1. Study an auction for a few weeks to see what kinds of postings work. Look for items similar to what you want to post, monitor the response and determine an appropriate price.
2. Test-market your items. See which sell on which auctions. Sometimes 10 items will sell better on 10 separate auctions than lumped together on one auction.
3. Specialize--serve more needs of a few people rather than fewer needs of more people.
4. Do what you can to get people to try you once, then give them a reason to come back.
5. If you fear an item might sell for less than its value, set a reserve so that you'll at least get your minimum price.
6. Make sure descriptions of items are accurate. If there's a scratch, say so. Exaggerating the quality could result in dissatisfied customers, which could damage your reputation.
7. Take advantage of featured listing opportunities, auction networks and other chances to get your product before a larger audience. Also use chat rooms and other community features to build a name for your business and make yourself accessible.
8. Consider using an auction site with a smaller, but more targeted, audience. You can find objective ratings at http://www.gomez.com.
9. Take advantage of auction seminars, on-site advice and other benefits offered by an auction site to help you sell your products.
10. Underpromise and overdeliver--give customers a reason to give you good feedback and recommend you to others.
Julie Vallone covers business and technology for publications such as Investor's Business Daily, Salon magazine and The San Francisco Examiner.
Andale, (408) 938-9050, http://www.andale.com
Gomez.com, (781) 257-2000, http://www.gomez.com
milehighcosmetics.com, (303) 455-2659, firstname.lastname@example.org
Networld Exchange Inc., (760) 639-4900, http://www.networldexchange.com
Purplus, (415) 456-6388, email@example.com
RJS Enterprises International Inc., (856) 507-9200, firstname.lastname@example.org