eBay and RSS feeds for searches

Regular readers may know I collect old calculators (mostly 30-year-old HPs, but I do look for some other makes too). One of the best places to find them is eBay, but it’s counter-productive to go visit eBay every day to search, especially for some of the rarer ones that only come up once every couple of months, if that. Hence, for the longest time, I’ve made use of eBay’s facility for generating RSS feeds on the fly of various search terms. I then subscribe to these searches as RSS feeds in Google Reader. If something pops up in one of the searches, I get to see it pretty well immediately. Using this technique, *cough, cough*, I’ve even snagged some great “underpriced” Buy-It-Now (BIN) items as soon as they appeared.

Unfortunately, eBay has just recently changed the layout of their search result pages, and the RSS button that used to be there has gone. Never to be seen again, perhaps. Who knows?

There are two options open to you if you really really need an RSS feed for a search. The first is to take the URL for an existing feed you are already subscribed to and then manually replace the search term in the feed URL with the search you now want. So for example:


is an RSS feed I had for “red unicorn”. (OK, it was for something different; just bear with me.) Just find the bit where it says that, and replace with the search you want (replacing spaces with ‘+’ signs):


This will provide a feed for “speak and spell”.

Not too difficult, but then again some of your eBay searches could be rather more advanced than just a phrase search (for example, you also need to look for BINs from the US only). Enter the second, even simpler, way to specify an RSS feed URL.

Do the search as usual – even with advanced filters – on the eBay site to get that first page of results. Then you copy the long (complicated) URL from the address bar of the browser, add “&_rss=1” onto the end, and use the resulting URL as your RSS feed.

You’re welcome.

Album cover for VertigoNow playing:
Groove Armada - Whatever, Whenever
(from Vertigo)

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