After you read this article check out my eBay plugin!

You’re bound to run across some Free eBay WordPress Plugins if you’re going to monetize your blog or web site. The question is – are they worth using? You know the old adage – “you get what you pay for”! Last week I wrote about the Affomatic free eBay Plugin, but I wasn’t very impressed with it at all. It didn’t have hardly any features at all and after installation I couldn’t even get it to work.

I have another couple of candidates today to try out, let’s see if they work out any better.

TWP Auctions

TWP Auctions is a free eBay plugin for WordPress that displays auctions on your pages and posts. If you want to see how it displays auctions check out their example page.

Here are the pros and cons of TWP Auctions:

Pros:

  • It’s Free!
  • Very Configurable by country, sellerid, category, etc.
  • Layout is Clean

Cons:

  • Auctions contain “Powered by TWP Auctions link”
  • Auctions are posted by using PHP code
  • eBay links are rover and not masked or SEO
  • No advanced options for zip code or category filtering

I don’t like this plugin because they encourage you to download and use the PHP-Exec plugin to actually paste PHP code into your posts to make the eBay auctions appear. Adding PHP code to posts or pages directly is both dangerous and counter-productive. The PHP-Exec plugin can conflict with other plugins (I know from experience), and the more plugins you have installed the slower your blog will be. If you’re going to use PHP code, the normal (and accepted) way to do this is by using page or post templates and adding the code there. The fact that this eBay plugin doesn’t allow you to use keyword tags in posts and pages to display auctions is mind boggling.

In addition to that it appears to only work with the eBay Partner Program and not with Pepperjam. Couple that with that fact that the auctions display rover links and you can’t mask the URL’s or benefit from using SEO links with keywords – that’s enough to make me not want to use this plugin. Granted, it’s free – but hopefully in the future this plugin will improve and become easier to use.

Open Auctions

Open Auctions is another free eBay affiliate WordPress plugin, and at least this one claims to be compatible with eBay Parter Network, Pepperjam, and even Auction Ads (now called Shopping Ads).

Here are the pros and cons of Open Auctions:

Pros:

  • It’s Free!
  • It’s Very Hackable
  • URL’s are masked (no rover links)

Cons:

  • Auctions are posted by using PHP code
  • Very few configuration options at all

Open auctions is more for users that are advanced and familiar with hacking HTML, PHP, and WordPress. If you want a basic starting point and something you can hack a bit with – this might be for you. You can even drastically change the auction display using CSS, but the fact that you have to use PHP code and that there are little if any configuration options for category, sellerid, and other options means that this plugin is also not for me.

eBay Sales Lister

eBay Sales Lister is another free eBay affiliate plugin for WordPress, and it’s actually been around a couple years with a very recent update. Once I downloaded it I found out that this plugin only displays auctions in a sidebar using a widget, but on top of that it’s only for displaying your own eBay auctions if you’re selling things, and not for the eBay Partner Network. I only listed this one because it’s the only thing I could find that displayed auctions in the sidebar – I don’t know why any of the plugins I’ve tried so far (free or premium) don’t seem to have any options at all for this.

Wordbay

Wordbay is another free eBay affiliate plugin, and it’s actually one I tried in the past. It was very basic when it first came out, I’m actually excited to see how much better it is now. Once I downloaded and installed the plugin I was shocked at all the new options, the programmer has been very active since I last saw Wordbay. Let’s take a look at what it does…

Here are the pros and cons of Wordbay:

Pros:

  • It’s Free!
  • URL’s are masked (no rover links
  • Auctions can be displayed in multiple columns
  • Geotargetting (show auctions for user locale)
  • Ability to choose specific categories “by country”
  • Option to display “click for details” icon
  • Option to show eBay signup link
  • Option to show eBay search box after auctions
  • Option to show “expanded search” link after filtered auctions
  • Add auctions to posts and pages with simple tags
  • Ability to completely control auction display with CSS file

Cons:

  • eBay links have no keywords for SEO
  • Does not appear to have any options for Pepperjam Network
  • No options to show auctions from specific sellerid
  • No ability to filter by zip code
  • No options for sidebar display or widgets
  • No ability to override default options with additional parameters in keyword tag

To see the auctions in action check this Wordbay example site. Out of all the free WordPress plugins I have to say this one has the most options including the ability to quickly and easily add auctions by adding a simple tag with keywords in blog posts and pages. It would be nice to override the default options on some posts, and filter results to specific sellerid’s or zip code. I don’t see any SEO in the eBay links (although they are masked), and this plugin does not support Pepperjam network at this time. The geotargetting ability is awesome, and something you don’t see in some of the premium pay for plugins.

WP ZinText

WP ZinText is a free WordPress affiliate plugin, but isn’t like any of the others at all. Actually it’s quite refreshing to see a free plugin do something different for a change. You’ve probably seen all the services that provide contextual links like Kontera and Intellilinks. Once you add the script, once a page loads on your site it underlines all kinds of keyword phrases and when you mouseover them a little bubble appears with a text link ad.

ZinText creates contextual links on your WordPress blog too, but after you setup the options with your eBay Partner Network ID is shows little auctions thumbnails in that mouseover bubble instead of a text ad.

Here’s what it looks like:

zintext plugin demo ebay wordpress affiliate plugin

Here are the pros and cons of WP ZinText eBay Plugin:

Pros:

  • It’s Free!
  • Refreshing new way to display eBay auctions
  • Can replace low-paying contextual links programs
  • mouseover bubble has 9 auctions thumbs and one larger preview
  • mouseover bubble has search eBay box
  • Will make an awesome addition to other eBay affiliate plugins

Cons:

  • plugin only works for contextual linking
  • only links keywords you manually add in setup options
  • uses flash and some users disable that in their browsers
  • clicking auctions in mouseover bubble opens a popup window, and some people have that disabled in their browser.

I hope you enjoyed these free eBay WordPress plugins, and in my opinion there are only really 2 usable ones here, Wordbay and WP ZinText. They would complement each other nicely on the same blog. One of the main reasons I went through the exercise of reviewing all the free eBay plugins for WordPress I could find online was because I wanted to see all the different features available. Next I will be reviewing all the options in all the premium eBay plugins I can find for a comparison.

I do have an ulterior motive to all this research though – because behind the scenes I’m working on having a professional programmer build the ultimate eBay wordpress plugin, one that does more than anything free or premium on the market today.  Please view my new eBay Plugin: WP-EASYBAY!