coburlin: solved!



#2

I have just realized that the eBay advanced search allows you to exclude sellers. By doing this I have managed to get rid of all the bogus auctions by coburlin.

Recommended!

Of course this will not solve the problem of inflated prices resulting from his outrageous asking prices, but then again anything you cannot see cannot hurt you, right? :-)

**vp


#3

Good tip for those still willing to use eBay. I simply don't trust it anymore. eBay/PayPal has been discovered, so to speak, and is now the tool of fully commercialized sellers. The time is ripe for a startup alternative to eBay.


#4

Quote:
The time is ripe for a startup alternative to eBay.

What did you have in mind? More to the point, who is going to do it?

#5

Coburlin just uses ebay like all commercial sellers that use ebay. He is not the villian, just an oportunist, and there is nothing wrong with that. While many of us don't like his methods, there is nothing wrong morally or legally with his methods and I won't bash him for that. (I am not happy with him, but he may have single handedly doubled the value of my own collection, so maybe I should be happy with him???).

Regardless, ebay started out with a garage sale mentality and now is a regular flea market for professionals that still allows the little guy to sell at a retail price. No seller is going to complain. And that is who pays ebay. The ONLY recourse (and the ONLY recourse) is for buyers to boycott ebay. And one little area of electronics wont be missed (ie calculator sales). Therefore ebay has evolved away from the great bargain bin it once was. And that is the result of information exchange. It allows a seller to make his item available to the maximum audience of potential buyers. Therefore, I conclude that we can whine all we want, but that wont affect the price of tea from China (or our calcualtor market).

I guess I will end my moot rant here.


#6

Quote:
Therefore, I conclude that we can whine all we want, but that wont affect the price of tea from China (or our calcualtor market).

Quite so. And yet there are those among us that just don't get it, prefering instead the paranoid world of conspiratorial evil-doers, plotting to undermine the value and dignity of our quirky little calculator collections. Throw in PayPal and you've got a plot to take over the world.

You have been warned!

What rubbish and more importantly: Who cares?

Have you ever heard the joke about the amish man who was losing sleep at night worrying about the fun others were having? This is the same thing.

#7

Bingo!



People who retail for a living tend to be hard-nosed about the old adage "buy low and sell high." they have to be, since that's what puts bread on the table. I dont know if cobaby is among the ranks of those who depend on selling retail to make a living, but he acts like he is.



I have a different approach to selling on eBay. Since I'm principally an enthusiast, my sales are mostly to help me to continue to build my collection. I tend to try to give value, not only because it feels right, but because I won't last long in the collecting community if I piss off my customers. So coburlin's tactics are repugnant to me, and I would never consider buying from him.



However, his presence on eBay has this one beneficial element for me: his bids on equipment I know nothing about give me some sense of the monetary value eBay will ascribe to the item when the bidding is over. Thus I pay no attention to his auctions, but I watch his bids closely.



As far as eBay not being a bargain anymore, I disagree. The price you pay for any one item may be higher than before, but those prices almost always beat comparable prices elsewhere. It's always a good idea to do a sanity check before purchasing by comparing other sources for the item you are considering a bid on. But that usually, not always, but usually, tends to show eBay in a favorable light price-wise. I'm not familiar with much economic theory, but it makes common sense that a large, unfettered market will end up assigning optimal values to prices for goods, where "optimal" is a complex winnowing of the interests of both buyers and sellers. No market is completely "unfettered" but eBay's is closer to that ideal than the local electronics store, to judge by the price spread.


#8

"The price you pay for any one item may be higher than before, but those prices almost always beat comparable prices elsewhere. It's always a good idea to do a sanity check before purchasing by comparing other sources for the item you are considering a bid on. But that usually, not always, but usually, tends to show eBay in a favorable light price-wise. I'm not familiar with much economic theory, but it makes common sense that a large, unfettered market will end up assigning optimal values to prices for goods, where "optimal" is a complex winnowing of the interests of both buyers and sellers. No market is completely "unfettered" but eBay's is closer to that ideal than the local electronics store, to judge by the price spread."

Your logic applies to 90% of ebay, but doesn't apply to calcualtors and ebay. This is one area where economics is perverted by an absense of retail substitutes in comparision to yesterday.

Almost everything has benefited with progress. Antiques do command Antique prices due to rarity, not because they are as useful or more useful today than anything else available. Only since Hp released an Hp33s has the price of the Hp32s returned to below the $200 value it once commanded, not because of its rarity, but because there was nothing to compare it too until the Hp33s appeared.

RPN is not a popular calculator OS, but those that learn it, tend to become fanatical about keeping it. And that is one of the few things that skew this market. Another is the superior quality that these same fanatics are used to in a calculator that only Hp used to provide. Those two features are what has fueled this somewhat unique market. Normal marketing common sense doesn't seem to hold up in this market.

Now that Hp has released the new Hp33s and Hp49G+, there should be no real market for the older, but not antique HP32s or Hp48G series. Yet, both will still sell for twice the newer calculators list prices (and truthfully, both are worth twice the newer replacements). But the market HAS changed and most people do not rely on a calculator for the majority of their work. Therefore I have to be thankful for the Hp's that are available new so as to keep the older calculators value from skyrocketing due to user demand, not just collector demand.


#9

I don't think the market is "skewed", it's just complicated. The price for 48-GX machines is high because professional surveyors still use them. The fact that collectors value them too doesn't mean that you have a skewed market. It just means you have two value systems chasing the same goods. Personally, I can't bring myself to spend the money for a 48GX because I wouldn't use or othewise appreciate the expandibility. (That could change if I learn of an application that I really, really want that will only run out of one of the GX ports.) I've settled for a 48S and 48G+ instead, giving me two examples of those generations. These are enough for me to follow along in William Wickes' books, which is what I really get pleasure from.



The market for the other machines I'm interested in, the 41C, 75C/D and 71B, seem to be driven almost completely by enthusiasts and collectors. I distinguish the two, by the way. I'm an enthusiast, in that I like to play with the gadgets I buy. I set up networks with them, for example. I am also a collector in that I want to obtain examples of each major category I'm interested in. Thus the 48S is not much use as an enthusiast's toy when compared to the 48G+, but it fills an interesting gap. Anyhow, I've noticed that the 71B is a lot harder to obtain than the 75C. They come up on eBay at about the same rate, so why should the 71B, a younger computer, command more than a 75C? Because it is cooler. It's more expandable, and has neater software in the swap disks. It also is the first machine to run the Saturn processor. All of these qualities are prized by enthusiasts and collectors.



Then too, trying to figure out what makes the retro calculator market tick is a fairly large slice of the fun of participation. I hope to expound on this at more length at my new website, http://retrocalculator.com. I was astonished that domain was available, but it was, so I snagged it this weekend. There's nothing up there now but a logo consisting of a 75C with HPIL cables attached. I hope to have more before I have to get back to work, probably next week.

#10

Thanks for teh tip. This way I will not see Cobuba's stupid and trashy auctions. I don't think one person can influence prices. Behavioral psychologusts will tell you that when people don't get the reaction they want, they will do something else. Cobuba is no exception.

Namir

#11

I'm just curious how he makes any money. He lists thousands of items for every one he sells. It costs him a few bucks for every listing. Insertion fees for $200-$500 is $3.60. If he lists 1000 items, he's nearly $4000 in the hole before he starts.

Even if he sells at these ridiculous prices, it's not enough to make up for the $4000 in listing fees. He must be doing a lot of outside ebay sells from these auctions to make that worthwhile.


#12

Mike wrote:
> I'm just curious how he makes any money. He lists thousands of
> items for every one he sells. It costs him a few bucks for every
> listing. Insertion fees for $200-$500 is $3.60.

At the last moment he changes the auction to a $1 mouse (with $10 shipping to prevent anybody from taking him up on his offer). He is, thus, paying only a fraction of the nominal insertion fee.

I have let ebay know about this behavior, but they have ignored me.

**vp


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