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How to Start an eBay Bidding War

A bidding war is where two or more people bid furiously against one another, each desperate to own a particular item.

Phenomenal results are possible, such as last month, where a postcard by artist A. R. Quinton, depicting a cliff view at Herne Bay, fetched £100 plus. By anyone's standards, the card was worth about £3 for the view and maybe a few pounds more for the artist.

I checked and found that two serious bidders, one of Herne Bay topographical postcards, the other a Quinton enthusiast, had launched a bidding war that was eventually won by the Herne Bay collector, or was it the seller of this rather common-a-garden postcard?

Such events are not uncommon. My own best selling item this month, a pair of vintage cufflinks with ancient Greek Coins, for which I paid £3 at a flea market, went for £34, with the two final bidders being a collector of cufflinks and another of Greek coins. The Greek coin collector won.

You only need two bidders and it doesn't matter if they're interested in the same product or specific parts of your product or listing. The end result is always the same; more money for you.

You're looking for just two people in the whole wide world, these tips will help you find them.

* List a minimum two items (or themes) in one lot. The trick is to make each item valuable in its own right and appealing to more than one person. The cufflinks and postcard are good examples. I've seen other wars raging over two completely unrelated postcards listed together; two books bearing no relation to one another; a pack of artist illustrated playing cards where one bidder wanted the cards and the other collected all things artist related.

* List in two eBay categories to achieve maximum market penetration. You can also list in two shop categories. For the Quinton/Herne Bay postcard I'd list under 'Artist Drawn Postcards' and 'Topographical'.

* Research and use commonly used keywords for your product to attract the highest audience for your item. Go to eBay Pulse pages for common keywords or use software such as Adword Analyzer to study most commonly used key words and phrases for specific subjects. Although developed largely for search engine optimisation and Google advertising campaigns and similar, products like Adword Analyzer are equally suitable for all areas of the Internet, including eBay. Visit our site, www.1st-in-auctions.com/Keywords.html for more ideas on keyword research with tips from top eBayers and other Internet marketers.

* Offer free gifts and bonuses to attract interest from people selling similar items. For example, offer three cufflinks where most offer two (emphasise these things get damaged, lost, stolen); ship items postage free; add complementary items such as matching tie pin (free or otherwise) with cufflinks, free presentation boxes with every batch of wholesale necklaces, and so on.

* Offer a free gift that is valuable in its own right, worth more than the product listed, and not available from any other source. Remember to change the freebie regularly as frequent buyers will have it already. Study and comply with eBay rules regarding gifts, bonuses and discounts. The trick is to find people not necessarily wanting your listed product, but very keen on the freebie.

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