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Put It to the Test

Want to see if your product will be a hit? A trial run on eBay can shed some light on the subject.

This story appears in the April 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you want to sell a product, go to eBay. If you want to test a product's viability, you can go to eBay, too.

That's what Richard Crouse and Pamela Phillips did when they wanted to gauge the demand for their newly invented BagLight, a small, convenient light that attaches to the insides of handbags. In 2002, after producing the first BagLight prototypes and receiving positive feedback from friends and family, Crouse, 46, and Phillips, 43, wanted to see exactly what the average eBay handbag purchaser would think about their unique product. "EBay's the big marketplace now on the Internet," says Crouse. "It looked to me like a great way to jump-start my project."

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