Learn about eBay from Skip McGrath Follow Skip on Facebook
Follow Skip on Twitter
Sell Used Books Online for Profit

Blog Search



See Also

Our Most Popular Posts

Resources at Amazon


Summer Slowdown Book Sale

May 22nd, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Summer Sale

From now, through the end of June, I am having a 40% off sale on all my books and training courses. (Click here to see all my books.) To get your 40% discount, use the Coupon SKIPSAV40 at checkout.

Be sure and hit the button that says Apply after you enter the coupon so it will take effect.

I apologize to those of you who just purchased a book over the past week or so, but unfortunately, I can not backdate my sale price. This was a fairly sudden decision brought on by slowing sales due to summer selling and was not planned.

Important Please read before you order: Whenever I have a sale, I get folks who order multiple books. That’s great!  However, both the Complete Amazon Marketing System and the eBay Marketing System include all of the information in The Wholesale Buying System.  So please do not purchase one of the Marketing Systems, and the Wholesale Buying System.

One more thing, both the eBay and Amazon Marketing Systems contain a large amount of duplicate information -so again, I do not recommend purchasing both of them. My suggestion would be to buy the Amazon System, and my published book – Three Weeks to eBay Profits – Third Edition.

Amazon Opens FBA in Australia

May 4th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

 Sellers in Australia can now sell on FBA. Amazon has opened it first warehouse on the East Coast of Australia near the major population centers, and insiders say they are looking at a second West Coast warehouse in the near future.

Become an FBA seller in Australia and broaden your selling opportunity to reach new customers. Fulfillment by Amazon offers you access to our fulfillment and customer service expertise, providing your customers with the convenience of fast delivery on more products.


Learn how to sell on Amazon FBA with the Complete Amazon Marketing System.




Amazon Stops Construction at Seattle HQ Offices Because of A New Proposed $500 Employee Head Tax

May 3rd, 2018 by Skip McGrath

The Seattle city council is considering a $500 “head tax” on all businesses with more than $20 million in annual sales.  If passed, each affected employer (including Amazon), would have to pay the City of Seattle an average of $500/year for every employee on the payroll.

The tax  would cost Amazon $20 to $30 Million /year.  Because of this, Amazon has halted all construction in Seattle including a large futuristic project in downtown Seattle near their headquarters. That construction project had employed over 1,000 workers who are now looking for other work.

Amazon had planned to hire 7,000 local employees for the new facility, but has indicated it will now hire those people in other cities.

Amazon may also sub-lease out space it just rented in the Rainier Office Building, a premier office space in Seattle that would have housed another one-thousand employees.

Amazon employs nearly 50,000 people in Seattle.  The new tax would affect almost 600 businesses and would have a negative effect on hiring in a city that is  recovering nicely with the economic growth of the last couple years.

What is really interesting is; the city Council says they need the money for homeless shelters, but the new center included a 17-story tower, now halted by Amazon, that was slated to contain  shelters for several thousand homeless people.  The shelters were donated by Amazon at no cost to the City.

I live near, but not in, the city of Seattle, so my business would not be directly affected by the tax.  However, our local economy depends on overflow from nearby Seattle, so growth in our small town could be affected as well.

After 23 years in Seattle, Amazon is already shopping for a new headquarters location outside of Seattle  (Atlanta, GA is the leading candidate).  Amazon has said it will invest approximately $50 Billion the new HQ that will employ about 45,000 people.

Amazon made the decision to move due to high taxes, poor transportation infrastructure, traffic congestion, streets in disrepair and many anti-business regulations.  Amazon is not the first company to move out.  Aerospace giant, Boeing, moved their headquarters to Chicago for many of the same reasons.




Learn how to make money working from home with the Complete Amazon Marketing System.  Starts with the basics and include advanced money-making techniques and access to wholesale sourcing information

Final Sale on two of my popular books

April 27th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Through May 15th

I’ve been selling online since 1999.  I’ve sold on eBay, sold on Amazon and made money with affiliate marketing.  In short, I’ve made a living working from home by selling things online.  I’ve written about it all.  The result is that I’m currently maintaining and updating about a dozen books about how to make money online.  That’s a lot of books!  So I’ve decided to retire two of them:  The Virtual Peddler and How to Make a Living Working from Home.

They were both written to introduce people to the concept of selling online and they’ve got a lot of great information.  Make Money from Home contains seven home business plans. The Virtual Peddler tells you how to make money selling used and vintage items.   I have reduced the price of both books to $9.97.  That price will run through May 15th, and after that the books will no longer be available.  So get these great introductions to online selling before they’re gone.


By the way, if you want to learn more about selling on eBay or Amazon, I suggest you look at The Complete eBay Marketing System or The Complete Amazon Marketing System.

New Newsletter – Managing and Controlling Amazon FBA Storage Fees

April 10th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

ProfitsI’ve got a new newsletter for you.  One of the articles is very important to your bottom line if you’re a FBA seller.  Amazon is increasing its storage feels.  Those can add up quickly and start eating into your margin. So it pays to stay on top of them.

Here’s the entire newsletter contents:

  • Managing and Controlling Amazon FBA Storage Fees
  • Tips to Be More Successful Selling on eBay and/or Amazon
  • Online Reselling: Investments and Startup Costs
  • Using Amazon’s Buy Box Page to Create Fast Selling Bundles
  • Is Consignment Selling Still Alive and Well?
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Read the Newsletter

Check Your Credit Card Statements Closley

April 7th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Money - Watch the bottom lineI use credit cards for both my business and personal life.  I rarely run a balance, preferring instead to pay in full each month.  We purchase about $400,000 worth of merchandise to sell on eBay and Amazon a year and we earn travel points on that which we use to pay for airfare & hotel to attend trade shows.

In the past year, I have had one instance of someone getting my CC info and making trips overseas that I didn’t get to go on.  Fortunately, I caught it quickly and Bank of America Visa cancelled the charges and the card and sent me a new one.

But I have also had three separate instances of seeing small charges on my card that I did not recognize.  All of the charges were under $5.00 a month, so they are easy to miss.  All three of these were on my American Express card.  So, I disputed the charge and since the vendor had no proof that I bought a product or service, American Express charged them back to the vendor and credited my account.  In one case, they were not able to contact the company at all, so the blocked that company from accepting American Express.

I am now in the habit of checking mt CC statements online at least weekly, and when I receive a statement in the mail, I review it line by line.  The other thing you want to look out for are one-time hidden charges by your CC Company.

Lastly, if you have been good at paying your charges on time, call (use telephone –not email) your Credit Card Company at least yearly and ask if you qualify for a lower rate.  Every time I have done this, they lowered my rate by at least 1.5%.

Beginner Tips for Selling on Amazon

April 3rd, 2018 by Skip McGrath

These are Beginner Tips for Selling on Amazon, but there is a lot of good stuff here for the seasoned seller too.

I would love to claim Authorship of this, but it was written by the folks at Kabbage, a service that provides business loans to eBay and Amazon Sellers.

Here is the guide.

If you want to take this a bit further, I publish the Complete Amazon Marketing System, where you can learn how to just make some extra money, or learn how to make a full-time living on Amazon like I do.

Tips for Winning the Buy Box on Amazon

April 2nd, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Why does the Buy Box matter? Because almost 90% of all sales on Amazon occur within the buy box.

Let’s start with – What is the buy box?   There are actually two definitions –practical and technical.

In the practical sense, the buy box is the entire page that comes up with the seller in the buy box listed as sold by. (See image below)

Click to see larger image


In the technical sense the Buy Box is the portion of the page that shows the Add to cart button (see image)




If you are one of these sellers, then you are not in the buy box.



The complete algorithm Amazon uses to award the buy box is a closely guarded secret at Amazon, but we do know several of the key components (not in order of importance):

  • Competitive price – One of the major factors is that you price competitively.   When Amazon says competitive, what they really mean is be the lowest price including shipping.
  • Seller Reputation and rating – This is another major factor.  If you have poor feedback and account metrics (Order cancellation rate, pre-order cancel rate, etc.), you can forget winning the buy box.  This can be more important than price.  For example, I have a product I sell for $24.95 with free shipping, and one competitor who charges $19.99 + free shipping, which is quite a bit lower than me.  Yet, I am always in the buy box because my feedback score is 99% and his is only 90%.
  • Provide Excellent customer service. If you do this, then your seller reputation and ratings will remain high.  Another element in this is providing tracking quickly if you are merchant fulfilling and always answer customer questions under Amazon’s mandated 24-hour window.
  • Meet Amazon’s image guidelines. You may be buy box eligible as a seller, but if your image does not meet Amazon’s Image Guidelines, that item could be kicked out of the buy box (If this occurs, you will see a Quality Alert next to the item on your manage inventory page,
  • High number of product reviews.  Amazon looks at 2 things – the total number of reviews and the average star rating.  Just having a large number of product reviews helps a lot –but, if your average score is less that 3-star, it could also hurt you.
  • Keep stock on hand. One of the additional factors Amazon looks at is your inventory.  If two sellers were equal in all respects, and you had 1 each in stock and the other seller had 5 or 6, then the tie would go to the other seller.

So, there you have it.  Understand , and comply with all these values and your chances of making the buy box will skyrocket.


Learn how to make a living selling on Amazon with the Complete Amazon Marketing System


Subscribe to the FREE eBay and Amazon Sellers News.  The oldest and largest newsletter for eBay and Amazon sellers from beginner to advanced.

More SKUs Equals More Money on eBay & Amazon

March 27th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

More SKUs Equals More Money

Before I tell you about the new edition of my newsletter I wanted to remind you that you can subscribe to my newsletter.  What does that mean?  You’d get 4 free eBooks and an email each time a newsletter comes out.   Bonus items. A free newsletter.  It’s hard to pass up a deal like that!

Now to the newsletter, the March 27th 2018 issue of the eBay & Amazon Seller’s News contains:

  • Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web

  • More SKUs Equals More Money on eBay & Amazon

  • Understanding Trademarks and Copyrights & Why They Are Important

  • Important Business Expenses That eBay & Amazon Sellers Must Track

  • Tips to Increase Your eBay or Amazon Profits

  • Five Tips to Select More Profitable Private Label Products

  • Increase Purchasing Power on eBay, buying from eBay to Re-sell on eBay or Amazon.

  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Read the Newsletter


March 17th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.


Skip McGrath

Update on Amazon Keywords

March 14th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Update on Amazon Keywords

Amazon has been experimenting with a new keyword system.  Here are the details and my comments:

Amazon limits the length of the search terms attribute to less than 250 bytes (characters).

The search terms limit applies to newly-registered as well as existing ASINs.

Note: If an ASIN’s search terms equal or exceed the length limit, none of its search terms is indexed.

Tips for optimizing your search terms:

  • Stay under length limit (250 characters including spaces).
  • Include synonyms. Kosher – Ritually Pure
  • Include spelling variations; no need for misspellings. Airplane – Aeroplane
  • Include abbreviations and alternate names.
  • You can use all lower case.
  • You don’t need punctuation, such as ; : , – .
  • Separate words with spaces.
  • Don’t repeat words within the search terms field.
  • Don’t repeat words from other fields, such as Title or Brand Name.
  • Don’t include your brand or other brand names in search terms.
  • Don’t include ASINs in search terms.
  • No need for stop words, such as “a,” “an,” “and,” “by,” “for,” “of,” “the,” “with,” and so on.
  • Use singular or plural; no need for both.
  • No temporary statements, such as “new,” or “on sale now.”
  • Don’t use subjective claims, such as “best,” “cheapest,” “amazing,” and so on.
  • Don’t add abusive or offensive terms.
  • There is no need to mix languages. For example, U.S. ASINs with English search terms are automatically translated into Spanish, if customers are browsing amazon.com in Spanish.

To add search terms:

  1. On the Inventory tab, click Manage Inventory.
  2. Click Edit, which is to the right of each product listed.
  3. On the page that opens, click the Keywords tab and enter your keywords in the Search Terms

The number one thing you wants to take away is the statement by Amazon: If an ASIN’s search terms equal or exceed the length limit, none of its search terms is indexed.  So be very careful not to exceed the 250 bytes’ limit in the search term field of your listing.

If you are not sure what that field is – here is a screenshot:


One of the more important takeaways is, Amazon will no longer search bullets and descriptions for keywords.  Going forward, the Amazon search engine will only look at the title and the listing keyword field.  This has not yet been implemented 100%, but will be completely phased into all categories and all listings over the next few months.




Learn how to sell on Amazon with The Complete Amazon Marketing System


Writing eBay & Amazon Descriptions That Sell

March 11th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Writing eBay & Amazon Descriptions That SellHave you noticed that, besides seeing them eBay, Amazon or Etsy, product listings are often picked up in search by Google, Bing or Yahoo?  Here are some tips to help you do two things:

  1. Get your listings found by search engines
  2. Write descriptions that sell more product

There are two places search engines look for matching content – titles and product descriptions.  Titles and product descriptions are content.  Creating good, relevant, content is what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about.  Delivering relevant content works better than any SEO trick you may have heard about.

Win Sales by informing & educating your potential buyer

Winning descriptions don’t just describe the product details. They inform and educate the potential buyer.

Start by describing the product features and benefits.   Always include important information such as: quantity, taste, color, size, features, benefits, the price, and any customization available.

I typically write a one or two sentence basic product description, followed by bullets that cover the size, color, specifications, etc. to begin with.  Then I keep writing until I run out of benefits to write about.

Remember: Features describe, but benefits sell!

24-inch padded guitar strap is a feature.  Our adjustable padded guitar strap with non-slip lining is comfortable, adjustable and will keep your guitar in place, describes the features as benefits.

Note:  My research on the products I sell, shows that longer descriptions work better than short ones. However, that may not be true for all products, so you should test this for yourself

Create White Space in your listing

Remember how people read on a computer –they scan!  Therefore, it is important to make your description easy to read.  Use bullets for important points and short paragraphs with a double return between each paragraph to create white space.  This is what I have tried to do in this post.

All products should have their own individual description

Even if you have somewhat identical products, resist the temptation to copy/paste the same info into several listings.  Why?  Remember, one of the things search engines penalize is web pages that have identical content on them.

Here is an example.  Let’s say you sell several models of a fashion bracelet.  And each listing says:  Add this bracelet to your cart today, so you don’t miss out to another bidder.  Since each bracelet is slightly different, you might say something different in each listing such as: Add this lovely fashion bracelet to your cart today, so you don’t miss out to another bidder.  Or: Add this lovely cuff bracelet to your cart today, so you don’t miss out to another bidder

Make it Personal

I always write in the first person.  This way, it sounds like I am speaking directly to the reader.  I might say something like:

My wife and I found this French fry cutter in a high-end kitchen store on our last trip to New York CityWe bought one on the spot.  When we got home, we tried it –and loved it.  I researched the company and ordered them for our store.  We have sold hundreds since then with only a couple returns.

If you don’t have a personal story, like the one above, you could always say something like:

We try and use every product we sell.  So, we kept one of these French fry cutters for ourselves and love it.

Ask for the sale, and communicate a sense of urgency

Ask for the sale.  If you are sitting in front of a customer, it is easy to ask for the sale.  But, when you are selling online your product description has to do that for you.

Personally, I like to use promotions and coupons. (20% off, BOGO, Buy 2 or more and get free shipping, and so on).

Give the customer a reason for acting immediately. The moment a potential buyer clicks away from your website for any reason, the purchase becomes more unlikely.  Communicating a sense of urgency discourages your buyers from leaving your website.

Urgency is prompted through a combination of time, exclusivity or availability, and saving money. Here are a couple approaches to create this sense of urgency in your product descriptions (I am sure you can think of more):

  • “Order now – Only 5 left!”
  • This is my last supply at this price.  My supplier told me a major price increase is coming with my next order

Great product descriptions are essential to your bottom line. Put the time and attention into creating them and it will pay dividends in higher sales –and profits


Learn How to Buy and Sell Gold

March 9th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

Most of you know me for my books about selling on eBay and Amazon, but I have done a lot of other things in my life too. One of them is buying and selling scrap gold.

When I first got into this business gold was selling for around $300 an ounce. Gold went as high as $1900 an ounce, and today gold is selling for near $1,300 an ounce and experts forecast it to go higher – much higher!  I have seen forecasts by reliable writers that Gold could reach as high as $5000 an ounce in just a few years.

The United States is the largest jewelry market in the world and millions of Americans have old, broken or just out-of-fashion pieces of jewelry sitting in their jewelry boxes. Just last week my wife came across a single 18K gold erring. She lost the other earring in the set about ten years ago and the remaining earring has just been sitting in her jewelry box since then. I put the earring on my gold scale and it weighed 8 grams. At today’s prices that one earring was worth over $300 –which is more than she paid for the pair ten years ago.

There is literally a fortune in gold –billions of dollars worth, sitting around collecting dust. But the high price of gold today is bringing it out of the woodwork. And all you have to do to get your piece of the pie is to ask.

Check out my best-selling training course about How to Make Money Buying and Selling Gold, just updated recently.



Understanding Wholesale Distribution and Sourcing

March 7th, 2018 by Skip McGrath

 Understanding Wholesale Distribution and Sourcing

I’ve got a new edition of my newsletter ready for you.  One of the articles is about a concept that it’s important for ANY online seller to understand – wholesale sourcing.

Here’s what’s in the newsletter. Note that there’s a favorite reader feature that I haven’t done in a while, niche of the month.

  • Musings from and about eBay, Amazon and The World Wide Web

  • Understanding Wholesale Distribution and Sourcing

  • Making Money with Blogs

  • Amazon Gets Strict on Bundle Policy

  • Amazon H&B and Gourmet Food Expiration Policy

  • eBay Niche of the Month – Used Film Cameras

  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Read the March 7, 2018 Newsletter

The Annual Wholesale Liquidation Sourcing Newsletter

February 22nd, 2018 by Skip McGrath

I’ve got a new version of my newsletter ready for you.  It’s my annual wholesale liquidation sourcing issue.   In addition to featuring liquidation wholesale sources, I’ve got several articles on the subject.

  • Understanding Wholesale Liquidation Sourcing 
  • A Common Myth Surrounding the Wholesale Liquidation Industry
  • Beware the Pitfalls of Sourcing & Selling Liquidation Products
  • Do RA and OA have a Long-term Future on eBay & Amazon?
  • Increase Your eBay and Online Sales with A Strong Call to Action
  • New Wholesale Sources for eBay and Amazon Sellers

Popular Pages

Free Newsletter
News, Tips & Tools for Online Sellers.

Newsletter for online sellers

24 Tips for Selling on Amazon

24 Amazon Selling Tips

77 Tips & Tools for Selling on eBay

77 Tips and Tools for Selling on eBay

Learn How To Sell on eBay

Learn to sell on eBay

Want to sell on Amazon?

Learn to sell on Amazon

My Top 99 Wholesale Sources

99 Wholesale Sources

Personal eBay & Amazon Coaching Program
Would you like personal coaching?

Coaching for online sellers

 The Online Seller's News is the oldest & largest newsletter for eBay, Amazon & Online Sellers. Get news, tips, tricks & learn online selling strategies.
New Wholesale Sources in every issue.


First Name:

Last Name:

iDrive Cloud Backup
Mailers USA

Skip's Newsletter
Own Your eBay Traffic
Complete ebay Marketing System
Niche Markets
Wholesale Buying System
Cleer Platinum
eBay Consignment Business
Site Build It!
© 1999- Harry McGrath, Inc., DBA Skip McGrath, Auction Seller's Resource and Vision-One Marketing. All Rights Reserved.

eBay Tools and Resources | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Guest Contributions | Shipping & Return Policies
Home | Newsletters | eBay Training | Free Articles | Tools & Resources | Web Wholesale SearchTestimonialsBlog