capsule review

GarageSale 3.2

GarageSale 3.2.1, by iwascoding, is a program for listing auctions on eBay. Similar to iSale (   ), GarageSale replaces eBay’s multipage, Web-based process with a familiar, Apple-inspired interface. Compared to iSale’s interface, though, GarageSale’s stumbles a bit on intuitiveness and elegance. GarageSale’s real strength lies in its power to customize and control almost every facet of an auction. With all of that power, however, comes a learning curve. Reading the manual is a must to get the most out of this program.

The first step in listing an auction with GarageSale is to describe what you are selling. In a program window, you simply type a description and apply formatting to it, just as you would in any text editor; you then set auction parameters such as duration, categories, and shipping costs.

You can add pictures from your iSight camera, your iPhoto library, or straight from your hard drive. You can also edit photos in GarageSale, although the average user might not know how to effectively handle some of the program’s image-editing features, like Hue, Gaussian Blur, and Unsharp Mask. When it comes time to upload the photos, GarageSale can save you time and money. In eBay’s own listing process, adding pictures almost always involves an image-hosting fee: whether you use eBay’s picture-hosting service, a third-party service, or a .Mac account to host your photos, these options cost money to join or maintain. GarageSale allows you to automatically store and use up to ten pictures per auction on its servers for free.

Once all of your auction information is ready, you apply one of the program’s many layout designs. GarageSale incorporates Apple’s Cover Flow interface (as seen in the latest version of iTunes) for browsing different layouts. Double-click a design you like, and your auction information is applied to the layout as a preview. Although the layout preview is visually impressive, you can’t edit the auction text or photos on the layout page; instead, you must return to the auction-details page to make changes. Flipping between the sections is an extra step I wish I could skip.

When your auction is assembled, you upload the auction information to eBay and the pictures to iwascoding’s image-hosting servers with a single click. GarageSale can revise running auctions and make bulk auction changes to starting-bid-price and payment instructions--tasks that iSale can’t do. While these are helpful features, though, I had to consult the online manual to learn how to use them.

After your auction ends, GarageSale collects the winner’s information (the winning bid, and e-mail and shipping addresses) and e-mails the buyer with instructions on how to pay you. You can even create custom e-mail notifications using GarageSale’s mail-merge feature, which lets you insert your choice of variable information into an e-mail template. eBay enthusiasts with multiple auctions will find this very useful.

Macworld’s buying advice

GarageSale 3.2.1 helps you create great-looking eBay auctions. The amount of control it provides over the auction-listing process will especially appeal to more-experienced eBay sellers. If you only occasionally use eBay for selling, the time you have to spend getting used to the interface might not be worth it. Once you know how everything works, though, GarageSale is a powerful tool.

[ Tony Bojorquez is a freelance technology writer based in the San Francisco Bay area. ]

GarageSale uses Apple’s Cover Flow view to preview different auction designs.
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