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Data Beam

April 2004 The Independent Journal of the eBay Community FREE EDITION

Data Beam --
A Tale of Sales (Rates)

EBAY IS NOT some sort of vast plain, nor does it provide a level playing field.

Sales rates, number of sales, average sale price and number of sellers can vary greatly from eBay category to category.

This month the Data Beam illuminates the sales rates of four very different eBay sub-categories: cross stitch crafts, Dell laptops, Montblanc fountain pens and Timeshare condos.

All four are robust -- with above average eBay sales rates -- but take a closer look at Timeshare condos and Montblanc fountain pens.

Who would have thought that Timeshare condos, with individual sale prices thousands of times higher than individual Cross sticth crafts items, would have a higher sales success rate too?

Meanwhile the fountain pen is the technological equivalent of the appendix, right? Wrong, at least from what you can tell from the Montblanc fountain pen sub-category on eBay.

For the six week period in February and March 2004 examined in this Data Beam, Montblanc fountain pens chalked up both higher sales numbers and a higher sales success rate than the red hot Dell laptops.

Click here for a closer view...

eBay Seller Spotlight --
Hagstoy and Selling Multiple Items (Not)

Last month we looked at the sales methods of Thinkfast59, an eBayist who uses one-day and three-day auctions to maximize returns on the sale of Fox Float mountain bike shocks in Category 42317. This month we look at Hagstoy, another eBayer selling the same item in the same category, and how his approach minimizes his return.

THERE ARE THREE ways to sell multiples of the same item on eBay -- you can sell them one at a time, you can sell them all at once in individual auctions, or you can sell them all at once in a Dutch auction.

Thinkfast59,'s Spotlight Seller last month, uses the first method. He's sold two 2003 Fox Float RLs in the last month for an average price of $190, both on three-day auctions spaced about a week apart. Both had han openning bid of $180 and a Buy It Now price of $200.

Hagstoy, on the other hand, follows the second approach. On March 22, Hagstoy offered five 2003 Fox Float RLs in five simultaneous seven-day auctions. His starting price for each was $100. As far as one can determine from the item listings and the photos, Hagstoy's items were identical to Thinkfast59's -- same model, same year, same condition.

Hagstoy, however, only got an average price of $174.30 for his Fox shocks, or $15.70 less per shock than Thinkfast59. Clearly, Hagstoy would have benefited from offering his invenory one or two items at a time.

But what if he HAD to move them all at once, you say? Well, then he would have been well advised to consider a Dutch auction, which allows the seller to offer multiples of the same item in one auction to multiple buyers.

eBay provides a full description of how Dutch auctions work at
, but basically the idea is that all items go for the same high bid. If Hagstoy had listed his his five Fox Floats in a Dutch auction and they'd all gone for the high bid his items received ($182.50), he would have gotten $8.20 more an item than he did, or a total of $41 for the five.

As it was, he chose the least profitable option available to him, and essentially flooded his own market.

News Feed...

The Indiana Attorney General has filed a suit against two Hammond, IN, teenagers for allegedly scamming people out of more than $6,000 through eBay auctions. The lawsuit stated that four people in Canada, California, Texas and Oregon paid the teens $6,029, but never got the merchandise. See
for more info...

* * *

Meanwhile, a Gainsville, GA, teenager faces 21 counts of theft by deception and one count of racketeering in connection fraudulent sales on eBay. He is accused of advertising an ATI Technologies All-in-Wonder video card on the Web site and accepting 20 payments, ranging from $75 to $263.50, without delivering. See
for more info...

* * *

The new version of popular eBay auction sniper, PowerSnipe, has just been released. ... See
for more info...

* * *

An art investor in Melbourne is suing eBay over a failed Internet auction. Investor Trevor Dunen alleges a computer hacker broke into the eBay site in May 2003 and lodged a bogus $6 million bid for a 1848 painting by American artist F.G. Stephens. Mr Dunen claims the hacker prevented any further genuine bids and caused the painting's value to drop. A lawyer for eBay said the painting's alleged value is dubious. See
for more info.

* * *

eBay posted a warning on its announcement board March 12 warning that hackers may have obtained limited information about some PayPal customers. "The information obtained includes first and last name, mailing address, email address, and information about the transaction. No personal financial information was disclosed. PayPal passwords, Social Security numbers, driver's license data, credit card numbers, or bank account numbers are protected because PayPal always encrypts this data and maintains it on secure servers that cannot be accessed by any merchant or third party," according to the eBay statement, which added that eBay is contacting affecting customers individually. See
for more info...

The Wonderful &
The Weird on eBay

eAuctionTimes celebrates the amazing melange of stuff that people (try to) buy and sell on eBay...

THE 76.45 KARAT Archduke Joseph Diamond was offered -- and then reoffered -- in March with a Buy It Now price of $37.5 million. On March 22, the seller "ended this listing early because the item is no longer available for sale."

Item #: 2698134756
Category: 771
Ended: 3/20/04
Bids: 0
Opening bid: $3.5 mil.
Buy It Now Price: $3.75 mil.
High bid: NA
Seller: il.folletto

A FRANK PARADISE "The Diamond King" model pool cue was offered with an opening bid of $1000, but did not reach its Reserve despite 13 bids.

Item #: 3664164218
Category: 2878
Ended: 3/7/04
Bids: 13
Opening bid: $1000
Buy It Now Price: NA
High bid: $4150 (Reserve Not Met)
Seller: bushkasearing

NEITHER MARTHA STEWART'S name or a really bad picture slowed the sale of this Martha Stewart Hermes Birkin CandyBar Brown handbag, which the seller described as "sexier than the city!" It drew 16 bids and sold for $3261, although the buyer did keep his/her identity hidden.

Item #: 3465799079
Category: 80849
Ended: 3/10/04
Bids: 16
Opening bid: $850
Buy It Now Price: NA
High bid: $3261
Seller: redcarpet_arrivals
Buyer: ID kept private

(with Justin Timberlake accessory) drew 33 bids and eventually sold for $366.

Item #: 2992105112
Category: 48920
Ended: 3/14/04
Bids: 33
Opening bid: $49.95
Buy It Now Price: NA
High bid: $366
Seller: joshsaw
Buyer: l4m3

THIS ANTIQUE 1877 Eclipse Patent golf ball from England with a "gutta percha/Rubber and Cork mix" core sold for $699.06.

Item #: 2795452600
Category: 428
Ended: 3/28/04
Bids: 23
Opening bid: $27.24
Buy It Now Price: NA
High bid: $699.06
Seller: tel4oldgolf
Buyer: johnmansell

THIS NEARLY ANTIQUE 1958 Jaguar XK-150 convertible from England with only 90,000 original miles on it sold for $26,100.

Item #: 2468756710
Category: 6278
Ended: 3/28/04
Bids: 31
Opening bid: $5,000
Buy It Now Price: NA
High bid: $26,210
Seller: thomasp518
Buyer: dohc1

ROCK OUT? This 1993 Fender Custom Tree-of-Life Stratocaster -- with a gorgeous one-piece, solid flame maple body -- found no bidders at $35,000.

Item #: 3713109851
Category: 47069
Ended: 3/28/04
Bids: 0
Opening bid: $35,000
Buy It Now Price: NA
High bid: 0
Seller: usaguitars-com

PETER MAX'S dramatic 1998 acrylic painting "Heart" was offered for $2400, but it was unfortunately a little bit late for Valentine's.

Item #: 3714212648
Category: 20135
Started: 3/26/04
Ended: 4/1/04
Bids: 0
Opening bid: $2400
High bid: NA
Seller: fineartmasters

THE 3D GARAPHICS development team responsible for the computer animation in movies like "The Last Samurai" and "The Matrix" -- The eDream Team -- offered the chance to negotiate a contract for future animation work after Hollywood moved the work it had been doing offshore.

Item #: 3668406628
Category: 182
Started: 3/23/04
Ended: 4/2/04
Bids: 21
Opening bid: $250
High bid: $910
Seller: teamoffshored
Buyer: alchemyhouse

© Copyright 2004 by Bruce Brown and BF Communications Inc.

eAuctionTimes, and Data Beam
are trademarks of BF Communications Inc.
All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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P.O. Box 393
Sumas, WA 98295 USA
(360) 927-3234

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