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There are on-line auctions with the sellers making ridiculous profits, and ones where the sellers barely break even. What's the difference? There's usually a relatively small number of things successful sellers have in common...

First, even though your aim might be to be a professional re-seller -- maybe you already are a professional re-seller! -- you will be competing among many who are not, and that doesn't necessarily give you the advantage. Carnival "barkers" still exist for a reason: keep a folksy, friendly attitude, and never forget that even though the customers on on-line auctions are just usernames to you, they're still real people on the other end of that modem connection.

Have you ever wondered why some auctions seem to be a little bit too honest, detailing every flaw? It's a sound business idea: buyers don't have to wonder what's wrong with the item and buyers will be happy when their purchase arrives with no unfortunate surprises -- a great way to gain and keep a clientele. Similarly, try to provide quality pictures of the item from all relevant angles: if you're selling shoes as "new," you might want to photograph the soles to put they buyer at ease about the condition. (Do be careful to make the images a reasonable file size, though, and avoid cluttering up your auction with slow-loading logos, animations, or other unnecessary bells and whistles, which will just send the "power browser" off to another auction.)

Check the clock. It's hard to pin down when the peak time for a given category is, but most sellers point to about 9 through 11 p.m. EST. If your auction ends in the middle of the night, few people will be up to take a last-minute shot at bidding.

Similarly, check your calendar -- internet auction site traffic is heavy on the weekends, when sellers try to put a week's worth of listings up. You might want your auction to close on a weekday for just that reason: less competition!

Don't be afraid to use a low opening bid on an item that you're sure will sell. It will get bids even from people who aren't entirely sure but just like the low bid price, and the more people who bid, the better: they're likely to remember it later on and return to it, even at a relatively high price.

Finally, don't be "just a username" yourself. If you're completely new, make sure to complete a few transactions as a buyer so you have a history on the site. Many sites offer the option to make a site-specific home page; take advantage of this. As in real life, sellers like to know who they're dealing with, and just a few comments about who and where you are can go along way.

Conduct yourself honestly and fairly, and it's hard to go wrong. Good luck!