An Important New Resource for Collectors

Scott Skinner
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There's so much to say about eBay, the online auction site, that I have to sit and think about where to start. If you follow the financial new about internet stocks, there is little doubt that you have heard of eBay. It has shown huge stock price gains, followed by pretty wild fluctuations, and it has done it all with few traditional measures of value. (A view of it's financial history just in 1999 shows an increase from just under $100 a share on Jan.1, to more than $200 a share in May, to around $90 in August.)

People are optimistic about its potential and a look at eBay's home page shows you why; 2.4 million items for sale in 1,627 categories. Over 1.5 billion page views per month in August. eBay describes itself as "the world's first, biggest, and best person-to-person online trading community. eBay is your place to find the stuff you want, to sell the stuff you have, and to make a few friends while you're at it! Whatever you need, odds are you'll find it at eBay: there are more than 1,000 categories and more than a million auctions a day."

If you've never used eBay, finding it on the web is easy; a search on eBay or will get you to the home page. There you will find a listing of many of the major auction categories that might be of interest; antiques, dolls, sports memorabilia, and so forth. But for the kite collector, none of those categories is specific enough to be much help-you'd be searching thousands of items just to find one kite-related one. Herein lies the beauty of eBay: you can use keyword searches to search through all of the hundreds of auctions to find just those items of interest to you. In our case, using the word "kite" produces a listing of around 200 items that are either kites, pictures of kites, articles about kites or other surprising things somehow related to kites. (By the way, I was online for two weeks using "kites" as my search word and it normally finds only about 50 items. My advice is to search using both words.) On the eBay home page, right beside the "search" window, you can even click on "tips" and find out ways to refine your searches. (Yes, I should have read that on the first day.)

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