Some eBay-Fu to make life easier.

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houtenziel
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Posts: 414
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:58 pm
Location: Oregon

Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:58 pm

I was just reading up on how eBay's search engine works and discovered that they have some logic you can use to tighten up your searches. A lot of this is available in the "advanced search" function, but I find that just saving the search strings to a text file on my computer makes checks easier/quicker.. you'll see why in a second.

First off, say you are searching for some vintage Dr. Grabow pipes, you could just type "Dr Grabow Vintage", "Dr Grabow Estate", or even just "Dr Grabow" and sift throught the crazy number of listings to find that special pipe. There is definitely merit to that, and sometimes I like to just peruse through that way.

But say I wanted to get more specific, say I only wanted to look for a certain subset of Dr. Grabow's line. We'll say I only want to show Dr. Grabow listings that are models Viscount, Westbrook, or Starfire. You can bracket your searches to narrow things down, so your search would look something like:

dr grabow (viscount, westbrook, starfire)

And you will only get listings from those lines.

This breaks down to basically saying give me all the listings that have "dr grabow", but only show those that include the words in the parentheses also.

Maybe you like Kaywoodies instead, but only want to see Flame Grain, Standard, and Red Root.

kaywoodie (flame grain, standard, red root)

Or maybe you just know you don't want a smooth Kaywoodie

kaywoodie (rusticated, rustic, sandblasted, blasted, fine line, coral)

Say you want to do a broad search, using some of the brands you discovered in a vintage American pipes thread.. well we can do something like this to narrow down the listings:

pipe estate (dr grabow, kaywoodie, medico, yello bole, weber, wdc, custombilt, heritage, willard, van roy, wally frank, LHS)

Bam, you have your own curated listings of just those brands to look through.

You can even get tricky if you don't know model names, but you know that the Dr Grabow models you want have a stinger or threaded tenon. Simply run the following search string:

dr grabow (adjustomatic, threaded tenon, screw tenon, screw stem, screw in stem, stinger, condenser)

Then to make sure you get those listings where the seller only mentions the stinger/tenon in the description, click "Advanced Search", then click "Title and Description" under Search Including.

You can also exclude things from as search. Say you like Kaywoodie Flame grains, but you hate the meerschaum lined ones, you can just precede "meerschaum" with a minus and that will tell ebay's search engine you don't want to see it.

kaywoodie flame grain -meerschaum

Once you get things dialed in, you can save your search string to a text file, or simply bookmark the ebay search results page directly after you run the search. Then if you want to check the bay for stuff you can just run your predefined search. eBay also accepts boolean operators like AND, OR, NOT, but I am not going to get into that now.. if you are feeling nerdy and want to search that out on your own, go for it.
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Southern Appalachia
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:55 pm

Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:49 pm

good grief this is awesome.
wallet be damned :lol:
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Mr Beardsley
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:16 am

Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:52 pm

This is awesome. My wife does not appreciate the info
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houtenziel
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Posts: 414
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:58 pm
Location: Oregon

Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:06 pm

A couple last things I thought I'd mention. If you craft a search that you are happy with but it's for a rare item that doesn't pop up on ebay much, you can click "Save this search" near the top of the results page. After you do this, ebay will email you any time a new item is listed under your specific search terms. Normally this feature is really annoying for broad searches due to the frequent listing of new items.. you'll end up with a billion emails a day. But if you narrow things down a lot it becomes a really powerful way to jump on items(especially buy it nows).

The other thing, that's probably no secret but might not be totally obvious, is to make sure to include common misspellings of things in your terms. Example being that if you are looking for certain types of "GBD" pipes, make sure you craft a search that also includes "GDB". When I tested this and limited it to just to Collectibles I got 328 results for "(estate, pipe) (gdb)", but with "(estate, pipe) (gbd, gdb)" I got 331 results. In those 3 extra results there may be a hidden gem nobody else will see because they didn't search for misspellings.

You'll probably notice that I also put "(estate, pipe)" in parentheses in this run. This tells ebay that I am ok with listings with "estate" or listings with "pipe", as some titles and descriptions don't use both terms. It makes a pretty significant difference in the number of valid results. 331 listings with it in parentheses vs 120 without.
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Rusticated
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Posts: 298
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:25 pm

Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:28 pm

houtenziel wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:58 pm
I was just reading up on how eBay's search engine works and discovered that they have some logic you can use to tighten up your searches. A lot of this is available in the "advanced search" function, but I find that just saving the search strings to a text file on my computer makes checks easier/quicker.. you'll see why in a second.

First off, say you are searching for some vintage Dr. Grabow pipes, you could just type "Dr Grabow Vintage", "Dr Grabow Estate", or even just "Dr Grabow" and sift throught the crazy number of listings to find that special pipe. There is definitely merit to that, and sometimes I like to just peruse through that way.

But say I wanted to get more specific, say I only wanted to look for a certain subset of Dr. Grabow's line. We'll say I only want to show Dr. Grabow listings that are models Viscount, Westbrook, or Starfire. You can bracket your searches to narrow things down, so your search would look something like:

dr grabow (viscount, westbrook, starfire)

And you will only get listings from those lines.

This breaks down to basically saying give me all the listings that have "dr grabow", but only show those that include the words in the parentheses also.

Maybe you like Kaywoodies instead, but only want to see Flame Grain, Standard, and Red Root.

kaywoodie (flame grain, standard, red root)

Or maybe you just know you don't want a smooth Kaywoodie

kaywoodie (rusticated, rustic, sandblasted, blasted, fine line, coral)

Say you want to do a broad search, using some of the brands you discovered in a vintage American pipes thread.. well we can do something like this to narrow down the listings:

pipe estate (dr grabow, kaywoodie, medico, yello bole, weber, wdc, custombilt, heritage, willard, van roy, wally frank, LHS)

Bam, you have your own curated listings of just those brands to look through.

You can even get tricky if you don't know model names, but you know that the Dr Grabow models you want have a stinger or threaded tenon. Simply run the following search string:

dr grabow (adjustomatic, threaded tenon, screw tenon, screw stem, screw in stem, stinger, condenser)

Then to make sure you get those listings where the seller only mentions the stinger/tenon in the description, click "Advanced Search", then click "Title and Description" under Search Including.

You can also exclude things from as search. Say you like Kaywoodie Flame grains, but you hate the meerschaum lined ones, you can just precede "meerschaum" with a minus and that will tell ebay's search engine you don't want to see it.

kaywoodie flame grain -meerschaum

Once you get things dialed in, you can save your search string to a text file, or simply bookmark the ebay search results page directly after you run the search. Then if you want to check the bay for stuff you can just run your predefined search. eBay also accepts boolean operators like AND, OR, NOT, but I am not going to get into that now.. if you are feeling nerdy and want to search that out on your own, go for it.
Thanks hout! Outta make this one a sticky!
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MikeDennison
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Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:18 pm

Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:47 pm

Your ebay-fu is strong!
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Fr_Tom
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Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:37 pm

houtenziel wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:06 pm
A couple last things I thought I'd mention. If you craft a search that you are happy with but it's for a rare item that doesn't pop up on ebay much, you can click "Save this search" near the top of the results page. After you do this, ebay will email you any time a new item is listed under your specific search terms. Normally this feature is really annoying for broad searches due to the frequent listing of new items.. you'll end up with a billion emails a day. But if you narrow things down a lot it becomes a really powerful way to jump on items(especially buy it nows).

The other thing, that's probably no secret but might not be totally obvious, is to make sure to include common misspellings of things in your terms. Example being that if you are looking for certain types of "GBD" pipes, make sure you craft a search that also includes "GDB". When I tested this and limited it to just to Collectibles I got 328 results for "(estate, pipe) (gdb)", but with "(estate, pipe) (gbd, gdb)" I got 331 results. In those 3 extra results there may be a hidden gem nobody else will see because they didn't search for misspellings.

You'll probably notice that I also put "(estate, pipe)" in parentheses in this run. This tells ebay that I am ok with listings with "estate" or listings with "pipe", as some titles and descriptions don't use both terms. It makes a pretty significant difference in the number of valid results. 331 listings with it in parentheses vs 120 without.
Darn... I thought the misspelling thing was my own little secret.
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