eBay – Tools for Success (Part 1)


About eBay

Ebay Research Labs logoDubbed “The worlds’ online marketplace®”, eBay is one of the web’s truly universal brands. Founded in 1995, the company has built a customer base of over 230 million people, all attracted to the world’s largest digital marketplace.

Nor does it stop there: eBay also owns familiar brands such as Skype, PayPal, Stubhub, Kijiji, Gumtree and others, giving it a truly global presence.

Ebay for businesses

With announcing that it now has 10 million live listings at any one time, and with a staggering reach of 41.59%*, people in the UK spend more time on eBay than any other website. No wonder it can be a very powerful online marketing tool.

Many businesses have woken up to the fact that eBay can be a valuable source of additional revenue. As a result, there are now countless individual eBay stores that span over 13,000 categories.

To help store owners, eBay has released software such as ‘Turbo Lister’ to help simplify the mass uploading of auction items. You can also make use of features such as traffic reports, email marketing, cross promotion, product sales and more – allowing you to sell thousands of products online.

*(Nielsen / Netratings, June 2006, where reach is the percentage of all active internet users within that month visiting


If you set up eBay stores on behalf of small businesses, you need to optimise the listings in a similar way to a normal website. However, before selling anything, you need to find out whether someone is selling the same or similar items, and at what price. You also need to know the volume of products that are on offer in your chosen categories.

Luckily, eBay Research Labs offers some excellent free tools that could help give you the insight you need to succeed. The Research Lab applications aren’t accessible from the main site, so surprisingly few people know that they are available.

Free Tools for eBay success

Research Labs has seven tools available on its site. Some are good fun, but all can provide you with valuable information. Quickly running through them, they are:

  • Surprise-A-Day
  • eBaySaurus
  • BayEstimator
  • RepEx
  • Hyades
  • Emosi Sosial
  • Colour Search

I’m going to tell you a little bit more about the Surprise-A-Day and eBaySaurus tools today, and move on to the others in tomorrow’s post.


This tool is both fascinating and very useful for discovering what the hot eBay trends are. Each day eBay updates the application with ‘Buzz of the day‘ — a hot search topic — and people can either vote ‘Surprised’ or ‘Disappointed’. There is even an eBay forum for users to ‘Predict and Win’. The ‘surprises’ themselves are usually products and phrases that are in high demand because of the season, product launches, world events, deaths, sports championships or festivals. Today’s is ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’.

The tool also shows you news-related stories to the left, in case the media are influencing a product’s popularity. It also displays a graph showing each trend over a certain period, along with ‘current related listings’ underneath it. There’s also a date search feature.

As you can see from the example below, from 3rd August, the ‘Buzz of the Day’ was ‘Sony Cassette Walkman’ – unusual, and certainly a nice surprise.
eBay Surprise-A-Day's Buzz of the Day

You can see that traffic skyrocketed because the 30th anniversary of the Sony Walkman was in the news.


eBaySaurus is a fantastic tool that provides you with a visual representation of keyword analysis. When you search for a term, eBaySaurus opens up a tree of strongly-related search term ‘categories’. The larger the box, the more popular the term is. Colours also represent how popular a query is.

eBay popularity

You can then double click on any of the search terms to examine a more specific group of terms, based on what you selected. You can continue narrowing down your search until you have what you need. You can also hover over a keyword and it will display the stats for you, in case you need to compare two keywords of the same colour.

For example, a yellow box could represent an interest level of 75, whereas another could be 422 – you need to check.

This tool also offers a trend graph so that you see how a term has performed over time. If you have drilled down into the keywords, it will display the trend for your chosen query.

For instance, if I research ‘ladies top’, I can see immediately that ‘woman’s top’ is more popular than ‘ladies top’.

eBaySaurus search

I can then drill down into ‘tops’ and choose ‘dress’ from the new branch that appears. ‘Bcbg dress’ & ‘cocktail dress’ are the most popular, so I can then click on ‘cocktail dress’ and learn that black is the most popular colour.

The relationship between ‘black cocktail dress’ and ‘cocktail dress’ is illustrated by a blue line, which shows the source of information is a ‘Multi factor strong relationship’.

eBaySaurus results
Not only can eBaySaurus help you identify terms you may not have thought of, it also helps guide you to the most powerful keywords within your area and offers a good guide to the differences between their popularity.

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for part 2 of ‘eBay — tools for success’

More on this subject