eBay Supercategories and Specialties - dummies

By Marsha Collier

eBay runs some special categories that make up a good deal of the business on eBay. Check out the supercategories and specialties to really make the most of your eBay business.

Real estate

Since the founding of our country, land has been valued as a great commodity; passed from generation to generation. As Gerald O’Hara so eloquently put it, “It’s the only thing that lasts.” (Remember that scene from Gone with the Wind?) People buy land for investment, vacations, or retirement. It’s no longer common for a family to spend their entire life in one home. Real estate, although a major purchase, is becoming more and more an everyday transaction.

The smart people at eBay are sly trend-spotters, so they opened an official category for real estate transactions in the fall of 2000. You can access eBay’s Real Estate category through the category link (on the left side of the home page).

Because substantial legal restrictions are involved in real estate transactions, sellers can choose to list their properties either as auctions or in the form of classified advertisements, depending on the laws in their areas.

When you participate in a listing that is in an ad format, you do not place bids. At the bottom of the item’s description page is a form for you to fill out that’s sent to the seller. After the seller receives this information, he or she can contact you, and the two of you may negotiate privately. When you browse the Residential Homes category, such listings will have the words Classified Ad next to the title. Many residential home sales are handled in this manner. Land and timeshares are typically sold in the auction format.

Because of a wide variety of laws governing the intricacies and legalities in real estate transactions, the auction format may be nonbinding. Before getting involved in any real estate transactions on eBay, read the official rules.

Cruising eBay Motors

Buying a car — that’s one purchase that isn’t always fun to make. The minute the salesperson says “I’ve got to check with my sales manager to see if I can do that,” it becomes an intimidating situation. And when you’ve finally decided on the car model you want, you still have to face the deal, when the finance manager tries to sell you warranties, alarms, and extras that you never wanted or needed. No fun at all.

If this feeling is familiar to you, meet the sweetest deal of the 21st century, eBay Motors. eBay Motors is the largest auto mall in the universe and is consistently ranked the number-one automotive site on the web by Nielsen/NetRatings.

eBay motors home page
The easily searchable eBay Motors home page.

For some of us, eBay Motors is a magnificent fantasy site. Maybe, you check out the vintage Thunderbirds and picture yourself as Suzanne Somers flirting with the guys in American Graffiti.

Many of the cars on eBay Motors are private-party sales, bank cars (repossessions), and cars that have been cherry-picked by wholesalers and dealer overstocks. In addition, professional car dealers sell rare, hard-to-find cars to a marketplace that draws millions of visitors per month. You can’t get that many people through the door at a local dealership! Dealers put up the rare colors and limited-edition vehicles because this is an auction site — the rarer an item, the more likely bidders are to get excited. The more excited bidders are, the more they lose their heads — and the higher the price goes.

With an average of seven to eight bids per sale, eBay Motors is a competitive environment for the most desirable cars. Dealers can sell cars for less on eBay because it costs them less to sell. (They don’t have to pay the finance manager to twist your arm to buy the extras.)

You can enter the eBay Motors site by clicking the Motors link on the left of the home page.

Supercategories

When it comes to unique shopping, there are some supercategories worth taking a look at. On the eBay home page, take a look at the major category list of links on the top. By poking around the major category-listing links, you’ll find links to unique eBay areas.

eBay has outlined these specialized categories to reflect interests that cover more than one category. Some interesting (and popular) supercategories to check out are

  • Business & Industrial
  • Collectibles
  • eBay for Charity

These supercategories come in handy when you’re looking for cross-category merchandise.

Business & Industrial

If you’re looking for anything to outfit a business, the Business & Industrial category is the place to go. It covers everything from tractor parts to welding equipment to computers. You can browse the subcategory of your choice and see what’s available.

Business & Industrial eBay
The Business & Industrial category covers a varied group of items.

However, if you need a particular brand name or item, you may find it easier through eBay’s search.

eBay for Charity: Giving back to nonprofits

Many charitable organizations are selling their wares on eBay to raise money for their fine work. You can get some rare and unusual items here, such as the annual NBC Today Show Green Room autograph book. This one-of-a-kind book has signatures and notes from the famous guests of the Today Show. One of these Green Room books sold for $87,500! The super-hottest auction is the annual lunch with Warren Buffet (the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway); in 2017 (and in 2012) it raised $3,456,789 — bidding almost tripled in the last seconds!

When you list an item on eBay, you can choose a nonprofit from a certified list and designate a percentage of the proceeds (from 10 to 100 percent) to donate. The item appears in the search results with a Charity Auction icon. When you go to the item page, you’ll see the name of the nonprofit, some information about it, and the percentage of the final bid that the seller is donating. You can search eBay for your favorite nonprofits by name.