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Have I forgotten how to search eBay?

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Have I forgotten how to search eBay?

Old 11-13-19, 10:30 AM
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mstateglfr 
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Have I forgotten how to search eBay?

It sure seems like I have, because I see way less of what I am searching for these days. This applies to current and older components.

The place is littered with new product from businesses and there is a serious lack of take-off or lightly used components from private sellers.
And much of what I do see from private sellers is product thats over in Europe. If I excluded shipping from Europe, there would be no results on some searches.



This isnt complaining, its really genuine confusion. There still have to be parts for sale- the market may be soft, sure, but cycling is still popular and people still like to sell their stuff. Those things havent changed.
Its like stuff moved over to a new platform, but facebook marketplace and CL certainly arent where components are reliably found, at least not near me.
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Old 11-13-19, 10:34 AM
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I still see a ton of used, private seller stuff for sale. But yes, with the expansion of actual companies selling new items on eBay, it has become more than just a used item marketplace and more of a retail platform. They are trying to compete with Amazon. It makes searching more difficult, certainly.
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Old 11-13-19, 10:36 AM
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For the most part now, ebay is where you go to find obscure parts and not good deals. I think a very large proportion of sellers there now do it to make money, rather than empty out the garage. You can filter results on the left side of the page, click on "used". I also often filter out overseas sellers for small parts.
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Old 11-13-19, 10:37 AM
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Now that ebay is collecting sales tax from the states, there might be reluctance from US sellers to post their gear. European sellers would not be affected by US sales tax policies. Don't know if that's the reason, but it might be a contributing factor.
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Old 11-13-19, 12:02 PM
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What search terms are you using? for US eBay, "vintage bicycle" seems to filter out much of the new stuff. For eBay France, "velo ancien"
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Old 11-13-19, 12:05 PM
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Much of what I see on eBay lately is listed for way more than I would pay for an item. I haven't actually won an auction there in years - always get sniped at the last second. If I do find something I want, I just "buy it now." But, I bid what I want to pay. No real issue there.

I wonder how many people have moved on from eBay due to seller fees and other issues. Perhaps other outlets are an overall better experience? I don't know. I have no interest in selling on eBay, personally.
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Old 11-13-19, 12:13 PM
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eBay changed something about their search syntax a few years ago. It used to be pretty easy to use wildcards (like "Camp* crank*") to cast a wide net, but I've noticed results being filtered out that should have been included when I do that. I have the best luck by grouping together a lot of specific words in parentheses in order to accomplish the same thing anymore. Amazon's search is funky, too.
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Old 11-13-19, 12:36 PM
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I used to sell things (rare auto parts and typewriters mainly) on ebay, but really got turned-off after they reported my earnings to the IRS for income tax. The income tax law is funky, because if they're your personal belongings that you're selling at a loss (I most certainly am), you're not required to report it on your tax return, but they'll still send you a form if it's over a certain amount and the fine print is hard to find on the IRS website. Also really hard to document acquisition of things and what constitutes "at a loss" - so difficult that I don't think the IRS is going to come after any smalltime sellers of bike and automobile junk like I was. But getting an official tax form in the mail is unsettling, even if it's more bark than bite in the end.

Nowadays they'll collect sales tax on everything in states that mandate it (MA and VT for starters, just began this year, may be others too), and I think Ebay manages that, not the seller. They even collect sales tax on things I've had shipped from overseas. So that's not a concern for the seller, I'm pretty sure. They do have an option now, to make a tax table and collect taxes in all the states, but I don't think that's for us smalltimers. Still disconcerting, as the sales tax is regressive, hitting the folks hardest who can afford it least.
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Old 11-13-19, 01:00 PM
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I have noticed this as well. I usually check 5/6 specific searches daily or every other day. "Vintage Campagnolo" is one, and I look Worldwide; there are times where there are less than two pages (100 items) of stuff listed, and it used to be double that at least - and most of it seems to be from online retailers, not private sellers.

I mainly look to keep abreast of values, on the off-chance I will see something I need/would like to have for the future. I get a good idea of value, and how high I'd be willing to go by reviewing Sold Items using my search terms. Prices seem to be coming down along with the lack of stuff.

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Old 11-13-19, 01:09 PM
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The algorithms seem to favor "featured" listings, but when looking for specific items I find just browsing the sub categories page by page works best, listing by most recent. I stopped selling there b/c it is a buyer heavy tilt, the fees, long return times (30 day now) and fact you will lose any buyer dispute makes it not worth it, at least for me. I have had some nutjob buyers that really turned me off, honestly would rather give stuff away then deal with ebay anymore
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Old 11-13-19, 01:27 PM
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I find E-Bay just odd... slowly making it harder and harder for the more computer savvy users.

A while ago they suddenly killed off wild cards.
Their Boolean Logic used to work 100% about 10 years ago, but since then it is more like 30%.
  • Comma = Logical OR
  • Space = Logical AND
  • Parenthesis for embedding
  • Minus = Logical NOT
I absolutely do not trust the "We removed some search results to show you the most relevant listings. View all results"

Sorting for relivant data works so/so, although not necessarily bringing up the better deals.

For most options, they've removed "Price, Lowest First", and "Price, Highest First". While for the most part "Price + Shipping" is equivalent, it often hides the good deals down at the bottom of the list.

And, their latest thing is to bump "sponsored" ads up to the top of the list. So, the "Sort by Price" gets contaminated by various sponsored ads.

Shipping prices are now hidden, so one must hunt for them. Sorting helps, but now that they're working on breaking the sorting, the shipping prices are important.

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Old 11-13-19, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I find E-Bay just odd... slowly making it harder and harder for the more computer savvy users.
This.

It's not like they're adding other operators to replace the logical ones. They just make more money from the sponsored things, so that's what they're trying to push.
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Old 11-13-19, 01:48 PM
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A few tricks that I've used to augment my searches. Note boolean algebra above. However, using the comma (OR) often restricts the number of results rather than increasing the number of results. In true logic, "OR" should ALWAYS increase (or give same) results. So, sometimes doing separate searches rather than combined searches provides more results.

Also note, I've never been convinced that E-Bay effectively deals with suffixes. "S", "ED", etc (one of the reasons wild cards are important).

Left hand column has various ways to improve searches. I'll click on "Item Location Worldwide". This will bring up more sales. This still limits based on shipping location. If you really wish to go full rogue, try some of the European websites:
https://www.ebay.it/
https://www.ebay.fr/
https://www.ebay.de/
https://www.ebay.co.uk/
https://www.ebay.com.au/

You may have to talk to sellers directly about shipping quotes. But, you often get different search results. But, this will help when searching for large purchases of items that are rare in the USA.

If I have too much junk, then perhaps exclude China (North America Only), or simply choose "Used".

The left column choices vary by subcategory (including using their "See All", and can be helpful, but don't depend on them too much. It is getting better, but I think stuff is often miscategorized or missing the category designations.

There is cycling stuff that gets miscategorized. So, bumping up a few menu choices can help. "Cycling". Also, my searches often fall on the division between "Vintage" and "Modern", so either search "Vintage" separately, or choose a menu level that includes both.

You can never count on a derailleur actually being posted under derailleurs, or front/rear being correct.

There is also a category: Collectables/Transportation/Bicycles.
I find this category most frustrating. I understand why they have it there, but there is so much overlap with "Vintage Bicycles", and I often forget to include it with my searches. Ideally there would be a way to cross searches into that category.
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Old 11-13-19, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I used to sell things (rare auto parts and typewriters mainly) on ebay, but really got turned-off after they reported my earnings to the IRS for income tax. The income tax law is funky, because if they're your personal belongings that you're selling at a loss (I most certainly am), you're not required to report it on your tax return, but they'll still send you a form if it's over a certain amount and the fine print is hard to find on the IRS website. .
Common misunderstanding here, but its Paypal that issues the 1099, NOT eBay. I carefully kept my eBay sales under the threshold, but received a 1099 from Paypal. Thats when I learned all payments, from any source, are counted against the limit.

And yes, tracking cost is a royal PITA. And realize that shipping is included in the total. So the frameset I sold to a guy in New Zealand for $150, with $425 in postage, appeared as a $575 payment. It is up to the tax payer to document the costs and prove they just didn't make $575 in income. And a lot of my eBay sales (not bicycle related) are things I bought NEW at full retail and then sold years later at a significant discount.

The lesson is don't overlook payments you receive outside of eBay, like sales on this forum. And track your items up front. Its a lot easier than doing it after the fact.

I never, ever list my items for sale as auctions. 100% of it goes as buy it now, pay now. I base pricing on sales history, not asking prices. Occasionally I make a mistake and have to lower my pricing.

If you suffer from "buying disorder", you either MUST find an outlet or you will be a HOARDER. Since my wife and I are both inflicted with buying disorder, developing and using outlets for our finds is job 1.

I too hate, hate, hate that Sponsored Listings will appear first. Same is true with Amazon.


IME, eBay is not the place to find the deal of the year. But it is the place to find that obscure item. For instance, I needed a replacement door latch for my 1977 vintage trailer. This lock has been out of production for over 30 years, and had an unusual cut out in my fiberglass RV door. So it was either butcher the door, or find a replacement. Sure I paid $$ for the privilege but I was able to find the right lock in about 30 seconds.

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Old 11-13-19, 02:01 PM
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As a small time seller I feel like ebay caters to the mega sellers and promotes the ebay store as it includes a monthly fee. Their format discourages the small timers by pushing price drops on BIN listings, pushing the narrative on Best Offers and they continue to make me correct the numbers on repeat listings.

When doing searches with pretty specific keywords, I regularly get minimal results, then digging deeper get results with the very keywords from my original search.

When ebay does there "we wanna know what you think" crap, I let them know what I think and never get any feedback on it.

PayPal refuses to take their fees from the very transaction they're handling, but instead take their fees from your linked bank account. They insist that they are not a bank but do offer a credit card if your interested.

These seem to be "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" tactics.
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Old 11-13-19, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by r0ckh0und View Post
t.

PayPal refuses to take their fees from the very transaction they're handling, but instead take their fees from your linked bank account. They insist that they are not a bank.
This is because they do not want to be subject to the rules and regulations that apply to ALL banks here in the US. They are walking a very fine line. Being exempt from these rules gives them a competitive advantage over any bank. And a lot of non-banks offer credit cards. Amazon Prime card is just one example.
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Old 11-13-19, 03:03 PM
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More to the point, I have noticed some weird stuff with searches on the bay.

I'll get suggestions based on prior searches that clearly should have appeared in my original search, but did not. Framesets that are not newly listed that all fit my search criteria, but weren't included in the search results.

Also, in the past I have searched "Schwinn Super Sport" and gotten, say 75 listings. Then I punch in "Schwinn Supersport" and get 90, even listings that were not spelled as one word, but did not show up in the first search. No idea why it happens.
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Old 11-13-19, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
I'll get suggestions based on prior searches that clearly should have appeared in my original search, but did not. Framesets that are not newly listed that all fit my search criteria, but weren't included in the search results.
I've seen this too. But I'll be searching for one thing, and look in the "related items" when I click one of the results and see an item that should've shown up in the results, a lot of times better than the one I clicked on, and I'm scratching my head wondering why it didn't show in my original results anywhere. I've learned to pay close attention to related items these days and I've scored some wicked deals that way. Somehow eBay's relationship algorithms are better than their search algorithm. Bonkers.

But I haven't noticed any issue with operators. You just need to be careful when using parenthesis not to use spaces after your commas. For example, say I wanted to find Colnago pantographed seat posts and stems, but avoid getting hammered with all the damn chainrings and cranksets, I'd search for

colnago (panto,stem,post,seat) -(ring,chain,crank,crankset,chainring)

Basically telling it search for [colnago] items with [panto or stem or post or seat] in the title and excluding [ring or chain or chainring or crank or crankset or chainring] in the title.

It's not perfect. But say you were searching for Treks and only wanted to return auctions with very specific models (560,660,760), and wanted to exclude results that have totally unrelated words (antelope,multitrack,mountain), it's totally possible.

I seem to remember it was much more flexible. Same with Craigslist keyword alerts. I swear both used to accept pipes | but maybe I'm crazy.
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Old 11-13-19, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Left hand column has various ways to improve searches. I'll click on "Item Location Worldwide". This will bring up more sales. This still limits based on shipping location. If you really wish to go full rogue, try some of the European websites:
https://www.ebay.it/
https://www.ebay.fr/
https://www.ebay.de/
https://www.ebay.co.uk/
https://www.ebay.com.au/

You may have to talk to sellers directly about shipping quotes. But, you often get different search results. But, this will help when searching for large purchases of items that are rare in the USA.
So, this is another thing I've noticed and I used it to help a fellow BF'er out tonight. They needed an obscure French piece of hardware. I know I have one somewhere but I hit eBay.com to search in French and English and came up short. Then I hit eBay.fr and searched with French terms to find it, saw someone was showing up there via UK which I didn't see on US eBay.com when I searched in French and in English.

For S&G, I yoinked the item# out of the eBay.fr auction URL and pasted it into US eBay.com and ... sure enough, there's the item, it was purchase-able through US eBay.com site, and at a cheaper price than the last one I found and bought for myself, so I was able to hook another forum member up with a cheaper price than I could offer.
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Old 11-13-19, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by r0ckh0und View Post
PayPal refuses to take their fees from the very transaction they're handling, but instead take their fees from your linked bank account. They insist that they are not a bank but do offer a credit card if your interested.
I'm not a major seller, but as far as I can tell, PayPal seems to be moving away from the Commercial/Friends & Family to terminology that seems to indicate buyer protection/no protection. I assume that allows at least some commercial use (without any buyer protection).
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Old 11-13-19, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Nowadays they'll collect sales tax on everything in states that mandate it (MA and VT for starters, just began this year, may be others too), and I think Ebay manages that, not the seller. They even collect sales tax on things I've had shipped from overseas. So that's not a concern for the seller, I'm pretty sure. They do have an option now, to make a tax table and collect taxes in all the states, but I don't think that's for us smalltimers. Still disconcerting, as the sales tax is regressive, hitting the folks hardest who can afford it least.
Just encountered this last week. I sold an item and eBay added the sales tax to my total sale amount, charged the buyer and debited my total to make it a wash for me. I wonder if the buyer knew he would be paying sales tax because I live in MA. Definitely sounds problematic for sellers competing with like items in different states. A bit surprising was the fact that PayPal assesses it’s fee on the sales tax amount because eBay adds it to the total sale amount. So it turns out even though the buyer pays the sales tax, it actually ends up costing the seller more as well. Initially wondered if assessing the fee on sales tax was legal but I suppose it works the same way on a credit card purchase at your local store.
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Old 11-13-19, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
More to the point, I have noticed some weird stuff with searches on the bay.

I'll get suggestions based on prior searches that clearly should have appeared in my original search, but did not. Framesets that are not newly listed that all fit my search criteria, but weren't included in the search results.

Also, in the past I have searched "Schwinn Super Sport" and gotten, say 75 listings. Then I punch in "Schwinn Supersport" and get 90, even listings that were not spelled as one word, but did not show up in the first search. No idea why it happens.
I've experienced this too here and there.
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Old 11-13-19, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile View Post
I seem to remember it was much more flexible. Same with Craigslist keyword alerts. I swear both used to accept pipes | but maybe I'm crazy.
Craigslist still does, doesn't it? Or maybe that's why I haven't been finding the things I've been looking for on CL either.
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Old 11-14-19, 04:36 AM
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eBay has search?

I thought it just showed you stuff. That would explain my 6 food processors.
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Old 11-14-19, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Craigslist still does, doesn't it? Or maybe that's why I haven't been finding the things I've been looking for on CL either.
CL still allows it. I have an alert setup with piped obscure brand names inside parens and I haven't missed one yet.

However, I have gotten a number of false positive alerts because some jerkoffs want to tag a million totally unrelated high-end names at the end of their post to pop up in irrelevant searches. Like, if I'm hunting for a Pogliaghi, I don't want to see your BMX pit bike, bro. But thanks! I'd really love to stuff those keywords somewhere uncomfortable ...

I have the same beef w/eBay. Like, people who stick "Campagnolo" in the auction title or "Bertin" or "Herse". Then the item has zero Campy on it, or maybe one of the shift cables is Campy, or the bike and/or mech was made in France and was a brand of mech Bertin or Herse might have used on their bikes, although they'd never apply something so low-end.

I get it. You want to be seen. But at least use keywords that are equivalent and/or have direct application to what you're selling, eh?! I usually flag items like that when I see it, and having a few different accounts and places I can tag things from, can usually get them taken down fairly quickly. If you're going to be a dick, I can return the favor. Hate that it be like that, though.
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