Red-Hot HP-34C auction over, lot of sniping



#20

There was an HP-34C auction on eBay and the item was as close to factory-new as you are likely to see anymore.

In the box, all manuals, unit very close to new, etc. Item #3017859365 It went for $273 .

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3017859365&category=11713

The amount of sniping was really intense. In the last 2 minutes it went from $150 to $273 at the close. Most of the jump was in the last 20 seconds. The 2nd highest bidder placed his entry just 6 seconds before the auction.


#21

I can get in around 4 seconds - if my ISP doesn't just lock up! The trick is to have a WWVB receiver clock. If you want to get fancy, you can calibrate your clock to Ebay and get an idea of the latency by doing a Refresh about 2 minutes before the end. But that doesn't seem to make any difference to the results, and might contibute to my lockup problem!


#22

Or you could use www.lotsnipe.com, who provide their 10 second snipe service for free. www.auctionsniper.com can get down to at least 3 seconds (I've not tried closer), they give you 3 free snipes & it's $0.25 per snipe thereafter.


#23

All that one can hope to accomplish by sniping is to set a price that someone can't have a chance to beat by "giving it a little extra thought."

If you bid in the last 5, 10 or 15 seconds or so, it makes no difference if you use a tool or do it manually. None whatsoever. If I bid with 10 seconds and you use a sniping tool, I'll still win if my bid is higher.

The ONLY point of a sniping tool is if you can't be there in person.

All that sniping does is prevent running up the bid by emmotional outbidding by those that can see the current high price.

#24

LOL. It is humorous that people set up an entire website
just for sniping.

I want a different auction website. I want an automatic auction watcher to find items in the first place. eBay only allows steady search-monitoring of 3 items maximum. But let's say I have 10 favorite calculators, and 2 favorite nostalgic turntables. I want to enter all that stuff
and it will notify me whenever any of that pops up, on
any auction anywhere.

I have never seen that website, and eBay's limited offering of 3 favorite searches is next to useless.

Ideas ?

#25

I think I'd pay eBay a 10% sales premium for one extra minute beyond the posted close on certain items . . .


#26

eBay could increase their revenues by either:

Randomizing the closing time within 5 minutes.

Or better yet,

Roll the closing time ahead a minute every time a new bid is received within that minute window.

That would kill off the automatic sniper programs and services.

I wonder if sniping is common on other items.

Just like Basketball - it all happens in the last few minutes.


#27

Sniping is actually what an Auction is meant to be. (No, I do not snipe via a Bot but I can neither condemn Nor condone it). If we all played fair and bid our maximum and only once, we would not have this practice. However, while we all want a good deal, we are all fanatical Hp calculator geeks (geese???) waiting to be PLUCKED!

We have as a collective bunch driven the cost of $5-10 electronics (thats what most other obsolete electronics go for) to the astronomical prices they command. It has become such a market that some make this hobby into a second income. Thanks to ebay, we get this. We all want an item at a good deal and in certain areas of interest, this is almost always possible. However, Calculator geeks tend to be techno-geeks as well and are very internet and ebay savy and as a whole, end up driving an otherwise mediocre market into the stratusphere. That is why we actually screw up an otherwise modest market.

Most all of us took economics and learned about the shepard and the grazing problem. While each shepard came out ahead by overgrazing, the pasture went to hell with everyone overgrazing. Sort of like all of us on ebay. If you were to check most any other type of hobby, you will find a pretty flat price range, but not for us.

Individually, we might be a tad above average in smarts, but as a whole, we are ONE DUMB FLOCK.


#28

"Most all of us took economics and learned about the shepard and the grazing problem. While each shepard came out ahead
by overgrazing, the pasture went to hell with everyone overgrazing. Sort of like all of us on ebay. If you were to check most any other type of hobby, you will find a pretty flat price range, but not for us.

Individually, we might be a tad above average in smarts, but as a whole, we are ONE DUMB FLOCK."

Your last 2 paragraphs summarise the unregulated free market economy.


#29

With apologies to the people who are trying to replace a tool they need for their work, for the most part these calculators are collector's items which end up being priced as luxuries in an open market - this is probably a testament to the greater earning power of people who use HP calculators in their careers!

If these calculators were commodities, which I understand to mean items of utility that are consumed at a predictable rate, the prices they are bringing would have drawn people to produce more of them.

The case that gives one pause is the 32SII, which was getting high prices on Ebay while there were still some in stores for the much lower list price.

#30

Ron Ross writes:

We all want an item at a good deal and in certain areas of interest, this is almost always possible. However, Calculator geeks tend to be techno-geeks as well and are very internet and ebay savy and as a whole, end up driving an otherwise mediocre market into the stratusphere. That is why we actually screw up an otherwise modest market.

Most all of us took economics and learned about the shepard and the grazing problem. While each shepard came out ahead by overgrazing, the pasture went to hell with everyone overgrazing. Sort of like all of us on ebay. If you were to check most any other type of hobby, you will find a pretty flat price range, but not for us.

(<disclaimer> I have not taken an economics course so the following may be naive.</disclaimer>)

So what happens to the sheep? Many of them will end up starving. Eventually you reach a point where the pasture ends up supporting the "right" number of sheep. The sheppards will be forced to find the right balance where the pasture pays out the maximum sustainable amount. Under- and overgrazing are just signs that this optimum point has not been found yet.

Is calculator collecting any different? In the end, people pay as much as they feel reasonable to get what they want. No one is putting a gun to our heads while we write out the check. Every person's definition of "reasonable" is different of course.

Why are 10C's going for $300? Simple, there are enough people around willing to pay $300. The people who lost in the last auction will now decide that they're willing to pay a little more, say $325. A few people will drop out. As the price rises the number of serious bidders will drop. By the time 10C's are going for $3000 there will be very few people, perhaps none, willing to shell out that kind of money. At that point the price will stabilize. Collectors will remember the good old days when 10C's cost "only" $1000. "Gee, I wish I had gotten one then. What a bargain!"

eBay as such does not alter this process. It probably does accelerate it as on-line auctions are an efficient way to get an item in front of a large number of interested buyers. But even without eBay, the same price increases would have occured, though probably more slowly.

If the prices of other collectables have not gone up much lately, I assert that their prices went up in the past and have now stabilized. HP collecting is a less mature area -- people have been informally buying, selling and collecting since the days of the HP-35 but it has become a blood sport only in the last few years.

I guess I ought to conclude by paraphrasing an old joke. One man asks another, "Would you pay $300 for an HP calculator?" "Sure!"

"Would you pay $3000?" "What do you think I am, some kind of a nut?"

"We've already established that; now I'm just trying to determine your price."

Get 'em while they're cheap!

- Michael

#31

The #1 reason is that you presume that eBay would want to prevent sniping. That isn't a valid assumption. I have seen many times when someone wanted to protect a bid by bidding excessively high and got burnt by someone else doing the same thing.

Sniping benefits eBay. Prices are higher because of sniping.

The 2nd thing that is wrong is that if an auction was simply extended, a minute or so, the only people around to see that extra time would be previous likely snipers.

There would be no need to bid excessively high. No one would ever bid more than 2% higher than the previous bid, unless they weren't present at the close simply because there would be time to increase your bid.

That means NO ONE would ever be burnt again on an eBay auction by two people putting in protection bids. eBay would lose. Bids would ONLY be what bidders wanted to pay.

Bottom line: If you want an item, NEVER bid early AND only bid what you are willing to pay.


#32

Rather than: 'bid early, bid often' - because your only pushing the final price up.

#33

Other than my current Dutch bid, I prefer sniping because it keeps ME from getting caught up in a bidding war!

#34

your second suggestion, i put to ebay about a year ago. basically, any bid in the last 5 mins, pushes the close forward by 5 mins (or some selectable threshold).

since then, i no longer think the idea is worthwhile. for me, at least, i consider what i would be prepared to pay for an item then i bid that amount. if another bidder wins by $1, i think on how much i've saved :-)

i still bid fairly late, because there are a lot of muppets out there that erode a bid without really thinking about true value.


#35

This is very true that we get what we deserve in this case. No one is innocent, apart from me of course (!!!) - I stopped eBay 2 years ago.

Last week I got an HP10 (not C) on some (unspecified...) online auction. I bid 5 days in advance, and was the only bidder. The opening bid was 32 Euros (about $34) - I just bid that and won.

So the secret seems to be : don't follow others. It takes some strength to do that, believe me : at times I'm almost crying when I look at what eBay has on store (price not counting).

Well, that's life. Next time it's your turn, I hope.


#36

No one else saw the listing and no other reason.


#37

You are totally correct, that was the point.
What did you understand ?
Puzzled.

#38

If eBay would better serve their customers thru innovation, they could create an "anti-sniping feature".

Simple, if the seller prefers, he enables an option
that EXTENDS THE AUCTION BY 10 MINUTES everytime a new high-bid is recorded. Sniping is thereby ended, and frantic emotional bidding is encouraged. More dollars to the sellers, more eBay hysteria, more commissions
(ever dwindling value to the buyers).

I dont think they will do that because eBay is too big to care anymore. And people will get confused if there is not a concrete end-time to the auction.


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