This is why people (more precisely, why I) snipe on eBay...



#13

eBay listing for HP 27S

It's because of bidders like this one (or shill bidders) that I never bid until the very last second. Because by then it'll either be completely out of my price range, or I may still have a shot at getting it for the price I want to pay, without having someone push it to the limit.


#14

P.T Barnum famously said "there's a sucker born every minute." The internet corollary is "they don't all get online at the same time."

In a physical marketplace, the buyers and sellers who stick around mostly get wise to the way things work. The once-a-minute sucker actually comes around with far less than once-a-minute frequency.

On eBay, the newbies and the thrill seekers drown out the rational bidders. This is why eBay can continue to profit handsomely, without charging the buyer a dime. The high fees they soak the seller with are easily justified with the results of auctions like the one you linked to.

I should make it clear that I have intimate knowledge of "newbies and thrillseekers" because "I were one." (c.f. "I used to not be able to spell enginer, now I R one.") I payed too much for too many calculators before my enthusiasm for eBay dimmed a bit, and my understanding brightened. Nowadays, like Han, I snipe auctions, if I bid at all. It's less exciting, but easier on the bank account. 8)

Regards,
Howard

Edited: 26 Sept 2006, 10:34 p.m.

#15

Hi Han,

I also was watching this auction, since I’ve been looking for a HP-27S.

While I agree that this auction has a “Fishy” bidder who ran several bidders up to their maximum bid, I’m still confused on how placing a bid at the last moment (or snipe) would have made any difference in this auction.

If we eliminate the “Fishy” bidder there were still two bidders willing to bid 125 & 127.5. And it is unknown what the maximum the winning bidder was willing to go to. Maybe, and the key word is maybe, these two bidders would have only entered maximum bids less than they actually did if the “Fishy” bidder hadn’t been there. But there is really no way to know if they chose their high maximum bids based on the previous bid patterns or just because they were willing to go that high.

A last minute bid would still have had to be higher than the maximum (which is unknown) of the current high bidder in order to be successful.

There’s a certain amount of “game of chicken” or “game of bluff” that goes on when bidding on e-bay. Each bidder makes an estimate of what the item may go for, may make a “bluff” low ball bid or may wait till the last few minutes of auction, hopes everyone is “bluffing” somewhat, and places a last minute bid. If we’ll lucky, the bluff works and the item is won at a lesser amount than the original estimate of what it’s worth.

But if the current high bidder has entered a higher maximum than the final last minute bid, then we still lose.


I’m wondering if the people who claim that their success rate when using last minute bids is higher than when not are just more realistic on entering their maximum bid amount for the last minute bid?

I’m thinking that there’s a tenancy when bidding early in an auction to not enter the true maximum amount that we’re willing to go to. Then keep checking the auction to see if anyone has outbid us. If outbid, then enter new bid with higher maximum which may still not be the true maximum that we may be willing to go to. Keep repeating till end of auction. The danger here is that someone else can place a last minute bid with a higher maximum than our current maximum and we run out of time to reenter a new maximum bid. Thus, since we never bid our true maximum, we lost the auction at a lesser amount than we truly were willing to pay.

But if we’re placing a last minute bid, then the absolute true maximum we’re willing to go to needs to be entered since there may not be enough time left to reenter a new bid with a new maximum. Since the last minute bid contains our true maximum amount, we should be more successful than when bidding early with less than true maximum.

Disclaimer – Just my opinion. I’m not an expect e-bayer, don’t use special bidding software, and have several times won bids with higher maximums than I really should have placed.

Bill


#16

Quote:
I’m thinking that there’s a tenancy when bidding early in an auction to not enter the true maximum amount that we’re willing to go to. Then keep checking the auction to see if anyone has outbid us. If outbid, then enter new bid with higher maximum which may still not be the true maximum that we may be willing to go to. Keep repeating till end of auction. The danger here is that someone else can place a last minute bid with a higher maximum than our current maximum and we run out of time to reenter a new maximum bid. Thus, since we never bid our true maximum, we lost the auction at a lesser amount than we truly were willing to pay.

But if we’re placing a last minute bid, then the absolute true maximum we’re willing to go to needs to be entered since there may not be enough time left to reenter a new bid with a new maximum. Since the last minute bid contains our true maximum amount, we should be more successful than when bidding early with less than


I wholeheartedly agree with this -- and it is in fact the very reason why sniping is good, both for the sniper and for other realistic bidders. The only person to really lose out is the seller who might have gotten more money because of a new user who as pushed the winner's bid close to their maximum bid.

Regarding this particular auction, it makes a whole lot of difference. I didn't bid because I knew that I was not willing to pay anywhere near the winning bid -- and it prevented me from falling into the trap of continuing to raise my bid up by say $10, just like you described. This is good for me. And it is good for the highest bidder, since he doesn't have to pay his absolute maximum for the item.

On the other hand, sniping helps me in the sense that I do not have to worry about having someone incrementally bidding and raising the price closer to my max should my bid be the winning bid. Technically, an auction is essentially predetermined -- if everyone simply just stated their absolute maximum, then the highest max wins. But as you've pointed out, there are folks who can't decide on their max bid, so they become incremental bidders. Sniping essentially gets rid of that incremental bidder who doesn't know what his real max is -- and ideally, any bidder should know his absolute max when bidding. So the folks who lose out are those who don't know their absolute maximum... and that's their own fault. In my opinion, that is the only group of people that sniping would truly affect.


Edited: 27 Sept 2006, 2:40 p.m.

#17

Maybe I'm dense, but I don't see anything particularly out of the ordinary about the bid history of that auction. It's common for some bidders to keep raising their proxy, and it's common for other bidders to snipe.

When eBay first started up, as soon as I read the rules I realized that there was no possible benefit to placing a bid before the last few seconds or minutes, unless you are worried that you won't have connectivity or will forget to bid, or you see some value in "sending a signal" that you're interested in the item.

The "sending a signal" sometimes works if you routinely snipe and win items; you can place a low bid early to show your interest, and it may deter other bidders that are aware of your history. But there's no reason to place a high bid early. The drawback to sending a signal is that if another bidder knows that you routinely bid on the same kind of items he's interested in, he can simply follow your bid history rather than having to find the items himself.

#18

Oh for Chrissake--there's nothing "fishy" going on here!

I've done *exactly* the same thing this "John" bidder does. It is not bad, or evil, or wrong, or unethical, or immoral, or "against ebay policy" (which is what every jackboot wannabe always says anytime they don't like whats going on).

Rather, he is simply making bid after bid, one at a time, to find the ceiling. He doesn't want to put his max bid out there. He wants to see how close the other bidders are to his max bid. Then he can decide whether the auction is worth watching or not.

Very simple. Nothing wrong with it!

BTW that final price is fair and typical for that machine. Occasionally you'll get lucky with less than $100 but not often. Tehre aren't very many of them up for auction.

Edited: 27 Sept 2006, 2:32 p.m.


#19

I'm not saying that what the guy did was wrong. I'm just saying that that type of bidding is the very reason I do not place bids early. The last thing I need to happen is for me to get into a bidding war with someone and having one or both of us realize that neither of us would have normally paid so much for a particular item.

I honestly do not know what a good price for the HP 27s is -- in fact that wasn't my point. That's why I only linked the bid history.

I got mine (in pretty good condition) for around $70.

#20

Bill,


Quote:
Oh for Chrissake--there's nothing "fishy" going on here!

You may be right - maybe I used too strong of a word. The other item that caught by attention was that he only had a feedback of 1, and that transaction was back in January and he has been an e-bay member since July 2003. But then he may just not be much of an ebay user and like you say, was just trying to find out the absolute minimum he needs to bid without going any higher. It just raised a "flag" in my eyes.


Quote:
I've done *exactly* the same thing this "John" bidder does. It is not bad, or evil, or wrong, or unethical, or immoral, or "against ebay policy" (which is what every jackboot wannabe always says anytime they don't like whats going on).

I never stated that it was "bad, or evil, or wrong, or unethical, or immoral, or "against ebay policy", but just that it, in my eyes, raised a flag. There are many, many ebay auctions that raise a flag when I view them. The flag may be the description not matching the photo, the terms listed for the sale, and yes, even the bidding pattern. Some auctions I pass over, and some, after evaluation, I bid on.

My main point I was trying to make was that even if you think something unusual was going on, I don't see how "sniping" would make you any more likely to be the sucessful bidder.


Quote:
BTW that final price is fair and typical for that machine. Occasionally you'll get lucky with less than $100 but not often. Tehre aren't very many of them up for auction.

I agree. If I hadn't already won several items that drained me of cash, I probally would have bid on this item, even though it raised some flags for me. I'd really like to have one.

Bill


#21

Hey Bill,

I know you didn't accuse anyone of being unethical etc.

I was ranting against the general trend of attacking "ebayers" on "moral grounds" which seems to be a sort of subtext.

Frankly my post looks inflammatory now, but it was really only supposed to be flippantly tounge in cheek. (I need to be a better emoticon user:-(

#22

There's no law against stupidity, that's true.

Notice that the incremental bidder didn't win the one Han linked to. A sniper did. How 'bout that?

Regards
Howard

#23

There may be legitimate reasons for doing it, but that sort of bidding pattern makes me suspicious, esp. when done by someone with no feedback. It looks too much like a shill bidder who is trying to drive up the final price.


#24

Nope, it is very typical of some newby Ebayer who does not understand how Ebay proxy bids work. 95%+ of bidders who put in such incremental bids are newbys (and stupid ones at that).


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