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  • It is common knowledge that not everyone can afford the newest and fastest hardware. It is also a fact that upgrading your computer hardware can be very costly. This is especially true when you factor in the retail price of the peripherals you upgraded from, that are now sitting in the closet. The Used Computer market is also not exactly jumping right now and it can be difficult to find a retail location that buys and sell used computer parts. This is not a difficult concept to grasp, given the speed at which hardware depreciates and it can be a losing proposition to hold on to a used CPU or video card for even a few weeks. Most computer stores do not even stock most new parts due to the prospect of getting stuck with a high priced commodity when wholesale prices are slashed.

    So what can you do? On a local level, some use community newspapers and computer publications, but many times the readership is not enough to attract buyers and sellers of high-end or very specialized computer equipment. Another avenue is online forums or USENET groups that cater to the Buy and Sell crowd, but again, it can be difficult finding certain products, and listing older items will often make you the object of ridicule for even thinking that you could sell such a product in that forum. The biggest problem is traffic, and getting a large group of buyers and sellers in one place.

    For these reasons, and many more, the venue of choice for both consumers and vendors is fast becoming online auction giant, EBay. The number of potential EBay participants online is simply astounding, and online auctions have certainly redefined the way the general Internet public buys and sells just about anything. Nothing is sacred on EBay and you will find everything from underwear to fully loaded PCs for auction. No matter if you are looking for that special overclockable CPU, another 128 MB of PC133 SDRAM, or even a new hard drive, you will more than likely find a few of each listed on EBay.

    The reasons for the success and popularity of EBay really come down to a couple of things: membership, choice and value. They all kind of go hand in hand, since with millions of potential EBay buyers, it makes it an excellent place for online vendors to ply their various products. This allows EBay to offer a product selection that is unrivaled, which in turn attracts more and more members into the fold. Because the EBay product selection is so extensive, the prospect of buying a product for well below its perceived value is also a very enticing proposition. The success of the EBay phenomenon is actually quite astounding and it definitely fills a much-needed void in the consumer goods marketplace.

    This all sounds great, but just like any other new experience, there are several lessons to be learned before actually going online to start your EBay career. First of all, let's talk a bit about what EBay is and what it is not. EBay is an online auction house where sellers list the goods they have for sale and interested buyers place bids. The entire process takes place through your web browser, but follows similar rules to a physical auction. Instead of bidding against other live participants over a very short period of time, the EBay auctions go on for days and bids are submitted via your computer. EBay auctions also end exactly at their stated times, and there are none of the inane practices that you see at the other online auction houses, where last-second bids can add more time to the auction counter. Having a firm cut-off time also adds a bit more tension to the whole affair, but more practically, it allows both the bidder and seller to have a firm closing date that can be counted on.

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