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Where to Store Your eBay Images

You need a safe place to store your pictures for eBay. If your images don't appear when someone clicks your auction, or if your images take too long to load, a user might click off your auction and go to the next one. If you have more than one possible place to host your images, test each with a few pictures; you want one that's reliable.

On eBay's Create Your Listing form, you can upload up to 11 images for the top of your listing. You can upload images directly from your computer, or host them on a server. If you're hosting your own pictures, you can insert additional images into your description — not only storing the photos for future use, but also showing off your item's details.

When you store your own photos on a service or your ISP's storage area, you may have to use an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program to upload the pictures. In the old days, this meant buying a program or getting shareware (free, noncommercial software). Now, if you use the free Firefox browser, you get a built-in FireFTP program. Firefox is stable and updated frequently, so there's no reason to fear installing it on your system. When you use auction-management software to build your listings, you most likely won't need an FTP program to upload your images. Generally the complete management programs integrate an FTP program as part of the package and may include storage space for your images on their server.

You should always put your eBay images in a separate directory — not in an active part of your e-commerce website (if you have one). You may think that your business Web site ought to be a good place to store your images, but it isn't. If you want to keep track of your site statistics, such as the number of hits, hosting your own images may ruin the data. A call for one of your eBay images counts as a hit on your site, and if people are looking at your images rather than dropping by to buy, you'll never get accurate website stats.

Most ISPs (Internet service providers) give you at least 5 MB of storage space for your personal home page. Although this space isn't appropriate for your final business site (too small), it's a perfect place to host your pictures. Everyone has an ISP, and most ISPs give you space. You may have to use an FTP program to upload to your web space, or your ISP may supply its own uploader. Go to the home pages for your ISP (the member area), and check out what it offers.

If you're using an auction-management website, you're covered for most of your back-office (clerical) tasks. These websites supply enough web space to hold all your eBay images. They also have a convenient one-click upload from your hard drive.

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