Services & Software

Wipbox: eBay and Craigslist for dummies

Research and put together auction listings for eBay and Craigslist in one place. It's cheap and easy to use, great for auction newbies.

Wipbox is a relatively new service that helps people sell things on Craigslistand eBay. Wipbox charges a small fee to help you put together a really slick-looking listing and figure out some of the subtle aspects of getting an item to sell quickly based on what category and service it's listed in. If you've ever wanted to sell something on either of the two classifieds services but have been unsure about a good starting price or the best way to convey the product information, Wipbox does the heavy lifting for you.

To get started quickly, you can do a search for your item. It's not free at $0.25 a pop, but it gives you the starting and closing costs for your item in various categories (for eBay) or locales (for Craigslist). For example, if you're here in San Francisco, your item might fetch more money in surrounding neighborhoods. Likewise, on eBay, putting it in a different category can dramatically improve the closing price. You're paying Wipbox to do the legwork.

Search results for a Motorola Razr on eBay came up with pricing results in five different categories. The ones with the highest sell prices (the blue bars) means selling it in that category will net more payback. CNET Networks

In testing, we came across some skewed numbers for certain search items. For eBay, it was likely due to auctioneers incorrectly labeling their items or adding extra words to their titles to boost search engine presence. For Craigslist, we ran into problems with the search grouping together multiple SKUs. For example, a search for an Xbox 360 pulled in results with a difference of about a hundred dollars due to the system having two versions, each at a different price. For popular items such as iPods though, drilling down to the specific model number helped with these issues.

Wipbox bases its statistics on 30 days of eBay listings, and a full week of Craigslist sales, so whatever information you're getting is fairly current for market value. To find general price ranges for online auctions, there's also Mpire, a service that tracks auction prices on eBay to show you whether or not it's in demand--a little bit like Farecast does for airplane tickets.

The real catch to using Wipbox is its listing creator. Wipbox will pull in a description, user reviews, and specifics from You can either pay $0.15 to have this information posted straight to your listing, or copy and paste the code field by field into eBay or Craigslist's listing creation box for free.

The one thing I don't like about Wipbox is its handling of fees. There is a large disclosure that clicking the search button or posting to one of the auction services will charge you, but no pop-up warning for verification. Luckily, users can rack up only $10 in charges at a time before the system curtails use of the premium services. I was surprised by how easily I had accrued fees without coming across any warning pop-ups, so be careful if you intend to use the search for fun.

Wipbox is a very easy-to-use system to make and manage multiple listings for both auction services. For advanced sellers and Web researchers, Wipbox probably seems a little silly; but someone like my Mom, who doesn't use eBay very often, would likely be happy to pay less than a dollar to use a service that does nearly everything for her.

See also: vFlyer, a competing auction ad creation tool we took a look at last year. They launched a mobile distribution channel this morning for making and checking listings on cellular phones.

When you're all done, there are three options. You can either pay $0.15 to post to eBay and Craigslist, or cheap out and copy and paste your listing to either service using the provided HTML coding.

Instead of a hand-written description, you can pull a description from Amazon, complete with formatting to match the look and feel of the online listing (for free). CNET Networks

Doing the $0.25 research will show you average prices on eBay, along with recommendations on what to set as your start, reserve, and CNET Networks