How to Post Unlimited High-Quality Auction Photos FREEThis guide is a recommendation for a process- embedding externally hosted photos into your auction description- that can be done alone, with several free 3rd party sites, or with paid 3rd party sites, along with some of the pros and cons of each options. I use this process to post multiple high-quality photos of coins I sell, but whatever you sell and whatever option you choose, the potential price (free or much cheaper), the number of photos (Unlimited), the quality of photos (as detailed and as large as you want), and the ease of use (pretty darn easy), make this a better option for sellers at almost every level.
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A Little Background…If you're like me as a buyer, you are always wary of and frustrated with auctions that include only post a single photo, especially one that cannot be enlarged enough for your needs. If you're like me as a SELLER, you may be pulling your hair out over the expenses that result from eBay's charges for additional eBay hosted photos; although the charge is only about 15 cents each, with a profit margin of only a few dollars (or cents!) per item those charges can add up! At the same time, depending on the collectible you sell, the ability to provide LARGE, high-quality photos can translate to additional cash in sales- any collector purchasing a coin will want to see both sides in detail, same with card (sports, post, or otherwise!), a book buyer may want to see multiple pages, and for larger items like glassware and other collectibles many more angles in different lighting are necessary. It took me several months of selling to figure this out, and it appears like many new sellers still haven’t started using it yet, so here’s a guide to get your started and to look at your options.
The Answer for both the buyer and you the seller?
EXTERNAL PHOTO HOSTING
Why?1. It’s FREE, or with premium editions, CHEAP. Many providers offer external photo-hosting for FREE (although this can be accompanied by ads or more limited functionality), and, a product of the ever decreasing cost of online storage and competition, even the PAID option can end up costing you just one or two dollars per month, the tiniest fraction of a cent per photo and give you lots of additional features.
2. PHOTOS ARE AS BIG AS YOU WANT. Even the hosting sites here that have size limits have the limit set at the size of about the average laptop screen!
3. AS MANY PHOTOS AS YOU WANT. With one cut and paste, you can add 1 or 50 (or 500? Haven’t tried it!) photos to your listing.
4. Photos will appear as part of your description.
5. SIMPLE. Simply upload your photos to the sites, get the html code for the photos you want (many sites automatically generate this for you) and just paste it into your eBay description page in the html view. YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW HOW TO PROGRAM/CODE/WRITE HTML TO USE THIS FEATURE- you just need to know how to copy and paste! To insert your direct link for your first "free" photo (the one that appears to searchers in the list) you will just use the regular url that begins with https://; for the embedded image you will need something larger that looks like this: "<a href="https://s1178.photobucket.com/albums/x380/rcannon5/CannonCoins Ebay Listings Nov 20th 2010/?action=view&current=IMG_1822.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="https://i1178.photobucket.com/albums/x380/rcannon5/CannonCoins Ebay Listings Nov 20th 2010/IMG_1822.jpg" border="0" alt="11.06.2010"></a>" You can see that the actual link is located along with embedding/formatting information on either side. Again, you don't need to know how to write this, just how to copy and paste it (the service I use is now set up so that if you just click on the link it is automatically copied; all you have to do is paste it). A few folks suggested that I make the following sentence huge and bold because it is just about the only mistake you can make with this:
NOTE: Whether copying and pasting this link into Turbolister or the online eBay listing builder, you will need to switch to *HTML view* (via a simple click on the link/tab on top of the description) and paste your link *there.* If you just paste it in the "Standard" view it won't work! You can then switch back and you should be able to see/preview your ad with the image. The ONE CONCERN I still have about this, and I would love to hear feedback from others on this (which I will post here) is whether some buyers who are truly just moving fast and skimming ads might open your auction, see only one “Ebay hosted” photo at the top, and then not take the time to scroll down and see your huge nice photos below. I have made the first line of my auctions “*Additional Large Photos Below*” and I have seen others who, instead of having ANY ebay photos, just have a clip art that says “See add for photos!” or something to that effect; I have hesitated to use the latter, because it seems a little unfair to not allow ANY actual photos of your ad to show up in a search, but perhaps it is working if folks are using it!
*YOU HAVE OPTIONS!*
Below are what I see as the “Big 3” categories of options for photo-hosting, a few choices for the first two, and some of the pros and cons of each. Please note that I am in no way affiliated with any of the companies below, although I have either used those listed or spoken with eBayers who use them and approve them; I’m just a fellow eBayer who was glad to learn about them as a category! Those listed by name are all in widespread use and have been acknowledged as secure and safe by multiple outside users, but there are other options not listed here that may well be equally safe, secure and full of features- these are just the most well-known and popularly used. Apologies, but guide policy means that I can't link outside of eBay so I cannot provide direct links to the FAQs page for each company, but a simple Google search can pull up more specific policies and instructions for each option.
Option #1: Free Photo-Hosting Sites (Some with optional “Premium” Upgrades)This is the area that I think may appeal to most low-to medium volume sellers, new sellers, and those with some basic familiarity with computers- by no means advanced!
Google Picasa Web Albums
Pros: 100% free up to 1 GB- a huge increase in storage can be had for a few bucks. Developed by Google, and so if you use Google (as many eBayer's do) it can integrate with your account, and you can use other albums to share personal photos with friends. Good security settings. Photos can be automatically uploaded from Picasa photoviewer. Several Editing options.Cons: I have listed this one separately because I started with Picasa, but the biggest con, and the reason I stopped using it, is that their embedded links are inconsistent- about 25% of the time they will appear as broken links, a problem that blog users of Picasa have run into as well. Additionally, generating html code for each photo requires multiple clicks, which gets frustrating if you have many photos. Picasa is a better choice for sharing albums with friends, but not great for embedding in eBay. Officially, too, their policy says that the site cannot be used for commercial purposes, and eBay may meet that definition.
Flickr, Photobucket, ImageCave, SnapFish, and OthersPros: From 50MB to Unlimited Free Storage, 10MB toUnlimited(?) monthly traffic (uploads and downloads), ability on some to set it up so that the html code you will need to post on you item description is automatically visible for EVERY photo on your gallery page, all are much more reliable, images can be up to the size of a 17 inch screen. Most have many advanced Editing options (note that while I totally disagree with altering photos to make images dishonest, I have on MANY occasions been glad to crop my photos so that the background is even and to, for example, rotate photos that are accidentally taken horizontally rather than vertically.) All have great security. If you want to use the account for personal photos as well, and many integrate easily with facebook, myspace, blogs, and other online venues (these are all customizable by photo and album). Some also have photo-printing services if that interests you, but it likely less important for eBay.
Cons- While all of these are great options, they are not all equal and, perhaps in the spirit of competition, policies can often change (for better or for worse). Again, because I am not able to link to external sites in eBay guides I cannot include those links here, but a Google search for, for example, “Photobucket free account included” or something along those lines to see what is included with the free account to see what meets your needs. If you also will be printing a lot of personal photos, flicker and snapfish might be your best options. If you also want to store video, Photobucket may be best. For use limited to Ebay, however, I would suggest that all are EXCELLENT improvements over eBay offerings alone. If using the FREE versions of these sites, expect to navigate around ads or at least frequent requests to upgrade- again, these sites are secure and these aren’t dangerous links, but they can be distracting. Some sites remove these if you use them to purchase prints of your photos occasionally. Otherwise, if the ads become too annoying, if you are a high volume lister, want to store a LOT of video, need VERY advanced editing options, or just are interested in some other advanced features, the upgrades on these sites (where available) are often just 2-3 dollars a month with a month-to-month plan, and as little as $1.50 a month with a year-long plan. This is the option I have recently chosen- I’m currently on a month-to-month plan, and so far so “pretty good” at least; I may try another hosting site premium plan for a month, or experiment with switching back to the free plan, but this is definitely the category that works for me now.
Option 2: 3rd-party All-In-One Sites
Vendio, Auctiva, InkFrog, and OthersPros- One-stop access to auctions, marketing, and photohosting; these options contain most (if not all) of the photo-hosting features outlined above for the free sites, although some only allow upgrades in photo hosting with overall account upgrades. For those with the most minimal computer skills, the templates and “all in one place” setup of these sites may make them better options. High volume listers or actual companies where work is delegated to employees may find this option better, too, because the “big picture” of auction is a bit easier to track and multiple users can be added to the same account (in more premium account levels).
Cons- Cost-Compared to sites like Picasa and the Free Photobucket option, these all-in-one sites can cost much more- from $10-$50+ depending on the level of your plan. This may still be a steal for high-volume sellers, and I would certainly recommend a free trial if there is one being offered to see if that level of functionality would benefit you, but for low volume or new sellers with low profit margins, this can be a bit pricey. Upgrades in photo-hosting are usually only available as part of larger account upgrades; perhaps I may need a bit more than the 200 MB of photo hosting, for example, but I don’t need the additional listing and marketing tools that factor into the price of the upgrade. These sites also tend to heavily "brand" your ads- not that this is a deal-breaker, but just be aware that the names of the provider you are using will on your auction listing in several places, and may make your auction seem a bit pre-packaged unless you are familiar enough with them to be comfortable customizing them heavily. Remember when looking for customer support that these sites do not necessarily specialize in photo hosting although they provide it, and so it may not be their strength. A device that chops, slices, dices, broils, bakes and fries may not fry quite as well as a product that only fries, and it may not slice as well as a product that only slices; that said the counter space saved by just having one device may make it worth it!
Option 3: Self-Hosted Photos on Your Own Server or Through Your ProviderPros- Most Internet Service Providers (the company you pay for your internet) provide online file storage at no cost on their server (although it may have limits or charges associated with particular options). This option is the ultimate in customizability if you know how to use it- the photos you post and your interaction with the host will probably be entirely ad-free and can be very streamlined
Cons- I would only recommend this as an option if you have some pretty serious computer savvy; you will be responsible for separating photos from your personal files, learning the upload process for your particular provider, generating the html code, ensuring the security level you desire, ensuring link permanence, etc. If you know a fair amount about computers and the web you will read that sentence and say “I can do this in my sleep,” but if part of it sounds confusing or at least cumbersome, you may not want to consider this as an option. To use another cooking analogy, I REALLY like doughnuts from Krispy Kreme and I sometimes wish I could tweak them a bit, but the effort to replicate what they do in my own kitchen would be so much effort that I would rather just pay them the 59 cents to do what they do best and then customize what I on the tail end. For someone more skilled in doughnut-making, this would be the way to go.
*If you want to see some of these hosted photos in action, feel free to check out any of my live or closed auctions (userid: cannoncoins)
Feel free to check out my other guide on How to Start Selling Coins on eBay here.
~Thanks for reading, please message me with any questions or suggestions, and I would be very grateful if you could take just *1 Second* of your time to please vote this guide as “Helpful” below if you believe it could be helpful to you OR to another eBay user.~
Many Thanks, and happy eBaying!
R. (UserID: Cannoncoins)