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DrayTek Vigor 2860 to 3900 IPSec VPN

18. May 2017 10:47 by sirclesadmin in Internet, Internet Security, VPN
DrayTek Vigor 2860 to 3900 IPSec VPN Connecting a VDSL/FTTC satellite office to a Dedicated Ethernet

DrayTek Vigor 2860 to 3900 IPSec VPN

Connecting a VDSL/FTTC satellite office to a Dedicated Ethernet Fibre Hub Office with DrayTek IPSec. Both offices have a static IP in this example.

Firstly we shall configure the hub Vigor 3900 endpoint. Login as normal to see the home screen:

 

 

Now go to VPN and Remote Access and choose VPN Server Wizard and select IPSec as your VPN type:

 

 

Click to select creating a new VPN profile, choose a name - I have called this one HubOffice -  and click next:

 

 

Now we are going to enter the VPN specific information to allow our satellite office to connect:

  • Tick the Enable box to enable the VPN
  • Choose the WAN port you are using for the internet connection that will carry the VPN and for which we will be using the external IP address of
  • Enter the local subnet - this is not provided automatically so enter your local subnet that the satellite office is being provided access to - this may well be the subnet you are using
  • Leave the next hop as 0.0.0.0
  • The remote host is the external WAN IP of the satellite office Vigor 2860
  • The remote host IP/subnet mask is the internal LAN subnet of the Vigor 2860 LAN
  • If there are any other subnets hung of the back of the Satellite office - if it is a hub in itself - then you can add the extra subnets here but this can often be a hinderence in getting the VPN to come up so we shall leave it blank for now.
  • Auth type is PSK for passphrase/shred secret that we will enter momentarily
  • Pre-shared key - enter a long string that you have made a note of, as it is to be entered in the 3900 router later
  • Security protocol - leave at ESP
  • We are leaving the DPD delay and timeout boxes as default

Click finish to complete the setup...

You will be asked if you wish to proceed to the VPN status page and that is what we shall do:

 

 

Now we shall proceed to configure the 2860 which has a pretty much identical interface:

 

 

This particular 2860 doesn't have the latest firmware and so we cannot use the VPN Client Wizard and so we will configure the VP manually, click VPN and Remote Access > LAN to LAN:

 

 

then select a number corresponding to the profile you wish to configure:

 

 

 

  • Fist tick the Enable box to enable the profile
  • Give the profile a name
  • Choose the WAN1 interface for the VDSL interface if that is what you are using for the VPN external WAN IP address
  • Click the pass NetBIOS box to allow ICMP traffic between the offices
  • Leave Multicast blocked
  • To the right of that leave the call direction as Both
  • Below to the left select IPSec as the VPN type
  • Below that, enter the IP address or A record host name of the hub office Vigor 3900 WAN
  • To the right, click on the IKE Pre-Shred Key button and enter the key as you entered it into the Vigor 3900:

  • Now below that enter the IPsec method as High(ESP) AES with Authentication, then click the advanced button
  • Click the option to enable PFS - perfect forward secrecy

 

 

  • Leave the other timeouts as they are and click OK
  • Tick the box Specify Remote VPN Gateway and enter the 3900 WAN IP address
  • Leave the GRE settings as blank and proceed to the bottom section 5.

 

 

  • Enter the 2860 WAN IP in the first box
  • Enter the 3900 WAN IP in the second box
  • Enter the 3900 LAN IP network address in the third box
  • Enter the 3900 LAN subnet in the fourth box
  • Enter the 2860 LAN network address in the fifth box
  • Enter the 2860 LAN subnet in the final box
  • Leave the RIP settings as they are.

Now you should be able to go to the connection status on either router and see that the connection is live and be able to ping the other office from each respectively...

 

Google’s top 10 hidden features - with Google Chrome

10. April 2017 13:06 by sirclesadmin in Internet, Popular Sites, Online Multimedia
Google’s top 10 hidden tricks If you’re only using Google to search the web, you’r

Google’s top 10 hidden features

If you’re only using Google to search the web then you are missing out on quite a bit. Have a look at these tips to get the most from the world’s most popular search engine.

We all know that Google is the world’s most advanced search engine, but did you know there are a host of hidden features that make it even more effective to use?

 

1: The easy way to convert currency

Do you want to find out how much money is in a different currency? Don’t go searching for a dedicated currency converter; you can do it through the Google search box. Just type out your amount – 100 euros, say – followed by ‘in’ and the currency you’d like to change it to, and hey presto, it’ll convert it for you. You can also do the same with number conversions like miles to kilometres and ounces to litres etc., and even translate short phrases from one language into another.

 

2: Make calculations

Pretty much every computer and mobile device has a calculator built in, but thanks to Google you don’t need to go searching for it. Just type the sum into the Google search bar, and it will perform the calculation for you.

 

3: See news results

If you are researching something, and want the most up-to-date info available, click the News tab at the top of the results page. This will show recent news articles featuring your search term.

 

4: Find out what an image is of...

You may know you can search for images online, so if you always wanted to see what someone looks like, now’s your chance. But did you know you can find out what an image is of as well?

Stumble across an interesting picture online, and you can find out more about it by going to images.google.com and clicking the camera icon in the search bar. This brings up two options: either paste the url of the image you’ve found (i.e. what’s in the address bar when the image is the only thing on the screen), or upload an image from your computer to find out what it is.

 

5: Search a site from Google

Some websites’ own search functions are terrible, but don’t worry, you can also search them direct from the Google home page. Type your search term followed by “site:” and then the address of the website you want to search, so ‘flood warning site:bbc.co.uk’ for example. Then only results from the website you include will show up.

 

6: Search by file type

Similarly, you can search by the type of file you’re looking for, which is perfect if you’re searching for a specific PowerPoint presentation or PDF. Just type the name of the file, followed by ‘filetype:’ and then the document’s extension, so ‘pptx’ for PowerPoint, ‘docx’ for Word document or xlsx for Excel.

 

7: Google Doodles

Google regularly changes its logo on its home page to tie in with an occasion. Often to commemerate a famous person, a notable anniversary or a national holiday. Whatever it is, Google always manages to work its logo into the image.

This one pictured celebrates the birth of French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, but they’re always varied, sometimes taking the form of animated films or even playable games. You can find a full archive here and even buy merchandise featuring your favourite doodle.

 

8: Get results in your locality...

If you choose to let Google know your whereabouts, you can find results in your area without having to specify where you are. Click Search Tools under the search bar and your location is listed on the right, if you are going somewhere new and need to find something, simply enter it on the right.

Search for ‘pizza restaurant’, for example, and it’ll show a list of nearby pizzerias, without you having to enter your postcode. Which is handy if you’re hungry.

 

9: Search using your voice

What if you don't fancy typing out a search query? No problem – you can just say it. You’ll need to launch Google’s Chrome browser on your computer, then go to google.co.uk and click the microphone icon in the search bar. Say what you want to find, and it’ll speak back to you with the results.

 

10:  Check flight times

If you’re planning a trip, just go to Google, type ‘flights to’ or ‘flights from’ and the name of your city or airport or three letter airport code. You will see a list of flights complete with flight times, prices, and everything else you could need to know. It’s the only way to fly.

 

eBay spam WARNING!! - watch out these ones look good...

So now we are looking at eBay scams that are interested in hacking your eBay account so that they ca

So now we are looking at eBay scams that are interested in hacking your eBay account so that they can get details or account information.

Here is a typical email - the first thing to do is notice that there is a big button with 'dispute this transaction' which is not normally present. Also notice that the email is originating from outlook.com which is unusual for an eBay email:

Also notice that that if we hover over the 'Dispute this transaction' button we see the following:

So the domain name, although having the rover.ebay.com part in, is actually pointing to t.co which is Twitters forwarding domain (Ooops, that's a bit embarrassing) which then forwards you to http://disputetransactionebaycommunicationreview.com/webapps/a3889/websrc 

This page shows up as PayPal:

You can still see the phantom domain at the top though. This is obviously where they are interested in grabbing your PayPal details so do not.

Report this website address as false as soon as you can.

Forward the email to your ISPs spam service email support.

It should be noted that Outlook.com and Twitter.com are both being hijacked for this so beware as it will more than likely pass your anti spam filters!

 

Watching for new roothints and adware

OK, so you have your new Computer and you are dying to get cracking on the Internet as your ISP has

OK, so you have your new Computer and you are dying to get cracking on the Internet as your ISP has just made live your new broadband connection. Your computer was pre-installed and appears to have everything that you need including your bonus installation of Norton Antivirus or similar and free downloads for a year. You install your modem and are ready to go so lets go...

Antivirus Questions?

But maybe we should hold on a second. Norton Antivirus wins a lot of awards etc but then it would. It is manufactured by Symantec and they are definitely a leader in corporate antivirus technology and a good supplier to deal with on that level but they will charge you for any support as a home user and charge you to update your signature files after your trial period. A better option is to lose the installed antivirus and get AVG Free Edition from Grisoft which picks up as many viruses as any other home edition antivirus package. Grisoft's solution is available from http://free.grisoft.com/doc/1 and I would urge you to pay for the full edition if you are a business as the extra functionality is worth it. Avast Antivir are also perfectly good examples and are also free. Whatever you do, make sure you have a suitable solution before just surfing unknown pages.

You should also equip yourself with a Firewall. Surfing the internet without a firewall is leaving yourself open to attacks so at the very least make sure you have either the Microsoft XPSP2 firewall or one of these free firewalls: Kerio, Sygate, ZoneAlarm

ALSO: Keep Windows Updated! Many Windows updates are to close holes exploited by malicious programs and simply staying updated will keep a lot of infections off your system.

But what about Spy-ware?

What antispyware system should I use? Well first of all, a lot of decent antivirus solutions get spy-ware as well as ad-ware and viruses as they are all basically the same thing. They are all darn annoying and the primary reason new internet users run into trouble. Most of the anti-spy-ware solutions these days use all of the spy-ware and virus hassles to try and sell themselves - I have people calling me asking how to get spy-axe and spy-ware-killer OFF of their machines. These are not solutions being sold to enrich computer use, they are immature, trip-you-up pieces of software designed for a quick buck and some new users will be caught out. In my experience there is no anti-spy-ware solution - even the ones from Microsoft and the like - that catch most of the ad-ware and irritations that can be removed simply by going into Control Panel in Windows and removing everything you do not use or recognise.

If you are determined to use other means or have tried all of the above you can also run these on-line scans. PandaActivescan Housecall Scan although they require an Active X download which your Firewall may object to.

The following examples are all free also, and can happily coexist on the same computer:
Free Anti-Spyware: MS Antispyware AdAwareSE SpybotSD SpywareBlaster
It is important that your computer is run at minimum functionality. Windows is like a pen-knife - it can do almost anything you need it to - but if you are not hosting a website then make sure that the Web-Hosting features are uninstalled. You can do this in Control Panel under add/remove programs and then by clicking add/remove windows components on the left (Windows XP - the others are similar.) Every bit of unnecessary functionality can be used against you so try and run a tight ship. Make sure you have a reason to keep everything you see in this screen. If you don't use network printing then get rid of it. If you don't use Fax services then get rid of them. Every one you can dump frees memory and so decreases the work your computer is doing to swap out the page-file which equals more speed.

Once you have spy-ware/ad-ware or a virus infesting your system it will be taking you to an undesirable website or you will be getting pop-ups of some kind or whatever. Do not go running to the first advert you see. Your friends are the other people who have had the problem. Do a search on the Internet for a description of the symptoms and have a read of some articles that do not get money off of you for your custom. Forums and the like. There will be instructions. If you cannot get to a website other than the one to which you are unwittingly directed, go into control panel and add/remove programs, and get rid of anything with an incomplete name (I mean uninstall it by get rid of) or anything that you do not knowingly use. If you are unsure, then have a look in the documentation for the software name in question. Do not just uninstall everything you do not recognise, check the system again at each uninstall to see if the problem is cured so you know for sure which application was causing the problem.

Many viruses and the like kick-off their processes at boot up. There are many places in the Registry (a set of files that do a lot to tell Windows how it should behave) that these processes can give themselves shortcuts to start-up. If you go to the start button on your task bar and choose run and then type regedit into the box which appears, you will be presented with the registry editor. Beware!!!! The Registry is critical to Windows and if you mess about with it you can stop Windows booting up altogether so do not change anything without verifying the information from at least two sources!!! If you look at HKey_Local_Machine -> Software -> Microsoft -> Windows -> CurrentVersion -> Run and Runonce etc. you will see something like that below:

 

Many of the processes aggravating you or your computer are to be found here or other similar places in the Windows Registry. Note that in a lot of articles it is common to substitute HKLM for HKey_Local_Machine and that there are as many trouble causers as do-gooders so try and find a good source of information and verify it. Once you have found a source to be good more than a few times you can start to trust the information you find there.

With issues like SpyAxe where the product repeats that you have a virus, remember a few things. If the product it is asking you to install is not already installed then how can the computer know it has a virus? 

Please feel free to submit any other spy-ware problems at http://forum.sircles.net for us to have a look at. If you wish to try an anti-spy-ware application to help clear up your PC, have a look at the anti-spy-ware review site for a decent opinion of which one works best as we prefer companies to be inspired to make a good product rather than just hard-selling via cheap viruses and ad-ware; if they keep trying to hard-sell you things, tell us, and we will find a better link.

Oi Windows 10, give me back my PC !!!!

If you are, like me, a very boring web user who doesn't go to many unknown websites or watch lots of

If you are, like me, a very boring web user who doesn't go to many unknown websites or watch lots of unsubscribed videos etc. then you might be feeling a little annoyed with the new 'compulsory real-time monitor' arrangement that Windows 10 suffers from. It is, of course, a sign that your computer hard disk drive is now performing two or three times the work for many operations compared to how it was functioning on Windows 7. Real-time scanning (as the word real-time is supposed to explain) means that every file your computer needs to open is examined in advance by a proprietary process before the system comes into contact with it. Now there are two reasons why I don't like this thinking. The first is the obvious performance problem (and whether that wastes more time, energy and money than all the viruses in the world put together is another question.) The second is that Windows 10 downloads so many updates of such unbelievable magnitude that they kill the performance of your machine and the internet and so what is the point of Windows Defender anyway? This is further compounded by the fact that Windows Update, like Windows Defender, now appears to be compulsory.

OK so let’ shave a look at all of the components and how we can disable them as Microsoft have recently started to run scheduled tasks to make sure that the most performance hungry Windows processes are restarted and re-enabled at regular intervals such as Sharepoint Sync in Microsoft Office and Defender in Windows 10.

So we will begin by using the simplest and safest way to disable the Windows Defender Components, using the registry editor.

If you press the Windows key and type 'regedit' and press enter you will be presented with the registry editor and you will need to navigate to the following area:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender

This means that under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE you expand the folders (called keys in registry editor, even though they lok the same - they are not folders, they are completely different - )

When you find the correct key, you highlight it on the left and then right click on the right hand side, below the (Default) value and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value 

Give the DWORD the name DisableAntiSpyWare and once it has been created, double click the DWORD and enter the value '1' and press OK so that you have the below:

Now let's try restarting Windows 10....

OK so according to the above view from the taskbar, the Windows Defender application is not running. Let's have a check under the services running by clikcing the start buton and typing services.msc

OK excellent, the service has been stopped and is now set to manual. This is going to speed us up nicely. But now how do we stop the automatic updates from hogging all of the bandwidth and disk speed?

Well there are many sites telling me to use metered connections or policies to disable this function, but the Windows update feature can be disabled by opening up the services.msc applet and disabling the service by finding it as follows:

NB This service has already been disabled but your will not have been.

Now double-click the update service and choose the start-up type:

Once it is set to disabled then click OK to confirm.

Now we are back in control of our Windows 10 PC and our Ineternet connection, RAM, Hard Disk and CPU are all our own again.

travelinformation.co.uk - a suggestive case study...

We are currently looking at some of our domain catalogue as a resource to be invested in rather than

We are currently looking at some of our domain catalogue as a resource to be invested in rather than hyped up and sold on, and this is where an internet domain name is not so akin to real estate, but more like owning a port, or an exclusive trading agreement. A domain does not suffer from a limited number of rooms or a limited amount of land, and it is always a unique resource, no matter how many other domains are similar (and there are more and more obviously) but in this case we are going to examine a fairly sought after domain in the UK market, and although it is not a single word domain, it is a single phrase which is essentially a single keyword in its own right. 

Travel Information (a co.uk domain in this case) is something that everyone requires whether they are trying to go on holiday, return safely from a business trip, or just point their car in the right direction to get home. In all of these cases there is one phrase that is being seacrehd for on every device in every airport or jam or port- 'travel information.'

Now with all websites there is, of course, the question of content. This is a very important question as content is what your site has to offer and without it no one is going to hang around and so the search engines will quickly evaluate you as pointless. This means that we will have to invest heavily in a great site UI and fill it with huge amounts of information doesn't it? Well possibly that is a good solution but perhaps there is another way to look at this problem before we call the bank manager.

The thing about travel and travel information is that people are always looking for a single source where they can be reading about all sorts of different options rather than swimming around the internet in search of the best options and generally doing all of the work. Perhaps then we can find a way to offer sources of information a chance to publish their material on the site and when there are a reasonable number of guide books and maps etc. included it can be unleashed on the web users. Hopefully they will begin to find it useful.

So what would this site actually take to put up - emails sent out to councils and the national trust, region by region, until you have a number of attractions to visit in Britain and then you can begin assembling information from your readers rather than having to go out and find it. an important part of the site will be to continue to ask readers to point out any errors or overlooked places to visit.

Now what is going to actually persuade the National Trust and friends that the site is worth corresponding with? Well the domain name travelinformation.co.uk itself is a real seller here. The correspondence will have to have a very nicely assembled email and/or written letter with great presentation all-round, as well as a really good 'under-construction' page that may need to heralded as more of a re-design. Either way the prowess of the site is far from proveable at first and so these first impressions are important. Most of the councils/attractions etc. will happily give permission for their leaflets to be reproduced as advertising is what the leaflets were for in the first place. Some sort of OCR software will be needed to give the website search engine readability rather than images being postered all over the pages but this is a tiny detail.

So once we have a small audience then we can encourage by making high-quality, relevant offers to who are hitting certain pages then we can start to build an audience. There is no room for capitlisation at the start - the deals must remain as good as we can make them otherwise we will never begin to have any buying power with our suppliers, and so never build our site. Once we can get 3% where other buyers cannot then we can make a percent on give a percent to the buyer and start to recover our losses so far with that last percent. The most important thing is that our site remains a good place for our small client base to exchange information and look through deals to purchase travel deals.

Do web users know the difference between PPC and Organic results? Are there any search results anymore anyway?

As Google continues to avoid being 'evil' there is nontheless a trend to move away from the original

As Google continues to avoid being 'evil' there is nonetheless a trend to move away from the original organic results we remember fondly, to the multi-page, PPC dominated Google shopping offer we face now. And there is good cause for this - Google has shareholders and as soon as you sell your company to the public then the accountants make sure that their interests come first. This does, however, impact on the ethos of a company whose original mantra was entirely based on sorting the internet information in a manner that is best for the use. Those days are long gone no matter what the Google bumph blurbs out. Nowadays the organic results for a product that has nothing directly to do with Google are not just down the list, but almost undetectable from paid and partnered results that are clearly an advert rather than a result:

Googe SERP for Sony Playstation

As you can see from this example the results come in waves - there are no organic results at the top, only Google shopping which is another form of AdWords these days (just like the map has become.)

The organic results come below so presumably the Google shopping ads are a much better earner for a product as popular as this and so normal AdWords ads are not even shown. The playstation.com website is obviously one of the most popular in the world and I haven't actually mentioned I wanted to buy one anyway. Not so surfer friendly anymore is it?

Finally we have 'in the news' section which is again a way of adding value to a select partner group of websites. Now this is good for the web user in some ways as the Google partners shown here are going to be heavily monitored to ensure that the content is first-class but it still has nothing to do with popularity or organic search results - it is in fact internet search result hogging to keep a certain network of California media tyrants in everyone's face. I never even mentioned that I have an iPad and I'm not using one to search in this case.

Let us try another example to see what sort of results we get when searching for a keyword we might have a chance to compete on organically...



Googe SERP for Solicitors near me
Here we are looking at a search that will be hotly contested in many towns in many countries all over the world. I have tried to include as much of the page as possible - certainly as much as your average reader is going to scroll through before deciding to click. In other words, definitely as far as most of us SEO companies are claiming we can place you within. And herein lies the problem. At the top of this page there are so many companies contesting over the keyword that there are only adverts available as an option, there is quite literally no alternative. Below that we see the Google maps offering - what has become known as 'AdWords Express' which is just another set of adverts which is not even labelled as such.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now if I had typed in 'local SEO companies,' how many adverts would have been promising to get me 'on the front page of Google' without using pay-per-click PPC? In this case that is obviously not possible.

So is there a future in organic search? It may be time for us SEO people to rethink the value of organic search vs PPC. If every result has a small green 'Ad' square next to it then does the average user even notice it exists anymore?

OK these are hotly contested examples, I understand that of course, but as populations rise, competitions rises, and ever search term will arrive at this point.

Is PPC the only way or is it time it find a new search engine? And will this article be relegated to the pit of internet ignorance because I am posing this question? Well Google is a first-class company full of the best people in the business and there is no chance of that changing anytime soon. This is evidence, however, of a need for them to rethink their current strategy as when I search for something, I do expect some search results!

The results we have been examining remind me of those free papers that come through the post where everything is just an ad and it holds no value for anyone except the publisher and their friends.

Configure Outlook not to display autodiscover certificate errors for certain domains

8. September 2016 13:06 by sirclesadmin in Domain Names, Internet, Internet Security
Close Outlook. Start Registry Editor. To do this, use one of the following procedures, as appropriat
  1. Close Microsoft Outlook first.
  2. Start Registry Editor. To do this, use one of the following procedures, as appropriate for your version of Windows.
    • Windows 10, 8.1 & 8: Press [Windows Key + R] to open the 'Run' dialogue; type regedit and then click OK.
    • Windows 7: Click the Start button, then type regedit in the search box, and then press Enter.
  3. Locate and then highlight this subkey (yellow folder):
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\xx.0\Outlook\AutoDiscover\RedirectServers |  xx.0  is your office version (2016 is 16.0 and 2013 is 15.0 etc.)
    You can use the following registry subkey instead if you wish:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\xx.0\Outlook\AutoDiscover\RedirectServers
  4. Click the Edit menu, point to New, and then click String Value.
  5. Type the name of the HTTPS server to which AutoDiscover should connect without warning the user, and then click OK. To allow connection to https://*.sircles.net, the first String Value (REG_SZ) name would be as follows:
    sircles.net
  6. You should not add text to the Value data field. The data column must remain empty any string values you add.
  7. To add further HTTPS servers to which AutoDiscover can connect freely to, repeat steps 4 and 5 for the appropriate URLs.
  8. You can now exit Registry Editor.

DrayTek Vigor Router Logons and Windows 10 Microsoft Edge

5. July 2016 17:37 by sirclesadmin in Hardware, Internet, Internet Security
This is just a quick not to beware so that you do not get stuck in a loop. Once a DrayTek Vigor 2830

This is just something to be beware of so that you do not get stuck in a loop.

After a DrayTek Vigor 2830 had been factory reset we still could not login - none of the passwords would work!

As we can see from the above it should be admin and admin but from Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 nothing would work.

After a few tries we did notice that the response from admin/admin was considerably slower than the other options and....

Yes, you guessed it, the Microsoft Edge browser just bounces back to the login page even when the login is correct.

We didn't try adding the router logon site to the compatibility view as an option but no doubt that would work. As it was we just used Google Chrome instead.

As an aside the Google Chrome option doesn't work on the 2830 and older certificates for SAL login so stick to Firefox or goog, old-fashioned IE for that.

How to Auction Successfully Online using eBay (some of this applies to Flippa as well)

Choose your starting price carefully Before you list your item, decide upon a minimum figure for whi

Choose your starting price carefully

Before you list your item, decide upon a minimum figure for which it can be sold. A low starting price will attract more frequent bids which increases activity on your auction which is a good thing as word travels fast and may trigger bidding wars. Obviously a £0.99 opening price will attract the most bidders within the first few hours since a low price for a good item that will win is like a light bulb to a moth at night. It encourages viewers to 'watch' your item on eBay which is important as watchers and bidders are notified toward the end of the auction to increase their bid. Users are more interested in auctions which already have winning bids, a low green number is essentially an item going for a song and will attract more attention and the more early bidders you can generate stimulates a mad rush toward the end of your auction. Many high value items are sold with a low starting price, especially by established Power Sellers - 99% of the time the auction will conclude with hundreds of bids yielding a better price. These tactics apply equally well to any other auction online.

 

Don't Bother with a Reserve Price

A reserve price is one which unless it is met by your sellers you are not obliged to sell the item. For example, if you have a reserve price of £20, and your item sells for £19.00 then you would not have to complete the sale and transfer ownership of the domain or item. Auction reserves are interest killers. No one is going to bid early on something if they are continually being told that they have not met the reserve price, it just isn't sexy. Although many sellers do still place reserve prices on their auctions, don't.  If it were me buying I would just look for an alternative item without a reserve price. The reason you get lots of interest early is that they feel the excitement of getting a bargain and the reserve price feature kills that excitement. Embrace that excitement - this is what marketing is all about!

 

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Post high definition images of your item and allow prospective buyers to clearly see the condition including any damage or unusual features or aspects. eBay allow you to include twelve photos free of charge. If you wish, you can use you’re an external hosting service to include as many photos as necessary to display your item clearly. Many Power Sellers use up to twenty pictures per item to ensure that the percentage of returns arising from unexpected marks or damage is decreased. How many images may be necessary for your auction? Consider using the enhanced gallery option for increased image visibility if the item is of reasonable value or is chiefly sold on its aesthetics.

 

Have a Clearly Advertised and Fair Returns Policy and Address Concerns Quickly

Although eBay now offer refunds internally on all sales (perhaps this explains why they have hiked up their rates so much) but still nothing gives a buyer greater confidence than knowing that they can return a product if it's not for them. Make sure your returns policy is on your auction or items sale template and that you have filled in the returns part of the auction/sale form as requested. Do you accept returns? What if the item is faulty? How long is the return policy valid for from the date of sale?

Although it is a risk to offer a returns policy – you will have to incur a cost relisting and reshipping items – but if you address concerns quickly and give reasonable and sensible advice regarding your products, only a very small amount of users will return the items. Some may hold out for the odd freebie but in the main good customer service allays the desire to return items.

 

The Power of Feedback and the Importance of Accuracy

Feedback is an indelible record of your customer service history and should be your primary concern above all others. Any negative feedback is dangerous for your future sales figures and so you must do everything you can to avoid negative feeling amongst those who have purchased goods. All goods must be clearly and concisely described with every possible flaw detailed in advance. Accuracy is everything in your adverts as an over-negative advert will hurt prices and an over-positive advert will generate ill-feeling and negative feedback.

As an aside, it is important also to leave feedback for any winning bidder as soon as the money is in the bank. Positive dealings encourage positive feedback and positive feedback is exactly what you need as a seller. Be good to them as what goes around, comes around.

 

Inter-Auction Linking and Promotion

Some items will attract more viewers than others due to pricing and availability etc. You can use this to your advantage as well. You may want to start a certain item at £0.99 to create a buzz and use that item to link to other auctions of the same item but for a fixed price. This can work if you wish to sell multiple items at a good price by using the first item as a generator of excitement and getting people to buy at a fixed price once the first auction has finished. People who missed the end of the auction are inclined to buy more often in order to not feel that they have missed out on a bargain.

Cross-auction linking is allowed in addition to the already provided link to "View other sellers’ items" feature.

 

Advertise Yourself or your Business

Sell yourself or your business on your listings. Come up with a template in order to use every time you post an item or auction. This should include your logo and general website theme and list all of your terms and conditions for returns and postage etc. This is a sure fire way of not getting caught out by missing something on a listing and provides trust to prospective buyers following cross-auction links or adverts. These listings are an opportunity to establish credibility for your business and your returns policy etc. Without credibility people may fail to buy from you online and so every little effort is important. Include details about you and your business such as where you are situated, how long have you been registered on eBay and what you specialize in? Have a look at what the competition are doing and go from there if you need help.

 

Keep your Shipping Prices Realistic

Experienced buyers always check the shipping costs early as they have probably posted sales on eBay themselves. Do not be tempted to exaggerate the price of your shipping to increase profit. It will not fool anyone and it raises alarm bells that a seller is being disingenuous.  Moreover, inflating shipping costs is against eBay policy and can get you black marked or banned which may hurt your prospects selling online across the board. If you are offering digital goods such as eBooks or PDFs make sure you include a percentage to cover your administration costs within your standard price. No one is interested in paying shipping on a download or email so do not be tempted to add an administration fee as it makes buyers bitter and unlikely to return. The last thing anyone wants is to find there are unexpected costs associated with a purchase.

 

Should I Open an eBay Store?

Opening an eBay Store is a step that should be considered by any medium sized seller on eBay.

You benefit from cheaper and longer listings within your store and you can also cross-promote your products more easily. You have other advantages such as the ability to send out newsletters and establish a trusted brand by using templates so that all the listings in your store retain a consistent theme. You will also enjoy greater coverage (and hopefully attract more bids) for your listings by appearing in the eBay store directory where more prospective buyers are directed.

 

Write Good Copy!

The normal rules of a website still apply. Incoming links, good, exciting copywriting, exciting pictures, accurate information - sound familiar? Remember that Google will see your listing and that eBay will be checking how well your listing sits (albeit automatically within their own algorithmic crawler-spiders etc.) in any searches against your auction categories and the like. Be sure you are excited about your product and that you have done everything that can be done to ensure its quality and value before you post. If it is an auction then the system will define its value but either way the buyer must not be disappointed. Many buyers will approach you externally to eBay to find replica items for the same price rather than risk paying more a second time so quality sales are important as they ensure more sales in the future!