iSale Review

eBay has become ubiquitous nowadays for buying and selling stuff online. A lot of people rely on it to sell their old belongings and many use eBay as their primary business tool. eBay has released their web services so that developers can build applications which can integrate with eBay’s functionalities. One such tool for helping sellers to manage their eBay auctions is iSale on OS X. So instead of logging on to your eBay account everytime you want to put an item up for auction, you can upload all the auction information using iSale, including photos and all other options that you would use at eBay’s website. This is better in many ways – no fear of browser window closing prematurely, you can draft the auction details at your leisure.


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Main View of iSale


A pretty intuitive piece of software, iSale is simple to use from the time you start it and begin to set it up. I had received version 1.5.1 but I was notified during registration about a free upgrade to ver. 2.1, which adds several features. It is a 3-pane application, which resembles several Apple apps, like iTunes or iPhoto. The left most pane provides folder-based grouping of your auction, much like the playlist functionality in iTunes. The right pane shows the content of the auction selected in the middle pane.

The tight integration with OS X and iLife adds some welcome features. Photographs can be selected from iPhoto’s albums, and .mac account can be used to host photos and save money as well as to store and retrieve auctions. Photos can be captured through an attached iSight camera as well, adding more to the ‘Apple-ness’ of the app.

Creating an auction is pretty straight-forward but quite comprehensive in terms of the available options. Until the prepared auction is uploaded to eBay, it is stored as a draft which can be worked on later. Pretty much all the sections available on eBay’s website when creating an auction are available here. One glaring omission is that there is no option to create a single day listing, although this may not be a big deal to most eBayers. After creating an auction, you get a chance to view how it will look on eBay before posting. An addition to ver. 2.1 is the ‘Next Steps’ actions in the Sale Status section. These options let you do cetain tasks after the auction has ended, like marking the item as shipped.


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Preview of how your auction will look on eBay


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Next Steps for an auction

Something which may be of interest to constant eBayers is the Smart Groups, which lets you create custom groups of auctions, much like the Smart Playlists in iTunes. For a person like me, who doesn’t put up an auction more than once a month this is not much of a draw.Some extra perks are iCal integration, so you can set up alarms for auctions, and a Dashboard widget. The well prepared manual will come in handy to a novice software user.

As I mentioned earlier, not being able to setup a one day auction is a big drawback to many users, and would be a welcome addition. Another losing point for iSale is that it does not offer any customization of the auction design like eBay does, so you are stuck with just the basic design.

When comparing iSale with other auction management software, iSale does not have as many features. Most other software provide features like mailing label creation, inventory management, managing email communication with sellers, cashflow management, etc. However, they also cost close to $100 and are for the really serious eBayer. Still it would be nice to see some more management features in iSale instead of it being more of an ‘auction uploader’. A welcome feature would be leaving feedback after auction is concluded.

Overall iSale is a great application if you are a frequent eBay seller and definitely worth the price tag of $35.00. Otherwise, you may be better off setting up your auction in the
browser.

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