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There are several options for the length of time to run an auction on eBay.  Choosing which to use is not intuitive.  This guide is designed to explore each option and suggest possible situations in which you might use each.  The goal here is helping you to make the right choice for each sale. 


Most people view their searches by “auctions ending first” largely to be able to buy the item they desire sooner, rather than later.

In cases where the customer is in a hurry to get his or her item – 1 day auctions are ideal.  From a seller’s perspective, the short time availability of the item limits its overall exposure (and getting the possible best price).  So, the 1 day auction option is only good for those items that are in extremely high demand -- with low to no supply otherwise available!  An excellent example is the Wii Game Box (and some related merchandise) only spotily available during this past holiday season. 

This year (and last), the news and the company let it be known that Wii game systems were in very short supply.  In case you missed the news, the message was also clear by the lines forming outside of every national chain at 6 a.m. the day a delivery of the systems was expected to arrive.  In many cases, desperate “Santas” had to revert to paying “market value” ($500.00 or more on the web) rather than $249.00 suggested retail price.  This translated to BIG profits for those lucky enough to buy and sell some units on eBay - so one day was enough to fetch big dollars for the seller.

Another example were the Apple iPhones on the release day, or shortly thereafter.  In anticipation of scarcity drummed up by the media, there were lines at stores over night in some cities.  Hundreds wanted to be the first to have these magic gadgets.  The anticipated shortages resulted in a high demand on the internet too as with the Wii Game Console.  So, if you were lucky enough to get an iPhone (or more than one) in the first few days after the frenzy began, you could take advantage of the “shortage” by selling them on eBay for twice the retail price or more usinf only 1 day auctions. 

In most cases, putting such items on eBay during the holiday sales season netted huge profits over the original investment BUT it had to happen during the frenzy and BEFORE Santa was to deliver the goods.  Under those circumstances, a 1 Day Auction, is necessary and became essential, the closer to Christmas it actually got.  Even in 1 day of exposure these items were sold to the highest bidder (with many folks bidding).  So limited exposure time was no real issue.  If your item is in high demand, and supply is low (or non existent), especially during a holiday season, you should get it out there and sold while the demand is still hot.  1 day auctions are the perfect way to do that. 

Do note that this situation is also a perfect case for adding a slightly inflated “Buy It Now” option to the auction.  There are often those who will pay even more to avoid the bidding war and waiting any amount of time at all for auction end.


Using a 3 day auction is very like using a 1 day auction, and serves a similar purpose.  In this case, you are hoping for buyers with slightly more “staying power” in the shorter auction period, while also gathering a bit of additional market exposure for your hard to find or unique item.  If you have several items that are in high demand, you can put one in a 7 day format and another in the 3 day format.  This assures that you are making it available to bidders with less patience for auction style buying in the shorter auction.  A good indicator of the type of item that would be a good candidate for a 3 day auction is an item that, after only having been listed one or two days in a 7 day auction, is now bid up to or beyond it’s expected profit level (a high demand item).  Having an additional item also available in a shorter auction rides the same popularity and scarcity wave as the original item in the 7 day auction. 


Five day auctions are best used to bridge auction time on your shorter term auctions to take in a long weekend or a holiday weekend.  For instance, if you normally use the 1 or 3 day format and there is a holiday weekend coming, you may want to bridge the weekend from Thursday through Monday with a 5 day auction.  The additional exposure over the length of the holiday weekend is great because people love to shop online during their leisure periods.


eBay’s big vendors and many Power Sellers use seven day auctions routinely.  The 7 day format always covers at least one weekend, and provides optimum exposure for their merchandise.  The popularity of 7 day auctions is usually ascribed to the fact that they always cover a weekend and the term (7 days) is long enough to pull in a wide range of potential customers. Yet, the duration is also short enough to hold the interest of the largest number of potential customers. 


For an additional $0.20 for each extended auction, you can keep your item(s) listed for auction for 10 rather than 7 days (3 more days than the standard 7 day auction).  A 10 day auction practically guarantees that you will get the widest range of bidders available on eBay.  However, you may loose a few who are impatient or forget to bid on the auction during the longer waiting period.  The 10 day auction length is best suited for those items that are unique or expensive.  In those cases, you would sensibly like to realize the best possible return at auctions end.  That will only come from maximum exposure.  Items in this category are also the best suitable for the use of reserves, should you choose to do so.

Please drop by my auctions (Pepper120851) or store (The Write Place Ladies Clothing) for great prices on high quality ladies clothing, shoes and accessories every day!  I love combine shipping and Best Offers allow YOU t6o name the price you pay every day -- do come and see?!

Happy Ebaying!


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