By Ian Moore, eHow Contributor
Ebay is an online auction service that allows users to sell merchandise and prospective buyers to place bids on a wide variety of items. The time of the auction can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Throughout the duration of the auction, bids are accumulated. At the end of the auction, the bidder with the highest bid is then awarded the item. Although eBay got its start in the United States, the online auction has expanded its service to over thirty countries around the world. The items up for bid range from trading cards to automobiles. Certain items such as pornography, alcohol, tobacco and drugs are prohibited from being sold.
In order to sell merchandise membership to the eBay site is required. The user must also create a seller profile. The membership is free of charge and can be completed at the eBay site. Sellers will then pick a category that suits the item that they will be selling and then upload pictures of the item. The first picture is free, however additional pictures require a small fee. Listing an item costs about two dollars. This is the minimum fee. Extra listing options such as “Bold,” “Print,” “Extra large photos” and the “Buy now” option will add onto the base fee. The seller sets how high the bid will start, the duration of the auction and determines the shipping costs and rates. The seller is responsible for all aspects concerning the auction and it is his responsibility to answer all questions that the potential buyers may have. At the conclusion of the auction, the seller must send an invoice with the cost and shipping information to the buyer. When the item has been paid for and shipped, the seller must leave feedback for the buyer.
To be able to bid on and buy auctioned users must also have a member profile. This can be the same profile that is used to sell items. The buyer is allowed to bid as many times as possible. There are programs available to download which make it possible to bid at the last second. These are called “sniping” programs and are widely used during an auction. If the buyer has the highest bid, he will be notified that the item has been won. The buyer must now wait for the item to be shipped then pay the seller preferably through PayPal. When the transactions have been completed, the buyer then must leave feedback for the seller. Buyers and sellers who receive positive feedback are awarded points. The higher the point total, the more experienced and trustworthy the buyer or seller is.