The Auction Arbitrage Secret by Pete Bruckshaw Copyright © Pete Bruckshaw All Rights Reserved. There are no resale rights with this product.
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Contents The Auction Arbitrage Secret Introduction To Arbitrage ........................................................4 The Auction Arbitrage Secret..................................................8 Niche Case Study ..................................................................11 Finding Your Niche ................................................................14 More Arbitrage Strategies......................................................18 Cell Phone Arbitrage..............................................................20 Tips And Tricks ......................................................................22 A Step By Step Arbitrage Deal ..............................................31 Smart Search Your Arbitrage Deals......................................41 The Arbitrage Dream Deal ....................................................43 Feedback Maximizer ..............................................................45 Arbitrage List Building ..........................................................47 Advanced Arbitrage And Beyond ........................................50 Recommended........................................................................52
The Auction Arbitrage Interviews James J. Jones ......................................................................53 Don Hoppe Jr. ........................................................................59 Terry Gibbs ............................................................................65
Introduction To Arbitrage Arbitrage is buying low and selling high. It’s most commonly used in stockbroking but more recently in spread betting or sports arbitrage. Arbitrage is also know as flipping, particularly in the real estate business, where buying cheaply to resell quickly at a profit is common. There are certain listing essentials needed for eBay auctions. When they are absent, you have an opportunity for eBay Arbitrage. This ebook assumes basic knowledge of buying and selling on eBay on your part. It’s a how-to book, not an in depth history of arbitrage so I cut straight to the chase wherever I can. This ebook's description of arbitrage also goes beyond The Auction Arbitrage Secret to include: • Buying offline to sell on eBay • Buying on other auction and sales sites to sell on eBay • Even more arbitrage tactics to add to you arsenal Prices quoted are in US dollars and UK pounds. These can’t be 100% accurate due to the nature of auction pricing and currency fluctuations. However they will provide a guideline for the reader. The products I've read on 'How To Make Money' are too numerous to mention. Of these, most of the ones I tried did not work, and the others demanded a level of expertise that I did not have, nor did I have the time or money to acquire the expertise needed. I don’t doubt that the author’s methods worked for them, but they didn’t work for me. In contrast, I have presented the information in this ebook as concisely as possible. I have purposely made The Auction
Arbitrage Secret as simple and easy to follow as possible. If you lose interest or get lost in complex instructions this ebook has failed. To get the most from The Auction Arbitrage Secret read it through once, then start again, follow the instructions and implement the strategies described. Don't cut corners or the methods I have described will not be as effective, or may not work at all. First, here are some essentials for eBay arbitrage. 1. A Paypal account You should have a Paypal account and in addition, know to proceed with caution if a seller you want to buy from refuses to accept Paypal. Paypal has its faults but is still the most widely accepted method of paying on eBay. If you've not got an account, sign up at www.paypal.com.
2. At least two eBay accounts You need a buyer account and a seller account. The seller account should have high positive feedback. Your buyer account can be a new account as you don't need any feedback to start buying. All you need to start a new eBay account is a separate email account to the one you've got registered with your current eBay account. Gmail is recommended if you use Hotmail or AOL as both have a habit of rejecting legitimate emails as spam. Remember to sign out of your buyer account before signing into your seller account and vice versa. You need to watch auctions
in your buyer account and if you send an email from the 'wrong' account your customer or supplier will quickly work out what you're doing! Sign up for any additional eBay accounts you need at www.eBay.com or www.eBay.co.uk (or your home country's site).
3. An auction sniper It is essential that you use a snipe tool or service. They are inexpensive and will save you a lot of time and trouble because they bid right at the end of an auction on your behalf. Once you start sniping auctions, you'll wonder how you managed with manual bidding for so long. Sniping is the most effective way of winning auctions. You set a maximum price that you are willing to pay and that amount is bid automatically for your just before the auction ends (my default time is three seconds before). Sniping an auction means that you don’t get involved in a bidding war and end up paying more than you intend to. If you lose the auction, that’s OK too — there are plenty more products to bid on. If you bid manually you’re constrained to your computer at auction end. No such problem with sniping; you can set your final price days in advance. And no matter how fast your internet connection is, manual bidding is still fallible when you’re down to the last few seconds of bidding. My choice of snipe tool is www.auctionstealer.com which is just $7.00 per month. You’ll make back the money many times over if you follow the instructions in this ebook.
Auctionstealer defaults to ebay.com but you can also specify which site you’re bidding on from the drop down menu. It doesn’t matter which site you’re a member of, which is useful if you’re doing overseas bidding — there's no signing in and out of sites to view auctions. I always snipe an auction 3 seconds before auction end, which would be difficult to time properly with manual bidding. OK: that's what you need to begin eBay Arbitrage. Now, since you may have bought this ebook partly on the strength of it’s title 'The Auction Arbitrage Secret', I will explain this to you right in front of the first chapter.
The Auction Arbitrage Secret I have bought and sold laptops, iPods, jewelry and many other products on eBay. But most of my success has been in Printer Arbitrage. When I began looking for a wide format printer on eBay for my graphic design work I was overwhelmed by the hundreds of different types of printers. Many of the printers just had initials or numbers with the manufacturer’s name. The numbers of names usually have no relevancy at all to what the printers actually do. Do you know the difference between an Epson 1290 printer and an Epson 3000? An Epson 2100 and an Epson 3800? If not, don’t worry — nor did I. That’s when I started to think not as a bemused buyer, but as a buyer and a seller. The standard printer paper size is A4 (8.27 x 11.69 inches). The main wide format sizes are, in ascending order: A3 which is twice the size of A4 A2 " " " " " " A3 A1 " " " " " " A2 A0 " " " " " " A1 The A (or ‘verso’) format description is used across most of the world except most notably in the USA where the width of the paper is specified instead. A3 printers are referred to by printer name only in the USA. The larger USA sizes are: 17" A2 24" A1 33" A0
From now on the inch and verso formats will be slash separated. This doesn't mean that you list them both; it means that the inch measurements are for USA listings and verso measurements are for most of the rest of the world. If a potential buyer is selling a 17"/A2 printer, then 17"/A2 needs to be in the title being searched on. I didn’t know that an Epson 3800 or an Epson 3000 are 17"/A2 printers. Why would I? Leaving this kind of crucial information out of a title means that the end selling price can be up to $475/£300 less than it should be. Sellers who leave the paper size out of a wide format printer auction title are leaving money on the table before bidding has even started! Missing information is where you profit from eBay Arbitrage and that is The Auction Arbitrage Secret. It’s that simple! This is why you won't find generic information relating to The Auction Arbitrage Secret. You can't instantly go to a website search engine or a piece of software to get information about this because you are literally searching for something that isn't there. For every niche this missing information will be totally different. But there's good news. Once you've worked out the missing information it's easy to put a search together for it — in fact eBay will send the searches to you (we'll get to that later)!
The Magic Missing Word Auctions for most products on eBay are for used goods. But what if you auctioned a high demand item, and didn't bother telling anyone that you'd never used it? That's right: the word is 'new'. If the seller is offering a new product amongst masses of similar second hand items without including 'new' in the auction title, how will the casual search surfer spot how much better the
deal is for the new item, as opposed to the used items? It was through observing these auctions that I picked up a new iPod Touch - and bought it at £35/$55 below the average selling price.
What's in it for you? What will be most helpful and profitable for you is if you find your own niche to profit from. If everyone goes into the same niche, it will only result in diminishing returns. I'll show you how to find your own niche to profit from, but first I'll show you more of the true power of The Auction Arbitrage Secret in the next chapter.
Niche Case Study Later I'll list the other factors that you need to look for to profit from eBay Arbitrage in this ebook. I'll show you how to create killer auctions and make the money your seller should have made — and more besides. But what if I take away all those tips and tricks that I'm going to teach you? What if I bid on an auction with a good title, description and photo, placed by a well informed and intelligent printer dealer? How would you expect me to fare if I have The Auction Arbitrage Secret - and nothing else? For this case study, we'll look at my wide format printers niche. I found this auction for a Calcomp 5424 printer.
Maybe you've never heard of Calcomp — I hadn't! But it's an A1 printer and I figure that it will be a high demand item regardless of the brand name. There's plenty of detail in the title and there are also the all important verso and inch measurements in the subheader. But the seller has made a major mistake here; the subheader does not crop up in standard search results. So a potential buyer searching for an A1 or 24" printer will not see this Calcomp. The word 'plotter' (mainly used for architectural printers) is in the subheader as well, so that's not going to crop up either. Nevertheless this is a well listed auction, except for the above mentioned problems.
Having sniped and won the printer (you can see my winning £127.50 bid in the previous picture), I put my own auction on for seven days. If the paper size had been in the main title I wouldn't have bid on it. I made a few tweaks to the title but basically all I had to work with was The Auction Arbitrage Secret. I purposely took all of five minutes to put the auction listing together. Usually I spend about half an hour on a new listing with a printer model that I've not listed before, but I wanted to prove that The Auction Arbitrage Secret will stand on its own as a profitable strategy. Here's the title I used, and my end selling price:
Bought for £127.50 — and sold for for £186.00. Not a bad profit for five minutes work and a few emails! If I had spent more time on it, I could have made more money on it. But I hope this example shows you the money earning potential of The Auction Arbitrage Secret. Once you have a niche to profit from look for sub niches that are also profitable. For instance, I needed inks for my wide format printer. Searching eBay for Designjet 10 and 11 inks for my printer was in some cases confusing. You see I wanted cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks and some sellers only put the cartridge number rather than the colour. Wouldn't you think that these missing information titles resulted in lower end prices? Straight away I had another instance of The Auction Arbitrage Secret.
In fact, this kind of slip up means that here we have a massive untapped niche. Some pigment inks sell at around £50 each (standard printers contain much cheaper dye based inks). If you find poorly listed medium to high cost inks you can potentially make a killing on eBay. I've saved hundreds of pounds buying inks for myself over the years like this, but maybe you want to take the idea further...
Finding Your Niche I found my niche by accident. I was looking for something that interested me, but I was no expert to start with — that only happened later. To find your niche, the following four buyer characteristics are crucial: Arbitrage Essentials Products must appeal to one or more of the following: 1. 2. 3. 4.
The The The The
Collector Hobbyist Professional Investor
Why are these buyer characteristics essential? Because you are looking for products that the average person has little or no real knowledge of: products that are not bought by the average consumer. This is the advantage of selling products within a niche. With a bit of effort you can become an expert. If a seller on eBay has less knowledge than you on the product that they are selling, you have a chance to profit with arbitrage. Think about the products that interest you. Ask your friends and family which items they buy or are particularly interested in. Do any of them include one or more of the four Arbitrage Essentials? If so you may have found your money niche for profiting on eBay. Let's look at some niches to see if they qualify. First of all my wide format printers niche. These are products that are used by the hobbyist, who enjoys graphic design and photography and wants to see his or her designs in a larger than average
size. The professional might need to supply photographic prints to their customers in large A0 size. Whereas a standard A4 printer is fine for most of us, it's won't be for the hobbyist or the professional. Photography leads us to cameras. A standard digital camera won't be enough for many professional users. They might need wide angle lenses, or maybe they need a specialist camera that photographs at fast shutter speeds. Again, we find fanatical hobbyists in the camera niche who are often collectors. Despite, or maybe because of, the digital revolution there's a thriving market in analog cameras for collectors. Cameras, not dissimilar to printers, have a variety of brand names and product codes. In fact, many analog products are now collectable artifacts. Items such as electric and manual typewriters, record turntables and amplifiers, manual sewing machines and more are all potentially valuable arbitrage niches. One niche that has been highly profitable for decades is model trains. Full vintage sets can be worth thousands of dollars. In fact some eBay dealers make the majority of their money buying and selling model trains. So here we have a niche that appeals to collector, hobbyist, professional and investor alike. The same applies to coins and antiques. You will need a high level of expertise to go into these niches. But if you have the interest and desire to learn specialist knowledge and implement it, these can be the most profitable of all the eBay arbitrage niches. You can see from the above examples how one potential profit making idea can lead to another. Use the same methods to find your own niche — or try the above niches.
It's important to understand that the products in categories are not highly profitable in themselves, it's only when we drill down into niche categories that we find real money making potential. Once you have identified your area of interest it's time to research it to see if the area is profitable. Visit pages.ebay.com/sellercentral/hotitems.pdf for a list of the most successful items on eBay at the moment. To see what people are searching the most for go to popular.ebay.com. More detailed search information is at pulse.ebay.com. At eBay Pulse you can drill down into the categories to find hot niche products. Finally, search for specific products in the niche you are investigating by going to Advanced Search, ticking Completed Listings and Searching. The auctions that end in a sale have prices in green. You are looking for as many completed sales as possible. 50 100% means you may be onto a winner. In truth it's rare that you'll get 100% sent sold on even high demand products. There's likely to be something 'wrong' with at least 10% of auctions. Common mistakes sellers make are starting with too higher a start price or setting a high reserve price, both of which can result in no sales. Of course these are instances where we can't profit from seller mistakes. If you're using another site to eBay.com, Google your site name followed by hot items, popular or pulse. Unfortunately some other eBay sites aren't served as well in the respect of research information as eBay.com, but there is still plenty of information out there that will help you. Remember that what's important on eBay is not what items are perceived by the seller to be worth, but what they actually sell for. I'm going to use 'coins' as an example on eBay Hot Items. I want to find a niche to concentrate on: Coins> Errors is in the
Super Hot category, but this is too vague. Coins> US> Seated Liberty (1839-91) is more specific, so I'll search in Advanced Search> Completed listings only on eBay.com. I can see from the amount of listings with the prices in green that about 70% of items in this category were sold. It is important here to see the difference in selling vintage US coins and US Seated Liberty (1839-91) coins; the former is non specific, and it's going to take you a long time to become an expert in such a wide ranging category. US Seated Liberty (1839-91) coins is a specific niche. It's much easier to become an expert in a niche, rather than attempting to be a jack of all trades in the vintage US coins category. Add a couple more US coins niches from the Hot Items listings and you've got some great arbitrage opportunities.
More Arbitrage Strategies Find misspellings Incorrect spelling in auction titles is commonplace. Brand names and products are often wrongly spelt. It's often assumed that there is a spellchecker for eBay titles but this is not the case. There is a checker for auction text but few people use it. As a result misspellings are one of the richest sources of arbitrage income. Here are a brand name's common mistakes: Nokia noka, nokai, noika, nokiia and a product's common mistakes Sony Playstation Playsttion, Playstatio, pplaystation, playsation, PlaySation, playdtation I just found all of the above on auction as I'm writing this at eBay.com. This should give you an idea of the arbitrage opportunities in misspellings. To find misspellings I use www.missing-auctions.com. This free online resource gives you access to all the common misspellings and is perfect for this area of eBay arbitrage.
Focus on the auction end times Listings that end during the daytime usually sell for lower prices than auctions that have evening end times. The obvious reason is that potential buyers are at work when the auction ends so they have no time to bid on the printer. More surprisingly, you'll
find auctions that are timed to end between 1 and 7 am on eBay.com. A lot of overseas listers in different timezones to the US fail to consider the time differences when listing. Some eBayers make these mistakes repeatedly without realising how much more money they could be making. Add these sellers to your Favourite Sellers
Bid early If you find an auction with any of the above problems and a low start price, bid on this low priced item immediately. If the lister has made a mistake and there are no bids on the item, the seller may realise their mistake and correct their auction. Once an auction has been bid on, the listing can't be corrected, it can only be added to. So the original mistakes in the auction that make it an arbitrage opportunity will remain for the rest of the auction.
Cell Phone Arbitrage We live in a time when just about everyone owns a cell phone. Many of us are obsessive about owning the latest phone, perhaps with a picture screen, video recording and MP3 support — maybe you are. And in truth few of us want to be seen with an oversized antiquated cell phone. But what happens to your old phones? Do you throw them away, or more likely are they gathering dust somewhere in your home right now? It may surprise you to learn that there is a thriving market for retro cell phones on eBay right now. And both modern and old cell phones are a great source of arbitrage income using my arbitrage Top Five Tactics. Run some of these brand names through www.missing-auctions.com: Sony Ericsson Vodaphone Motorola In fact, I just had to Google 'Sony Ericsson' to make sure I spelt it right! There's an additional technique with cell phone arbitrage that I want to share with you now. How many old cell phones do you imagine are cluttering up the houses of people in your town right now? What if you could buy those phones for a few dollars and sell them on eBay for a hefty profit? Well, you can! Large companies have recently leapt on this strategy, but don't let that put you off. It still has great profit potential due to the simple fact that disposing of their old mobile phones is something that people mean to get round to, but rarely do.
First search on eBay for cell phones using the Completed listings only facility. You are looking for phones that finish with a $14 minimum, and a lot higher. Compile a lengthy list of these phones; make it as comprehensive as you can. Come back to the search in a week's time. You are now looking for phones that have ended within the last week. Apply the same criteria and add these phones to your list. Now run free classifieds in your local paper and in free ads papers, on www.craigslist.com and Google 'free ads' for more free classified opportunities. Place an ad that's something like this: I'll buy your old cell phone! $10 per phone paid for Nokia Orange T-Mobile Fully working phones only Contact [your name] of [your town] email: [email protected]
When you receive emails from interested people, check your list to see if their mobile is the same or similar. If it is tell them to bring their phone(s) to you and you'll give them $10 per phone. Now start to list the phones on eBay and watch the profits roll in!
Tips And Tricks Formatting your title If a product has for example more than one criteria that potential customers may be searching for, include it in the titles. For instance, a 36" printer also prints 24" and 17". So part of the title should read 36" 24" 17"/A1 A2 A3 As a result far more people will see, and possibly bid on your auction. Use a mixture of upper and lower case characters to create impact with your title. Always capitalise the first letter of each word, and use capitals on all the most attention grabbing words in the heading. For example: QUANTARAY DAKOTA RZ-2000 35mm FILM Camera If you are offering a higher value item that you expect to get over $100 for it's probably worth using a subtitle. It won’t cost you much extra and it adds to the impact and information that people will see. You needn’t use search terms because normal searches do not bring up terms in the subtitle. Something like: Great for work and personal use, hobby and leisure.
Body text Run a search for 'free auction templates' to find one suitable for your auctions. Or why not design your own? Remember that written content is more important than design so you don't have to
be a web design mega talent. As and when you list an auction, keep a copy of the template so that you can use it next time you auction a printer of the same or similar model. Personalise the story behind your product. Be sure to put a positive spin on the product you are selling and if possible include the story behind the product's sale.
Auction template Here's an auction built from my own self developed standard printer sales template. Remember to apply the rules I use here to the niche of your own choice.
Rather than starting off with the product name I'm emphasising the selling point in the opening header text. This is a bargain
because having bought it for £70 ($110) on eBay I'm able to sell it for just £147 and still make a decent profit. Unlike many products on eBay (including the ones I sell) it's new, so that's upfront too. Ask yourself: what unique selling point does your product have? Are you able to offer any related items as a bonus with the product? These can be either additional items included by your seller, or products that are related to the main product you are selling in that you keep in stock. For example, inks and paper are obviously examples of products that printer buyers will find useful. Creating profit bundles like this is a powerful sales method that often gives you an edge on your competition. Is your item in great condition? Then emphasise the features and benefits in your header text.
In the Description section, I've paraphrased Epson's website details. It is very important that you write auction descriptions in your own words and don't directly copy anyone else's description. The Verified Rights Owner can get in touch with eBay resulting in your auction's cancellation. This happened to me when I directly copied a Hewlett Packard printer description and was VEROed by Hewlett Packard. I've not made the same mistake again. It is legitimate to use other people's words when they are short extracts of reviews. This is a powerful marketing method known as 'social proof'. When the manufacturer or seller of a product tells you how great that product is, you know that they are telling you because they
want to sell it. But when a reviewer with nothing to gain from telling you how good the product is expresses enthusiasm when he has no vested interest in the product, it's far more impressive to the buyer. So use social proof where you can. A search on Google for reviews of your product will usually provide some reviews that you can use to get a sentence or two from. Amazon is also an excellent source for reviews. Attribute the customer review source with 'Amazon.com' or 'Amazon.com Customer Review' following the customer's comments. The Specifications section can be copied from the official website or from another website with specifications information. This information is not copyrighted and so is not anyone's intellectual property because this is statement of fact information about the item you are offering.
Next I have included a mission statement; a summary of the service I offer and promises of quality, reliability and honesty. I recommend that you do the same, and couple it with the proof of an excellent feedback rating to back up your statement. Finally, I have urged buyers to contact me with whatever problem they have so that negative feedback can be avoided.
Listing details If your item is large and heavy, and you would rather your original seller handles it rather than you, list it as Collection Only and remember to amend the location of the item on the auction to your customer's address and not yours, which of course means zero postage. Make sure that the product is only available to the country that the auction was originally listed in. On your auction, remember to list Collection as being from the seller's location, not yours. If you do not want to list your item as Collection Only, you can also get your original seller to send it to your customer, thus saving you on time and postage. Remember that it's in your original seller's interest to keep you happy as a customer. Asked correctly, the majority of sellers will agree to sending or giving your product to your customer. I'll provide you with some email templates later in this ebook that will simplify the process.
Photos You can find promotional pictures by running a Google image search. I have never had any copyright infringement problems with promo pictures; in fact eBay now provides customers with stock photos and standard descriptions for many products. I don't recommend using these photos and descriptions because your auction will run the risk of blending in with numerous other auctions for the same of similar products. Amazingly, eBay's recommended listing titles often leave crucial details out of the main title! Again you have a chance to profit.
What you want to do is stand out from the other auctions, so make your auctions and pictures look original. If you're short of pictures and good at Photoshop or other image editing software, you can change perspective on photos; even simply reversing a picture makes a potential customer look twice at what you're offering. In rare instances, your seller will have an excellent one off picture that you want to use. Perhaps it'll include some bonus inks or some high quality test prints. If this is the case, ask the seller for permission to use the pictures. If the pictures impress you, it will probably impress your potential buyers too. If you have webspace use one or two pictures within your main auction. If you don't have webspace but think your auction will benefit from extra pictures, pay for eBay's multiple photo facility.
Returns Offer a refund if the product is not fully functioning and is returned within seven days. If this does happen the seller and buyer need to organise the return between them. Once this is done send your apologies and a refund to your buyer and get a full refund from your seller.
Auction starting and end times Aim to start your auction between 7.00 pm and 9.00 pm and list the auction so that it will finish on a Sunday or Monday night. These are the best auction start and end times in my experience — most people are at home when the auction finishes and they have probably viewed it a few times over the weekend before
deciding to bid, thus increasing 'buyer temperature' making buyers keener to bid higher. If for some reason you don't want to finish the auction on Sunday or Monday, then the evenings of Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday are your secondary choice finishing times. Run your ad as a five or seven day auction. Less than five days isn't enough time to build up demand and over seven days will keep you and your seller waiting unnecessarily you'll also slow down your cash flow.
Start with a low price A low start price will save you on auction costs and should encourage a bidding war, thus pushing up the end selling price. Providing you do your niche research properly and follow the tips I have given you on auction listings you should have no problem getting a low start price on a high demand item resulting in plenty of bids and a high end price. Reserve price auctions often put bidders off - don't use them.
Using special features for the auction eBay has unfortunately removed a lot of the special features it used to provide at a slightly increased add on price to standard auctions, or made them out of reach or price prohibitive for the average seller. Nevertheless you still have the previously mentioned subtitle option, and also an option to make the gallery search picture enlarge when the potential buyer hovers their mouse over the picture. Both these are worth using on higher value auctions.
Specify immediate payment Remember to tick this option so that you can get to the final part of the auction quickly (the exchange of details between buyer and seller initiated by you).
A Step By Step Arbitrage Deal In this chapter I'm going to describe how I spot a good arbitrage deal, tell you how to apply my methods to your own niche, and provide you with email templates that you can easily cut and paste for your own arbitrage deals. Again, we're in my printer niche. Here's an auction that I thought was well worth bidding on: first, the title:
As you can see from above there's no mention of the printer size.
And there's an auction description with no heading. However the seller does look like he knows what he's writing about in the fairly detailed description. A seller who goes into detail like this is more likely to have taken care of the product than someone who
generally gives the impression that he hasn't a clue about what he is offering. Time to email the seller.
There was only one unanswered question here. The printer is listed as including inks. I want to know if they are cheaper and often less reliable compatibles, or genuine Epson inks. After that it’s on to my template, which I will cover in detail later in this chapter. This is the reply I got:
It’s good news that the inks are genuine Epson. I’ll use this as a selling point if I win the auction. From the description it looks like he’s a photographer who is knowledgeable about different print media and print profiles. With this in mind, he's likely to have looked after the printer well. The average for 1290 printers selIing at this time on eBay is about £125, so I set my bid in auctionstealer. Remember that £87 is my MAXIMUM bid. I may get the printer for less.
Having put on a snipe bid with Auction Stealer, I can now leave the auction for a few hours and come back to it later in the evening.
Unfortunately I lost this auction. However, another 1290 auction was running at the same time...
An unimaginative and uninformative title to kick things off...
... then no header, no technical specifications and little that could be described as sales copy in the bare minimum body text. The
absence of a software driver, which is actually available for download within seconds from the internet, discourages high bidding too. I’ll hit him with a pre arbitrage email first.
I’m reasonably sure that the printer is working, but there are again no details. This is a good chance for the seller to build trust with me and convince me that the printer is going to be a great bargain, but he’s missed these opportunities again. It’s fairly certain that other people have received similar communications if they have asked him questions. All this points to a good Printer Arbitrage deal, but I'm a buyer as well, and the advert and communications don't inspire me with total confidence in this seller: i receive no reply to my message in the admittedly short time between sending the message and end of auction time. No matter — time to take a calculated risk. I put a snipe bid on with Auction Stealer for £77. I set the bid at a lower amount as I’m not as confident about the printer’s condition as I was in the previous auction.
This time I’ve won. And it’s a steal at only £45.99 — eventually selling for £127. There are often unanswered questions in poorly listed auctions;
a failure to tell 'the whole story'. Has the seller tested the product as working recently? Are there any problems with the item that haven't been described in the auction? Never buy products 'sold as seen' - because you won't be seeing the product before buying - or buy products that are advertised as 'no refunds accepted'. It must be made clear to the seller you buy from that the product will be returned for a full refund if it doesn't work, is damaged in a way not made clear in the ad or is damaged on the way to you due to poor packaging. This is one of the advantages of arbitrage on eBay rather than other seller platforms: eBay civilises seller behaviour. I may leave the buyer negative feedback if an item is returned, something that the seller obviously doesn't want. Make everything as clear as possible from the start and you minimise problems later. If there are faults with a product that don't affect it's performance, be honest and mention them in your auction, whilst emphasising that they are not a major problem. Ask questions about the product's history, because you may be able to use these details in your auction. Dependent on the product, your aim is often to turn a negative (a second hand used product) into a positive (a reliable, well cared for item with an interesting history). Follow up your questions, if you have any, with the template that follows.
Important If you're buying a lot of light low cost items you won't need the following template. It might better serve your interests if you have the items delivered to you and then for you to sell them individually in a Dutch auction. With that in mind, here's the template: Hi I'm interested in the [item] you're offering. I deal in [item name] and I am interested in reselling on, or probably off eBay. If I win the auction I will pay you IMMEDIATELY, but it will be on [insert date] when I give you my customers details. My customer will collect from you after you have both mutually arranged a collection date and time. If you are uncertain please check my feedback which will confirm that I am a reliable and honest buyer. Please let me know if this is OK. I will get you the best price for your product on [day of auction end]. Thank you in advance. [Your name] The insert date field should be filled with the date one day after your auction finishes. If you have zero feedback amend the sentence about feedback. You must have the money to buy the product immediately as you have promised - so remember to keep the money from the auction you won on this product in your paypal account.
When I started dealing in printers, I thought it would be essential for me to have them examined before they were sent. However, I had so many problems sending the printers through the post that I realised this was far from practical. They were often damaged, the printer heads were dried out or ink had leaked all over the machines. About one in four of my Printer Arbitrage deals ended in disaster! The customer collecting from the seller's house was perhaps a solution, but wouldn't that severely limit the potential buyers to those local to the seller, rather than to the whole of the UK? I needn't have worried. Since adopting this hands-off approach, I've had a 100% success rate. And all I need do is send a few emails and put an auction on from a pre existent template... In item location on your auction you will need the seller's location rather than your own. In order to put this on your auction, you will need the seller's full contact information, which eBay don't supply by default. So now is a good time to ask the seller for their name, address and full postcode. The postcode is important because you need to know that to put the location in your auction. eBay won't let you list names of places without an accurate address. You need the full address and postcode of the seller who you've bought the item from. Remember that you're not putting your own location on, you want your customer to go directly to the seller. For more information on listing your auction go to Tips And Tricks in this ebook.
If any potential customers ask questions answer promptly and politely. If you need more information from the seller, quickly contact them and ask for a quick reply. Some buyers who ask questions really just want to know if you are 'there' and ready to answer in a friendly, helpful and professional manner so be sure to oblige and they may well bid on your auction. As soon as the product has been sold you need to move efficiently. The seller is effectively your agent now, whether they like it or not. They should be treated with politeness and respect at all times whilst you co-ordinate the final stages of the deal. When your buyer pays you by Paypal, contact the seller with the good news:
Hi, Thanks for being patient. I now have a customer for the [item]. To arrange a mutually convenient time for him to pick the printer up here are his contact details: [your buyer's name and address] I have also passed your details on to him with your phone number. Best Regards,
At the same time email the buyer:
Hi Thank you for your order. To arrange a mutually convenient time for you to pick the [item] up please contact the person on whose behalf I'm selling the item. [the seller's name, address and phone number] I have also passed your details on to him. I hope that the transaction proceeds smoothly for you. If you have any problems please do not hesitate to contact me. Best Regards, [your name] It is now time to be 'hands off' and leave your buyer and seller to conclude the deal. After five days contact the buyer. If everything's fine then leave the buyer and seller positive feedback and ask that they do the same for you. See Feedback Maximiser later in the ebook for more details on this. If there are any problems later, phone the seller and solve the problem directly. You may also need to phone the buyer. There is a facility for finding your buyer and seller phone numbers on eBay if you have not yet got them.
Go to the auction for the item that you won or sold. Copy and paste the item number into a text programme such as Notepad. Then copy and paste the buyer or seller's eBay user ID. Go to Advanced Search and in the left hand panel click on 'Find Contact Information' Now enter the item number and user ID into the appropriate boxes and hit Search. You will then receive the buyer or seller's contact details straight to your eBay email. The worst possible scenario must result in a full and prompt refund for you and your customer; I have never had to do this in the kind of arbitrage I am describing in this ebook, but that's not to say it won't happen so it's best to be prepared for it.
Smart Search Your Arbitrage Deals Don't waste time searching for products individually. Combine and condense searches - then get eBay to send the searches to your email address every day! Here's how: To search for a few different products in one search, bracket and comma separate them like this: (1270, 1280, 1290, 1290S, 1520, 3000) I don't use the word 'printer' because some sellers don't bother with it. They will use the product name, in this case Epson If you have a specific product name and a number of different coded products, do the same. After the brackets, exclude unwanted terms like this: -ink -cartridge -A2 -A3 So your full search looks like this: Epson (1270, 1280, 1290, 1290S, 1520. 3000) -ink -cartridge -a2 -a3 The rules as illustrated above are: 1. Search for a few products at once by putting each term in a comma separated string of items surrounded by brackets. 2. To exclude words, use a minus sign before the word or words that you wish to exclude.
Now go to Advanced Search and input the above search into the 'Enter keyword or item number' field. Now tick the box directly below on the right for 'Save this search to My eBay'. When you click Search, in addition with your search results you'll see a pop up which reads 'Save as Favourite Search' and 'Email me daily when new items match my search for 6 months'. This is already ticked for you so just click Search. You will now get daily emailed searches sent to your eBay registered email address.
Buy It Now Smart Searches Occasionally a seller will list an item in your niche as a Buy It Now listing. Sometimes a seller just wants to get rid of an item quickly without much concern of how much they get at the end of the sale. I have completed some good arbitrage deals that started with bargains from Buy It Now listings. Through Advanced Search> Completed Listings decide on a maximum price for the product in question. Within your niche you should now have a set amount you are willing to pay on the particular item. To do this, again go to Advanced Search, enter your search term and tick Price Search for items between... and .... This is where you enter the lowest and highest amount you are willing to pay for the item. Then go to Buying Formats and tick Buy It Now. Search and save the listing so that you can be emailed whenever an item fits within your search criteria. Remember to act quickly on bargain Buy It Now items or someone else will snap up the item before you.
The Arbitrage Dream Deal Most people who deal successfully in eBay Arbitrage for a few months inevitably find the perfect arbitrage deal. This was the case with me when I saw an Epson 1160 A3 printer on sale as a Buy It Now. The printer was new, which the seller neglected to mention in the title. Nor was the A3 print size included. The description was poor and the printer was priced at about $100 below it's on eBay value. Best of all there were thirty five printers on sale at the same bargain price! Even with those problems, there should have been no problem selling these high demand printers. However, in a week the seller had only sold two. The reason? The seller's feedback was 91%. I wanted to buy from him, but I was sceptical too. So I phoned up the seller. It turned out that Paypal had blocked his payments. When a new eBay seller starts to receive larger than average sums of money, Paypal routinely holds some payments for a few weeks before submitting them to the seller. Once they trust you, Paypal will release your payments on time. This is not normally a problem, but the seller would not release the goods to the customers without cleared payment. Again, this shouldn't be a problem, but the seller had neglected to tell his customers about the delay. As a result he got lots of negative feedback. I was convinced he was honest though, and bought ten printers. I doubled my money on most of these, went back to my seller and asked if we could do a deal off eBay for some more, thus saving on Paypal and eBay costs for both of us. The seller was only too keen to do this. His problems had continued and his feedback was now 82%! He was still puzzled by the whole situation...
In the course of the next five months I bought over a hundred Epson 1160 printers off him, making between $80 - $150 on each printer. From the previous example we can see the following mistakes that the seller made: • Neglecting to include the word 'new' in the title • Crucial A3 size detail missed out of the title • Poor feedback score damaging potential buyer confidence • Failure to identify the previous three mistakes on future listings Look for similar mistakes on potential eBay Arbitrage deals in your chosen niche. It is rare to have such a low feedback score, and you should proceed with caution if you see a seller with below 92% positive feedback. If you see low feedback on a potentially good arbitrage deal, contact the seller to determine whether he is dishonest, or just inept!
Feedback Maximizer From May 2008 eBay's feedback rules changed., and since then it has been impossible for a seller to leave negative or neutral feedback for a buyer. The rights and wrongs of the system are a matter of opinion, but other developments, such as only allowing Top Rated Sellers to use some auction upgrade features, mean that eBay is becoming a more professional place to do business than ever before. Amateurish or fraudulent sellers will soon find themselves even more out of favour on eBay than they are already and in extreme cases they are excluded altogether. If there is a model for the current eBay feedback system, it is Amazon. The majority of Amazon buyers don't bother leaving feedback; they have nothing to gain from it because sellers can only leave buyers positive feedback. There is little to be gained from getting feedback from sellers for buyers. The downside for sellers is often that buyers will only leave feedback when they have a grievance against the seller. So how do you now maintain a high feedback score on eBay? As soon as the order process is concluded, leave the seller feedback. Leave a standard feedback and automate the procedure with eBay Selling Manager Pro. I recommend this message: Great eBayer! Please leave positive feedback or contact me if you’re not happy. Then wait five days and if there's no feedback returned send an email. Again automate this response with Selling Manager Pro. I suggest: Thank you for buying from me. I have left you
positive feedback. Please do the same for me or get in touch if you're not happy and I will help to solve your problem. You will find that the majority of your customers are reasonable and will help with your positive feedback building, as you were so prompt in leaving feedback for them. If for some reason, your feedback is disastrously bad (say 80% positive or less) start up a new account. It will be better than trying to salvage an account spoilt by a very low feedback score.
Arbitrage List Building I routinely get 20 - 70 watchers and hundreds of item views on my auctions. After following my niche instructions you can do the same too. That means you are getting hundreds of visitors who are interested in your niche. What you need to do is capture their details so that you can market to them again and again with products in your niche. So how do you do that without violating any of eBay's rules? You need to be able to capture potential customers names and email addresses. If you've not got an account with Aweber, you can get one at www.aweber.com. Next, set up you About Me My eBay page. Aweber have some helpful videos on their website to help you set up your account. Follow the instructions on Aweber's site to set up an opt in form and put it on your About Me page with a short message such as: Be first to find out about all our [product name] special offers and auctions, just submit your details below: [opt in form] On every auction include a link to your My eBay page. Instead of getting your customers to communicate with you through eBay's My Messages put a message like this on all your auctions: Please note, we do not usually check our eBay Messages. To receive a quick reply, contact us directly at [your email address]. It is even better if you have your own website, because then you can use your email address as [email protected]
As well as
getting prospects to join your list, your email is a free advert for your website as well. You can't send customers directly to your website via an eBay auction, but this will include some potential customers to visit your website without you directly asking them to. When the prospective customer writes to you, include an additional message in your reply to them. For example: If you would like to get details on all our special offers and auctions as soon as they are released just send an email to [your Aweber opt in link]. Another technique to get subscribers to your email list is with video. For free video creation software search for 'Camtasia 3 Free Download' or free and pre installed Windows Movie Maker software. If you are a Mac user you will need to have Windows installed on a Mac to use either of these free programs. Camtasia is available for Mac in a paid edition. You don't need anything fancy in your video. In fact just a few still frames of text advertising your product will suffice. The purpose of using video is to get your prospect to view your video on www.youtube.com. eBay doesn't allow you to embed You Tube videos within your website. Get round this by taking a screenshot of your video, then crop the screenshot so that it looks like your video as it is on youtube. Then save the cropped screenshot to your webspace (buy webspace if you don't have your own). Embed the link to your video on youtube within the screenshot so that when the prospect clicks on the picture they will go to your video. You can then use annotations on your video and a link underneath
your video to direct the prospect to subscribe to your email list. Don't underestimate or overlook these list building strategies. eBay provides valuable opportunities for list building that can enable you to market to prospects again and again.
Advanced Arbitrage And Beyond There is no reason why you can't run arbitrage deals in countries other than your own, as I have done. Speaking the same language is an obvious advantage but with the Google translation tool you can conduct arbitrage deals in foreign countries. I have successfully done this on eBay.es, the Spanish site, as well as run auctions in Germany, Italy and Spain. Outside of the UK my main deals are done on eBay.com Simply input the text you want to translate, e.g. English to Spanish, into the Google translation tool and cut and paste it into your foreign auction. The interface of foreign sites is barely different from your own country's site, so the best way of placing an auction is to have your own country's site window open at the same time as the foreign site so that you know the details to translate and fill in. Next, look for the corresponding feature on the foreign site. When you receive a question on an auction run for example a Spanish to English translation with Google, and back again for your reply. The tool isn't infallible but it's improving all the time, and with your pictures and descriptions it becomes remarkably easy to convey what you are selling to overseas buyers despite the occasional grammatical error. The most lucrative eBay sites I use are eBay.com (USA), eBay.co.uk (United Kingdom) and eBay.de (Germany). As an English speaking reader it is of course easiest to include other English language eBay sites in your arbitrage deals. If you plan to deal with overseas sites, this is the best way to start. Just remember to keep the deal within the country's site on which you are trading. You DON'T need a USA based user ID to trade in the USA for example; use your own country account, but remember to list the product as being based in the state in the USA
where it can be picked up by the buyer. This tactic is particularly advantageous if you live in a poorer country. The internet is a great leveller. It's your chance to make big money on the top eBay sites regardless of the country you live in. Rather than dealing in low value and high volume you should aim to deal in high value and low volume products. In the five years since I began eBay trading, I've seen attitudes sour towards the auction site. It is no longer seen as a 'Mom and Pop' marketplace where the small trader can earn a good second income online, but is becoming more competitive and professional. Inevitably the minor players are getting squeezed out. However there are still tremendous opportunities for sellers on eBay. Success usually comes not just from one product or selling marketplace, but from a number of different income streams or products. Otherwise you run risk of being in thrall to your online 'boss', be it Amazon, eBay or Google: a sobering thought. Instead, observe their rules, look after your customers and use them as part of your wider business plan.
Recommended One of the worst traps to fall into on the internet is the belief that you need to do everything yourself. You cannot be an expert on every facet of Internet Marketing (though at least a working knowledge of the main subjects is recommended). It is your decision what aspects you want to take care of yourself and those that you want to 'farm out'. The internet can encourage isolation, but anyone starting a business venture large and small will benefit from having a mentor to bounce ideas off, learn from and be inspired by. Because of this, I recommend www.johnthornhillmasterclass.com Just go to the site to find out more. Finally I will be pleased to assist you with your eBay Arbitrage venture. If you have any questions not answered within this ebook please email me at [email protected]
and I will be happy to help. Use the email that you signed up for this book with to ensure a reply. All my best wishes for your internet money making future.
Pete Bruckshaw Interviews James J. Jones This interviewees in the following three conversations all combine arbitrage expertise with internet marketing off eBay. Note how they've all branched our from eBay arbitrage and create their own products, build lists and teach others who do what they do, inspiring them in turn to success. In this interview we cover James's history as an internet marketer and arbitrage expert. I ask interviewers to recommend a product of value; James recommends Micro Niche Finder. This is a keyword tool that allows you to conduct in depth niche research, and go into far more search detail than free tools like Google's keyword tool will allow. It's especially valuable when you're looking to compete in the search engines with your own website. James also describes the value of concentrating on one area rather than attempting to make a number of things work all at once. I've found that even having two projects to work on instead of one will slow down your progress. It's far better to find a solid idea and give it 100% of your effort. PB Today we're talking with James J. Jones. James has developed a highly successful software called Micro Niche Finder. He's also an authority on money making ideas both on and offline and that includes some of his arbitrage strategies. Hi James, how are you? JJ Good Pete, how are you doing? PB I'm doing very well thanks. First of all, could you tell us how you made your start in marketing? JJ Yeah. I started online marketing in 1996 - internet marketing.
That was when I put up my first website and started selling product. The first thing I sold was a manual that talked about how to do a business where you faxed out the restaurant specials for local restaurants and you charged them a fee to do that. That was something I was doing back in the early nineties. I wrote a manual about it and started selling the manual around 1996 I believe. PB OK. So that's quite early for a start in internet marketing. JJ Oh yeah. It was really early. PB Another one I found out is that your first arbitrage deals involved buying and selling cigar boxes. What prompted you to start doing that? JJ Yeah I discovered eBay probably '97, '98 as a buyer, and then just around '99 I started looking around for things I could sell and I was listening to this radio talk show, it's called Cigar Dave I believe. It's about cigars. The guys on there were talking about how women were taking the cigar boxes which you get when you bought a bunch of cigars at the cigar store, and they were making crafts out of them. And one of the things they were making was purses. So I thought 'that's a neat idea' so I went on eBay to see if anyone was selling these cigar box purses and they were selling them. And there was a couple of people selling 'How To' make the purses. I bought everything I could possibly find on them. Most of them were just PDF files of three or four pages. That's how I started studying how to do that. And then, the thing I noticed was that if you listed a cigar box as just, you know, a cigar box with the name of the cigar that came out of it described on the box, it would sell for a very low price. But if you added a simple phrase such as 'Cigar Box For Making
Purse' then it would sell for a much higher rate - the same exact purse. And I realised that was almost a pure arbitrage, where you could buy the cigar boxes and resell them to make purses out of. And so that was how I discovered my first arbitrage.
PB Okay. Well, in your book Emergency Cash Generators you're also recommending another 'How To' idea, just How To books in general. But which books in particular do you think people should look for as regards How To books and buying and selling those books. JJ Well it really, right now, it's very easy to determine if something is worth buying. And that is, if you've got a mobile phone you can simply go to Amazon as you're looking at the books. I like to go to Goodwill and look through their used books. I'll just jump on Amazon through my mobile phone and look to see which ones I should buy. And now my girlfriend has a phone that has a scanner on it and so you can just scan the barcodes which makes it really simple. PB So a lot quicker than it used to be. JJ A lot quicker than it used to be. It used to be, I would just buy stuff that seemed a little bit unusual and a little bit niche oriented. PB Now with this mobile revolution things are changing. JJ Oh yeah. PB Could you describe your method of buying and reselling products on eBay by buying an item in one category and reselling it in another, because it's something I've never actually
done myself. JJ Make sure that you buy the item with enough margin. You get it for a low enough price where you can afford to get the item shipped to you, and then relist it and resell it and make a profit, including shipping and handling. I mean it's really that simple. I have done pure arbitrage flips before where I would buy the item and then I would have the item shipped to the person I sold it to. So I would buy the item and then I would quickly relist it on eBay, fix it up. Usually when you buy something like I'm buying; I buy calculators. Say HP12C calculators. PB Right. Because you mentioned those to me. You said you did a recent deal with those. JJ Yeah. That's a good arbitrage item because there's a load of people selling them and a lot of them don't know how to list them correctly. And so you list them correctly. Before the item is even shipped to you, you relist it and just charge, you know, you get a higher price for it. And then you have the person that you buy it from ship it to your buyer. That's a much harder thing to do, but it is possible, especially if you have the mark up. PB Yeah. I've done that a lot myself with printers. You have to really monitor the deal from beginning to end. JJ Yeah you do. PB Then everything goes according to plan. JJ Yeah you want to make enough money to make it worth your while.
PB And do you still like dealing on eBay or is it something you've become more disillusioned with? Because obviously it's changed a lot over the last number of years. JJ Yeah, I think for me what's happened is I have spread out into other markets especially Amazon, Half.com, even Craigslist dependent on what the actual item is itself. I'm finding myself selling on eBay less and less and less because there are other avenues now that I can go to... other markets. PB Okay. And for somebody starting out online now that's listening, and wanting to build a business, what would your first piece of advice be to them? JJ Find something that looks like it's something that you'd be interested in doing and stick with it. And stop trying to chase twenty five different things at once. Test something out, get it to where it's working in a small way and scale it. By that I mean, you're making a few dollars and then you take what you already applied and then you just add to it to increase your earnings.
PB Okay. And finally, you've recommended your Micro Niche Finder system to our listeners. Can you tell me a bit about Micro Niche Finder : how it works and its' main benefits? JJ Yeah. What it does is it hooks in to Google's keyword tool and then it returns the search counts for keywords. So for instance if you type in the keyword phrase 'dog grooming' it would return up to I think about 200 terms that are related to dog grooming showing you the search counts. And you can run other different types of searches, or you can return other types of numbers for that like the competition numbers.
PB It looks like a great product. Thanks very much for your time James, and I'll speak to you again soon. JJ Thank you Pete. I appreciate it.
Pete Bruckshaw Interviews Don Hoppe Jr. Don's eBay Arbitrage manual helped me more that any other ebook to get started online. In this interview he describes the importance of concentrating on just one or two products in your arbitrage deals, and also recommends learning from the best marketers to get a head start in your internet business. PB Today I'm talking to Don Hoppe. Don is the author of the definitive ebook on eBay arbitrage. To give it its' complete title it's called eBay Arbitrage: The Complete Guide To Flipping and certainly it's been a major influence on me. Hi Don. How are you today? DH Very good Pete. How are you doing? PB I'm great thanks. Could you first of all tell us about your background before you started in internet marketing and online trading? DH Well you know I was the typical... went to college, graduated from college, interviewed and then I got with a company that manufactured printed circuit boards. That was out in the Bay Area in California and I was there for several years - that was thirteen and a half to be exact and along came what was called the dot com bust and that took care of that. The whole company shut down, everybody got laid off and so I basically headed back out this way to Georgia where I grew up. While I was looking for work I started seeing things about doing stuff on the internet and eBay and it kind of took off from there. PB Okay. And now, is it a part or a full time job for you: internet marketing and trading?
DH Internet marketing in general is full time. When I started doing eBay around 2004 I spent a lot of time learning about it and it was full time, it was generally full time when I started doing arbitrage. That was full time. But now I'd say I split about 30% of my time doing arbitrage and the rest in general internet marketing activities. PB And what's been your most memorable of your arbitrage deals? DH Well, that's interesting you ask that. You know, I've had the ones that stick out, the one time deals that come along, but for the most part it was more or less a particular product that was very popular. It's in another interview I did a while ago. It's a particular kind of an oven that had been discontinued. Yeah, it was an old, just a little toaster oven and it was very very popular, and they'd stopped making it because it was dangerous, because it would catch fire but people would just.. their old ones were going bad and they wanted to replace them because they hung under a cabinet. That was the good part about it and so, the trick was to find these ovens and they were everywhere. But people just didn't market them right so I just started scooping these things up left and right and putting them on eBay, and it was a bonanza for a while. PB Okay. And how would you say the changing marketplace on eBay has impacted on you over the years, because I've seen it change a lot and I've been on eBay just for about five years now. How has it changed for you? DH Well you know aside from, I guess what you might call, aside from the noise, they're constantly tweaking things this way and that way trying to make things better, and sometimes it backfires but as long as they keep the auction format, it hasn't
really changed that much for me. You know I've had to kind of manipulate things here and there in terms of keeping with the lowest fee structures but as long as people are putting stuff on there, and auctioning it off, that's the place for me. And so it really hasn't changed all that much. PB And do you now use any non eBay buying and selling platforms on the internet? DH I poke around on some other areas, like Goodwill, which is like a thrift store site; they've got some good stuff out there. And I used to look at... Liquidation.com was another one and one that was called uBid. PB Oh yes. I know that one. DH I'd say that still 95% of my searches are on eBay. PB And would you still say that there are great opportunities for arbitrage on eBay now? DH Absolutely, yeah. It's just, again, as long as they keep the auction format, there's always gonna be people putting stuff up there that you can snatch and turn around and make another profit off. PB And if you could recommend one product or one product area, what could you recommend to our listeners above all, for arbitrage deals? DH You know, keep with the mundane. Stay away from the really really popular electronic items because it's just a big mish mash. Everybody's involved, not doing arbitrage, but it's just... it's saturated and just, go down the unbeaten path and go after
mundane items, everyday items that people buy. Find a couple of those and focus on them, and you can do really well that way. PB And what would you recommend to anyone listening as the best way of starting online? If they haven't started yet what would you recommend their path to be? DH As far as eBay is concerned? PB Or maybe more broadly. In terms of trading on the internet. Just trading on the internet. DH Well, probably one of the best things, and this is kinda how I got involved... I didn't really start exactly with eBay even though it looked like it was the best way to go and I'm glad I made that choice, but if you get on the mailing list of some good reputable marketers and just keep reading what they send out... most good ones send out every five, seven days, a good email that helps you kinda break the ice and get started. PB Is there any in particular that you'd recommend above. I mean I know of people like Jim Cockrum, John Thornhill I like as well. DH Yeah. Jim Cockrum's a really good one. There was... Terry Gibbs was one I followed in the early days. He's kind of gone off in another direction. PB He does the trains doesn't he? DH What's that? PB He does trains, Terry Gibbs?
DH Yes. He was a train collector. But he put together a couple of really good ebooks on just general getting going on eBay. Auction Revolution : that was one of the first books that I started with. And I still recommend it. It's a little out of date but still the fundamentals are solid. Let's see, there's Terry Gibbs, there's Jim Cockrum, there's another site that's called WhatDoISell.com. PB Yes, I've heard of that. Who does that? DH Her name is Lisa Suttora. PB That's right yes. She works with eBay I believe. DH She goes back and she has basically documented everything she has ever done about eBay and put it up on her site. Now her site is a members site but it's very affordable, and I was a member of that for a good six, seven months. And it's like a library of anything and everything you want to know about eBay. It's absolutely wonderful, if you can get into that for a while. PB And finally Don, which of your products would you recommend above all to our listeners as something that would help them? DH Which of my products? PB Yes. DH Well all I have is the eBay arbitrage ebook. PB Well that's a pretty good recommendation, because it's a great book. DH Thank you very much.
PB Right. Thanks very much for your time today Don. DH You're very welcome. Thanks for having me.
Pete Bruckshaw Interviews Terry Gibbs This long interview, in which Terry provides real value, includes discussion of his beginnings on eBay and his marketing background. Terry reveals that he was mentored by Joe Polish and worked with Dan Kennedy and Joe Sugarman. If you've not heard about them before, find out more because these are some of the world's best marketers - on or offline. Take particular notice of Terry's in depth description of model trains arbitrage, and if you are planning to buy and sell coins, you'll find invaluable advice here. JB I'm talking today with Terry Gibbs, who is one of the foremost experts on buying and selling on eBay. He's written some excellent books on the subject, and the best thing I can recommend to you first of all, to find out more about Terry's products if you don't know them already, is to visit his site iwantcollectibles.com. Hi Terry. How are you? TG I'm doing good. How are you today? JB I'm doing very well thanks. Your specialist area is model trains. When did you first start buyng and selling them? My Dad had started collecting trains, about when I was born and then when I got to be ten, twelve years old I started running around with him and by 1976, '77 I was running ads to buy trains and having my Dad run me around at weekends, so I've been doing it basically thirty some years. JB And have you built that, would you say, into a full time business in itself, or do you consider yourself more of an internet marketer?
TG Well... for years it was just a way for me to get trains. And then in the early 90s I went back to college, and actually bought and sold trains, still to get trains for myself, but more to support myself. And later I graduated from college; I worked for a couple of years. I'm really not... the personality type that does well in the whole office environment. JB No? Well I think a lot of us can relate to that. How does it compare then: what you're doing now, working for yourself, as opposed to those two years you spent working for other people? TG Well, remember, I want into there, and with the exception of working for my Dad, I had never had a job. I went in and I worked, and I don't regret working. I actually worked for somebody who's now a famous marketer... and I went in there, and after awhile it went from me just sucking up all this marketing infomration and being enthused with it, to me looking at it and saying, y'know every day that I'm here I'm not doing what I wanna do, and I'm not building stuff for myself. I'm building stuff for him. And that got to a point where I just had to go. I had to go out and do my own stuff, and at that time that was 1998. I'd been selling on eBay for awhile, and I said 'That's it.' I'm going to sell on eBay, and I'm gonna start doing my own thing and with a year I was teaching people how to sell on eBay...yeah. JB And who indeed was that famous marketer, if I could ask you? TG Joe Polish, Piranha Marketing. JB Oh was it? Right. And he's worked with Eben Pagan. TG Yeah. Joe and Eben are friends... When I worked for Joe I met people like Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert and Joe Sugarman
and all these famous marketers and they would come through, and most of them had information products on how to do marketing, and I took all of that stuff, at home and I went to seminars. Really, the thing that changes my life was going to the JPDK (Jeff Paul, Dan Kennedy) seminar 'Make money at home in your underwear, at your kitchen table. That's how Joe [Polish] got started... he met Jeff Paul and Dan Kennedy and they were into the whole 'You make money by teaching other people what you know' and that really changed my life. JB And so, was this really in the early days of the internet? TG Actually that was really in the early days of the internet... actually that was before I even went online, and once I went online that stuff ws all direct mail when I first started my business the whole thing... Online stuff was just another avenue. It was direct mail, and running ads and antiques publications, stuff like that. I would say that for the first two, three years that i ran I Want Collectibles the majority of my revenue came from advertisements in antique publications, not online. Whereas today, I don't do any advertising offline. I don't do any advertising online really, anymore. JB Right. You just let your site sort of speak for itself? Is that how it works? TG Yeah. The sites are there and they're established and I got good Google rankings, and I have the affiliate network and the word of mouth and stuff like the deal with you, and you get started and you start promoting your products... Now I'm gonna be inside your products that gets the name out and working with everybody.
JB And what about for your actual arbitrage deals, the train buying and selling and other things. Where do you now buy offline before you sell online? TG Mostly I go to shows. You know, I'll buy anything that I can get my hands on at a price where I can make money but the majority of it is... I go to shows. And these are specialty shows for toy trains and I go there. And so for example, a couple weeks ago I went to a show. And so I get there before the show starts and I take stuff down that I don't wanna sell, or that I don't want to keep, and stuff that usually isn't worth putting on eBay; stuff that's either cheap, or it's too big, or maybe it's too beat up to put on eBay, and then when I tell everybody how damaged it is, it destroys the value. So I take it to a show and somebody buys it. So I go to the show and then I walk around as the other sellers are setting up and buy the things that I want... things that I might want for myself which is very rare, or anything I think that I can resell. JB And do you think it's easy? One of the things that I do is wide format printers, where I've bought them on eBay and I've sold them. Because they're such heavy things, and I've been doing them abroad to sell them in the UK. There's no way I could have done it without doing them completely on eBay without touching them. Are there any arbitrage deals that you do where you buy and sell them on eBay without seeing what you've done? Meaning that you sell them from one to the other. TG I always have the stuff shipped to me because of the fact that I have to look at the stuff. Most of the stuff that I'm buying online nowadays. When I'm out, I'm at a show or I'm in the antique mall or whatever... I buy anything I see that I can sell for enough profit to make it worth my while. But when I'm online what I'm looking at is... what I'm specifically looking for is rarities,
things that are thinly traded, things that are listed in the wrong categories... so that the bidders that want them are more likely to miss them. And so I'll buy that stuff and when it comes in I'll turn around and resell it. So for example... and I'm also looking for items that are poorly listed, and I'll give you an example: I'm going through eBay and I see this listing and it says 'Model Trains', right, and it's got a picture of an American Flyer train (that's a manufacturer) and I look at it, and it's just a junk engine in this picture. And so I click on it, and usually what I do is, I'll scroll through eBay if I'm on the phone talking to my friends or whatever, and so I can multitask, and I open it up and I look at it, and in this auction were two cars that were made in the late 1950s for a department store chain. These are expensive, right? But the guy only had one picture. It showed the whole thing, and two cars were laying on it, and so I bid on it and I bought the whole set of trains for $150. And then they came in; I took all the stuff except those two cars. And I have to be looking at the cars and making sure they're real, and all that. So I have to touch them physically. And then I took those two cars and put them back on eBay and sold them for $2200. JB That's a good deal! TG That's a killer deal. Then I took all the rest of the stuff, took it to a train meet and sold it for $75. Now that set of trains: if those were just the regular run of the mill cars from that period, would only have been worth $75 - $80. It was those two special cars, and the fact that the guy hadn't... that made it worth the money. And where my money came, where my profit came from was recognising that and doing it. Now one thing that I need to admit is, that I've bought stuff on eBay thinking it's something weird or rare and got it in, and lost money on it. But that doesn't happen that often.
JB What resource could you recommend then to people to learn more about model trains and the kind of deals you've been talking about. Is there a particular book they can go to, or a site? TG Well, there's different price guides, like the Greenberg Guide is probably the most common... The've go a whole series of them on different ones. One of the problems with that, and I used to sell a lot of stuff to the people that wrote the books, is that the old books, which are the big books: they're not making the old 8"x 10"s books anymore, they're just pocket guides. But the big detailed books; they left stuff out. So any time I found something that wasn't listed in the book I'd know that it was valuable. It's that specialist knowledge. I would say that rather than somebody deciding that their gonna go into model trains for example, they go into something that interests them. And there's other ways to do this. I have a friend that does coins. He doesn't really do eBay but what he's doing is classic arbitrage - what we're talking about. And what he does is, he goes around the country, goes to coin shops and he buys coins that are not graded... they take a coin and they have expert grading services that look at the coins and say what condition they're in and they get sealed into a plastic case with the grade on it. So he buys really nice coins, sends them to the grading service. And then when they come back that adds to the value if they come back with really high grades. So then he sells them... and that's how he makes his money. And if the coin comes back and it's not a real high grade, he'll use it for trading stock. Or if it's a really low grade he just cracks it back out of the slab that it's concealed in as just something that they're looking at by eye to tell what the grade is. And that's how he makes his living. JB And what do you think, in terms of what you've said, how can people take their hobbies or interests and transpose that, and hopefully have similar successes to what you've had with model
trains? Do you think that there's a formula to it? TG Well the formula is: where is there going to be a value spread? What's the deal? Are there people selling stuff who don't know what it's worth or don't know how to grade it? Can you find them? Or are there people selling items that are so thinly traded that it's hard to make a guess as to what they're worth, so they're comparing them to other similar items. And I'll give you an example of that. Years ago, and eBay pretty much killed this, but prior to eBay, Lionel made a caboose in the 1960s. They had a contract with some department store to make a train set with a red caboose in it. And they didn't have any red plastic shells. So they took a bunch of shells that were like green shells and black shells... they took these shells and then painted them red and letter them up and put them in the set. The unpainted red plastic caboose is worth $6 if it's in great shape. But that red painted one... I've sold, the most expensive one I've ever sold is $650, and I never sold one for less that $150, and with those... I was buying two or three of those a year just because that was something that I knew about. And I knew people that would pay that money and nobody else out here in Arizona and California was looking for. So I would buy them and just bring 'em home, call the guy that I knew in New York and work out a deal. And I'm pretty sure that the guy I was selling them to in New York was turning them around and selling them to his friends and making a few bucks on them too. Yeah. JB Obviously we've talked a lot about eBay. Do you still like dealing on eBay or have your become disillusioned with it? TG With the selling - I still like the selling... And I look at it, and I sell stuff on there and I enjoy it. I had some auctions end last night and I've been selling on eBay twelve, thirteen years now, and I still find myself checking in to see how my stuff's doing.
And the stuff I sold last night, it was at $1200 with an hour to go and then it ended at almost $1900 and I was feeling cool, that's great and that's that rush. JB Absolutely. I feel the same. But that said, are there other sites that you'd recommend as something you can move on to as an alternative to eBay, or perhaps to compliment it? TG Uh... I've been looking, because I really think that in the whole scheme of things that eBay is not as wonderful as it was years ago. And I've been looking at other sites: one is etsy.com, which is mostly vintage jewelry and costume jewelry, stuff like that, and then there's a couple of other ones. I was looking at one the other day: yardsales or something like that. The problem is that none of them have buyers and sellers...Etsy, that's one that seems to be building up to a critical mass. JB I've used it a bit myself, but it's not one that, for me, is in the same class as eBay, because simply there's not as many people that visit it, but it does look promising. TG Yeah, and that's the problem. Without that critical mass of both buyers and sellers none of it's gonna work. The one site that I looked at - I did a quick search on this because I saw something on Facebook about it.... I typed in Lionel and it brought in three Lionel train items on the whole site. JB Not so exciting. TG Not so exciting. But I will say this. When Yahoo first started doing their auction things, the first time I looked at Yahoo, I found something, bid on it and bought it. And then I spent maybe six months looking at Yahoo regularly, and I never bought another item on Yahoo and after awhile I just gave up. And that's some-
thing I'm starting to see on eBay too. I look and some of the categories that I see... when I look at it regularly, they're getting to the point now with eBay's Relisted Until Sold deal, where people put stuff in that category that shouldn't be in there or it's overpriced, and then it doesn't sell so it's relisted. And I actually looked at this Saturday and of the first hundred results in one category, only thirteen things that were in that category were stuff that should have been in that category or were items that were at auctions that would sell, not overpriced Buy It Now. And of those first hundred items I only actually opened one of them to take a look at it. And so, it's really getting to the point where there's just so much stuff that isn't in there. That's actually a good thing if you want to spend the time searching through eBay, there are deals out there. JB It's if you've got the time I suppose really, more than anything. TG For me one of the things, and this really impacted my ability for me to buy stuff on eBay and then resell it. I would say that probably at least half of the stuff that I've bought on eBay five years ago came from me looking at what other people were bidding on. Because they would they would go out, and I identified people that were bidding on items in out of the way categories. JB Would you recommend looking in that instance at the finished sales which is what I always do? TG That's what I used to do, because when I find something in an out of the way category, like instead of the Toys And Hobbies I'd be in Transportation. And I'd find something that sold in that category, and then I'd look at the bidders - and I'd look for early bidders... And there were people that bid a dollar on things that sell for two, three hundred dollars. I'd look at them and once I
saw that they had a pattern of doing that, then I would bookmark all the stuff they were looking at. Today eBay doesn't let you see what people are bidding on. They don't even show the bidders names. So that whole avenue's gone and it's got to the point of scrolling through the categories trying to pull stuff up. Now there is some stuff, and I won't specific items, but I have searches set up in specific categories for specific items that I look for that I know when they come up. And these are people listing things that I can buy in one category and then sell in another category. So I have these searches set up and whenever something's listed in these categories eBay sends me an email, I look at it. I don't have to search in there anymore, it's just all automatic. JB Yeah I do that with the searches that they send every day to your inbox. TG Yeah, the stuff that I'm doing, I might get two, three hits a month and of those maybe I'll bid once if some of it's not stuff I'm interested in. But that allows me to pay attention to things that I know I can make money on without having to actually do any work other than except to search on them once. JB After that, just to broaden things out a bit, for somebody starting out online now who may well be listening to this, wanting to build a business, what would be the main advice that you'd give them? What should they concentrate on? There's a lot of advice out there that is not so good. TG In terms of building an online business? JB I think so, yes. TG I would say, because I do some personal coaching with people, and the biggest problem that I see, and there's actually two,
the biggest problem that I see is people: there all over the place. The last guy that I was coaching, he wants to do a blog and make money as an affiliate, then the next week he wants to shoot a movie or video, and then the following week he wants to do something else. And it's like: do one thing. Do all of those things... I do all of those. But figure out where your core competencies are. So for me, I sell into this whole teaching thing, because I love to figure out how things work. And then I love to tell people what I figured out. I'm kind of obsessive compulsive. I'm obsessive about figuring out how to do things and then I compulsively have to tell people. And this whole internet marketing, and the ability to contact people who want to learn things is really what enabled me to run my business. With some of the things that I do, when I write reports and sell them for ten, twenty dollars, I couldn't have done that before the internet because I couldn't have reached the audience. So that's probably the biggest thing that I would say. Set up to do specific tasks. Buid a blog and then write a post every week and then do a newsletter. Then, not only write posts but do an newsletter or article and then put it on the blog. Try different stuff, and after you've tried, what'll happen is that you'll find things that you enjoy doing and you'll get some success. The first time that I had an affiliate check I got $800, with my first affiliate check. That was enough. In the big scheme of my life $800 isn't a lot of money. JB That was your start. TG Yeah. This stuff works. And then the other side of it is I see a lot of people who go out onliine and lately a lot of it's these talking head videos where people will read stuff to you in a video instead of having sales letters. So they think they have to have all that and the truth is that if you'll just be yourself and the truth is I don't do a lot of these videos because I don't have the skills and I'd have to pay somebody to do the. But for me, I'm pretty
good at writing and I'm pretty good at talking like we're doing now. JB And you're saying more stick to your strengths. Because I must say I haven't actually seen any videos of you online. I've seen them of most major marketers but not of you talking online presenting a product. TG I've never done that. Actually I'm at the point now where in some cases I'm not even using the long sales letters anymore because I don't have to. At the price points that I'm charging now I don't need to spend twenty pages of text in order to convince somebody to give me $20. If I was selling a $500 package I'd need to write more but from my point of view a lot of this stuff is more involved than it really needs to be. And I think that the one thing, that if I had to do this all over again, the one thing that I would do is pay more attention to meeting people. Like you've got me, and now you're interviewing me and it gets to be part of your product and you'll end up with my phone number and you've got my email address. And I know who you are, and I think you mentioned James Jones - you did an interview with him. JB Yes I did. He describes you as a genius. TG He came to me maybe five years ago with what to sell on eBay, or whatever the thing was, and he did interviews with a bunch of people. And we got to the point, we'd done a couple of joint ventures since then, and talk on the phone regularly. And so for five years I've known him. And then in May I actually went to a seminar in Vegas and that was the first time I met him. But that was something that, when I first started doing all this online stuff. I didn't do a lot of that.
JB I think that it's probably very easy for all of us just to be looking at the screen and not perhaps communicating with people as much as we should do. But who then, of the modern marketers that are online would you recommend to people? Because I was talking with Don Hoppe, and he said that the first thing that you should do in his opinion was to look at what other people were doing. He recommended a couple of people like Jim Cockrum for instance. Who would you personally recommend to us to go and learn from? TG I read Jim Cockrum's newsletter most of the time. For the rest of them I can't even give you a recommendation. I'm at the point where for the last couple of years I've really been semi retired... and right now I'm looking at going back into a new niche and doing some stuff, so I've been subscribing to a lot of newsletters. And I just spent, while I was waiting to get on the call with you, I went through and opened up a bunch of newsletters that people have been sending me and... none of 'em. In fact a lot of them, I just removed myself from their lists. One of the things that I'm seeing here is that it used to be that we wrote newsletter articles and these were how we qualified ourselves. This is how you do something. And at the end of it we put a link in there 'Hey! Wanna learn more? Buy this book.' Or 'Hey - I got all this stuff. Come and have a look at what I got to sell if you wanna learn more'. And now it seems like an incestuous mess of people promoting each other. None of them have any real content. It's all just hype and 'you better get this now because it's only gonna be available for three days or five hundred people and all that'. I would avoid any of that. Just the whole deal of: go for the content. One thing. Your talking about people that I would recommend that you look at. There's a guy, his name is Jacob Nielsen, He runs a site called alertbox. Re writes about web usability. He writes a newsletter every week. Sometimes it's stuff about why they design the remote controls so poorly, so you just
ignore it. But it's about how people use the internet. I've never bought anything from Jacob. I just read his newsletter. Every couple of weeks I go in and catch up. And he is the only person that I have been following for all these years. JB I know that you've recommended to me visiting your site iwantcollectibles.com, to get your free eBay trading reports, which are excellent. Now to make things easier for our listeners I've shortened the url to snipurl.com/1d53nq and you will get some excellent free eBay trading reports there. TG If they end up on the main webpage, they scroll to the bottom, and there's links to articles and stuff on there. JB OK, that'll be great. Well, there's been some incredible information here Terry, thank you very much for that. TG Alright. It's been great. JB It's been a pleasure to talk to you. And I'll speak to you soon hopefully. Cheers then. Bye now.