Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby nisiprius » Sun May 12, 2013 2:06 pm

JamesSFO wrote:
nisiprius wrote:
SSSS wrote:
nisiprius wrote:I completely fail to understand what advantage you supposedly gain from waiting until the last few seconds.
Statistical analysis has proven it with a very high degree of confidence and consistency. Placing an $X bid in the last second is much more likely to result in winning, and at a lower price, than placing the same bid earlier in the auction. Even if you don't understand why, that's the observed phenomenon.
I sure do not understand why.

Please answer the question directly. I place a bid early on with a $29 maximum. How do you manage to get that item for less than $29 by "waiting until the last few seconds?"...
Nisi - I generally agree with you but I think you are being a tad obtuse here. I think the question is assume your maximum is $29, is it better to bid $29 at the beginning, middle, or right at the end of the auction. I think the general research is that you should bid that $29 right at the end as you have the highest probability of paying the lowest price. So the comparison isn't bid $20 in the last few, but bid $29 and have a better shot of getting it for less.
No, once again--I truly don't see it. That just turns it around. If I enter a bid of $29 right at the end, please tell me how I can possibly get it for less than $29 if anyone else who is willing to pay more has already entered a bid with a maximum that is higher than $29?
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby TomatoTomahto » Sun May 12, 2013 2:11 pm

nisiprius wrote:
bertilak wrote:
SSSS wrote:Statistical analysis has proven it with a very high degree of confidence and consistency. Placing an $X bid in the last second is much more likely to result in winning, and at a lower price, than placing the same bid earlier in the auction. Even if you don't understand why, that's the observed phenomenon.

I think it all boils down to keeping out of escalating bidding wars. The corollary is that it withholds information from competitive bidders: they can't can't inch past you (escalate) if they don't know where you are.
THEY DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE. Your maximum bid is invisible. If an auction specifies a starting bid of $30 and I bid "$30, maximum $100" all you know is that I have bid $30. You do not know whether my maximum is $50, $100, or $10,000. The only way to learn more about my bid is to commit yourself to placing an actual bid yourself. All you see is that the high bid is currently $30 and that the minimum bid is now $31.

If you bid $31 you will see that you were outbid and that the high bid is now $32. You now have two choices, but it doesn't matter which you take. Let's say you are actually willing to pay $150. You can enter a series of bids with limits of $32, $33, $34 and see each time that you've been outbid and that the high bid is now $33, $34, or $35. Or, you can just enter a bit with a maximum of $150. At that point, you see that the high bid is now $101, that you are now the high bidder at $101, and I eventually get a robo-email saying I've been outbid.

Great, you've now discovered that my "real" bid was $100, but what good has it done you? You are committed to paying $101. Unless, of course, someone outbids you.

No information is disclosed until it is no longer of any value to you.

Or, you have driven an irrational bidder to a price higher than you were willing to pay. That's fine, but you don't get the item. The overwhelming majority of bidders on eBay, at least for collectibles, place their bids as sport or to fill some psychological hole. You are assuming that your competition is as rational as you are. Las Vegas is glad that's not true.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby leonard » Sun May 12, 2013 2:12 pm

nisiprius wrote:
JamesSFO wrote:
nisiprius wrote:
SSSS wrote:
nisiprius wrote:I completely fail to understand what advantage you supposedly gain from waiting until the last few seconds.
Statistical analysis has proven it with a very high degree of confidence and consistency. Placing an $X bid in the last second is much more likely to result in winning, and at a lower price, than placing the same bid earlier in the auction. Even if you don't understand why, that's the observed phenomenon.
I sure do not understand why.

Please answer the question directly. I place a bid early on with a $29 maximum. How do you manage to get that item for less than $29 by "waiting until the last few seconds?"...
Nisi - I generally agree with you but I think you are being a tad obtuse here. I think the question is assume your maximum is $29, is it better to bid $29 at the beginning, middle, or right at the end of the auction. I think the general research is that you should bid that $29 right at the end as you have the highest probability of paying the lowest price. So the comparison isn't bid $20 in the last few, but bid $29 and have a better shot of getting it for less.
No, once again--I truly don't see it. That just turns it around. If I enter a bid of $29 right at the end, please tell me how I can possibly get it for less than $29 if anyone else who is willing to pay more has already entered a bid with a maximum that is higher than $29?


Hi nisiprius - here is an article that summarizes research on why sniping works.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/science/columnist/2006-06-25-physics-of-ebay_x.htm

Basically, each bid gives the other bidders information. Evidently, many bidders don't know their max price. So, they react to your (and others) incremental bids - sometimes making the decision that it is worth more than the current bid. Thus, they bid up the price. If they have fewer "early" bids to react to - they will not bid the price up as much. Sniping prevents this by not giving the counter bidders time to react to your bid. So, you still put in our maximum bid - but at the last minute so that the counter bidders do not have time to react. Thus, you have both put in your max bid AND possibly paid a lower price for the item than if you bid your maximum earlier in the auction.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby otbricki » Sun May 12, 2013 2:14 pm

btenny wrote:It didn't sell as the snipe price was below the reserve and the winner would not pay more.

So all I see is sniping making a mess of the auction system....
Bill


Well, as an experienced EBay participant it seems to me that the problem with these auctions is the presence of a hidden reserve price. This makes it very difficult for a buyer to figure out what to do.

Sniping is not the issue with price discovery here. It's the seller intentionally hiding what he will accept as a minimum bid. If I'm a buyer and the seller is playing games like this I don't bother participating in the auction.

If a seller has a minimum reserve price he should disclose that price in the auction, or even better list the item as buy it now. Hiding the reserve price will choke off interest in the item and hurt the seller, and frustrate buyers.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby JamesSFO » Sun May 12, 2013 2:14 pm

nisiprius wrote:No, once again--I truly don't see it. That just turns it around. If I enter a bid of $29 right at the end, please tell me how I can possibly get it for less than $29 if anyone else who is willing to pay more has already entered a bid with a maximum that is higher than $29?


You just changed the hypothetical.

Late bidding never beats someone with a higher max irrespective of the timing of their bid.

Nobody has claimed that.

Assume you value item X at $29 let's a assume a starting price of less than [edit to fix price] $29, e.g. $10. What is the general, optimal time to place your bid for $29 assuming you want to pay the lowest possible price. Early, middle, end? The answer statistically is the end.

This has been studied, see e.g. this summary article on it: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9398
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby noyopacific » Sun May 12, 2013 2:18 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Please answer the question directly. I place a bid early on with a $29 maximum. How do you manage to get that item for less than $29 by "waiting until the last few seconds?"


If I had bid $28.51, my lower bid would win because the $29.00 bid would have failed reach the minimum necessary bid increment of .50 cents. This is one of the side effects of eBay's incremental bidding process.
Regardless of what I may have bid, by having my bid placed 2 seconds before the auction deadline, I eliminate all risk of a competing bidder increasing their bid in response to mine.

Regarding the previous comment that eBay does not allow shill bidding. eBay does not permit shill bidding but that does not prevent unscrupulous individuals from engaging in the practice. I am not aware of an instance when I think I might have been a victim of a shill. My guess is that shilling is the exception, except perhaps when bidding on items priced well in excess of $100 or items listed by overseas (mostly China) sellers.

Many years ago, my father, brothers (all 4 of ém,) and I were bidding on a Video. The movie was "Baby Blue Marine" It was a pretty bad movie and was not available on Amazon at the time. It was however, filmed in and near my parents tiny home town of McCloud, CA. This VHS tape couldn't have been worth more than $20. It was Thanksgiving evening and we were all together as the auction was coming to its end. Someone else was bidding against us and we got involved in a classic bidding war. We ended up losing after our final bid increase of $120 failed to be enough to win! Fortunately, the auction had ended before we had time to raise our bid again.
I learned more from that incident than any other single eBay experience. We were able to find the movie elsewhere for $15.
The information contained herein, while not guaranteed by us, has been obtained from from sources which have not in the past proved particularly reliable.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby downshiftme » Sun May 12, 2013 2:40 pm

eBay does not allow sellers to bid on their own auctions.


That may be part of the terms of service, but it certainly happens all the time. Or perhaps it's the seller's wife or a "friend" who puts in the shill bits. It seems to be fairly common and leads to weird situations such as "the high bidder failed to deliver, so now you can have it for slightly less than the (fictitious?) high bid" Yes this is also prohibited, but seems to happen a lot, just the same. Just like offers to sell "another one" outside of the ebay system. Also prohibited. Also happens.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby bertilak » Sun May 12, 2013 2:47 pm

nisiprius wrote:The only way to learn more about my bid is to commit yourself to placing an actual bid yourself.

If I am using a snipping service even that doesn't work. An active bidder simply cannot discover my max so he can't "inch" past me, even at the last second. Best he can do is snipe it himself. Then it works out best for everyone. He who is willing to pay the most wins the bid. (Except for the perverse cases where the highest bids are close together and the slightly higher bid comes in a fraction of a second later than the next highest bid but does not satisfy the minimum increment.)

Of course the seller doesn't get to watch you participate in a bidding war.

The assumption here, and I think it is justified, is that in the heat of the battle people will bid higher than their better judgement would otherwise allow them. If no one ever got emotional then snipping would not be a useful strategy. But in the real world, people get carried away. If you are one of the few with nerves of icy steel you won't ever over-pay but you might rarely win an auction.

Even as a snipper you will often miss out because others have, in a frenzy, driven a price out of your range. At least you won't participate in the carnage!

EDIT: I should add that one's "highest price" is a pretty fuzzy concept. You can say it is $100, but would you pass up a $101 deal? So, even rational, nerves of steel, people will be willing to fudge around with a few bids above their maximum. A snipping service keeps you safe from those people as well. Here's how I work it...

Say I see a book that I think is a reasonable deal for $12. I might put in a snipe at $12.51. Sure, I'll be a little disappointed if I have to pay over $12, but usually that won't happen and it will protect me from the guy who snipes in one second after me at $13 since he will miss the minimum $0.50 increment. (Although he is probably smart enough to bid $13.01!)
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby btenny » Sun May 12, 2013 2:53 pm

Briki and others,

The piano I wanted did have a reserve price posted and a phone number. BUT the reserve price the seller wanted was crazy IMO as it was like $10K for a used item that sold for maybe $12K to $15K new. A fair price was around $4K to $7K but the seller had not reconciled himself to taking so big a loss. He had only owned it for 1.5 years and played it very little. It was a top of the line piano in new condition. Plus he would also have had to pay ebay and paypal another big chunk. And in my case he only had me and one other private bidder and several music store dealers who were trying to get a steal so they could resell and make a nice profit. So the snipping both times messed up any kind of fair auction IMO. And in my case when I first started looking I thought $3K or so was all I was willing to spend for a nice piano and I did not know what new ones cost so I got educated over time. By the way the other bidder ended up with new piano after she lost the ebay bid so she was also willing to pay more than she bid.

And according to my friends this happens a lot on big items on ebay so there are real bargains to be had if you deal....

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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby daytona084 » Sun May 12, 2013 3:02 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Please answer the question directly. I place a bid early on with a $29 maximum. How do you manage to get that item for less than $29 by "waiting until the last few seconds?"


nisi:

You seem to have a blind spot here. Are you aware that on eBay, if you bid $29 (using your example) and you are the high bidder, you do not necessarily pay $29? The purchase price is the second-highest bid plus the "increment". For example, if you bid $29 and the second highest bid was $10, you would win the item for $10.50 ($0.50 is the increment at that level).
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby SSSS » Sun May 12, 2013 3:34 pm

nisiprius wrote:
bertilak wrote:
SSSS wrote:Statistical analysis has proven it with a very high degree of confidence and consistency. Placing an $X bid in the last second is much more likely to result in winning, and at a lower price, than placing the same bid earlier in the auction. Even if you don't understand why, that's the observed phenomenon.

I think it all boils down to keeping out of escalating bidding wars. The corollary is that it withholds information from competitive bidders: they can't can't inch past you (escalate) if they don't know where you are.
But they don't know where you are. Your maximum bid is not disclosed. If an auction specifies a starting bid of $30 and I bid "$30, maximum $100" all you know is that I have bid $30. You do not know whether my maximum is $50, $100, or $10,000. The only way to learn more about my bid is to commit yourself to placing an actual bid yourself. All you see is that the high bid is currently $30 and that the minimum bid is now $31.

If you bid $31 you will see that you were outbid and that the high bid is now $32. You now have two choices, but it doesn't matter which you take. Let's say you are actually willing to pay $150. You can enter a series of bids with limits of $32, $33, $34 and see each time that you've been outbid and that the high bid is now $33, $34, or $35. Or, you can just enter a bit with a maximum of $150. At that point, you see that the high bid is now $101, that you are now the high bidder at $101, and I eventually get a robo-email saying I've been outbid.

Great, you've now discovered that my "real" bid was $100, but what good has it done you? You are committed to paying $101. If nobody else cares, you get the item for $101. You are happy because you got it for less than $150, I am disappointed but not unhappy because I did not want to pay more than $100 for it.

If I bid $10,000, you can, of course, discover that my maximum bid was $10,000 but you will need to bid $10,001 to discover it.

No information is disclosed until it is no longer of any value to you.


Actual experimental data & statistical analysis trumps any thoughts about how things should work "in theory".

If you question the reliability of previously published studies, you can run the tests yourself to see whether you can replicate the results or not.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby otbricki » Sun May 12, 2013 3:48 pm

btenny wrote:Briki and others,

The piano I wanted did have a reserve price posted and a phone number. BUT the reserve price the seller wanted was crazy IMO as it was like $10K for a used item that sold for maybe $12K to $15K new. A fair price was around $4K to $7K but the seller had not reconciled himself to taking so big a loss. He had only owned it for 1.5 years and played it very little. It was a top of the line piano in new condition. Plus he would also have had to pay ebay and paypal another big chunk. And in my case he only had me and one other private bidder and several music store dealers who were trying to get a steal so they could resell and make a nice profit. So the snipping both times messed up any kind of fair auction IMO. And in my case when I first started looking I thought $3K or so was all I was willing to spend for a nice piano and I did not know what new ones cost so I got educated over time. By the way the other bidder ended up with new piano after she lost the ebay bid so she was also willing to pay more than she bid.

And according to my friends this happens a lot on big items on ebay so there are real bargains to be had if you deal....

Bill


It sounds to me what your seller did was highly unethical. He posted an item on Ebay with a an unrealistic price and a phone number in order to attract off Ebay contact, and then conducted business off Ebay in order to avoid paying the Ebay fees.

Sniping (it's not 'snipping') has nothing to do with this process. It's somebody defrauding Ebay. He had no intention of completing the auction on EBay.

Here is EBay's policy statement on what you describe.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/rfe ... -sale.html
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby Aptenodytes » Sun May 12, 2013 4:22 pm

I'm not sure the issue is being framed very clearly.

1) An individual who wants to buy a specific item in a specific auction needs to enter a bid that automatically increments to their maximum price.

2) If all buyers behave that way, markets operate at their most efficient.

3) In a particular auction, if everyone chooses to snipe instead, waiting to the last minute to place bids with small incremental increases, then the physical limits of the bid sequencing will result in items selling far below their value to the buyers.

4) If all buyers snipe, markets operate at their least efficient. Sellers will hold back and potential consumer surplus will fail to be realized. Buyers will have more cash than they want and sellers will have attics that are more crowded than they want.

5) In a mixed market, where there are people who bid their reserve price and people who snipe, we have a strategic situation where the optimal strategy for a new bidder is more complex than under either pure scenario. Surely some economist has figured out an algorithm that yields an optimum decision. A strategic buyer might bid less than there reserve price if the potential gain from winning a snipe war outweighs the gain from purchasing at the reserve price. Logically, any probability of winning the snipe war ought to be enough to budge me from my reserve price strategy -- if I get my reserve price I have broken even; I exchange an amount of cash for an object at exactly the level that makes me indifferent to the two. If I win a snipe war I come out ahead. But something like Zeno's paradox comes into play. If I really want that item, I'm not going to be very happy to lose hundreds of snipe wars, even if each one has some positive expected value. At some point I need to jump over all those theoretically positive values and just buy the damn thing.

6) The effects of could be eliminated with more rapid Ebay processors. If Ebay had the infrastructure of the NYSE, it seems the effects would vanish. Purchase prices would equilibrate to reserve prices.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby btenny » Sun May 12, 2013 4:41 pm

Briki,

Sorry but that is not what happened with this guy at all IMO. He would gladly have paid ebay if the auction had worked like a auction and allowed people to bid up the price instead of the sniping stuff and a few low bids at the end. His highest bid on ebay was like $3200 from some dealer. And I would have offered more than this during the bidding process but I did not know that things could get snipped away at 30 seconds or less.

And the first two auctions took like 2 months or so to complete as I recall. None of us regular people understand the sniping thing as well as you. And I am pretty sure most people are not experts at ebay so they don't know all these processes either. This guy did not post his number on ebay. I got his number and he mine because I sent a person to inspect his piano. He just wanted to sell his piano and did not want to go so low in price but due to a home lease/purchase he was being forced to move and was out of time. Thus the hurry up sale of the piano direct to me and not a third round of ebay auction. And so you know I paid more than any ebay offer and was glad to get the piano.

Thus IMO ebay is just not set up to really sell high priced items from the sellers prospective.

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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby leonard » Sun May 12, 2013 4:55 pm

Aptenodytes wrote:I'm not sure the issue is being framed very clearly.

1) An individual who wants to buy a specific item in a specific auction needs to enter a bid that automatically increments to their maximum price.

2) If all buyers behave that way, markets operate at their most efficient.

3) In a particular auction, if everyone chooses to snipe instead, waiting to the last minute to place bids with small incremental increases, then the physical limits of the bid sequencing will result in items selling far below their value to the buyers.

4) If all buyers snipe, markets operate at their least efficient. Sellers will hold back and potential consumer surplus will fail to be realized. Buyers will have more cash than they want and sellers will have attics that are more crowded than they want.

5) In a mixed market, where there are people who bid their reserve price and people who snipe, we have a strategic situation where the optimal strategy for a new bidder is more complex than under either pure scenario. Surely some economist has figured out an algorithm that yields an optimum decision. A strategic buyer might bid less than there reserve price if the potential gain from winning a snipe war outweighs the gain from purchasing at the reserve price. Logically, any probability of winning the snipe war ought to be enough to budge me from my reserve price strategy -- if I get my reserve price I have broken even; I exchange an amount of cash for an object at exactly the level that makes me indifferent to the two. If I win a snipe war I come out ahead. But something like Zeno's paradox comes into play. If I really want that item, I'm not going to be very happy to lose hundreds of snipe wars, even if each one has some positive expected value. At some point I need to jump over all those theoretically positive values and just buy the damn thing.

6) The effects of could be eliminated with more rapid Ebay processors. If Ebay had the infrastructure of the NYSE, it seems the effects would vanish. Purchase prices would equilibrate to reserve prices.


Perhaps the folks that snipe are getting the "real" value price for what the item is worth - after all a seller didn't put a reserve to prevent the sniped price.

It seems you are just making an assumption that because prices would be higher without sniping that the market is somehow more efficient. But, higher prices could imply overpayment for items - not necessarily that the market was more efficient.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby bertilak » Sun May 12, 2013 5:28 pm

Aptenodytes wrote:I'm not sure the issue is being framed very clearly.

I disagree with pretty much all of this. The "issue" is clear. It is not rocket science. It is simply a matter of whether or not you want to participate in a bidding war, or worse yet, contribute to its cause, which amounts to the same thing.

1) An individual who wants to buy a specific item in a specific auction needs to enter a bid that automatically increments to their maximum price.

Buyers do not enter bids into eBay. eBay acts as the buyers' agent and enters bids for the buyer. What is commonly called (incorrectly) "entering a bid" on eBay is actually giving eBay the authority to place bids on behalf of the buyer up to a specified amount, the "maximum price" mentioned in the above quoted text. Typically, eBay will enter several bids on your behalf based on a single "bid" (in quotes) that you enter. This can happen over several minutes, hours, or days, depending on other bidders.

2) If all buyers behave that way, markets operate at their most efficient.

Only if the buyers don't make additional "bids". "bids" is in quotes to emphasize the above distinction. This has consequences, the main one being that people entering multiple "bids" (in quotes) during the major course of the auction do two things against their own interest:
  1. They show their cards to the other players.
  2. They allow the auction to gradually unfold.
This is what turns it into an exciting game with a frenzy of rising prices.

3) In a particular auction, if everyone chooses to snipe instead, waiting to the last minute to place bids with small incremental increases, then the physical limits of the bid sequencing will result in items selling far below their value to the buyers.

Sniping is the exact opposite of entering small incremental bids. The sniper only makes one "bid" to eBay. When all the sniper bids come in, eBay sorts them all out. If all buyers entered their maximum bids, the winner by definition won at a price reflecting the value to the buyer. And that would be the buyer willing to spend the most -- pretty much the definition of an efficient, value-seeking, market.

4) If all buyers snipe, markets operate at their least efficient. Sellers will hold back and potential consumer surplus will fail to be realized. Buyers will have more cash than they want and sellers will have attics that are more crowded than they want.

If a seller is worried that the bids won't satisfy him, he puts in a reserve. There is nothing causing him to "hold back."

5) In a mixed market, where there are people who bid their reserve price and people who snipe, we have a strategic situation where the optimal strategy for a new bidder is more complex than under either pure scenario. Surely some economist has figured out an algorithm that yields an optimum decision. A strategic buyer might bid less than there reserve price if the potential gain from winning a snipe war outweighs the gain from purchasing at the reserve price. Logically, any probability of winning the snipe war ought to be enough to budge me from my reserve price strategy -- if I get my reserve price I have broken even; I exchange an amount of cash for an object at exactly the level that makes me indifferent to the two. If I win a snipe war I come out ahead. But something like Zeno's paradox comes into play. If I really want that item, I'm not going to be very happy to lose hundreds of snipe wars, even if each one has some positive expected value. At some point I need to jump over all those theoretically positive values and just buy the damn thing.

That is WAY over analyzed and based on all the above false ideas. Sniping doesn't cause wars, it avoids them. There can't be a war if there is no opportunity to react. How many manual bids can you enter in 3 seconds? By the time you see what a sniper has bid the auction is over.

It is the buyers' reactions to watching the bidding that results in action and reaction -- what is called a bidding war. This is what the sellers and eBay want -- a bidding frenzy that drives up prices as people get excited and anxious about the possibilities of winning or losing the auction. This can't happen in three seconds. Or even five or ten.

(And buyers don't have reserve prices. That's for sellers.)

6) The effects of could be eliminated with more rapid Ebay processors. If Ebay had the infrastructure of the NYSE, it seems the effects would vanish. Purchase prices would equilibrate to reserve prices.

Not at all relevant.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby otbricki » Sun May 12, 2013 5:47 pm

btenny wrote:Briki,

Sorry but that is not what happened with this guy at all IMO. He would gladly have paid ebay if the auction had worked like a auction and allowed people to bid up the price instead of the sniping stuff and a few low bids at the end.

And the first two auctions took like 2 months or so to complete as I recall. None of us regular people understand the sniping thing as well as you. And I am pretty sure most people are not experts at ebay so they don't know all these processes either. This guy did not post his number on ebay. I got his number and he mine because I sent a person to inspect his piano. He just wanted to sell his piano and did not want to go so low in price but due to a home lease/purchase he was being forced to move and was out of time. Thus the hurry up sale of the piano direct to me and not a third round of ebay auction. And so you know I paid more than any ebay offer and was glad to get the piano.

Thus IMO ebay is just not set up to really sell high priced items from the sellers prospective.

Bill


Well I will agree with you that selling a high value item on Ebay is very tricky at least because of the fraud possibilities. And pianos don't fit EBay well because of the shipping concerns and of course the variability in the condition of used pianos.

However I think your criticism of the bid process is unwarranted. If you place a bid that is over the reserve price your bid will automatically be considered qualified as to winning the bid. If the seller posts what the reserve is there is no issue. Just bid over the reserve when you snipe and you have a good chance of winning. If you aren't willing to bid that high and the seller really would have been happy with a lower bid the seller made a mistake in listing the item with such a high reserve. That situation is not a problem with the bidding system.

The period of time it takes to complete an auction is set by the seller when he lists the item. It's flexible.

As far as not understanding how EBay works, well there are plenty of forums and other material to read through, as well as a lot of helpful people on the site that will answer questions. That's how I learned. If you are going to try to buy items worth thousands of dollars on EBay it's really important to understand thoroughly how the site works.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby SurfCityBill » Sun May 12, 2013 9:56 pm

I trust this isn't too far off-topic. But in regards to Ebay bidding, I've had some success purchasing discounted gift cards from certain vendors, Corner Bakery and Starbucks would be two. However, can anyone explain to me why people would pay more than face value for gift cards? For instance, here are examples I just pulled off Ebay. In all cases shipping is free.

Walmart current bid $55.08, face value $54.08.
Walmart current bid $26.03, face value $ 25.00.
Amazon current bid $10.52, face value $10.00.

and the grand daddy of them all

Home Deport current bid $565.00, face value $500.00.

I often see this with pre-paid Visa cards as well.

Just curious if anyone can explain this?

SCB
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby TomatoTomahto » Sun May 12, 2013 10:29 pm

SurfCityBill,

People get territorial about auctions they’ve bid on. It is “their” auction. I once had a Felix the Cat bobble-head doll consigned to me. There was another one listed with a Buy-It-Now of $72. If these bobble-heads are in mint condition, as these two were, they’re fungible items (i.e., they’re inter-changeable, one is just like the other). As the $1/No Reserve auction got closer to $72, I figured that somebody would drop off my auction and buy the $72 one. Strangely enough, at the end of the auction, mine sold for $128, and the $72 one was still sitting there. So, people were bidding like somebody protecting their turf most of the way to $128, but had tunnel vision and didn’t make the economically rational decision to buy it for $72. This is completely irrational, but I’ve seen it happen over and over.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby JamesSFO » Sun May 12, 2013 10:32 pm

SurfCityBill wrote:I trust this isn't too far off-topic. But in regards to Ebay bidding, I've had some success purchasing discounted gift cards from certain vendors, Corner Bakery and Starbucks would be two. However, can anyone explain to me why people would pay more than face value for gift cards? For instance, here are examples I just pulled off Ebay. In all cases shipping is free.

Walmart current bid $55.08, face value $54.08.
Walmart current bid $26.03, face value $ 25.00.
Amazon current bid $10.52, face value $10.00.

and the grand daddy of them all

Home Deport current bid $565.00, face value $500.00.

I often see this with pre-paid Visa cards as well.

Just curious if anyone can explain this?

SCB


I've sold used video games for more than I could buy them on Amazon. Odd buying patterns happen. This pattern seems particularly odd...
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby jda » Sun May 12, 2013 11:38 pm

SurfCityBill wrote:I trust this isn't too far off-topic. But in regards to Ebay bidding, I've had some success purchasing discounted gift cards from certain vendors, Corner Bakery and Starbucks would be two. However, can anyone explain to me why people would pay more than face value for gift cards? For instance, here are examples I just pulled off Ebay. In all cases shipping is free.

Walmart current bid $55.08, face value $54.08.
Walmart current bid $26.03, face value $ 25.00.
Amazon current bid $10.52, face value $10.00.

and the grand daddy of them all

Home Deport current bid $565.00, face value $500.00.

I often see this with pre-paid Visa cards as well.

Just curious if anyone can explain this?

SCB


It was either last year or a year before livingsocial or one of those daily deal site were selling $20 ebay certificate for $10 and let's just say some people bought more than the limit of one by creating multiple account. Also, sometime there is ebay bucks promotion that gives more than a few percent back on purchases.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby Auream » Sun May 12, 2013 11:40 pm

SurfCityBill wrote:I trust this isn't too far off-topic. But in regards to Ebay bidding, I've had some success purchasing discounted gift cards from certain vendors, Corner Bakery and Starbucks would be two. However, can anyone explain to me why people would pay more than face value for gift cards?
SCB

The vast majority of gift cards that are selling above face value are being purchased with stolen credit cards, or don't actually get sold at all because it's a fake bid.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby ogd » Mon May 13, 2013 12:26 am

nisiprius wrote:Great, you've now discovered that my "real" bid was $100, but what good has it done you? You are committed to paying $101. If nobody else cares, you get the item for $101. You are happy because you got it for less than $150, I am disappointed but not unhappy because I did not want to pay more than $100 for it.


nisiprius: the point is that when you are competing against a wobbly buyer, somebody who thinks initially "I'm willing to pay $80 for this", but during the course of the auction changes their mind, like "okay, I suppose I can pay $100, even $110", you are putting yourself at a disadvantage if you're not sniping.

Without sniping: you lose the item because your maximum bid was $100, and they upped theirs to $110.
With sniping: you win because their bid was $80 until the final seconds and they didn't have a chance to change their mind. Not only that, but you only pay $81.

Now the wobbly buyer is clearly being irrational, they should have thought long and hard and put that $110 bid from the beginning and let it be. But ebay is not frequented exclusively by nisiprii, is it. In fact, ebay encourages people to change their mind, what with their constant barrage of testosterone-triggering "you've been outbid" emails. They shouldn't even show the current bid until the end, if you ask me. Anyway, that being the site, that has to be the strategy.

For the record, I was sniped repeatedly the first few times I bid for something I cared about and I almost swore off ebay as a result. I don't know why ebay doesn't do more to fight it, I bet there's tons of people that never did come back. But such is life.

Fun little thought exercise: short of keeping the auction secret until the end, which would change ebay fundamentally, what else could they do to ward off sniping? Here's my proposal: keep the exact auction ending time secret, say within an hour (or maybe 10%) of what the buyer chose, and only give the range. Can this be foiled? Attack me, experienced ebayers :). I have a gut feeling that an attacker with multiple accounts can get around it, but I can't quite figure out how.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby jda » Mon May 13, 2013 5:04 am

ogd wrote:
Fun little thought exercise: short of keeping the auction secret until the end, which would change ebay fundamentally, what else could they do to ward off sniping? Here's my proposal: keep the exact auction ending time secret, say within an hour (or maybe 10%) of what the buyer chose, and only give the range. Can this be foiled? Attack me, experienced ebayers :). I have a gut feeling that an attacker with multiple accounts can get around it, but I can't quite figure out how.


I don't see ebay has too much motivation to do this. Most of the ebay sales are moving toward buy it now anyway and I doubt bid snipping is affecting ebay's revenue much.

nisiprius: Like I said in the previous post, if you are fine with paying whatever pre-determined amount please continue to bid early.
Typicals newbs like to bid incrementally and not at a pre-determined amount. If they are the first bidders, chances are their bids are very close to the starting bid which you can snipe easily at the end (assuming it's just you and the newb are interseted in the same item). However, if you bid the pre-determined amount, the newb will likely to bid up every few hours just for the sake of it. you might still win the auction, but it'll most likely be higher than if you snipe the newb.

Using your analogy it's almost like walking into a Maserati dealer and telling the saleman that you are willing to pay MSRP when there is 5% wiggle room.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby mikestorm » Mon May 13, 2013 3:01 pm

Here's my completely uncientific assumption of why I do what I do (I'm an early bidder). This has happened many times.

Let's say I'm bidding on a set of golf clubs that (for example) have a generally accepted value of $500. No reserve. Current bid $10 (other seller's max $250 but I don't know that yet). The max I'm willing to pay is $425.

Scenario A: I withold my best offer bid till the final seconds (e.g. I snipe) Price tag of $10 persists for seven days.
Scenario B: I bid my best offer price early. I put in $425. First bidder had a max bid of $250 so bid rests at $255 with me as the high and early bidder.

With scenario A, a really nice set of golf clubs at an incredibly depressed price comes ($10) across ebayers searches for seven days. Whoa! Look at that price! They add it to their watched items as I have done. If I play my cards right, I'll get it for a steal! They start fantasizing about how cheap they picked up a great set of clubs, firmly intending to return at auction end.

With scenario B the price lower than generally accepted value but still material. Some tentative bids to gauge my max may occur, and I want them to as I want folks to get think that this guy wants these clubs and so the lowball bids do little to unseat me. (and if I am outbid I'm OK with that as I've already made peace with my max bid) but people who are romanticizing about those $10 golf glubs will move on. Fewer adds to watch list. mikestorm got there first. Oh well, best move on.

Scenario A:
After 7 days a whole bunch of people will converge right along with me and all snipe eachother, resulting in a lot of activity at the very end of an auction. Competition gets the better part of people's common sense and someone invarablly bids right under/at/above market price.

Scenario B:
Auction ends with a whimper. Zero activity, I get clubs for $255. Yay me.

I was a sniper when I wanted a thing for the lowest possible price period. When I first set my (realistic) max price and made peace with it, I bid earlier and found I'd get things for better deals. Just my personal experience. Obviously YMMV.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby money » Mon May 13, 2013 9:32 pm

Interesting theory on the accumulating watchers on a low auction. A combination of early bidding and sniping may be optimal. I typically only snipe to avoid price hunters that do not know what they really want to bid on an item and just want to "win". If there are no bids or very low bids early on, I might put a couple bids in to encourage the seller to keep the item listed.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby deanbrew » Tue May 14, 2013 10:36 am

nisiprius wrote:Please answer the question directly. I place a bid early on with a $29 maximum. How do you manage to get that item for less than $29 by "waiting until the last few seconds?"

What are you not saying here?

Is there some illicit secret technical glitch whereby I can bid $29, you can bid $20 "in the last few seconds," you can win the item and actually pay $20, but eBay will display the transaction as a completed auction with a price of $30 or more?

If you are not say that, what ARE you saying?


Let me try. Sniping doesn't allow you to buy below other bids (maximums). But it does allow you to stay out of bidding wars. I've found that sniping absolutely works when there are few bidders for an item. When there are more than a couple of bidders, there is little or no advantage, as the price will get bid up by those bidding in the conventional manner. The price will also get bid up at the very end if there are several snipers.

There are essentially three ways to bid on ebay:

1. Enter your "real" maximum bid.
2. Use a sniping service with your maximum bid.
3. Look at an item and bid $1 or a few dollars over the current bid. Leave and come back later and repeat.

Sniping works for an item that is attracting few bidders, those bidders are manually entering bids at small margins over the current bid, and none of them come back and enter a live bid when the auction is ending.

For an item where there are No. 1 and/or No. 2 type bidders, the auctions get bid up. But for auctions where there is nobody who has entered a high maximum bid or a snipe bid, you can win it at a lower price than your sniped amount. It doesn't happen nearly as often as it used to, but it still happens on occasion. I'm not sure how else I can explain it, but I've used sniping for many years, and it works when there are few bidders and doesn't when there are more than a couple of bidders.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby bertilak » Tue May 14, 2013 10:56 am

deanbrew wrote:I'm not sure how else I can explain it, but I've used sniping for many years, and it works when there are few bidders and doesn't when there are more than a couple of bidders.

Overall an excellent description and it covers an aspect not mentioned before, that is, the situations where it is most and least favorable. (This is from the buyers' perspective.)

Two additional points, or expansions on the points you already made...

  • It does not contribute to the unfavorable condition (multiple active bidders), marginally reducing the chances of that happening.
  • Even when it doesn't help, it doesn't hurt, either. There is an up-side but no down-side.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby deanbrew » Tue May 14, 2013 11:16 am

bertilak wrote:Overall an excellent description and it covers an aspect not mentioned before, that is, the situations where it is most and least favorable. (This is from the buyers' perspective.)

Two additional points, or expansions on the points you already made...

  • It does not contribute to the unfavorable condition (multiple active bidders), marginally reducing the chances of that happening.
  • Even when it doesn't help, it doesn't hurt, either. There is an up-side but no down-side.



Those are two excellent points. If I want an item and there are no bids or one bid, I don't want to be the guy who starts or perpetuates a bidding contest. I'll enter a maximum in my snipe account and then see what happens. If one person has bid $25 with no other bidders, and I've entered $50, I get it for $26. If I had entered $50 as a maximum within ebay, then there might be a series of bids going all the way up to my maximum.

As you point out, I fail to see a downside to sniping, whereas there are instances where it is detrimental (as a buyer). As a seller, it is a bit frustrating to see no activity and then a flurry of bids in the last minute. But even more frustrating is how much it costs for ebay fees, paypal fees and shipping charges.

FWIW, I find it much harder to get bargains on ebay compared to several (or many) years ago. I suppose that's a testament to their success, but most items seem to get bid up to prices that are not very attractive to me. I can still find some good prices for used CDs and books, but just as often I find better prices on Amazon, Half.com or other website, and even at local stores. It always amazes me that people bid stuff up to higher prices than at stores.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby theduke » Tue May 14, 2013 4:19 pm

I am new to Ebay and Paypal. I was going to establish a Paypal account. I registered and entered a credit card, but it also wants my bank checking info in addition to my credit card. Is that normal? Why do they need both?
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby TomatoTomahto » Tue May 14, 2013 4:22 pm

theduke wrote:I am new to Ebay and Paypal. I was going to establish a Paypal account. I registered and entered a credit card, but it also wants my bank checking info in addition to my credit card. Is that normal? Why do they need both?

Because PayPal will keep funding from your checking account unless you diligently click the few clicks required to pay via credit card for each and every purchase. They avoid cc fees, you don't get rebates or cc protection.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby mikestorm » Wed May 15, 2013 7:31 am

I'm hearing a lot of (what I perceive to be) mutually exclusive tenants here.

1) Sniping is the way to go; don't ever bid early
2) Sniping works best when there isn't a lot of activity on an auction

How to you influence there isn't a lot of activity on an auction without bidding early and prematurely driving up the price, thus making the auction less attractive to the larger collective? If you know in your heart of hearts that a item will absolutley positively not go for less than $500, why not drive the price up to that point on day 1? The only reason I'm gleaning from responses is "But I might, just might, get it for LESS than $500 so I'd be stupid to do so."

I have found, repeatedly, that the fewer eyeballs an auction gets over it's 3/7/10 day run, the better chance I have of getting a really good price. Early bids are the best way to influence this.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby mikestorm » Wed May 15, 2013 7:38 am

theduke wrote:I am new to Ebay and Paypal. I was going to establish a Paypal account. I registered and entered a credit card, but it also wants my bank checking info in addition to my credit card. Is that normal? Why do they need both?


Oh yes. If paypal had their way, 100% of all deals would be settled thorugh a checking account. Less expensive for them (no merchant card fees) PLUS less protections/rights to the consumer (you can dispute paypal transactions via your credit card company ONCE you exhaust the avenue with Paypal).

If an auciton goes south you're at PayPals mercy. If they side with the seller, you're SOL if you setteld with a checking. Despite what PayPal might suggest, their primary goal is for THEM to not get stuck with the bill. Regardless of the evidence, if PayPal can't recover the funds through the seller, my experience has been they decline your claim as a buyer (or fufill with less $$ then what you lost). With a checking, you have no recourse. With a credit card you can say "We'll see about that!" and submit a claim through your CC company. I've (unfortunatley) done this twice so far. While credit card companies will not accept a claim until you provide proof that the PayPal resolution process was first done and is complete, once you do, I've found you get the balance owed in 24 hours (and they ding PayPal for it).

Provide the checking info but don't ever settle through it. I never (ever ever ever EVER) do.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby bertilak » Wed May 15, 2013 8:34 am

mikestorm wrote:I'm hearing a lot of (what I perceive to be) mutually exclusive tenants here.

1) Sniping is the way to go; don't ever bid early
2) Sniping works best when there isn't a lot of activity on an auction

Those are not at all mutually exclusive. Just because it works best in one situation does not mean it doesn't have some benefit in other situations. In this case there is no downside to sniping so even where it doesn't "work" at all, it hasn't caused any harm.

How to you influence there isn't a lot of activity on an auction without bidding early and prematurely driving up the price, thus making the auction less attractive to the larger collective?

I don't know if I parsed that sentence correctly, but bidding early does NOT prevent other bidding activity. It probably encourages it, for purely behavioral reasons. This is the whole idea of a bidding war. For many people, once they have made a bid they get defensive about their emotional investment in the process and will pay to stay in the game. I am not speculating here, just reporting on known behavior.

If you know in your heart of hearts that a item will absolutley positively not go for less than $500, why not drive the price up to that point on day 1? The only reason I'm gleaning from responses is "But I might, just might, get it for LESS than $500 so I'd be stupid to do so."

First, in an auction situation you don't know things like that. You can have opinions but that's it. And, if that's the only reason you have gleaned then you haven't been gleaning very carefully.

The MAIN reason for sniping is to prevent someone from outbidding you. The secondary, but related, reason is to avoid a bidding war that will raise the price even if not past your bid. Remember, you don't win at the price you bid, but at the minimum increment above the next highest bid.

I have found, repeatedly, that the fewer eyeballs an auction gets over it's 3/7/10 day run, the better chance I have of getting a really good price.

True.

Early bids are the best way to influence this.

Quite the opposite. Early bids draw attention and give away information to your opposing bidders. They will try to top your bid and that is the ONLY thing that drives up prices.

COME TO THINK OF IT...
if someone is bidding because they enjoy the process, then early bids are the way to go. Otherwise the game is boring. My assumption (and that of all snipers) is that a boring game is the best game. Either you win at your price or better or someone who is willing to pay more wins and that is as it should be. Sad but true.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby bertilak » Wed May 15, 2013 9:05 am

About sniping and other tactics at live auctions.

I often watch the show Chasing Classic Cars. It is about a guy who buys, sells, restores and collects classic cars. He spends a lot of time at auctions. Now I have not seen him use a last second bid but others in auctions not involving our guy do so. They will wait until "Going once; going twice ..." and snap out a bid. The (usually) only other remaining bidder at that point is apparently too disheartened and off balance to continue bidding.

Another tactic that seem to work well in a live auction: At every bid, INSTANTLY snap back with a higher bid. This shows intention to win at any cost and discourages others from even trying. I have seen our guy do this.

A danger: The auctioneer can be quite persuasive. Our guy went in to the bidding for one car with a mental limit of $20K, at which point he stopped bidding. After another couple of reluctant incremental bids by others the auctioneer came back to our guy and pointed out how slowly the bidding was going and why not try again -- it really was (he said) still a bargain. He talked our guy op to $27K at which point our guy again dropped out of the bidding. The next bid of $28K bought the car. If the auctioneer hadn't engineered that little bidding war the car might have sold for several thousand less. Our guy, who was persuaded to prolong the bidding, didn't get the car anyway and the guy who did get it paid more than he would have otherwise. That's the danger of active bidding!

Funny story about one episode of that show: The bids for a car had slowed down at (I think) about $5 million. The auctioneer sees a hand go up from a new bidder: "To my left! Are you in for 5?" ... no answer ... "Oh, you're just ordering coffee. Sir, that cup of coffee almost cost you 5 million dollars!"
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby mikestorm » Wed May 15, 2013 2:32 pm

bertilak wrote:I don't know if I parsed that sentence correctly, but bidding early does NOT prevent other bidding activity. It probably encourages it, for purely behavioral reasons. This is the whole idea of a bidding war. For many people, once they have made a bid they get defensive about their emotional investment in the process and will pay to stay in the game. I am not speculating here, just reporting on known behavior.

And this why I bid my max price early. One of two things happen:
a) I win the item at/below my max price
b) I lose the item as it goes above my max price

I'm OK with either situaiton. If somone wants to 'beat me' on principle, have at it. Remember, I've been saying 'max price' all this time, meaning I don't go back to revise it. While I don't disagree that people play to stay in the game, they'll do so at their own expense and (quite literally) not mine. If I'm outbid I walk away. Re-bidding defeats the purpose entirely. If I'm outbid via last minute snipe, the price, by definition, was too rich for my blood.
bertilak wrote:
mikestorm wrote:If you know in your heart of hearts that a item will absolutley positively not go for less than $500, why not drive the price up to that point on day 1? The only reason I'm gleaning from responses is "But I might, just might, get it for LESS than $500 so I'd be stupid to do so."

First, in an auction situation you don't know things like that. You can have opinions but that's it. And, if that's the only reason you have gleaned then you haven't been gleaning very carefully.

I believe that ebay is a fairly efficient market. By your response, I have gleaned that apparently you do not.

bertilak wrote:The MAIN reason for sniping is to prevent someone from outbidding you.

If you truly believe sniping does a better job of this than ebay's bid proxy system (thanks to an early max price bid) then I don't think we're ever going to see eye to eye.

bertilak wrote:The secondary, but related, reason is to avoid a bidding war that will raise the price even if not past your bid.
On this we agree, but I'm OK with somone bidding against my proxy, even if it goes past my bid. I walk away. Again, early on make peace with your final max price, bid it early and stick to your convictions.
bertilak wrote: Remember, you don't win at the price you bid, but at the minimum increment above the next highest bid.
How can a sniper bid a minimum increment over the highest bid if they don't know what the highest max bid is? They bid and hope that when the smoke clears they are the one who comes out on top. Someone who bid first might have a max bid higher than the sniper's (ebays proxy system again). If that's true, then to your point above, all they've done is drive up the price someone else is going to pay.
bertilak wrote: Early bids draw attention and give away information to your opposing bidders. They will try to top your bid and that is the ONLY thing that drives up prices.

I will respond to this with another quote that describes why I bid early and rely on ebay's proxy system:
bertilak wrote:Another tactic that seem to work well in a live auction: At every bid, INSTANTLY snap back with a higher bid. This shows intention to win at any cost and discourages others from even trying. I have seen our guy do this.

Well said.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby bertilak » Wed May 15, 2013 3:41 pm

mikestorm wrote:
bertilak wrote:Another tactic that seem to work well in a live auction: At every bid, INSTANTLY snap back with a higher bid. This shows intention to win at any cost and discourages others from even trying. I have seen our guy do this.

Well said.

One point to note: The above only works in a live auction where you have no choice but to actively bid anyway. In a live auction, the snapiness of your counter bid is a psychological ploy, but on ebay, it can't be used effectively because the other bidders can't see your "attitude" and might not even be present.

Ebay is different because the auction doesn't end with a winner just because nobody is bidding. In a live auction if the other bidder steps away, you win. On eBay you don't win; you still need to wait for the ending time. This gives an advantage to buyers who choose to snipe which you are better off not ignoring.

Ebay proxy bidding drives up the price, often to the point where a live bidder has exceeded your max bid by a trivial amount, tempting you back into the game and repeating the process. If your max bid was kept hidden the opposing bidder doesn't know enough to outbid you without, perhaps, exceeding his own max. Best to leave him in the dark.

I will ignore all the rest of your comments as I think we would just go around in circles.
Last edited by bertilak on Wed May 15, 2013 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby Abe » Wed May 15, 2013 4:24 pm

kenschmidt wrote:
nisiprius wrote:
firstmark wrote:3. Some people literally do bid things up in increments if they are new to ebay. One time I went to bed with a super high bid in place I didn't want to stay up. Then someone bid the item up beyond my initial bid in 40 bid attempts. Some people that are new will do this.
I just don't see the problem here. It seems to me that you caused the problem for yourself by placing a bid that was higher than the amount you were actually willing to pay. Why did you do that? What possible advantage could that give you? If you had simply set your bid for the amount you were willing to pay, then when you woke up, either you'd have the item at the price you wanted, or, more likely, the newbie would have it--but the only way the newbie could have gotten it was by being willing to pay more than you were.

Just set the price you're willing to pay and one of two things happens: you get it at that price and you're happy, or someone else gets it by being willing to pay more than you are.

If I am willing to pay $28 for a book, that is what I am willing to pay. Knowing that someone else is willing to pay $51 for it shouldn't change my own opinion of its value to me. Sure, it's disappointing to realize that the book in fact is going to cost more than I'm willing to pay, and therefore I won't get it, but it isn't any different from walking into a Maserati dealership and discovering that I can't afford a Maserati.


The problem is that there are bidders who are willing to pay $1 or $2.50 more than your maximum regardless of the amount. They use you to set their maximum rather than research and set their own.

If you don't bid, they don't know your maximum amount and can't outbid you.

I can tell you that in the area where I usually bid (collectibles), sniping is the only way to actually win any auctions.


That is what happens. If someone has a proxy bid in, then another bidder will bid the price up one increment at a time until they outbid the proxy bid. Now they know what the high bid is. If you wait until the end to bid, the other bidders don't have time to find out what your high bid is.
Slow and steady wins the race.
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Re: Bidding on Ebay; Ignorance on best Bidding strategy

Postby bertilak » Wed May 15, 2013 4:29 pm

Abe wrote:If you wait until the end to bid, the other bidders don't have time to find out what your high bid is.

The essence of the thing in a nutshell.

A sniping service makes this a snap. You don't even need to be there to make that last second bid, and a perfectly timed one at that.
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