What is hot on eBay? Here Pops the answer!

We all know about eBay and its huge selling power. It is a good place to search for bargains if you don’t mind buying used things. It is also a good place to sell the stuff you no longer need. I used to do it a lot in the past and still occasionally come there to sell things that are not quite ready for charity.

Since eBay is so huge, there is one more (lesser known) side of it that may attract bargain hunters, and that is the statistical analysis of what people sell / buy on eBay.

You might remember I mentioned Amazon Movers & Shakers page when I wrote about Amazon Shopping Tips and Hacks. eBay has a similar page but it offers much more bells and whistles. Last November eBay hired the army of gnomes from Mpire to build them the tool. What they got back is eBay Pop, a flash application that displays trends on what is popular on eBay.

You can browse across several categories and see items in two lists. One list shows what had the biggest change is sale volume over the past two weeks, another one shows what had the most sales overall. For example if you look at the cell phones, Motorola RAZR V3 is the leader by sales (we all knew that, didn’t we?) however Motorola KRZR, a phone similar to RAZR but with a built in MP3 player, is an emerging leader in the Movers & Shakers.

Cell Phone eBay Movers

Why do you care? The numbers in eBay Pop reflect shopping habits of millions of Americans. My background in Computer Science has taught me to pay more attention to facts rather than to someone’s opinion. I don’t want to rely on second hand sources like magazines or online media when I need to find what is hot. If I were to shop for a cell phone, for example, I would sure have taken a look at the KRZR or other runner ups in the list. Thousands of people voting with their money can’t all be wrong!

Not very good at math? Scroll down the eBay Pop page and you will find a few blog style articles with human interpretation of the trends.

Now, my only wish with these lists is that eBay adds more categories. There is so much more to Tech than just MP3 Players, Digital Cameras, and Wireless Routers, the three categories that eBay Pop currently covers.

See also:

12 Responses to “What is hot on eBay? Here Pops the answer!”

  1. 1 rajbot Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    good catch man!

    interesting reading. wonder how the going price will reflect popularity … in theory, should go up as it climbs the list, although one would think the supply would also increase to meet the demand. would love to see someone scrape this and chart it.

    hmm.. maybe this is the project i’ve been waiting for!

  2. 2 Yan Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    This could be done via eBay API. Check it out at

    You might also want to subscribe to the eBay developer blog at
    There is a lot of stuff over there!

  3. 3 Mike G. Mar 1st, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Great stuff Yan.

    I wish the tech pull down had more categories. But, this is a very useful tool indeed. Who would’ve thought you can get a Fuji Finepix camera for only $27!

  4. 4 Yan Mar 1st, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    I like the idea a lot however the way it is implemented, eBay Pop is good to watch trends, not much more. I am sure there is more data out there that can be useful for bargain hunters.

  5. 5 Steve Mar 19th, 2007 at 10:49 am

    Great discussion… seems like a powerful tool with a lot more application from the analytics side. Marketing analysis, yes.. and I was thinking they should develop the EPI, or eBay Price Index! They could trend inflation (or deflation) data on a myriad of stuff and look for correlation to national/global data. Okay… maybe a little far out, but with eBay nothing seems impossible. Anybody know where I can find a couple extra hours each day? {Sigh…}

  6. 6 Gary Mar 19th, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Related to “what’s hot on eBay”… bidThumbs can be used to see a sampling of items on eBay which are currently getting lots of bids. Items are only displayed if they are no-reserve items or have their reserve met, so bid prices are a good indication of market value. All displayed auctions end in 24 hours or less so there is a constant turnover.

  7. 7 Yan Mar 19th, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks Gary, that is a very good tip.

    I would like to know more about what auctions get listed (maybe you could write a sort of advanced FAQ for inquisitive types like myself. ;-) )

    Are they selected across all eBay listings that end within 24 hours and have certain number of bids?

  8. 8 Gary Mar 19th, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Thanks Yan, I’d be glad to give you an advanced FAQ.

    The first thing most people want to know is, “What’s the point?”

    We have been part of the eBay Developers’ program since early 2004 and as we considered various eBay applications to write we found that there are many people out there who enjoy just browsing eBay. For example my dad enjoys looking through the industrial categories even though he’s not currently in the market for another backhoe or interested in searching for one.

    Anyway, bidThumbs is an attempt to give people a place where they can *quickly* eyeball “bidding war” auctions across a broad range of eBay categories. Clicking on the little magnifying glass lets the user see a large pic of the item without waiting for an entire listing to display. If they want to see the auction, clicking on the thumbnail opens the auction in a separate window.

    The reason behind only showing items ending within 24 hours is that this allows users to go to the site once per day (even though it’s constantly updated) and see an entirely new group of several hundred items with no duplicates from the same time the day before. So, if I’m interested in cars I might go to bidThumbs while I drink my coffee in the morning and quickly view the car category without seeing a single car I saw the day before. Hopefully this keeps things practical and interesting.

    As far as which auctions get listed, we have a combination of manual and automated process which are used in the attempt to show the items that are getting the most bids across all major eBay categories. We go into the sub-categories to do this, otherwise a hot item (like the iPod) would completely dominate and entire major group (like electronics). We don’t list our own auctions or knowingly display auctions of friends or family because we want to keep the process objective and trustworthy. The sifting process is complex and is constantly being refined in order to reach our goal of displaying the high activity auctions that are about to end across all of eBay .

    If you have further questions or suggestions on making the site more useful, please don’t hesitate to post them.

  9. 9 Yan Apr 9th, 2007 at 9:57 am

    Gary, thanks for your comments. Please read my bidThumbs review at this link:

  1. 1 Carnival of Personal Finance #92 Pingback on Mar 19th, 2007 at 7:33 am
  2. 2 92nd Personal Finance Carnival… Great Stuff! Pingback on Mar 19th, 2007 at 10:33 am
  3. 3 What’s new on Ebay - Amidst a tangled web Pingback on Mar 20th, 2007 at 9:00 am

Leave a Reply