How to make money online with eBay, Yahoo and Google (Chapter-2)

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Creating Your eBay Presence

The world’s largest online market is eBay; the largest market of any kind, really. At any moment literally millions of items are on sale. Billions of dollars’ worth of property are sold through eBay not merely every year, but every month. eBay is an unusual e-commerce site because it doesn’t actually sell anything; it simply provides a mechanism through which other people can sell online. It’s allowed millions of people to sell online, and eBay claims that 400,000 of these people make a living by selling through eBay. Besides the relatively low-dollar individual sales of collectibles and “garage sale” items, many established merchants sell cars and real estate, computers and antiques, and electronics and jewelry. And not just in the United States, either. eBay operates around the world, in Western Europe and— through an investment, MercadoLibre.com—in Latin America, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, and India. It’s a vast, international marketplace, in which millions of individuals and merchants sell millions of products.

Why Sell Through eBay?

Why would you want to sell through eBay? For a number of reasons:

Hundreds of thousands of people have made money through eBay, many of them enough to live on.

It’s very easy to get started selling through eBay. You can literally post your first product in a matter of minutes.

eBay provides a number of different ways to sell. You can sell through an auction or fixed price, through the main listings, or in an eBay store.

eBay provides tools to increase the likelihood of safe transactions, such as PayPal Buyer protection, eBay Standard Purchase Protection, and a feedback mechanism about buyers and sellers. You get paid, and the buyer can purchase with confidence.

eBay makes getting paid easy; you can easily set up a PayPal account within minutes, allowing you to accept credit-card transactions for sales.

You have a vast audience. Millions of people browse and purchase through eBay. There’s a reason that millions of people have sold through eBay: it’s easy and it works. By the way, there are other auction sites. Both Yahoo! and Amazon have auction sites at the moment (auction.yahoo.com and auction.amazon.com), but these sites only have a fraction of the listings and transactions eBay does. In point of fact, there is nothing to match eBay. In order to be an eBay merchant, you must be at least 18.

Registering as an eBay Member

Let’s look at how to register as an eBay member—whether buying or selling, the initial process is the same.

1. On the eBay home page, click the Register link near the top of the page. Visit the eBay Learning Center for audio tours and tutorials about selling through eBay. See http://pages.ebay.com/education/.

2. The registration form appears. Enter all your information, and then click the Continue button at the bottom of the page.

3. The Choose ID & Password page is displayed. The User ID that eBay suggests is likely to be a combination of your name and a number. It won’t be particularly memorable or distinctive, so we suggest you devise something better.

4. eBay will offer a number of IDs from which you can choose, but we suggest you click the Create your own ID option button and type the user ID of your choice.

5. Type a password; make sure you use something you can remember (write it down somewhere safe, or use a password-protection program). Don’t use anything obvious that someone can figure out.

6. Select something from the secret question drop-down list box. This will be a question that eBay’s staff may ask in order to identify you.

7. Type the answer to the secret question in the Secret answer box.

8. Click the Continue button.

9. eBay now sends you an e-mail message to confirm the account; doing so ensures that the e-mail address you provided was valid and accessible by you. (If you entered a bad e-mail address, click the Change your email link to correct it.) You can check your e-mail within a few moments since the confirmation should arrive pretty quickly.

10. Click the Complete eBay Registration button in the e-mail message. (If the button doesn’t work, as it may not in some e-mail programs, use the link and the confirmation code eBay provided below the button.)

11. You’ve created a basic account. You can now buy, but in order to sell you need to continue. Click the Start selling link. In this step, you’re going to need your credit-card number and checking-account information (routing number and account number). eBay uses this information to confirm who you are and to charge seller’s fees.

12. On the page that next displays, click the Create Seller’s Account button to see the Enter Credit or Debit Card page.

13. Enter your credit-card information into the page, and then click the Continue button. The Enter Checking Account screen appears.

14. Enter your Bank name, Bank-routing number, and Checking-account number. Be careful to enter the routing number and account number into the correct fields. eBay saves money if you pay your fees from your bank account, so they encourage you to do so. Currently they will reduce your seller’s fees by 1 percent for a couple of months if you agree to use your bank account.

15. On the next page, you select which account you want to use in order to pay your selling fees, either the bank account or the credit-card checking account. Select the appropriate option button, and click the Continue button.

16. If you selected to pay from the bank account, you’ll see a Direct Pay Authorization form, giving eBay permission to access your bank account. Click the Authorize Checking Account button once you’ve read the information. That’s it. You’ve created your account. You’re now approved to sell on eBay. You can continue to set up an item for sale, if you wish, or build an eBay store, but there’s no need to do so at this point. In fact, you’ll probably want to set up a PayPal account, which is what we’ll be covering in the next section.

Setting Up a PayPal Account

Somehow, you have to get paid. The best way for new merchants to collect money is through PayPal. PayPal, an Internet startup in 1998, created a simple payment system that allowed individuals to e-mail money to each other. Members could “load” their account with money, then tell PayPal to, say, “pay this e-mail address $10.” PayPal would look up the e-mail address, and if it belonged to someone with an account, it would transfer the money to that account. If the owner of the recipient e-mail address didn’t have an account, PayPal would send an e-mail message saying, essentially, “Come to PayPal and set up an account, and we’ll give you $10.” The perfect “viral marketing” tool! Who, on being told by a friend or colleague that he’d be “PayPalling” money, and on receiving the notification message, wouldn’t set up an account? There are fees associated with PayPal transactions, which vary from 30 cents plus 2.9 percent to 30 cents plus 1.9 percent, depending on your sales volume. PayPal has a much simpler fee structure than the credit-card merchant accounts, though the base rate is a little higher than for credit cards (if you do more than $3,000 in transactions a month, the rate is comparable or lower). Cross-border transactions are 1 percent more. Although money transfers were not part of the company’s main business plan, PayPal found that people on eBay had discovered the system, and were recommending it to each other. It eventually became so popular that eBay actually bought PayPal. Today, PayPal has 65 million account holders in 45 countries around the world; one in three U.S. online buyers has a PayPal account, and 90 percent of eBay sellers accept PayPal. An even higher percentage of regular merchants use it. And, of course, it’s easy to set up your own account.

1. Click the My eBay tab at the top of the page.

2. Click the PayPal link in the Related Links box at the bottom left of the page. Accepting PayPal means you can accept credit cards, too. If a buyer doesn’t have a PayPal account, he can pay PayPal with a credit card, and the money is placed into your PayPal account.

3. Click the Sign Up for a PayPal Account button.

4. Create an account Password—you must use at least eight characters—click the check box at the bottom of the page (acknowledging that you have read the Privacy Policy and User Agreement), and then click the Register link at the bottom of the page.

5. A page appears telling you that your account has been set up. You haven’t finished yet, however. Check your e-mail for a confirmation message, and then click the activation link. A page opens in which you must enter your password to log in. When you do so, the Enter Security questions page opens.

6. Similar to setting up your eBay account, you also need to provide Security Questions. Choose the two questions from the drop-down list boxes, and then type the answers into the Answer boxes.

7. When you click the Submit button, you’ll be placed into your account page. Being verified protects you against unauthorized withdrawals. You’ll be considered more trustworthy by eBay buyers and sellers this way, and you’ll be able to transfer money to and from your bank account.

8. Your account is currently unverified. You can verify the account by adding bank-account information; you may want to add credit-card information, too. You’ll be able to transfer money between PayPal and your accounts.

9. Click the Add bank account link to see the page. Enter your bank account information here.

10. Again, add your bank-account information: the Bank Name, Account Type, Routing Number, and Account Number. Then click the Add Bank Account button at the bottom of the page.

11. Though the process will seem complete, it actually isn’t. It still has a few days to go since PayPal will place a couple of small deposits into your bank account—essentially only a few cents. When you see the deposits—in a statement, online, or through phone banking, perhaps—log back into your PayPal account and click the Confirm Bank Account link that appears, and then enter the amounts deposited (thus proving you have access to the account).

12. To link a credit card to your account, follow a similar procedure, beginning with clicking the Add credit card link. This process only takes a few moments with eBay contacting the credit-card network to verify the card. PayPal provides a number of services to assist and protect eBay merchants, including the following:

Automatic PayPal logo insertion When you create an eBay listing and select PayPal as a payment method, the logo appears automatically.

Offer PayPal Buyer Credit PayPal pays you, and the buyer pays PayPal over time.

Seller Protection Policy PayPal guarantees you won’t be hit with a chargeback caused by fraudulent use of an account, as long as you follow certain steps (require a delivery signature for goods over $250, keep proof of delivery, and so on).

Invoicing You can send customers invoices, which are paid through PayPal.

Shipping Center Calculate costs, pay for shipping (UPS and the post office), and print packing slips.

ATM/Debit Card You can get a free debit card that allows you to take money out of your PayPal account at any ATM machine, or at any store that takes MasterCard. Plus, if you use PayPal Preferred in your eBay listings , you’ll earn 1 percent back on your purchases. There are other handy services, too. See the PayPal site for more information.

Using My eBay

The My eBay page is your home on eBay. You’ll see the My eBay tab at the top of eBay wherever you go, so you can quickly return. From My eBay, you can get to wherever you need to go. For instance, you can

View reminders about items you are buying and selling.

View messages to you from the eBay staff and other eBay members.

View items you are watching, are bidding on, have made offers on, that you have won, and items that you are selling, and have sold, and so on.

Manage your account—change your personal information (including checking and credit-card account information), change your address, view and leave feedback, and so on.

Creating an About Me Page

One of the challenges in an anonymous forum such as eBay is making it a little less anonymous. When someone sees a product they want to buy, particularly a new eBay user, it’s natural for them to wonder, if they buy from you, will they ever see the product.

To see some example About Me pages, go to http://hub.ebay.com/community, the eBay Community page. In the Find a Member box near the top, type an eBay member ID and click the Find a Member button. If you don’t know a particular ID, type a word (toy, stamp, car, antique, and so on . . . there are millions of accounts so you’re bound to find a match). When you search, you’ll see a list. Some will have little me icons. Click those icons to see the About Me pages.

The About Me page is one way to alleviate some concerns, and to make the transaction a little more personal (you can see an example in Figure 2-4). Buyers can see the page by clicking the little colored me icon in the Seller Information box on every product-listing page. So, here’s how to set up your About Me page.

1. On your My eBay page, click the Personal Information link in the left column under My Account.

2. On the page that appears, look for the About Me page line and click the Change link on the right.

3. On the page that appears, click the Create Your Page button. HTML is the basic web-page creation language. If you don’t understand HTML, you can always have a web designer create a page for you. You can then customize the page this way more than with the step-by-step process, perhaps by adding extra images and links.

4. You have a choice of creation methods. You can either use a simple step-by-step process, or you can, if you understand HTML, enter your own HTML code into an edit box. Select the method you want to choose, and click the Continue button. Let’s first look at the step-by-step process. Its opening page allows you to add a number of items to it:

A page title

Two text paragraphs

A labeled picture

A list of up to 100 buyer-feedback comments

A list of up to 200 of your product listings

Three links to other sites; if you have a web site, you can link to the site. (However, you may not link to a particular product page.)

5. Enter a Page Title.

6. Type your Paragraph 1 text. You can use the editing tools to select a font typeface, size, and color, and format the text with bold, italics, or underline. The buttons also allow you to change paragraph settings, make the text left-justified, centered, or right-justified, create a numbered or bulleted list, and indent the text.

7. If you wish, can click the Enter your own HTML link to open a box into which you can input HTML.

8. When you’ve finished the text, click the Preview Paragraph 1 link to see what the text will look like on your page; a window opens to display it.

9. Enter the text into Paragraph 2. When you’re finished, scroll down and you’ll see more controls. You can add feedback comments and listings to your About Me page.

10. If you wish, you can place a picture onto the page, as long as it’s hosted somewhere else. That is, you have to enter a URL in the Link to Your Picture text box that points to the picture on another site. You can Label Your Picture if you wish.

11. You can also choose to include your feedback comments, using up to 100 of the most recent comments. Select from the Show Feedback You’ve Received drop-down list box.

12. If you plan to include your listings on the About Me page, enter a label in the Label Your Listings box and then select the number—up to 200—that you want to include from the Show Your Current Listings drop-down list box.

13. If you wish, you may add up to three links to your page. For each, provide a Name and the URL (Web Address) to point to. The Name is the actual link text that people can click. Remember, don’t use these links to promote products for sale on other sites.

14. Click the Continue button and you’ll see the next page  Later, in Chapter 29, we’ll discuss cross-channel marketing. If you have a web site, you cannot put information about your web site in your listing. You can, however, encourage people viewing your listings to go to your About Me page, and include a link from the About Me page to your site.

15. eBay provides three basic layouts for the page. When you select one, the Preview at the bottom of the page changes to show you the result.

16. You can use the Back button to go back and modify what you have entered, or click the Submit button to complete the process.

17. You can now view your page at http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/your_eBay_ID.

Using ID Verify

Another way to increase credibility is to use the ID Verify system. This system verifies, to some degree, that you are who you say you are, and gives buyers a little more assurance that the transaction will not be a problem. It costs $5 and is charged to your eBay account. ID Verify, a third-party firm, will check your personal information against certain public databases. Once verified, the ID Verify logo appears in your Member Profile information and is visible to buyers.

ID Verify is also required if you want to bid on auctions over $15,000 or access eBay Mature Audiences category. Note also that once you have been verified, you cannot change your contact information for 30 days. After that you will lose your verification status if you do so, forcing you to re-verify. There are other advantages to verification, too. If you want to sell using the Buy It Now feature, for instance, you generally need to be ID Verified.

1. Click the Services link at the top of any eBay page.

2. On the Services page, click the ID Verify link, near the top left.

3. Click the Sign Up Now link.

4. Click the I Agree button on the following page.

5. A Choose a digital certificate dialog box may appear. If so, simply click the Cancel button.

6. You’ll see the Verify Account Information page. Enter your information. You’ll provide your address and phone numbers, date of birth, Social Security number, and driver’s license state and number. Click Continue.

Other verification systems, such as SquareTrade (www.squaretrade.com), are also available. SquareTrade costs $25/month, and provides a logo that is placed in your listings. This links to a page about the detailed verification, which includes a letter that is exchanged and a utility bill that must be submitted.

7. On the next page, confirm your information, and click Continue again. At this stage, ID Verify actually looks up your credit information.

8. On the following page, ID Verify asks questions based on information it found in your credit record. For instance, it may come back with a partial credit-card number and ask you to add the next two digits, as well as enter the card’s credit limit. You may also have to provide an earlier street address. Enter the answers and click Continue. That’s it. You’re now verified and the logo has been automatically added to your Member Profile.

Getting Help

eBay is a huge, complex system, with many different services and options. It’s easy to get lost. Unfortunately, there’s no way to call eBay for help. In order to reduce customer-service costs, eBay provides all its assistance online. There are, however, a number of other ways to get help. For instance, you can click the Help button in the bar at the top of almost every eBay page to enter the main help area.

Once in the help area, you can type a phrase and search for help on that subject. You can also click links to popular questions and major subject areas. Using the links in the eBay Help box and Related Links box in the Help area, you can find different types of assistance such as a list of topics, an index, a list of acronyms and a glossary, links to the Learning Center and eBay University, and so on. You can also use the Site map and Services links at the top of most pages to find information on many subjects. In addition to this, in many areas of eBay, little information boxes are available that will link you to information about the process you’re involved in. Perhaps one of the best things you can do, though, if all this fails, is to use the Live Help system. On many pages, you’ll see a little Live help link. A lot of these tend to appear on pages where eBay knows people get stuck. These will open little chat windows that put you in touch with a real person.

You can also e-mail customer support, if needed. In the Help area, simply click the Contact Us link (inside the eBay Help box). You’ll have to select a category of question and then two subcategories, and on the page that next appears you’ll be given an Email link. You’re now ready to sell on eBay. But before listing that starting item, there are a few things you should learn first about selling formats, fees, and strategies, which are the subjects covered in the next chapter.

Why Sell Through eBay?
Why would you want to sell through eBay? For a number of reasons:
■ Hundreds of thousands of people have made money through eBay, many of them
enough to live on.
■ It’s very easy to get started selling through eBay. You can literally post your first
product in a matter of minutes.
■ eBay provides a number of different ways to sell. You can sell through an auction or
fixed price, through the main listings, or in an eBay store.
■ eBay provides tools to increase the likelihood of safe transactions, such as PayPal
Buyer protection, eBay Standard Purchase Protection, and a feedback mechanism about
buyers and sellers. You get paid, and the buyer can purchase with confidence.
■ eBay makes getting paid easy; you can easily set up a PayPal account within minutes,
allowing you to accept credit-card transactions for sales.
■ You have a vast audience. Millions of people browse and purchase through eBay.
There’s a reason that millions of people have sold through eBay: it’s easy and it works. By
the way, there are other auction sites. Both Yahoo! and Amazon have auction sites at the moment (auction.yahoo.com and auction.amazon.com), but these sites only have a fraction of the listings and transactions eBay does. In point of fact, there is nothing to match eBay.
In order to be an eBay merchant, you must be at least 18.

Registering as an eBay Member
Let’s look at how to register as an eBay member—whether buying or selling, the initial process is the same.
1. On the eBay home page, click the Register link near the top of the page. Visit the eBay Learning Center for audio tours and tutorials about selling through eBay. See http://pages.ebay.com/education/.
2. The registration form appears. Enter all your information, and then click the Continue
button at the bottom of the page.
3. The Choose ID & Password page is displayed. The User ID that eBay suggests is likely to be a combination of your name and a number. It won’t be particularly memorable or distinctive, so we suggest you devise something better.
4. eBay will offer a number of IDs from which you can choose, but we suggest you click
the Create your own ID option button and type the user ID of your choice.
5. Type a password; make sure you use something you can remember (write it down somewhere safe, or use a password-protection program). Don’t use anything obvious that someone can figure out.
6. Select something from the secret question drop-down list box. This will be a question
that eBay’s staff may ask in order to identify you.
7. Type the answer to the secret question in the Secret answer box.
8. Click the Continue button.
9. eBay now sends you an e-mail message to confirm the account; doing so ensures that
the e-mail address you provided was valid and accessible by you. (If you entered a bad
e-mail address, click the Change your email link to correct it.) You can check your e-mail
within a few moments since the confirmation should arrive pretty quickly.
10. Click the Complete eBay Registration button in the e-mail message. (If the button
doesn’t work, as it may not in some e-mail programs, use the link and the confirmation
code eBay provided below the button.)
11. You’ve created a basic account. You can now buy, but in order to sell you need to
continue. Click the Start selling link. In this step, you’re going to need your credit-card number and checking-account information (routing number and account number). eBay uses this information to confirm who you are and to charge seller’s fees.
12. On the page that next displays, click the Create Seller’s Account button to see the Enter
Credit or Debit Card page.
13. Enter your credit-card information into the page, and then click the Continue button.
The Enter Checking Account screen appears.
14. Enter your Bank name, Bank-routing number, and Checking-account number. Be
careful to enter the routing number and account number into the correct fields. eBay saves money if you pay your fees from your bank account, so they encourage you to do so. Currently they will reduce your seller’s fees by 1 percent for a couple of months if you
agree to use your bank account.
15. On the next page, you select which account you want to use in order to pay your selling
fees, either the bank account or the credit-card checking account. Select the appropriate
option button, and click the Continue button.
16. If you selected to pay from the bank account, you’ll see a Direct Pay Authorization form,
giving eBay permission to access your bank account. Click the Authorize Checking Account button once you’ve read the information. That’s it. You’ve created your account. You’re now approved to sell on eBay. You can continue to set up an item for sale, if you wish, or build an eBay store, but there’s no need to do so at this point. In fact, you’ll probably want to set up a PayPal account, which is what we’ll be covering in the next section.

Setting Up a PayPal Account
Somehow, you have to get paid. The best way for new merchants to collect money is through PayPal. PayPal, an Internet startup in 1998, created a simple payment system that allowed individuals to e-mail money to each other. Members could “load” their account with money, then tell PayPal to, say, “pay this e-mail address $10.” PayPal would look up the e-mail address, and if it belonged to someone with an account, it would transfer the money to that account. If the owner of the recipient e-mail address didn’t have an account, PayPal would send an e-mail message saying, essentially, “Come to PayPal and set up an account, and we’ll give you $10.” The perfect “viral marketing” tool! Who, on being told by a friend or colleague that he’d be “PayPalling” money, and on receiving the notification message, wouldn’t set up an account?

There are fees associated with PayPal transactions, which vary from 30 cents plus 2.9 percent to 30 cents plus 1.9 percent, depending on your sales volume. PayPal has a much simpler fee structure than the credit-card merchant accounts, though the base rate
is a little higher than for credit cards (if you do more than $3,000 in transactions a month,
the rate is comparable or lower). Cross-border transactions are 1 percent more. Although money transfers were not part of the company’s main business plan, PayPal found that people on eBay had discovered the system, and were recommending it to each other. It
eventually became so popular that eBay actually bought PayPal. Today, PayPal has 65 million account holders in 45 countries around the world; one in three U.S. online buyers has a PayPal account, and 90 percent of eBay sellers accept PayPal. An even higher percentage of regular merchants use it. And, of course, it’s easy to set up your own account.
1. Click the My eBay tab at the top of the page.
2. Click the PayPal link in the Related Links box at the bottom
left of the page. Accepting PayPal means you can accept credit cards, too. If a buyer doesn’t have a PayPal account, he can pay PayPal with a credit card, and the money is placed into your PayPal account.
3. Click the Sign Up for a PayPal Account button.
4. Create an account Password—you must use at least eight characters—click the check
box at the bottom of the page (acknowledging that you have read the Privacy Policy and
User Agreement), and then click the Register link at the bottom of the page.
5. A page appears telling you that your account has been set up. You haven’t finished yet,
however. Check your e-mail for a confirmation message, and then click the activation
link. A page opens in which you must enter your password to log in. When you do so,
the Enter Security questions page opens.
6. Similar to setting up your eBay account, you also need to provide Security Questions.
Choose the two questions from the drop-down list boxes, and then type the answers into
the Answer boxes.
7. When you click the Submit button, you’ll be placed into your account page. Being verified protects you against unauthorized withdrawals. You’ll be considered more trustworthy by eBay buyers and sellers this way, and you’ll be able to transfer money to and from your bank account.
8. Your account is currently unverified. You can verify the account by adding bank-account information; you may want to add credit-card information, too. You’ll be able to transfer money between PayPal and your accounts.
9. Click the Add bank account link to see the page. Enter your bank account information here.
10. Again, add your bank-account information: the Bank Name, Account Type, Routing
Number, and Account Number. Then click the Add Bank Account button at the bottom of the page.
11. Though the process will seem complete, it actually isn’t. It still has a few days to go
since PayPal will place a couple of small deposits into your bank account—essentially
only a few cents. When you see the deposits—in a statement, online, or through phone
banking, perhaps—log back into your PayPal account and click the Confirm Bank
Account link that appears, and then enter the amounts deposited (thus proving you have
access to the account).
12. To link a credit card to your account, follow a similar procedure, beginning with clicking
the Add credit card link. This process only takes a few moments with eBay contacting
the credit-card network to verify the card.
PayPal provides a number of services to assist and protect eBay merchants, including the
following:
■ Automatic PayPal logo insertion When you create an eBay listing and
select PayPal as a payment method, the logo appears automatically.
■ Offer PayPal Buyer Credit PayPal pays you, and the buyer pays PayPal over time.
■ Seller Protection Policy PayPal guarantees you won’t be hit with a chargeback caused
by fraudulent use of an account, as long as you follow certain steps (require a delivery
signature for goods over $250, keep proof of delivery, and so on).
■ Invoicing You can send customers invoices, which are paid through PayPal.
■ Shipping Center Calculate costs, pay for shipping (UPS and the post office), and print
packing slips.
■ ATM/Debit Card You can get a free debit card that allows you to take money out of
your PayPal account at any ATM machine, or at any store that takes MasterCard. Plus,
if you use PayPal Preferred in your eBay listings , you’ll earn 1 percent
back on your purchases.
There are other handy services, too. See the PayPal site for more information.

Using My eBay
The My eBay page is your home on eBay. You’ll see the My eBay tab at the top
of eBay wherever you go, so you can quickly return.
From My eBay, you can get to wherever you need to go. For instance, you can
■ View reminders about items you are buying and selling.
■ View messages to you from the eBay staff and other eBay members.
■ View items you are watching, are bidding on, have made offers on, that you have won,
and items that you are selling, and have sold, and so on.
■ Manage your account—change your personal information (including checking and
credit-card account information), change your address, view and leave feedback, and
so on.

Creating an About Me Page
One of the challenges in an anonymous forum such as eBay is making it a little less anonymous. When someone sees a product they want to buy, particularly a new eBay user, it’s natural for them to wonder, if they buy from you, will they ever see the product.
To see some example About Me pages, go to http://hub.ebay.com/community, the eBay
Community page. In the Find a Member box near the top, type an eBay member ID and click the Find a Member button. If you don’t know a particular ID, type a word (toy, stamp, car, antique, and so on . . . there are millions of accounts so you’re bound to find a match). When you search, you’ll see a list. Some will have little me icons. Click those icons to see the About Me pages.
The About Me page is one way to alleviate some concerns, and to make the transaction a little more personal (you can see an example in Figure 2-4). Buyers can see the page by clicking the little colored me icon in the Seller Information box on every product-listing page. So, here’s how to set up your About Me page.
1. On your My eBay page, click the Personal Information link in the left column under My
Account.
2. On the page that appears, look for the About Me page line and click the Change link on
the right.
3. On the page that appears, click the Create Your Page button. HTML is the basic web-page creation language. If you don’t understand HTML, you can
always have a web designer create a page for you. You can then customize the page this
way more than with the step-by-step process, perhaps by adding extra images and links.
4. You have a choice of creation methods. You can either use a simple step-by-step
process, or you can, if you understand HTML, enter your own HTML code into an edit
box. Select the method you want to choose, and click the Continue button.
Let’s first look at the step-by-step process. Its opening page allows you to add a number of items to it:
■ A page title
■ Two text paragraphs
■ A labeled picture
■ A list of up to 100 buyer-feedback comments
■ A list of up to 200 of your product listings
■ Three links to other sites; if you have a web site, you can link to the site. (However,
you may not link to a particular product page.)
5. Enter a Page Title.
6. Type your Paragraph 1 text. You can use the editing tools to select a font typeface, size,
and color, and format the text with bold, italics, or underline. The buttons also allow you
to change paragraph settings, make the text left-justified, centered, or right-justified,
create a numbered or bulleted list, and indent the text.
7. If you wish, can click the Enter your own HTML link to open a box into which you can
input HTML.
8. When you’ve finished the text, click the Preview Paragraph 1 link to see what the text
will look like on your page; a window opens to display it.
9. Enter the text into Paragraph 2. When you’re finished, scroll down and you’ll see more
controls. You can add feedback comments and listings to your About Me page.
10. If you wish, you can place a picture onto the page, as long as it’s hosted somewhere else. That is, you have to enter a URL in the Link to Your Picture text box that points to the
picture on another site. You can Label Your Picture if you wish.
11. You can also choose to include your feedback comments, using up to 100 of the most
recent comments. Select from the Show Feedback You’ve Received drop-down list box.
12. If you plan to include your listings on the About Me page, enter a label in the Label
Your Listings box and then select the number—up to 200—that you want to include
from the Show Your Current Listings drop-down list box.
13. If you wish, you may add up to three links to your page. For each, provide a Name and
the URL (Web Address) to point to. The Name is the actual link text that people can
click. Remember, don’t use these links to promote products for sale on other sites.
14. Click the Continue button and you’ll see the next page
Later, in Chapter 29, we’ll discuss cross-channel marketing. If you have a web site, you
cannot put information about your web site in your listing. You can, however, encourage
people viewing your listings to go to your About Me page, and include a link from the About
Me page to your site.
15. eBay provides three basic layouts for the page. When you select one, the Preview at the
bottom of the page changes to show you the result.
16. You can use the Back button to go back and modify what you have entered, or click the
Submit button to complete the process.
17. You can now view your page at http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/your_eBay_ID.

Using ID Verify
Another way to increase credibility is to use the ID Verify system. This system verifies, to
some degree, that you are who you say you are, and gives buyers a little more assurance
that the transaction will not be a problem. It costs $5 and is charged to your eBay account.
ID Verify, a third-party firm, will check your personal information against certain public databases. Once verified, the ID Verify logo appears in your Member Profile information and is visible to buyers.
ID Verify is also required if you want to bid on auctions over $15,000 or access eBay’s
Mature Audiences category. Note also that once you have been verified, you cannot change
your contact information for 30 days. After that you will lose your verification status if you do so, forcing you to re-verify. There are other advantages to verification, too. If you want to sell using the Buy It Now feature, for instance, you generally need to be ID Verified.
1. Click the Services link at the top of any eBay page.
2. On the Services page, click the ID Verify link, near the top left.
3. Click the Sign Up Now link.
4. Click the I Agree button on the following page.
5. A Choose a digital certificate dialog box may appear. If so, simply click the Cancel button.
6. You’ll see the Verify Account Information page. Enter your information. You’ll provide
your address and phone numbers, date of birth, Social Security number, and driver’s
license state and number. Click Continue. Other verification systems, such as SquareTrade (www.squaretrade.com), are also available. SquareTrade costs $25/month, and provides a logo that is placed in your listings. This links to a page about the detailed verification, which includes a letter that is exchanged and a utility bill that must be submitted.
7. On the next page, confirm your information, and click Continue again. At this stage, ID
Verify actually looks up your credit information.
8. On the following page, ID Verify asks questions based on information it found in your
credit record. For instance, it may come back with a partial credit-card number and ask
you to add the next two digits, as well as enter the card’s credit limit. You may also have
to provide an earlier street address. Enter the answers and click Continue. That’s it. You’re now verified and the logo has been automatically added to your Member
Profile.

Getting Help
eBay is a huge, complex system, with many different services and options. It’s easy to get lost. Unfortunately, there’s no way to call eBay for help. In order to reduce customer-service costs, eBay provides all its assistance online. There are, however, a number of other ways to get help. For instance, you can click the Help button in the bar at the top of almost every eBay page to enter the main help area. Once in the help area, you can type a phrase and search for help on that subject. You can also click links to popular questions and major
subject areas. Using the links in the eBay Help box and Related Links box in the Help area, you can find different types of assistance such as a list of topics, an index, a list of acronyms and a glossary, links to the Learning Center and eBay University, and so on.
You can also use the Site map and Services links at the top of most pages to find information on many subjects. In addition to this, in many areas of eBay, little information boxes are available that will link you to information about the process you’re involved in.
Perhaps one of the best things you can do, though, if all this fails, is to use the Live Help
system. On many pages, you’ll see a little Live help link. A lot of these tend to appear on pages where eBay knows people get stuck. These will open little chat windows that put you in touch with a real person.
You can also e-mail customer support, if needed. In the Help area, simply click the Contact
Us link (inside the eBay Help box). You’ll have to select a category of question and then two
subcategories, and on the page that next appears you’ll be given an Email link.
You’re now ready to sell on eBay. But before listing that starting item, there are a few things
you should learn first about selling formats, fees, and strategies, which are the subjects covered in the next chapter.