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For Seniors: How to Write a Catchy eBay Listing Title

After you figure out what category you want to list your item in, eBay wants to know what to call the item you’re trying to sell. Type the item name, or title, where prompted. eBay gives you 55 characters for this purpose. You want your title to use the item’s common name and outline its age, condition, and any special features.

Avoid fancy punctuation or unusual characters, such as $, hyphens, and L@@K, because they just clutter up the title — and buyers don’t search for them. Remember the keywords you used to find the item’s category? That’s what buyers will search for. Also avoid the following gaffes:

  • If you’ve finished writing your item title and you have spaces left over, fight the urge to dress it up with lots of asterisks and exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!! (See how annoying that is?) The eBay search engine may overlook your item if the title is encrusted with meaningless **** and !!!! symbols. If bidders do see your title, they may become annoyed by the virtual shrillness and ignore it anyway!!!!!!!!

  • Another distracting habit is overdoing capital letters. To buyers, seeing everything in caps is LIKE SEEING A CRAZED INFOMERCIAL SALESMAN SCREAMING AT THEM TO BUY NOW! Using all caps is considered shouting, which is rude and tough on the eyes. Use capitalization SPARINGLY, and only to finesse a particular point.

Savvy buyers use the eBay search engine to find merchandise; if the name of your item is spelled wrong, the search engine can’t find it. Poor spelling and incomprehensible grammar also reflect badly on you. If you’re in competition with another seller, the buyer is likelier to trust the seller hoo nose gud speling.

Taking a crash course in eBay lingo can help bring you up to speed on attracting buyers to your item. Words and phrases — such as mint, one of a kind, vintage, collectible, rare, unique, primitive, well-loved — as well as the abbreviations in the following table — are used frequently in eBay listings, and they can do wonders to jump-start your title.

A Quick List of eBay Abbreviations
eBay Code What It Abbreviates What It Means
MIB Mint in Box The item is in the original box, in great shape, and just the way you’d expect to find it in a store.
MOC Mint on Card The item is mounted on its original display card, attached with the original fastenings, in store-new condition.
NRFB Never Removed from Box Just what it says, as in “bought but never opened.”
COA Certificate of Authenticity Documentation that vouches for the genuineness of an item, such as an autograph or painting.
OEM Original Equipment Manufacture You’re selling the item and all the equipment that originally came with it, but you don’t have the original box, owner’s manual, or instructions.
OOAK One of a Kind You’re selling the only one in existence!
NWT New With Tags Item is new with store tags still on it.
NR No Reserve Price Many buyers don’t like reserve prices because they don’t think that they can get a bargain. If you’re not listing a reserve for your item, let bidders know.
HTF, OOP Hard to Find, Out of Print Out of print, only a few ever made, or people grabbed up all there were. (HTF doesn’t mean you spent a week looking for it in the attic.)

Often you can rely on eBay slang to get your point across, but make sure that you mean it and that you’re using it accurately. Don’t label something MIB (Mint in Box) when it looks like it’s been Mashed in Box by a meat grinder.

Add a subtitle, if you run out of title spaces and have more to say. eBay allows you to buy an additional 55 characters, which will appear under your item title in a search. The fee for this extra promotion is $0.50, and in a few circumstances, it is definitely worth your while, especially if there are other sellers selling the same item as you are.

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Any text that you put in a subtitle will really make your item stand out in the crowd — but those additional 55 characters won’t come up in a title search. If you choose this option, choose attention-getting info that isn’t absolutely needed for the title itself.

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