Frequently Asked Questions (General FAQ)
Top eBay Searches
What is a Watch Count?
Every eBay item (auction, Buy It Now, Store listing, Classified Ad, etc.) has a couple of "Add to Watch List / Watch This Item" links on the listing page that users can click to keep tabs on the item. The item is then listed in their My eBay console as a reminder for future reference.
eBay shoppers use this to "bookmark" interesting items for a variety of reasons, including getting a reminder email from eBay shortly before the item's listing ends ("Watched item ending soon - don't forget to bid!").
eBay sellers tend to use this feature to keep tabs on their competition (how much did this item ultimately sell for?) and as one of many ways to generally monitor the market.
This total number of watchers of a certain eBay item is often called the "Watch Count".
Why should I care about an item's Watch Count?
The Watch Count can be an informative metric to use when evaluating market demand. Seeing what items others have heavily (or lightly) flagged for watching can help both buyers and sellers alike make more informed decisions in their activities on eBay.
For example, when comparing similar items on eBay, if one has a much greater Watch Count than the others, that may indicate a disparity worth investigating further (does it possess a more valuable feature? a more popular color? a more attractive listing? a better listing title?).
Also, when combined with the current Bid Count, one can garnish some more insight into item popularity. For example, if an item is a few hours from ending, has only a few bids but a high Watch Count, there may be a greater potential for subsequent bidding or sniping to occur in the closing moments of the auction.
And if you like cruising around eBay checking out miscellaneous listings, know that sometimes it can be fun to gaze at how many watchers some items accumulate. (See "What are some examples of items/categories with high Watch Counts?
Note: eBay retired Pulse in Sep-2012.
Why would I want to use this site?
As an eBay shopper, you may find it helpful to "peek in on" how many people have flagged an item as 'watched'. It can be an added factor when comparison shopping, even more so if you want to see how an item's Watch Count changes over time, or if, say, you're a collector who needs to be aware of competing interest in a target item.
If you're a seller, you can use the results displayed by WatchCount.com to add another edge to your market research efforts. You're already watching important items; now you can see how many others are, at various points leading up to auction ending. And, naturally, high Watch Counts on an item may be a relative indication of consumer appeal, suggesting a hot item, attractive listing/photos, or intelligently selected title keywords. (See "Why should I care about an item's Watch Count?
Additionally, you may also have an interest in getting one of your items to eBay's Pulse page*
for your category. (When this can be done, through a variety of methods, it's reputed to be great exposure for you.) See "Can this site help me get onto eBay Pulse?
Some sellers like to use us as a way to prove to shoppers how popular a certain listing of theirs is, either by running a search on our site, or by displaying the Watch Count in their listing via our Widget
Even if you're not selling on eBay, if you are involved in ecommerce at all, you can use our site as a quick market research tool to see what's hot on eBay and what kinds of listings/ads amass the most number of active eyeballs – or the most number of bids
eBay already displays highly ranked popular items at eBay Pulse*
(by category only) - but without Watch Counts. You can use WatchCount.com to see exactly how many people have "voted" on those very items - or to search by keyword(s), something that can't be done at eBay Pulse*
* Note: eBay retired Pulse in Sep-2012.
What constitutes an item as "popular" enough to be displayed as a Most Watched search result on this site?
aggregates Watch Count information on its listings and makes a decision as to whether an item is "popular" enough to be included in WatchCount.com's Most Watched search results. While eBay has several undisclosed criteria in the mix for how it ranks and publishes popular item data (criteria which can change) that we display, the item's Watch Count is the most important one.
Even an item with a zero Watch Count can appear in WatchCount.com's Most Watched search results! Conversely, an item with a relatively high Watch Count can be absent from our search results (for example, if it's a single-quantity fixed-price item, or an auction-style item with zero bids). eBay therefore has other considerations in mind when collating and ranking the results that we display. For example, it appears that for an item to even be considered minimally "popular", even with a zero Watch Count, it must have at least one bid and/or previous sale.
As far as we can tell, these same "minimum popularity thresholds" that we're subject to are also intrinsically applied internally to eBay's own Most Watched Pulse pages*
Admittedly, sometimes there are minor inaccuracies to the Watch Counts of multi-variation fixed-price items; this is because of the way eBay internally tracks watchers – across multiple item variations (different product sizes/colors/prices, for example). Such items are fractured into their respective variations within our search results, making Watch Counts sometimes appear lower. … Also know that item popularity/ranking may sometimes exclude items that are listed on a different eBay country-site. (…These are most of the quirks we've noticed in eBay's data, are due to technical/policy limitations on eBay's end of the data-feeds they allocate us, and are out of our control unfortunately (sorry).)
* Note: eBay retired Pulse in Sep-2012.
I don't care about Watch Counts. Can I still use this site to find popular items on eBay?
Of course! WatchCount.com is a site geared to accept your search query and display items that eBay deems as popular, with Watch Count being the primary factor in eBay's ratings. If you wish, you may ignore it as a specific or comparative metric while still knowing that our site returns live popularity rankings, voted by eBay users. You can also search for auction-style items that have received the Most Bids
How do I know the Watch Count is correct/accurate?
Probably the easiest way to verify the accuracy of the Watch Counts shown on our site is if you are an eBay seller. Try to bring up one of your items in the search results on WatchCount.com
by searching for specific keywords in the titles of your items (or even simply by searching by item number). Then, compare the Watch Count with the number listed in your My eBay console that shows the number of watchers. The numbers should be identical; if they're not, please let us know
If you're not a seller, you may wish to contact the seller for one of the items you find on WatchCount.com and politely ask them what the Watch Count of the item is. They may tell you.
A clue to the timeliness of our Watch Count results can be seen if you do the following: View the Watch Count of an item from our site
; click on it to be taken to eBay; login to eBay
; click "Watch This Item"; wait about 5 minutes; return to WatchCount.com
and redo your search. You should see the Watch Count increase by 1. (Be sure to login to eBay before clicking "Watch This Item" as Guest Watches don't count.)
Admittedly, sometimes there are minor inaccuracies to the Watch Counts of multi-variation fixed-price items displayed in our search results; this is because of the way eBay internally tracks watchers – across multiple item variations. This is due to technical limitations in the data-feed that eBay allocates to us and is out of our control (sorry).
What are some examples of items/categories with high Watch Counts?
Are you curious what the most popular item on eBay is? While one could easily argue the validity of other "popularity yardsticks" such as Bid Count and Hit Count, we and eBay see Watch Count as being the primary factor for on-the-spot comparisons.
To that end, the most popular eBay item at any given moment can be found simply by visiting the main eBay Pulse page*
and knowing that what appears in the "Most Watched" section are likely the top dogs. (Know that there are separate top-level Pulse pages for each eBay country-site, as well as eBay Motors.) Which one has the highest Watch Count? See "Can I see the Watch Counts of items on eBay Pulse?"*
You can also see some lower (in the 100's or 1000's), but also veritably impressive, Watch Counts in some other places on eBay. Check out the following (eBay US) Categories and Keywords here at WatchCount.com. You may even come across the occasional 500+ Watch Count (usually for big-ticket items like boats, homes, motorcycles, etc.) :
(Keep in mind that commodity-type fixed-price items on eBay are often set by the seller to auto-relist each month. When that happens, any accumulated watchers roll over into the renewed listing, driving the corresponding Watch Count to increasing heights.)
* Note: eBay retired Pulse in Sep-2012.
What does "Past Sales" mean?
"Past Sales" shown in our Most Watched search results means the item was listed in fixed-price (Buy It Now) format. The number of past sales indicated is for all time, but only for that specific item/listing (and that variation, if applicable) by that individual seller.
Know that many sellers of such fixed-price items have their items auto re-list every month, sometimes for years, with the number of past sales accumulating accordingly.
What are eBay Daily Deals?
Each day, eBay offers a collection of specially arranged, heavily discounted items for sale on several of its sites. The eBay Daily Deal
(named differently per country) always offers merchandise with free shipping/postage, in Fixed-Price format, from hand-picked top eBay sellers. Because of the depth of the markdown, quantities are very limited, and the items often sellout within hours of going live.
You can always see the current general eBay Daily Deal(s) for your country here on our site
. Of course, we'll also (often) show you how many watchers the items have accrued, as well as how close the items are to selling out.
Can I see items with the most bids?
I'm not getting the search results I expect (or I'm getting none at all).
Keep in mind that eBay decides on and limits what items are considered popular enough to appear in Most Watched search results on WatchCount.com. (See "What constitutes an item as "popular" enough to be displayed as a Most Watched search result on this site?
".) For example, if an item hasn't even received its first bid, it probably won't appear in our Most Watched search results. That said, here are some things you should consider when inputting your search query:
You can search by Keyword only
, (top-level) Category only
, or a combination of Keywords and a Category. If you want to find out how popular books about (or by) Abraham Lincoln are, after you enter 'Abraham Lincoln
' in the Keywords box, be sure to select "Books" as a Category. If you leave the Category box empty (or select "Coins and Paper Money"!), you may not get the specific results you seek.
Looking for the Watch Count of a specific item
? Try entering the Item Number in the Keywords box. (See "Can I look up the Watch Count of a specific eBay item?
Don't be shy in using the asterisk character * as a wildcard
in your keywords. Can't remember whether to spell it 'Rihanna' or 'Rihhanna' or 'Rihana'? Just search by 'Rih*na
'. (By the way, her name is spelled 'Rihanna
'.) Know that you'll need to put at least 2 characters before the asterisk. Note: eBay officially removed wildcard/asterisk searching, also affecting WatchCount.com, beginning 05-Nov-2012.
You can use quotation marks " " to bind keywords together
in their proper order so that when you're looking for an "xbox 360"
you don't see items named "360 Ways to Hack an XBox" (although maybe you'd find the latter interesting as well).
Consider whether or not to use plurals in your keywords. Singular vs. plural
may return different results.
* Being specific
with your choice of keywords will usually yield more informative results and make Watch Count comparisons more meaningful than simply using generic keywords. For example, in your quest to find popular golfing equipment you may search for 'golf club
', not realizing that your search results may be intermingled with people selling Club Car golf carts and trial memberships for golfing clubs. Subsequently, you may consider searching for 'graphite driver
' or 'King Cobra iron
', for example.
Use negative keywords
by specifying a hyphen "-" to weed out undesirable terms. For example, 'organic food -baby
' will remove any baby food from your search results.
To specify a logical or
in your search, follow this example: As a coin collector, you may be looking for "wheat penny" or "wheat cent". You can perform these two queries in one search: 'wheat (penny,cent)
* Combine search syntax
for focused results. Following the example above, a coin collector might be interested in eBay listings for "wheat pennies" (or penny) that don't have cent(s) in the title. 'wheat penn* -cent*
' would do the trick. Note: eBay officially removed wildcard/asterisk searching, also affecting WatchCount.com, beginning 05-Nov-2012.
Our Most Watched Advanced Search
page offers more detailed search options
for those eager to drill down further into live eBay data. For example, you can specify deep categories, or include/exclude additional ones. Using the various example search syntax above with Advanced Search options, you can pull out some very narrow search results.
Use our Most Popular eBay Searches
tool to explore other keyword variations – top search terms used by shoppers on eBay. There you can also easily drill down into subcategories and quickly see top-watched items as well.
When limiting search results in Most Watched Advanced Search
to auctions only, we simply screen out non-auctions
from the display. As such, result lists will be shorter than usual. To retrieve more auction-style results, consider using narrower (more specific) keyword phrases and/or specifying subcategories. Also, depending on various factors, sometimes using fewer/broader search terms can help too. And as always, using singular words is a good idea since we only search auction titles.
Know that even intentionally misspelled auction listings
receive watchers! Try a search
', for example, and gaze at the results...
Be sure you have the correct eBay site/country
selected (the selector is in the menu bar). (See "Which eBay sites are searched from this site?
Feel free to email us
at any time with questions you may have
about constructing searches (or anything else) on WatchCount.com. We're always happy to help!
On the Most Watched search pages, what does the Keywords box search for?
Words and phrases entered into the Keywords search box for Most Watched searches are primarily queried against item titles. But at eBay's discretion, their data feeds may search additional fields as well, such as product identifiers and possibly subtitles. Also, if you enter an eBay item/listing number, you'll activate our eBay Item Lookup service. (See "What is the eBay Item Lookup feature?
Which eBay sites are searched from this site?
WatchCount.com searches the main eBay
US site, as well as a growing number of international eBay sites. Keep your eye on the eBay site/country selector in the menu bar, located on every WatchCount.com page, to see what countries we currently support.
What is a "Permalink"?
At the bottom of WatchCount.com Most Watched Basic Search results (and in the sidebar of Advanced Search
results) is a link you can use to directly call up that search at a later time – without having to retype your keywords into the search box up top. This "Permalink" is just a special direct-search web address (aka "URL") that you can drag to your desktop, or add/drag to your browser's Shortcuts/Favorites/Bookmarks toolbar or menu.
This makes it easier to check up on searches that you like, always showing you the latest results. For example, if you regularly search WatchCount.com for Reborn dolls
, you can perform that search once, then drag the Permalink to your desktop or Favorites bar for easy access next time. (You may wish to quickly rename the title of your new Bookmark/Shortcut, whether it's on your desktop or in your browser.)
You may also see an orange-white star icon in the search results sidebars – that too is a quick way to add your search to your browser's favorites for instant searching later on.
Is there a Permalink available for my Advanced Search results?
What are "last-minute zero-bid deals"?
We have a search page
dedicated to displaying auction-style items that currently have no (or a few) bids but are ending very soon – within minutes or hours
. Such items may be overlooked by most eBay shoppers and could potentially be available for last-minute bidding at low – or starting bid – prices. Bargain hunters and eBay arbitragers/resellers may find this search appliance helpful.
Why is my eBay listing not appearing in WatchCount.com search results when other listings with fewer watchers are?
Can I see the Watch Counts of items on eBay Pulse?*
You bet! And sometimes they can be sky high. Just click here
to see top-level eBay Pulse*
items here on our site.
* Note: eBay retired Pulse in Sep-2012.
Can this site help me get onto eBay Pulse* ?
We may be able to lend a hand.
As a seller, you'd like to get one or more of your items onto eBay Pulse*
to get greater exposure since Pulse showcases top-watched auctions/items across many categories and sub-categories. (Did you know that the Pulse pages are often syndicated 'round the net on many 1,000's of eBay affiliate websites?) But what does it take to get onto eBay Pulse*
You can use our site to get a feel for what kind of Watch Counts current Pulsers have accumulated to ascend to their revered placements. (See "Can I see the Watch Counts of items on eBay Pulse?
.) You can then strive to achieve similar Watch Counts on your own items.
Know that eBay maintains some additional, undisclosed, criteria for what items "qualify" for inclusion on Pulse*
pages. While Watch Count is currently the primary ranking factor, we've seen that other things come into play as well. For example, it seems that a listing may need at least 1 bid and/or a "Contact the Seller" email before it's considered for Pulse*
Those are just some casual observations that have been made. eBay's complete set of qualifying criteria aren't disclosed and could change at any time.
* Note: eBay retired Pulse in Sep-2012.
What is the eBay Item Lookup feature?
eBay Item Lookup (ILU) shows you a collection of eBay listing details to assist with your specific-item research endeavors. Including both active and completed items, ILU shows a number of standard specs (such as title, seller, current price, etc.), but also some data that may be harder to find on eBay's View Item page, such as item quantity sold/available, category ID, or exact end time.
In line with the theme of our site, we may also be able to include the current Watch Count in ILU search results as well. However some such item details, like how many watchers or viewers the item has accrued, or the Best Offer selling price, may at times be unavailble to us, pursuant to privacy thresholds in place by either eBay or the individual seller (thresholds which can change at any time). If eBay makes said data available to us via our data-feed with them, we'll likely be able to display it in search results.
For completed Fixed-Price/BIN items that sold via Best Offer, we may be able to display the final selling price. Note that if such an item was a multiple-quantity listing, the price displayed may only apply to 1 of the sold items (probably the most recently sold one). … We go into greater detail about looking up the eBay Completed Best Offer selling price in this tutorial
To access eBay Item Lookup simply go to our main search page
and paste your item/listing number into the Keywords box and click the "Show Me..." button.
Can I look up the Watch Count of a specific eBay item?
While our site is geared to display the Watch Counts of queryable popular items (a large number of eBay items qualify as "popular" to some degree), many times you can see the Watch Count of a specific item simply by entering its complete title or eBay listing number in the Keywords box on our site. (See "What is the eBay Item Lookup feature?
" above.) It may also be worth trying a search using a few unique keywords from within the title of the item you are researching.
Where does top-searched eBay keywords data come from, and how current is it?
Most Popular eBay Searches
we display on WatchCount.com refers to shopper search activity on eBay itself, not searches on WatchCount.com. We display these top search terms from data feeds that eBay allocates to us, as part of their API/developers platform.
Based on our testing, and conversations we've had with eBay, we estimate that keywords results data we present on WatchCount.com is updated by eBay periodically: approximately every 2-6 weeks (sometimes more), depending on submitted keyword and category selection.
* Update (Mar-2015): eBay announced this month that, sadly, the programming functionality used to power our Most Popular eBay Searches tool is now officially deprecated, as of Nov-2014 going forward. This can mean, among other things, that the information supplied by the data feeds they allocate to us may now be less accurate or current than before deprecation. Even more disappointingly, our Top Searches tool may subsequently suddenly cease functioning at some point during 2015 or 2016.
* Update (Dec-2014): eBay has recently confirmed with us that top-searched eBay keywords data we receive from them and display in our Most Popular eBay Searches tool is often now very outdated, perhaps going back several months. This is due to changes within eBay's platform that are out of our control. Unfortunately, they don't have a time estimate for repair and anticipate it could be a long while.
How accurate are the keyword phrases displayed in the search results?
Since we obtain our search results from eBay itself (via data feeds provided to developers like us), we trust that the data is accurate. We figure that they probably collect and aggregate keyword activity on eBay into a master database, update it periodically, and then make it available to us and our visitors.
Note that the enumerated rankings we present aside Related Searches results are an estimation/guideline, based on the structure and behavior of the data we receive back from eBay. These popularity rankings may not be strictly accurate in a statistical sense, but we feel that these rankings are a reasonable, general assumption.
Related Searches and Alternatives are similar – often so similar for many queries that search results may be considered all Related Searches, sorted by general popularity.
You can compare our search results with a more limited result-set directly on eBay itself and observe very similar keyword lists. Just go to eBay
and either browse a category or perform a keyword-based search. You should see eBay suggest "Related Searches", placed either below the main input box near the top of the page, or perhaps on the bottom left sidebar. Whenever we've spot-checked these keywords ourselves, it seems eBay grabs a mix of what we call the top "Related" and "Alternative" searches, and displays them to shoppers in a consolidated fashion.
If you are technically inclined and want more information about the accuracy of our search results, please reach out to us
, and we can explain more about how eBay's API platform works.
How should I interpret the lists of Related Searches and Alternatives?
Short answer: Often just consider all returned keyword phrases in both columns as Related Searches together, sorted by general decreasing popularity. You can mentally merge both lists into 1 consolidated array of search terms.
Long answer: eBay returns to us top searches in those 2 "buckets", Related and Alternative. They theoretically have slightly different meanings, but eBay has been evolving pretty fast in recent months/years, and now each collection of keyword phrases now seems to simply be just Related Searches.
Originally, Related Searches were (and still are) user queries on eBay that are search phrase refinements/adjustments of the keywords you entered, and/or used within the selected category. Alternatives were historically slightly less related search terms to also consider when searching eBay. However, eBay's internal search algorithms and keyword curation databases have been evolving of late, and it seems the distinction between the 2 lists has been eroding. As such, we've noticed that for most keyword or category selections entered into our Top Searches tool
, Related Searches and Alternatives are often similar enough to be considered all Related Searches. You can mentally combine both lists into 1.
Infrequently, Alternatives that are returned do indeed appear to have a more distant relation to the entered keyword phrase – you'll need to decide for yourself by examining the nature of the Alternatives and their familiarity to your supplied query.
Also be on the lookout for "outliers". These are returned search phrases that are so odd and unmistakably unrelated as to be considered tracking errors. Sometimes eBay's keyword databases must pick up occasional computer programming terms and words harvested/injected by internet bots/crawlers, and they subsequently slip into search results accidentally. So if you see strange phrases like "document location href", "mobiquo php", "icon precomposed png", or weird strings of numbers like "j55849bdfjwl3k4jd" appearing in returned searches, just ignore those occasional outliers when reviewing search results.
Tips for obtaining better keywords search results...
Here are some (hopefully helpful) tips to getting more usable keyword phrases in your results, when submitting queries for Most Popular eBay Searches
Search by either category (preferred)
or keyword/search term. Combining the 2 is possible, but substantially limits the size of the result-set.
* Category-based searches
tend to retrieve many more related search terms than keyword-based queries.
* No search results
at all? For keyword-based requests: try using fewer words, or switch to a category-based search using an appropriately narrow subcategory. For category-based requests: sometimes for certain categories, either eBay doesn't track keyword activity, there isn't much keyword search activity there, or otherwise eBay doesn't make the data available to us. Try a higher-up category, a nearby/similar subcategory, or a keyword-based search instead.
Leave Keywords and Category selection blank for sitewide popular eBay searches
. (And also notice the variations across different eBay country-sites.)
Words like 'the
', & 'and
' are included
as part of the keyword search string and therefore affect the results.
You can use the 'rs
' links embedded in search results to redo your search and obtain more search term variations
By drilling down
into deep/narrow subcategories, you can see more finely-tuned keyword phrases.
Have a handful
of keyword phrases you want to search? Enter them together, separated by commas.
Since we handle keyword data for most eBay international sites
, it can be fun to compare search results in similar categories from different countries!