Category Archives: eBay

Labtops, chandaleers and camras

Today the New York Times has a humorous story about people who capitalize on the fact that many eBay sellers can’t spell. As you might expect, this becomes a source of arbitrage, introducing an inefficiency into the market that good spellers can exploit (by purchasing items at auction from people who cant spel guud) and reselling them in a listing that’s spelled correctly.

Adding a second category to an existing item

To help buyers find an item you’re listing for sale on eBay, correctly categorizing the item is key. Often items will sell for less than market price because they’re listed in sub-optimal categories. And while many buyers discover items to purchase by using keyword search, many use the Browse feature (found at the top of nearly every page on This is particularly true for unusual items, items that don’t have brand names associated with them, and so forth.

There are more than 45,000 product categories on eBay, and new subcategories are being added all the time. It shouldn’t be difficult to find one that applies to your item, but what happens if the thing you’re selling could be put in two categories? We can make this happen for you — it’s absolutely possible to list your item in two categories simultaneously. You can do this even if you’ve already listed an item by using the Revise Your Item form. Here’s a walkthrough:

1. Make sure you’re logged in to eBay with the user ID you used to list the item.
2. Go to the page for your listing and click on the “Revise your item” link.
3. The rules for revising items are displayed. It’s always OK to add a second category or add features such as boldface or subtitles, but there are rules regarding changes in the description of the item and so forth — those don’t apply here, so click on the Continue button.
4. Click on the “Add second Category” link about halfway down the page on the right.
5. You’ll be taken to familiar six-deep category selection page similar to the one you used when you first listed your item. Choose a second category for your item, then click on the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page.
6. You’re taken back to the “Revise Your Item: Review & Submit Listing” page. You should now be able to see that the second category you selected has been added. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Submit Revisions”.

Note that there’s a fee (currently 30 cents on associated with listing your item in two categories. But for items that can be classified in multiple categories, the additional exposure is often more than worth it — the more eyeballs that hit your listing, the more likely people are to bid, and the higher your final selling price can be.

Note that developers who create software applications that integrate eBay can incorporate this functionality into their software as well — use the ReviseItem call to do this.

Going live with the eBay API

In July we let individual developers get started using the eBay API for free. As a result, pretty much everybody signs up for an “individual” account, even people who were working for corporations who intend to get real commercial licenses later on. That’s totally no sweat — the “free trial” aspect of the individual license is one of the reasons why we created it.

But let’s say you’re written all your code and want to launch a real application. How do you do it? Two options:

1) Retain your individual tier license: Do a self-certification and pay $100 via Paypal. Under the individual tier, you’re limited to fifty API calls per day (except for AddItem and RelistItem, which don’t incur any API fees or limits at any tier)
2) Upgrade to a commercial license, go through eBay DTS certification ($200; free for Enterprise licensees). At the Basic commercial tier you get 30,000 API calls per month for free; you can pay for additional calls on an a la carte basis.

After you do either of these two things, you’ll get production keys and your application can start working against the production site. And at that point, you are happening.

To upgrade your license, go to the “Manage My Account” link on the developers site and click on the Upgrade License link.

Pricing and benefits for all four flavors of our API license are summarized here.

Updated Thanks for Oliver Thylmann for reporting the mistyped link.

eBay SDK ‘hello world’ in C#

I figured that since I addressed one of the most remote edge cases of eBay API development the other day, I should close the loop by posting one of the most common cases (using the SDK with C#).

Using the SDK for Windows is cake compared to the API way (which takes about 100 lines of code to do the same thing, forcing you to use MSXML to handle XML parsing and the HTTP request and response). This SDK version of GeteBayOfficialTime also has the benefit of returning a DateTime type, whereas the API way returns an ISO date that you have to parse to play nice with VB6 or .NET.