What Really Sells on eBay, What Doesn’t, and What’s Just Plain Ridiculous

LOOK, Cute kid selling cars
Image by JaxPhotography via Flickr

People list everything on eBay. If it’s been made, it will be listed. That’s not to say, however, that it will be bought. Some things are great for selling on eBay and some things you just shouldn’t waste your listing fees on. While it’s still a great idea to dabble in Competitive Intelligence before any serious eBay auction investing, here’s a short-cut to what items are, and aren’t selling on eBay.

Life is short – let’s eat our dessert first.

What Really Sells on eBay

  • Gadgets. Your local Wal*Mart, Target, or even Best Buy will carry a few cameras, a few laptops, a few cell phones, but buyers know that eBay is the place to go for true selection – not to mention you can pawn off your used Nanos, Garmins and other rich rejects onto eBay buyers who would rather spend less for something that simply works, regardless how new it looks.
  • Collectibles. If you’re looking for a hip Firefly lunch box to go with your collection of Mal, Jayne and Zoe action figures, you’re probably not going to find it at Wal*Mart and if, as a seller, you’ve found a secret stash of some off-beat, collectible goodies that can’t be found in more generic outlets, eBay will bring you someone, somewhere that wants it.
  • Antiques. Where else are buyers going to find an old, 1990s hand held phone that still looks like an actual phone (what, that’s not “antique”)? Or what about that wedding dress from 1800-something you got at that creepy estate sale? An eBay auction is the perfect place to find someone who thinks that’s neat – and will do weird, ritualistic things to it.
  • Celebrity tissues. How could we ever forget about the infamous Scarlett Johansson / Jay Leno snot-blowing incident? Did the famous bacteria-infested piece-of-what-would-otherwise-be-trash sell? You betcha, for a whopping $5300.

And people look at your discarded Kleenexes with disgust… How does that make you feel?

What Really Doesn’t Sell on eBay

  • Commodities. Nobody logs onto eBay to bid on toilet paper.
  • Your virginity. Your real life friends didn’t want it, neither does hotbabe38889294. Horndog976438816 might, though. But he’ll be suspended shortly and probably would’ve left you negative feedback, anyways.
  • Handmade Stuff. The quality is always subject. And can you really make it at home cheaper than a 14 year old girl in a Chinese sweatshop.
  • Common DVDs. I mean, they do sell, but for a ton less than you bought them for. Note, that I said “common.” My Girl and The Keys to the House probably will sell.

What’s Just Plain Ridiculous to Sell at eBay Auction

  • Furniture. It’s big, it’s bulky, it costs more to ship it than your grandfather’s bookcase is actually worth and people want to try out furniture – play with it a bit, before buying – and the flat monitor sort of gets in the way of that.
  • Food. Unless they’re the crazy, yet strangely endearing coworker who sits next to me (and keeps trying to get me to try his pickled ostrich eggs), people don’t buy food off of eBay auctions. What would even make you think to ship such a thing?
  • Dandelions. Now you’re just being loony.