TypoTrawler and TypoTracker – Arbitraging Text Mistakes on eBay

I am an eBay buying nut, so when I heard about a bizarre app/community site called TypoTrawler, I had to have a look.

If you are not much of an eBayer, let me tell you one little secret. Pricing in an auction is directly related to the searchability of a listing. If the would-be seller uses the right brand name and descriptive words, the listing comes up in searches more frequently — and higher. More top spots in search results? More bids!

But when – it’s not an if — a seller makes a mistake in typing the descriptive text of an item, then the listing won’t appear in search. Meaning a heckuvalot fewer people will actually see the listing. The result? BARGAINS!

The trouble is, how do you search for the unsearchable? What keywords do you use for misspelling searches. Misspelled ones of course, but that would be a lot of trial and error.

Enter TypoTrawler. using this app, the buyer inputs what they are searching for and the system finds misspelling of the query. Users are invited to thumbs up or thumbs down listings based upon whether the typo appears to be having the desired effect on the bid price.

Is it unfair? I am sure some sellers will think so. But if you view eBay as a gigantic flea market, it’s the equivalent of picking up an original Renoir for $4 from someone clearing out the garage. ANd I don’t see many sellers stopping an auction that’s going wild by saying, “Enough, everyone, that’s all it’s worth!”

It’s not magic. Obviously it’s catch as catch can. Services like this have appeared in the past, but these searches appear to be a little better.

Choose TypoTracker if you know EXACTLY what you want, and TypoTrawler if you are just browsing. Either way you may — or may not — find a bargain. But if you’re a heavy eBayer, it’s worth a flutter!

And the thing is, the key reason to go to eBay is to find bargains. So sellers…better check your spellings. And buyers? Surf on over imemdiately.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to write.