Auction Acronyms Rev Up Revenues

EBay sellers often use acronyms to save precious title-character space, but new research provides another reason to abbreviate—to demonstrate expertise.

EBay sellers know the importance of online auction lingo and will often use acronyms or abbreviations in their titles to save precious character space in order to offer more descriptive keywords

On eBay, when you create your auction or listing title, there’s a 55 character-length limit.  Sellers use this prime real estate area of an item listing to accurately describe the item for sale and to include relevant keywords that will help get their listing shown in more eBay search results.

eBay acronyms
Sellers can use item-specific acronyms to show expertise and to save character space in item titles.
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The problem is that often you may want to include common item conditions or references that use up a chunk of the allotted 55-characters. One way for sellers to get more details in their title is to use abbreviations and acronyms.

For example, if you want to tell prospective bidders and buyers that your item is “new in package,” then you’re adding 14 characters (including spaces) to your title. Using the abbreviation NIP — uses only three — leaving you 11 characters that you can use to highlight other features of your item, such as a brand name or color.  

Item-specific Acronyms Show Seller Expertise

A recently published report in the Stanford Knowledgebase from the Stanford Graduate School of Business offers sellers another reason to use acronyms in their eBay listings.

According to the report, Specializing Can Mean Bigger Sales, the study examined nearly 1,500 online titles that sellers used when listing their auction items. The research spanned several eBay categories, including dolls, Elvis memorabilia and toys.

The interesting result from the research: sellers who used item-specific acronyms in their titles had more successful auction endings. The reason for the success, according to the research report, is that bidders view a seller who uses correct item-specific acronyms as more knowledgeable about that specific category.

For eBay sellers who specialize in selling in only one or two categories on eBay, the report is good news. Not only can acronyms save precious listing title space—but using item-specific acronyms in the listing title might even help you sell more. 

You can read the full research summary report, which also discusses the benefits of selling only in the category or categories a seller knows best, here.

A Guide to EBay and Online Selling Acronyms

If some bidders see category and item-specific acronyms as an indicator of a knowledgeable seller— that’s an obvious perk to using an acronym. Still, most sellers will continue to use common acronyms and abbreviations just to save listing title space on eBay.

Some abbreviations that sellers commonly use to save character space on eBay include NWT (new with tags) and NRFB (never removed from box).  

Buyers new to online auctions and eBay may not know what the acronyms mean; but sellers can write the long-form phrase out in the item details, where limited character space is not an issue. For example, if you use NWT in your title, be sure you include the phrase “new with tags” in the long-form description.

To help make the most out of that valuable item title real estate, here are a few common eBay acronyms and their meanings.  You can use the abbreviations in listing titles to help you sell with less text space.

  • A+: Good condition
  • ea.: Each 
  • G: Good (condition) 
  • GP: Gold plate (jewelry) 
  • LDYS: Ladies 
  • MNB: Mint no box 
  • NIP: New in package
  • NORES: No reserve 
  • NP: Not packaged
  • NWOT: New without tags 
  • NWT: New with tags
  • OOAK: One of a kind
  • RP: Return policy
  • SGN: Signed 
  • S/O: Sold out 
  • VFM: Value for money 
  • VGC: Very good condition
  • WP: Waterproof

For a detailed list of more than 300 online auction and classified ad abbreviations, including category and item-specific acronyms, see the Online Auction Abbreviations page in the Quick Reference section of

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to She is also managing editor of You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

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