for sale, with an average of $680 worth of transactions taking place every second. eBay started out small, and has now become a phenomenon.

Karp's book is not a hand-holding guide. He will not walk through the process of bidding on your first auction or creating your first auction listing. The book is also not about "hacking into a system," or anything so nefarious. What you will find in the book is an emphasis on trading responsibly and ethically, as well as extensive tools and tips for protecting yourself as both a buyer and a seller.

The hacks in the book address the technological and diplomatic challenges faced by all eBay members, written from the perspective of an experienced eBayer who loves challenges as much as solutions. You will find in the book the tools you need to help you trade smarter and safer, make more money, and have fun doing it.

Special Features

The book is organized into four main ideas, including hacks for all, hacks for buyers, hacks for sellers, and hacks for developers.

Learn better ways to monitor auctions, more effective ways to bid, and safer ways to pay

Use advanced search tools to find auction items before anyone else, and determine the value of an item before you bid

Protect yourself before and after you bid, and never lose another penny to dishonest sellers

Use automatic sniping tools to win more auctions and spend less money

Get more money for your items with effective descriptions and killer photos

Maintain your reputation on eBay by knowing when to leave feedback, how to set reasonable expectations, and how to deal with the other eBay members when things don't go smoothly

Utilize tools to streamline the listing process, communications, and checkout

Dive into eBay's API to develop custom software that can be integrated with your business or distributed to others

Table of Contents

The eight (8) chapters include the following titles.

Diplomacy and Feedback




Working with Photos

Completing Transactions

Running a Business on eBay

The eBay API

Target Readers

The focus in "eBay Hacks" is on improving your buying or selling experience in eBay. Thus, the focus is primarily on helping those who are more heavily involved in eBay, especially those who are in a business that relies on eBay for some, if not all of their transactions. The book will also be of great value to those who occasionally dip into eBay's storefronts, and will be a hit with anyone looking for bargains in eBay.

Book Contents

359 pages; acknowledgments; foreword from Cory Doctorow, sci-fi writer and contributor to Wired magazine; preface; figures; tips; extensive sample code scripts; index; cover colophon


David A. Karp

About the Author

David A. Karp is that dangerous combination of compulsive writer and eBay fanatic. He discovered eBay in the late 1990s while looking for a deal on an electric cat-litter box. As an avid collector of toys of all kinds, he immediately saw eBay's potential to quench his thirst for second-hand consumer electronics, handmade brass trains, and obscure parts for discontinued products of all kinds. Soon thereafter, he began selling on eBay, and now trades religiously, taking breaks occasionally to write books. He still has the litter box.

Educated in Mechanical Engineering at U.C. Berkeley, David consults on Internet technology, user-interface design, and software engineering. Author of 6 power-user books on Microsoft Windows, including the bestselling "Windows Annoyances" series, he has also written for a number of magazines, including Windows Sources Magazine, Windows Pro Magazine, and New Media Magazine, and is a contributing editor for ZTrack Magazine. Noted recognition includes PC Computing Magazine, Windows Magazine, the San Francisco Examiner, and the New York Times.

David spends some of his spare time outside with his camera, but often finds it difficult to tear himself away from a good movie. David likes hiking and skiing, almost as much as he enjoys talking about them. He scored 30.96647% on the Geek Test (www.innergeek.us/geek.html), earning a rating of "Total Geek." Animals and children trust him. He can make 15-minute brownies in less than 10 minutes, and never gets tired of the Simpsons.


August 2003, First Edition


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$38.95 CAN

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