How to: Use and/or operators in an eBay search

As an avid eBayer, I’ve often been frustrated by the search function that they offer. In Google and other search engines, I love to use ‘and’ and ‘or’ to relate my search terms in order to get the exact results I’m after. For example, a search for ‘ski or snowboard’ would return anything with the word ‘ski’ or the word ‘snowboard.’ In eBay, however, this will return anything containing the word ‘ski’ and the word ‘or’ and the word ‘snowboard.’

This results in having to do multiple searches of the same category for different types of items, which is annoying and wastes time. A couple of days ago I finally figured out how to include multiple search terms in the same search by implying the ‘or’ relationship. For the ‘or’ operator, simply put all your search terms in brackets, separated by commas. So the above example would look like:

‘(ski, snowboard)’

You can then extend this by including the and operator (remember, a space between words is interpreted as ‘and’ by eBay). So, if I was to search for ‘(ski, snowboard) goggles’ it would return anything containing ‘ski’ and ‘goggles’ or containing ‘snowboard’ and goggles’. Take this even a step further by including a second set of brackets, for example:

‘(ski, snowboard) (goggles, gloves)’

A simple tip, but one which I am already putting to great use. If you have any eBay tips of your own, please be sure to let us all know by leaving a comment below.

Thanks for reading!


18 responses to “How to: Use and/or operators in an eBay search

  1. Great! – Now if we could only figure out how to do the NOT operator! E.g., in Google, it’s a “-” in front of a term: ski -goggles = any page with “ski” but NOT “goggles”…

    Here’s hoping! thanks!

  2. The same NOT operator as Google works for me.

    eBay search for ski: 36261 results, 4 out of the first 12 results are goggles

    eBay search for ski -goggles: 31697 results, no goggles in the first 200 results

  3. Thank you very much for your article.

  4. Thanks for the info. These operators are great for linking to several items in an eBay store instead of linking to a single category.

  5. Hi there,

    My problem is how to combine operators. For example I would like to search for monitors which have the values “1600” and “1200” in the entry or the value “UXGA”. I tried searching for “(UXGA,1600 1200)” without success as well as “(UXGA,1600 OR 1200)”. Any ideas?

  6. Apologies, the second attampt should read “(UXGA,1600 AND 1200)”

  7. i was just chattin with ebay tech support about this john, trying to explain my problem and getting all the wrong answers, spent about 20 mins firing different combinations into ebay and was about to give up on the hole thing wen i “may have” stumbled across something which actually works, dont hold ur breath tho but i hope this works 4 you.

    Athlon 64 X2 (somejunktext,(6400)+(AM2))

    and simplier
    item (a,(b)+(c))

    if this is correct, i really hope this info finds its way into ebays manual as the last hour of searching through ebay and google have yield no results on combining “AND” into an “OR” condition.

  8. fk it, doesnt work, sry, picks up the items from the 2nd part of the OR but not the first.

  9. dont ask me how it works
    Athlon 64 X2 (ADX6400IAA6CZ,(6500)+(AM2),ADX6400IAA6CZ)

    item123 (a,(b)+(c),a)

    in programmers terms:
    IF “item123” and (a or (b and c)) Then

    for some reason, putting condition “a” in twice seems to fix it.

  10. It seems that eBay fixed the lack of documentation or nobody simply found it before (and i doubt that) but there is a good article about it now

    It lists the different features with great explanations.
    I hope that helps and further explains for others :3

  11. What a fantastic tip! I’ve never seen a search system before where one could do OR with ([…],[…]).

  12. After problems with the search, Ebay tell me the operators no longer work:-

    “Our Technical Team confirms that search commands like (-) minus sign no longer work since the search engine update last year. This means that this is not an issue with the site but a system design function. In order for you to narrow down the search results of your listings, you can simply use the search refinements section which is located on the left hand menu of the search results page.”
    Tim Nash


  14. Pingback: Using Auction Sites to Fill Your Home | ViralClic

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