144. About Using External Hosting for Your eBay Auction Pictures
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
142 Make the Picture Web Friendly
134 Add Pictures to Your Auction
143 About Posting Pictures with the eBay Picture Service
You can still use pictures in your auction listings if you don't use the eBay Picture Service. If you don't use the eBay service, you must find an external picture-hosting service. That means you upload your picture to the hosting service and then include a link to that picture's web location from your auction listing using HTML codes. For details on how to do it, see 134 Add Pictures to Your Auction .
Before deciding whether to use an external hosting service, consider these pros and cons:
You can't use the features of the eBay Picture Service if you host your own pictures. That means you won't be able to use the slideshow or supersize features on your auction page, as described in 143 About Posting Pictures with the eBay Picture Service .
You'll have to pay extra for the eBay Picture Service if you use more than one picture; hosting your own pictures is frequently free. As you'll see later in this section, finding a site that gives you free hosting is easy.
You can continually reuse pictures with your own hosting service; the eBay Picture Service requires you to upload the pictures for each new auction. When you use your own hosting service, you upload your photos and they stay on that server until you delete them. On the eBay Picture Service, the image files are automatically deleted when the auction ends.
It's easier to use the eBay Picture Service than your own hosting service. You don't have to figure out how to upload your pictures because the upload process is built in to the auction-creation process.
If you know HTML, you can control the placement of your photos better if you use your own hosting service. The eBay Picture Service has several set treatments of pictures; you can't deviate from these arrangements. If you know HTML and host your own image, on the other hand, you can customize your picture treatment.
Let's say you've decided to use your own hosting service. How to find one? It's easier than you might think. Try these resources:
Check with your Internet service provider (ISP). You might not realize it, but many ISPs include storage space as part of your monthly fee. Not uncommonly, you'll have up to 10MB of free server space, which is more than you'll ever need for pictures of auction items.
Use America Online's My FTP Space . America Online includes free storage space as part of its basic service, so if you're a member, you have a place where you can place your picture files. Each screen name can have up to 4MB of storage space. Because you can have up to seven screen names on America Online, you can have up to 28MB of free storage space. For details, use the keywords My FTP Space .
Use a free image-hosting service. There are several of these, including www.villagephotos.com and www.picturetrail.com. Visit these sites for details about how to sign up.
Use a for-pay image-hosting service. A number of image-hosting services charge fees for membership and offer extra features not found with the free services, such as editing your photos for you. Among the for-pay services are www.pongo.com and www.pixhost.com.
Generally, I find that the for-pay services don't offer enough extra features over the free services, such as your own ISP, to be worth paying the extra money.
How you upload your pictures to your hosting service varies from service to service, so see the specific service for details. However, as a general rule, most services allow you to directly upload the pictures yourself using FTP software. A good bet is to use the WS_FTP LE program from www.ipswitch.com, which is free for individuals.