Finding What You Want
Online auctions try to make it very easy for you to find the types of items you are seeking. Three search tools typically are supported on each site: browsing, find or search, and advanced search.
Browsing on an online site is a bit like wandering around inside a busy department store and stopping to touch and ponder whenever something new or on sale catches your eye.
Once you click onto an online auction site, you will be bombarded with an array of links, advertisements, announcements, tips, and news flashes. You may be seeking something specific, but the chances are very high that you can get distracted and go off on tangents once you start browsing.
Fortunately, most sites help you stay focused by offering browsing links for major categories or departments, such as Antiques or Cameras or Toys. For example, at the main page for Overstock.com Auctions, you can click on a department link in the left-hand navigation bar. Then you can browse the site by clicking on a department link, such as Antiquities, in the navigation bar on the left side of the page. A listing of auctions in that department will be displayed, sorted by the items that end first. If you use other sorting tools, you can rearrange the list by newly posted items, those with the lowest prices, those with the highest bids, and so on.
On many sites, a major category or department will have additional links to specific subcategories, such as Early-American Furniture or First-Edition Books or Baseball Cards.
Find or Search
Virtually any online auction site will have a Find or Search tool prominently displayed on its main page and probably on other pages as well. As a buyer, you should become very familiar with these useful and timesaving features. They usually will be your starting point for finding desired items and comparing bid prices.
As an example, the uBid.com auction site has a Quick Search tool that is visible on many of its pages. Entering a search term such as “gold jewelry” brings up lists of matching categories and matching brands. You can also narrow your search by entering another keyword or a bidding price range.
The Yahoo! Auctions Search tool lets you select All of Auctions or specific categories such as Electronics & Cameras or Home & Garden before clicking on the Search button.
One of eBay's most powerful tools for buyers and sellers is accessed from the deceptively simple
The wise buyer makes frequent use of an auction site's advanced search tools. These tools can help you quickly find auctions for very specific items within certain price ranges or from specific sellers. You can also find recently completed auctions and see how much other bidders paid for particular items that interest you.
On eBay, the Advanced Search link is right below the Start New Search box.
Clicking on the link will open a page labeled Search: Find Items, with boxes you can fill in with search terms. There also are drop-down lists of categories and locations, and checkboxes with certain qualifiers to help narrow your search. As an example, you could list auctions closing within one hour for first-edition hardback books from sellers in your own state who only accept PayPal. You could restrict the search even more by specifying a minimum or maximum price.
Yahoo! Auctions' Advanced Search link provides the option to search by:
Each choice brings up another page with additional options to focus the search.
To being an advanced search on the Overstock.com Auctions site, start with the Refine Your Search box on the search page. There are several ways to get to Overstock.com's search page. The main ones include:
Click on Search in the tabs in the site's top navigation bar.
Click on the Advanced Search link in the Search box portion of the left-hand navigation bar.
Click on the Advanced Search link next to the Search box beneath the banner on the Overstock homepage.
To perform an advanced search in the Refine Your Search box, enter one of the following terms:
A keyword or series of keywords
An item number
A minimum price
A maximum price
An auction department, such as Books, Music & Videos
Results per page (10–100)
Each time you find a new online auction site that grabs your interest check out its search and advanced search tools before registering to buy. Be sure they offer the types of helpful, timesaving search options that you want.