In the third installment of this series on getting started on eBay, we focused on how to create a professional presence. In this section, we will look at the various types of auctions that you can offer. When we think of eBay, what comes to most of us is the familiar timed traditional auction, but the fact is there are five different auction categories on this mammoth site.

Traditional Auction

With this type of auction, items are placed online and the public may bid over the course of a predetermined amount of time. This type of auction runs one, three, five, seven or 10 days and includes a 'Starting Bid' price and 'Buy It Now' option, which lists a price predetermined by the seller at which he/she will instantly close the deal on the item. As an example, if you're selling an MP3 player you'll list two prices. One is the 'Starting Bid,' which is the lowest bid you will accept. The other is the price associated with the 'Buy It Now' selection. The 'Starting Bid' price might be 210, the lowest possible bid you'll accept, while the 'Buy It Now' price might be 250, the price that will close the deal instantly.

Dutch Auction

The Dutch Auction allows you to put a lot of items up for sale in one auction. Buyers then bid on as many of those items as they want. Let's say you place 30 identical hammers on sale. One bidder may place a bid of 9.00 per hammer and want 10, while another might offer 10.25 per item for a total of 20. Someone else may place a bid of 8.50 on 10 and another offers 6.00 for eight. The 10.25 for 20 and 9.00 for 10 are the winners, being the highest bidders, however each pays the lower amount offered-- 9.00 per hammer.

Reserve Price Auction

Items listed in this category carry an undisclosed reserve price. Thus, until the reserve price is met, an item will carry the tag 'Reserve Not Met.' Once the price has been offered, the tag disappears. It's a way for a seller to request a minimum bid without disclosing exactly what that amount is.

Restricted Access Auction

These are articles that do not fit under the general eBay auction categories and that are listed in the Adults Only section. In order to view or bid on these, a consumer must have a credit card on file with eBay. Placing a card on file establishes that a consumer is at least 18 years old and may legally access the Adults Only area.

Private Auction

The Private Auction, which is often used for expensive fine art, does not list the name of the bidder. Anyone can bid on items in this area. The Private Auction is designed to help guard the bidder's privacy.

Restricted Items

Various items may not be sold on eBay. If you have a question about a specific article go to the site's help area and type in the name of the item and the word 'restricted' and click 'search'. You'll get an answer as to whether or not it may be listed.

The type of articles for sale, the number of identical items and the potential bidders will all help determine exactly what type of auction feature you choose to use. Once again, take time to study the site, determining how to best exploit the power of eBay. In our fifth installment, we'll take a look at some of the fees and important regulations that you'll need to understand and consider.