Selling Made Simple - Listing Fix

In order to sell online, whether you are using a classifieds list, your own website or a venue, there are certain things you must do to be successful.

The essentials;

  • A title which helps a search engine to connect a potential buyer to your item.
  • A short clear description including condition, size, price.
  • A good photograph is worth a thousand words.

These are the absolute minimums and it is surprising how many experienced eBay sellers ignore them when trying to expand their business to a new site or sites.

The plan

I propose to find and critique a single listing periodically. I will edit out or change information which would identify the seller, or the specific listing. This is intended to be a learning experience not an exercise in humiliation or a witch hunt. I hope to spark discussion from which we can all learn. If you would like your listing used or find a good example, please contact me using the link in the right navigation bar.

This week’s listing

Click to enlarge image

The seller: Experienced, good 10 year eBay seller of high end china and collectibles, 7000 feedback (DSR 4.8, 4.9, 5.0, 4.9) eBay sales last 12 months - 53, sales in 2010 - 3. Imported listings to Bonanzle December 2008, sales on site 1.

The listing:

The pricing is the same on eBay and Bonanzle but 30% lower elsewhere, quality appears to be excellent, shipping cost is fair. Seller has taken full advantage of payment methods offered on Bonanzle with Google Checkout, PayPal and checks accepted. Seller has described the item clearly, the ‘feel’ is friendly and competent. When I contacted the seller asking about a photo she responded promptly, but I don’t think she went to look at the listing.

The problems and fixes

The number one sales inhibitor for this listing is VISIBILITY which is linked to SEARCH on eBay, Bonanzle and Google! Other factors; the pattern is not well known which limits desirability and makes good pictures essential. More keywords such as transferware, English china, in the first 100 letters and spaces of the description would help.


“A~title~like~this” is ‘read’ by the search engines as one single unique word, chances of a buyer searching for the exact match to “A~title~like~this” are remote. Similarly Vintage/Antique would be more searchable as Vintage Antique, both separate words. Google does not like all caps, non relevant symbols like exclamation points, or asterisks. See Google’s editorial guidelines.


One picture shows and it is probably not the one the seller wants. Bonanzle’s importer often only grabs one picture if the listings were uploaded to eBay using any method other than the eBay Sell Your Item Form. This is a known problem. Here is a link to Bonanzle’s Importation information page. There are also some restrictions and limitations on HTML.


The first thing a viewer sees is an eBay HTML fragment and the eBay watermark on the picture.

The body of the listing is un-formatted and hard to read. At some point in time the seller has cut and pasted phrases from another listing without editing. The listing refers to the condition of a platter which is not what is being offered. Use of bullet points (available in the Full Text Editor) would improve readability.

More than half of the listing is another huge chunk of eBay HTML. This does not inspire confidence in the seller from the buyer.

Most search engines show newest listings first, even Google prefers ‘fresh’ to ’stale’. This listing appears at the very end of a search for a specific pottery, so I know it has been around a while.

Bonanzle has seller tools which make turning old listings into new ones quick and easy. Once you have the hang of this it will take no longer than a minute or so per listing. Refreshing ten listings per day, equals 50 per week, or 2500 per year (5 day week - 50 week year).

If there is any interest in a step by step article on this process let me know.


Sooner or later the Google non duplication policy is going to catch up with this seller who has essentially the same items listed in four different places.


Seller has a really nice About Me page on eBay but has never bothered to fill in her Profile or any of the Booth Details on Bonanzle. There are places for Shipping Policy, Return Policy and a catch-all area for anything else you want to share with a buyer. This is a huge confidence builder, my profile page is my most viewed page on Bonanzle. It is there, it is free, why not use it?

Y’all come back!


  1. Great post!

    I have wanted to do this for so long with self-published books. Not malicious, just to point out problems as I see them to help others. I’d be curious to know if the seller finds this listing and gets annoyed, etc.

  2. We’d:
    a) fix the problem
    b) get annoyed
    c) get over it

    After all in the (non-eBay) real world it’s called “Peer Review”.


    Original quote rated R. Edited (****) version below.

    “There is something about yourself that you don’t know. Something that you will deny even exists, until it’s too late to do anything about it. It’s the only reason you get up in the morning. The only reason you suffer the sh**** puss, the blood, the sweat and the tears. This is because you want people to know how good, attractive, generous, funny, wild and clever you really are. Fear or revere me, but please, think I’m special. We share an addiction. We’re approval junkies. We’re all in it for the slap on the back and the gold watch. The hip-hip-hoo-f***in’ rah. Look at the clever boy with the badge, polishing his trophy. Shine on you crazy diamond, because we’re just monkeys wrapped in suits, begging for the approval of others.”
    Jake Green, Revolver (2005)

  3. Yes, I’m interested in a step by step article on this:

    Bonanzle has seller tools which make turning old listings into new ones

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