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Typo Search Tools Spell the End of Arbitrage?

Yesterday, the New York Times posted a story on the rise of tools offering to help eBay shoppers find great bargains by searching for misspelled words. Tools like Typo Bay and Typo Buddy are helping the masses find auction bargains like digtal camera, sony ericson and tifany necklace that would usually sink out of view. While this is great news for bargain hunters and Christmas shoppers on a tight budget, these tools pose a huge threat to eBay sellers using eBay arbitrage to make some fast cash.

Arbitrage involves buying items at low cost and selling them at higher prices, and it’s one of the most successful ways to earn a tidy profit on the internet, practically overnight. Everyday hundreds of new auctions are posted on eBay and many of these have misspelled words or typos. Items with misspelled words don’t show up for correctly spelled searches, meaning these items get fewer views and fewer bidders, keeping the final sale price low.

Until recently, only a few people knew how to uncover arbitrage listings, keeping their own carefully compiled list of profitable misspelled keywords, and using the saved search tool to give them early warning of undervalued gems.

But the recent proliferation of websites such as Fat Fingers, Typo Buddy, Auction Speller and Typo Bay now means hundreds of buyers can seek out these misspelled auction listings in a matter of seconds and enjoy the resulting savings. The experienced arbitrageur’s advantage has been taken away and many sellers may be looking for a new get-rich-quick scheme over the holiday season.

Will typo search tools affect the way you make money online? Let us know what you think!

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3 Comments Add your comment
Tools for finding misspelled words on eBay have been around for a long time, but there use has some what been negated by eBay - search results also show "Did you mean: digital camera? (6298 items)" when a search for 'digtal camera' was performed. Reply
No, that would produce only correctly spelled items when the searcher misspells the keyword he or she is searching under. These new tools help find products which have incorrectly spelled keywords, even when the searcher spells the keyword correctly. Yes, I'm a year out of date now. Who cares? Reply
This type of buying behaviour has actually formed a new selling strategy of purposefully mispelling items. Reply
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