Bidding by keyboard

Net gains
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

For a long time the really hot Internet growth area was book selling. Now it's on-line auctions. The first on-line auction site to really make an impact was the American-based eBay, which now boasts literally millions of items for sale from rare Beatles albums through to Second World War memorabilia.

On-line auctions are fantastic if only because they conform far more to the spirit of the Internet than Community Action sites. These don't actually sell items themselves, they just provide a virtual space allowing other people to trade. And up until now, it's mattered where you live too. In the case of eBay, for example, a huge proportion of the objects on sale are in America, which means that buyers in Britain are handicapped by shipping costs on items purchased. However, the Yahoo search engine has now launched a British auctions site, which should help to alleviate some of those problems. The site is similar to eBay but with one advantage. Unlike eBay it doesn't charge a fee to sellers. The interface is easy to use, and after each transaction, participants can rate their trading partner, thus building up a profile of each regular user and helping to weed out unreliable people. If you've never spent any time on an Internet auction site before, it's well worth visiting here to get acquainted with the genre. You never know, you may just get hooked on the whole thing and end up buying something.

What's in a name

If you've ever wanted to set up a web page to advertise a specific project or service but don't want to use the typically clumsy personal web address that service providers often supply, then this redirection service could well provide you with a solution. It enables people to create an elegant new website address, which will automatically redirect browsers to your personal web site. It's perfect if you want to publicise a specific event without the hassle and expense of changing your usual address. The only real disadvantage of this is that the service requires you to advertise their service on your normal homepage. Nevertheless, their service offers a host of different possibilities for naming your page and is very quick and easy to set up.