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Bid away

The “Hacks” series titles sound like they’re aimed at the propeller-head crowd (and some are), but in “eBay Hacks” Karp has lots of advice for beginners, too.

Although I’ve bought things on eBay, I’m still a relative neophyte. I have yet to sell anything, and I recently started looking for advice for doing it right. While there’s a lot of information on eBay itself, I decided to augment this with an independent source. There’s an abundance of books, videos, and Web sites purporting to guarantee eBay success, but I settled on “eBay Hacks” by David A. Karp.

O’Reilly’s “Hacks” series titles–nine at this writing–sound like they’re aimed at the propeller-head crowd (and some are), but in “eBay Hacks” Karp has lots of advice for beginners, too. For the former he includes quite a few true hacks, such as creating a search robot in Perl and using the eBay application programming interface (API). However, I never felt intimidated; I just skimmed over the advanced stuff.

Karp covers the eBay waterfront in 100 hacks–topics as disparate as sniping (bidding in the last seconds of an auction to shut out the competition) and protecting the copyright on your listing photos. These topics are organized into eight chapters: Diplomacy and Feedback, Searching, Bidding, Selling, Working with Photos, Completing Transactions, Running a Business on eBay, and The eBay API. This organization progresses logically, and I worked my way from cover to cover. But each topic stands on its own, and the book makes a good reference as well. Karp thoroughly covers every eBay question I’ve had except one: Unaccountably, he makes no mention of using escrow services to protect both buyer and seller in large transactions.

That gripe aside, I found “eBay Hacks” to be an excellent guide to making the most of eBay, and plan to start unloading some of my junk–er, sharing my treasures–real soon now.

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