How to make money from E-Bay without ever listing a sale
Today thousands of people use e-Bay and other online auction houses
every day. Photos with e-Bay ads make a huge improvement in sales and in
the price received – so you’d think every person listing with e-Bay
would post a photo with every item they list. Surprise – not everyone
does. Often it's because they just don't know how to do it, or don't have
the equipment needed.
Here’s a service you can sell.
How do you do this? Take digital pictures. You’ve got the
expertise and the equipment. All it takes is a digital camera that will
take a close-up. Set up an area with a seamless background. Have a couple
of things handy to prop up plates or art. For flat items – stamps or
photos, even thin 3-dimensional objects - you can throw them right on a
If you’ve got your own website, post the pix to that and print out
the address (URL) of the picture. Set up a directory in your website with
a name such as "auctions." So the address might be
Make the files small – no bigger than 450 pixels in either dimension
– and save them so they’re less than 30 KB so they load moderately
Maybe you can put a tag line at the bottom of each image that says
"photo hosted by www.chriscamera.com"
How much do you charge? Companies that host photos on line
charge 50 cents each for 30 days, when the customer takes the photo,
prepares it and sends it to the company. You are going to take the photo,
prepare it and host it – presumably because the customers can’t figure
out how to do it themselves. I think a price of $4 or $5 for the first
photo in a session is reasonable, with each additional one in the same
session half price. Yes, this is dirt cheap for professional close-up
photography – but your cost of goods is zero! You can charge more for
bigger and more valuable items.
How will you tell the customer the address of his pix? You could
scribble it on a piece of paper – better still print it so it’s
legible. With word processing you can save the info. Best method of all: e-mail
a message so they can paste it into their listing.
Why do I suggest e-mail? It’s good for the customer, because it
reduces the chance that he’ll make a transcription error. It’s good
for you, because you’re adding another customer name and address to your
mailing list. What, you don’t maintain an electronic mailing list? See
our article on the correct use of Spam.
You want to make the pictures very sharp and clear, but of low
resolution so the customer won’t think of this as an alternate to
professional quality macro photography. That is, you don't want to make
the pictures so good they can make good prints from them.
OK, what’s to stop you from turning the camera to high resolution and
making really good photos? Nothing. Now you can charge a little more . . .
OK, what’s to stop you from backing up a few steps – making the
background a little bigger – and putting people in place of the
collectibles you’ve been shooting? Nothing. Now you’re taking quick
and dirty digital portraits, and there’s another profit center.
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