Over the years, eBay has gone from being a fairly simple conceptlittle more than a forum to connect buyers and sellers to one anotherinto a sprawling ecommerce universe that includes propertlies like PayPal, Half.com, StubHub, and MicroPlace.
Even as that growth has occurred, the core eBay marketplace has continued to evolve, adding dozens of features and portals that often fly under the radar.
Whether you're an eBay buyer or seller, there are likely to be some resources on eBay that you're missed.
Here are seven of the least-well-known eBay resources that deserve a second look from eBay traders.
eBay Main Street
Most sellers, however, feel as though they have little input in this regard. As it turns out, eBay maintains a resource called Main Street to educate members of the community about current issues in policy and help them to get involved as activists and citizens.
Wherever you happen to be operating, if you're a seller that cares about government's outlook on eBay and ecommerce, you owe it to yourself to follow eBay Main Street and get involved.
eBay Partner Network
The web is becoming a connected place, and a lot of the value that it generates comes from marketing and relationship-building rather than from buying and selling directly.
If you operate a web platform of any kind and use it to generate revenue, you may be leaving cash on the table if you're not taking advantage of eBay's partner network to drive visitor traffic to eBay's partners.
The Popular Lists
Sellers are always looking for a research advantage, and many pay for subscriptions to research services that help to deliver data about what's selling well on eBay and in which categories.
For those that are just starting out, or for those that want a quick overview, eBay offers free tools that can provide a quick overview. Lists of popular products, popular items by category, and active keywords are updated in real time and available to eBay buyers and sellers at no cost.
eBay is no stranger to new and experimental initiatives, and it remains to be seen whether eBay Now will eventually disappear, but for the moment, eBay is testing this new service in major urban markets.
eBay Now goes about connecting buyers to a completely new group of sellerslocal retailers. It's a courier service, one that enables shoppers to log onto eBay, buy something from a local retail store using eBay and PayPal, then have the purchase collected and delivered in a matter of hours or even minutes.
If you're in New York or San Francisco (or one of the other markets into which eBay Now will soon expand) and have always wanted an easy-to-use, general purpose courier service like this, eBay Now may be what you're looking for.
eBay Gift Certificates
Gift certificates are a venerable way to give cash gifts without seeming to give cash gifts, a favorite not only amongst family members but with companies and institutions as well.
eBay's gift card and certificate infrastructure hasn't been as well-developed as some of its competitorsjust try finding and buying an eBay gift card off the shelf at a local retailerbut as it turns out it's easy to buy an eBay gift card or certificate online.
The Suggestion Box
There has never been any shortage of opinions about how eBay ought to be run or what ought to be added to (or removed from) the eBay marketplace. Often, however, eBay members have felt powerless to be heard, or have sent their suggestions in various hamfisted ways (using inappropriate options in the customer support system, for example).
In fact, eBay maintains a purpose-specific suggestion box precisely to hear what community members have to say. Just keep in mind that this is a suggestion box, and is not the complaints department. Often those amount to the same thing at the end, but the way in which you say things in this case can mean the difference between your suggestion being tossed out or being added to the list of ideas to consider.
The eBay Shop
I have some branded eBay goods around from my time inside eBay, and over the years I've had enough interest on the street to realize that there are at least some people out there interested in owning products that bear the eBay logo.
Though they don't promote it, eBay operates a store through BrandVia to sell branded eBay goods and will be happy to sell you a bag, mug, soccer ball, or other curio touched by the hand of eBay.