Inside eBay

eBay's Hidden Features

First Published:
Date Published: 1999
Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Savetz

The problem with a Web site as big as eBay is that it's so, well, big. Scattered among the site's fourteen gazillion Web pages are some gems -- ones that you might have missed. Here's a look at some of the less traveled, but worthwhile, areas of the eBay community.

You can't click your way to your favorite category without tripping over an ad for eBay Magazine. Did you know that eBay also offers a fun -- and free -- online magazine? eBay Life ( offers articles about eBay users around the world, unique auction finds, and answers to users' questions. I particularly like the "How has eBay changed your life?" feature, which serves up feel-good stories of love, success, and profit. Think of it as "Chicken Soup for the eBay Soul."

More reading material is available in the eBay Library. ( Tucked away in the "Community" section of the site, the library offers two features. "Inside Scoop" offers starter guides in a dozen categories from antiques to sports memorabilia. There you'll find features such as "A Brief History of Pottery" and "Photo Guide to Vintage Barbies," often borrowed from books and other sources. The Library's other feature, Front Page, covers a smattering of categories. Front Page claims to offer "timely articles" on each topic -- although they are often interesting, I am at a loss to explain how they differ from the Inside Scoop stuff.

If you want to be impressed with the diverse variety of goodies that folks sell online (or you just have three minutes to kill) check out the "Grab Bag," pictures of thirty items for sale on eBay, chosen at random. ( It's like a trip to the thrift store, but without any old ladies attempting to keep things organized. Tap your browser's reload button for a fresh batch of randomness.

If you're in the market for a used Rolls Royce, a Rolex, or perhaps a new house, the Big Ticket Items page is for you. ( It's a one-page roundup of all items with bids in excess of $5000. There you'll find a lot of cars and motorcycles, jewelry, plus oddities like photocopiers, rare toys, and the occasional internal organ.

You probably already know about eBay's item search page ( but did you know about the Find Members tool? ( You can use it to quickly get the feedback profile, e-mail address, and contact information for another eBay user. It is also an easy way to jump to any member's "About Me" page. It would be more fun if you could search all the About Me pages for particular keywords -- to see the pages of everyone interested in Atari or PokeMon or whatever.

And when you do have a suggestion for eBay, the Suggestion Box is the place to put them. ( This page tells you how to ask a question, make a feature request, or suggest new categories.

Articles by Kevin Savetz