Please Critique my eBay sales description

About 3 days ago or so I put up an older computer on eBay.
Full computer system. Almost everything but a printer.
There’s 4 days left, and not 1 bid. According to my counter, 37 people have looked at it, but if it counts me, then it’s probably more like 34. But still, 34 and no bids.

Now, I know that sometimes people start bidding like crazy at the last minute, but I’m also thinking that maybe I did a poor job with the description.

If it doesn’t sell, I’ll get to re-list it for free, and I’d like your input as to how I can improve the description so that I’ll actually start getting bids on it. Actually, I guess I can update the description any time, so if you have any immediate improvement suggestions, please let me hear them.

Thank you.

I don’t think it’s so much the ad, it’s the how old the computer is. It’s not really worth the shipping. (I know, you can find ads for lesser computers that sold, etc. But that is the hard-to-explain part, not this.)

E.g., nearly one year ago I bought a PIII-500 with 4GB HD and 64Mb RAM for $10 with no shipping cost of course. Anything sub-500MHz is not worth it. (Except laptops.)

Also, the thing about the 640x480 monitor is not good. These are a liability. In some cities you have to pay someone to get rid of them.

Many charities and thrift stores woudn’t accept your PC as a donation.

Your payment section is just too weird, way too weird. The last thing people want to see is weirdness there.

90% of your bids will come in the last six hours or so of the auction. The machine is not quite so old as to be useless; there’s a lot of people out there who need old junkers for various projects.

One complaint: Your title is not very descriptive. Computer buyers like to see as much data about the machine in the auction title as possible. “Full computer system.” doesn’t really say anything. Instead, I would have gone with a title like “233 MHz, 128MB RAM, 2GB HD, Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor included.”

Oh, and one more thing. If it doesn’t sell, try selling the computer and the monitor in seperate auctions. People on eBay are generally looking for parts, not whole systems.

Well, that’s why the monitor is optional, and free. Yes, 640x480 is crap, but if the person buying doesn’t have a monitor already, then I would see it as a good temporary solution until they bought a better one.


Weird, how?

eBay does allow sub descriptions underneath the main one. I’ll try to add it, or if I can’t, then I guess I’ll change the description. Thanks.

Well, technically, the monitor is optional, and selling it…well, let’s just say, if somebody buys the computer but not the monitor, I’ll probably chuck it. But then again, I have another used computer I might sell. It’s 333mhz, so it’s faster, but has a crapy 512mb hard drive. Oh hell, I might just chuck that too, I don’t know.
Anyway, thanks to both of you for your replies. They’re much appreciated.

Your title will never come up in a search, unless they are looking for “computer”. Or maybe “computer and printer”, in which case they will be quite disappointed. This means that prospective buyers would have to click on your item in the category listing. They only do that for interesting titles that look promising enough to bid one. Yours is just too generic.

But more than that, if I was looking for this exact computer, the absolute deal-KILLER, would be the shipping. The calculator on your page is giving a price of over $120 to the East Coast ($65 to the West Coast).

I changed the description, about 5 minutes ago. I don’t know how long it’ll take for the update to show up, but I did make it.
Full computer system - 233mhz cpu, 128mb ram, 2 gig hd,
40x CD ROM, 2 floppies, keyboard, mouse, and more…

:eek: Holly crap. I’m removing the calculator even as I’m typing this. Thanks.

I think you need to specify exactly how much shipping is going to be. Exactly. Even if you have to guestimate.

For instance, I’ve sold several iMacs (for myself and for a friend) and I calculated the weight of the iMac and how much UPS charges for shipping and came up with $40 for shipping. (I checked UPS’s site and plugged in a Zip code that was pretty far away to get a higher estimate.)

People will go for that, as long as they know. Even if you overestimate on the shipping, people will bid lower (or at least I always do when I am buying something), figuring that they only want to spend $XX for the computer (shipping and all). But that’s okay—if you over estimate on shipping, you get to keep the excess and they end up paying only as much as they want to pay for the computer.

It sounds like you’ve got a decent little system. The RAM amount is good. I think if you sell the other parts separately (as has already been mentioned) and state how much shipping is, you’ve got a decent shot at selling this thing.

Also remember that people will bid lower when they can’t use their credit cards. That’s always been an issue and you’ll probably get less for the PC because of that.

Oh, I’m sorry, I missed SmackFu’s post about the shipping calculator. (I guess he hadn’t posted it when I wrote this post. Damn those hamsters!) I looked for information on shipping, but I guess I didn’t look hard enough.

Yes, shipping can be a deal-killer if it’s too high.

In my experience, people respond better to auctions of large items when the shipping is stated in the auction. Also, FedEx Ground is the best way to ship heavy items – cheapest, quite speedy, and insurance is included in the price. So, get a weight with and without the monitor and rough out the size of the box or boxes you’ll be using to ship – again, with and without the monitor. Go to and double check that you have a storefront near you that offers shipping by ground. On the same website you can calculate shipping costs (use the ‘rates’ tab). I live on the east coast, so I always calculate to a California zip code to be on the safe side. I see from your profile that you are on the west coast, so why don’t you calculate to my Virginia zipcode (23692). Once you get figures for both with and without the monitor, edit the ‘shipping’ section of your auction – say something like: “Shipping and packaging without the monitor will be $18.00. If you need the free monitor, shipping and packaging will be $$35.00” Be sure to use “shipping and packaging” rather than just “shipping.” Good luck!

I would agree with the time thing, now that you’ve gotten a better description written. I just sold an old CD burner (honestly, I was just trying to get rid of it without just throwing it away) where all the bids came in within the last 12 hours or so. So give it some time and you’ll probably at least get enough of a bid to recover the listing fee.

Well, you basically say, “it’s not my name, but really it’s me!”, and “no credit cards, direct bank link only!”. It sounds like something someone would say if they were trying to trick you into giving you a bank account number, or is otherwise tyring to get away with something. I agree, it would give me pause.

To have a varified Paypal account, you must give Paypal a bank account number. I had a varified account, but then my credit union got bought out by another.
My wife got a Paypal account under the new account number. I tried to update my info, but two people can’t use the same account number (we have a joint account, obviously).
I closed my account and joined hers, but when I’ve sold other items on eBay and the buyer did an instant payment through Paypal, they got my wife’s name and thought that they were buying from her. So, I tried to clarify that to avoid my wife getting E-mails send to her about stuff I’m selling, or sent to me but addressed to her.
We have a basic account, which only allows transfers from bank accounts. To be able to accept credit or debit card payments, we’d have to upgrade to a premium or business account, and we’re not ready to do that just yet.