Everyone gets five free auctions a month on eBay starting in June

The recession is killing off impulse shopping, eBay's sales dwindled by 16% since last year, and something must be done about it.

So the popular auction website is giving away free access to the store to stimulate activity. Starting June 16, if you use the Sell Your Item or the Simple listing form (if you're like most people cleaning out their attics, you will), you'll have the right to list five items for free every 30 days.

Normally, eBay charges an "insertion fee" for the right to put an item up for auction in a given category, and that fee rises from 10¢ to $4 as the value of the item increases. For the five free listings, though, there'll be no charge, no matter how much you list your item for. So you have the potential to save $20 a month if you arrange for five insertions of big-ticket items. Or, if you set your auctions' starting point low, you could save all of 50¢.

eBay normally charges 8.75% of the final price at the end of the auction, and for the free listings, the rate will be the same, or $20, whichever is lower. That "Final Value Fee" is how eBay can afford to give away the listings for free -- it hopes to get its money in the back end.

For the casual eBay user who has been waiting on the sidelines, the suspension of those five insertion fees takes the financial risk out of the equation. Until now, you could pay to advertise your junk and end up with no sale. But with the five free insertions, if your item fails to sell, you won't be out a cent.

Of course, eBay hopes that doesn't happen. It just wants people buying stuff on the site again, and how.
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