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"eBay - a lesson learned!" Topic

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Arteis06 Dec 2004 12:49 a.m. PST

I'm on a bit of a book-buying binge at the moment - CHEAP books, that is. So the other day I was very pleased to find a copy of 'Waterloo' by Henry Lachouque for auction on eBay, and listed at just $1.99US. So I thought I might wait for the very end of the auction to put in a bid, hoping that would keep the price low. All week I've been savouring getting this lovely book, and putting together my plan to bid at the last moment.

The auction was due to close at 6.30am this morning, New Zealand time, which suited me perfectly, as that is the time I'm up and about getting my breakfast. So I duly sit down at the computer at 6.25 and log on - ah, four minutes to go and still only $1.99, good. Hmmm ... just time to begin writing out my acceptance email asking about postage rates, and then pop back with a couple of minutes to spare to make my bid. I finish my email, then back to eBay ... oh no, time has gone faster than I thought, only 17 seconds to go ... aaargghhhh! .... hit that 'Bid' button, quick! .... hey, what's this? a dialogue box requiring my password ... quick, enter it ... oh no, the password has tried to self complete itself as I'm typing it, and it's now all jumbled up ... try again ... my fingers feel twice their normal size in my frenzy, and I hit the buttons so clumsily that I reverse the letters in my password ... don't panic!! ... hit the backspace key to retype ... there, done it ... push 'Submit' ... and here's the reply: 'This auction has closed' .... waaaaaghhhhh! My greed in waiting for the last moment to stop anyone having time to bid against me has back-fired, and I've missed out on a superb book!

So, here I sit, a crest-fallen, but much wiser, wargamer!

Matakishi06 Dec 2004 1:00 a.m. PST

Get yourself some sniping software and save yourself the hassle in future :)

Arteis06 Dec 2004 1:36 a.m. PST

I'm not that advanced, Matakishi ... I've only ever done about five transactions on eBay before.

I've just been told on another board that what I was doing wouldn't have worked anyway if there had been another bidder, as the auction "auto-extends" to give them another go.

Guntruck06 Dec 2004 2:00 a.m. PST

Matakishi:- This is interesting, I've not heard of sniping software before. Any details please?

Mardaddy06 Dec 2004 2:18 a.m. PST

"I've just been told on another board that what I was doing wouldn't have worked anyway if there had been another bidder, as the auction "auto-extends" to give them another go."

Then it's not eBay. eBay does not auto-extend.

Arteis06 Dec 2004 2:42 a.m. PST

Oh, OK, Mardaddy ... I was just going on what I was told. I stand corrected.

rjharter06 Dec 2004 3:25 a.m. PST

Try emailing the seller if it didn't sell, many times to save the fees they will sell it to you for that opening bid.

Huscarle06 Dec 2004 3:38 a.m. PST

Try using - you get 3 free snipes a week (enough for me) or you can subscribe for a faster snipe, etc.

The Ghost Division06 Dec 2004 3:38 a.m. PST

If is going for 1.50 when you first look at it and it is a really good deal at 3.00. Take a chance and bid 7.00,this is your maximum bid. Any bid under that increases your bid incrementally.

You have to be pretty unlucky for someone to bid say 6.68 and force your bid to 7.00 and then quit, forcing you to pay 7.00. It is much more likely people will give up, at a much lower price say 3.83, or someone will want it fairly bad and you will be cleanly outbid.

Also if smeone waits until the last minute there will not be enough time to bid enough increments and you will get the item. Make your maximum bid high enough to discourage others but not too high too be painful if you should get it for close to that price

Personal logo jimbomar Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Dec 2004 3:49 a.m. PST


You can also try JUSTSNIPE.COM

3 free snipes a week. Its easy. I find it also helps track auctions. basically the software waits till the last 5 seconds of the auction to bid.way faster than you could do manually.

once youve been 'sniped' in an auction yourself you'll probably want to get some kind of sniping software. If you dont bid often, then its free.

Dewbakuk06 Dec 2004 4:25 a.m. PST

I do know of sniping software going wrong though :)

A friend of mine was selling a card from some CCG on ebay and it was sniped at the end. The thing was, two people had set up snipers on it and in the last 5 seconds of the auction, the sniper software kept outbidding each other. It wen't from 1.50 to 35. Unsurprisingly, the winning bidder didn't pay up.

Steve O06 Dec 2004 5:34 a.m. PST

having gone to justsnipe I'm not sure its a good idea to enter my ebay password as requested....


dBerzerk06 Dec 2004 5:46 a.m. PST

Are there no gentlemen on ebay?

Sniping? How deplorable.

Sounds like greed at work. If you want an item, bid to win. Otherwise, stay the blank out of the way.

Personal logo BrigadeGames Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Dec 2004 5:47 a.m. PST

yes there is no autoextend on ebay.

as some said, bid with an odd number, like ending in .51 or such to prevent a tie (ties go to the first bidder)

don't feel bad, back in the early days of ebay I had the same thing happen to me.

mweaver06 Dec 2004 5:49 a.m. PST

Bid what you are happy paying for the item up front. If you get it, you're happy; if not, then you could have only won by going higher than you were comfortable paying. Snipers won't change that fact.

robd26206 Dec 2004 5:52 a.m. PST

I've had the same problem as Arteis a couple of times, eBay seems to have changed something, putting an extra confirmation step in. I guess this might be an anti-sniping safeguard.

A way round it seems to be if you get up the page for the item you want, then sign out and sign back in again. Use "item I last looked at" to go back and when you then put your bid in you don't get asked for your password again.

combatpainter Fezian06 Dec 2004 6:05 a.m. PST

Everyone has to be smarter and cheaper than the next guy.
This is the mindset that reigns on ebay.

I have been noticing the difference from years ago.
Today when I place a low starting price it sits there for days with 20 watchers until the last day then everyone bids. I love some guys because their highest bid is less than the shipping costs.

Ebay is a bargain hunting pool of sharks and I find that you can't get decent money for the stuff you have.

Guys PLEASE spare me the sermon on the principles of economics.

I do much much better at cons than on Ebay. I find Ebay is just to get rid of junk.


The Gonk06 Dec 2004 6:05 a.m. PST

I just put in the max I'm willing to pay and forget about it.

LFreeman06 Dec 2004 6:10 a.m. PST

Why not just write the person who was selling the book by sending the seller a message asking if they will sell the book to you? Tell them you were interested but did not get a bid in on time. Truth always works.

Problem solved and I have done this before when I come back from business trips. I have yet to have a seller say no.


Goldwyrm06 Dec 2004 6:16 a.m. PST

I devote the last 10-15 minutes to babysitting an auction I really want. The extra time is so I don't lose track of time. If I can't get to a computer with broadband access to bid in the last few minutes/seconds then I didn't really need the item that bad. I snipe but I prefer to click in my bid rather than use software.

I snipe because I believe if everyone bids on an item in advance that it drives up the price well before the end of the auction. The same Solido M10 that I've been able to get between $10-$20 I've seen go up to $50 because of early bids. That is good for a seller but I like to get items under cost if at all possible. Everyone has an opinion on the matter and we had the snipe debate on another thread a few months ago..Do what works for you :-)

Personal logo Sue Kes Supporting Member of TMP06 Dec 2004 6:51 a.m. PST

I've missed items quite a few times, usually because I've lost track of the time. If there haven't been any bids on the item, I've often written to the seller immediately with an offer, and it's always been accepted. As Larry says, it's worth a try.

blackscribe06 Dec 2004 7:06 a.m. PST

I've had two events that convinced me that bidding early was the way to go.

1) Once I was waiting to see how high an item was going to go before I fed the bidding frenzy. Well, with an hour to go, it was around $200 below what I was willing to pay for it (significant, because it was only at around $200). I tried placing my bid, but the eBay servers were down. Bad.

2) There was another time when I did place my bid early, but on a lot that I was clearly going to lose (based on similar lots). The person that outbid me (around four days before auction close) retracted their bid based on an incorrect item description. Their complaint was valid, but the item was actually more rare than the one described. So the seller ended the auction and offered me the lot at my high bid. Good.

There have also been plenty of times that I forgot to bid during that last hour and have regretted it.

Waco Joe06 Dec 2004 7:47 a.m. PST

If you don't want to use sniping software a good trick is to have multiple browser windows open, already logged in and on auction you are following. Refresh one frequently and have the others ready to enter new bids.

Rogzombie Fezian06 Dec 2004 9:11 a.m. PST

I don't understand why people get so bent over sniping. Its within the rules or it wouldnt be possible to do it. If you hate the way auctions work stick to buy it now type listings.

Last night in a football game I was watching the losing team attempted a last few seconds field goal to try and win the game. How is this any different than sniping an auction?

Oh, I get it, you might lose something you want...

Matakishi06 Dec 2004 9:55 a.m. PST

HarvEx does it for me, I put in the maximum I want to pay and it bids for me just before the auction closes. I may not win the item because my maximum was not high enough which is fine, but what sniping prevents is having a low auction price driven up to your maximum by people being able to respond to your bid.

Here's the address if you're interested. The full version costs $20 but has earned that many times over imo

Rogzombie Fezian06 Dec 2004 10:17 a.m. PST

Justin, I'm behind your comments 100%. Its always smarter to put in what you will pay up front and forget about it.
Although, there is a new trend developing involving bidding late and low in the hopes that its too late for anyone else to bid. I still haven't figured it out because I usually lose these types LOL.

I was just reacting to the comments about sniping being sneaky and the general attitude about it. It just gets my goat in the same way that GW puts out character figures along with rules and then tells you you shouldn't use them.
Hey, here are the rules but BTW you shouldn't do this one because you are a bad pewrson if you do because the little guy will get his feelings hurt!

It's gotten so bad that people are, in some cases, afraid to snipe for fear of retaliation from mad losers.

zanarchist06 Dec 2004 10:54 a.m. PST

Hi all, I snipe. It is just like bidding. I snipe with the amount I am willing to pay. I am about 50/50 win/lose. I snipe now because I go into too many bidding wars or missed bids because of the time the auction endded and feel that sniping just works better for me. There is nothing wrong with sniping it is just like waiting to the last second to place a bid. You can only win if your bid is is higher than the current bidder is willing to pay. I have gotten rude emails from losers of some of the auctions and I always tell them that if you were willing to pay more than my winning bid why didn't you bid that amount? Ebay allows sniping so it is within the policies ebay has so I don't feel bad when I win.

Gronan of Simmerya06 Dec 2004 11:00 a.m. PST

Yes, I've been sniped.

At first, I felt that molten lead up the urethra was suitable reward for such 'people'.

Now, however, I simply enter a bid for the maximum amount I'm willing to pay. If I win, I win, and if I don't, I don't.

Rogzombie Fezian06 Dec 2004 12:43 p.m. PST

Seriously, I always looked at auctions as good natured competition. Sniping is part of the strategy. I was shocked to see that babies can get so angered by something like this. Thats the thing about auctions, you can't always have your way and some people can't deal with that.

Don't hate the player, hate the game!

I once saw a guy on ebay who forbid sniping on his auctions. If someone did he would extend the auction. Huh? Is this even legal under ebay regulations. To me it looked like he was rewriting the rules. Incredible.

jchokey06 Dec 2004 1:55 p.m. PST

"Seriously, I always looked at auctions as good natured competition. Sniping is part of the strategy."

I don't know about 'good-natured', but they certainly are competetion - that's what markets are.

And yes, sniping is part of the strategy - and a viable one, considering the way E-bay structures its auctions. If the auctions were like real auctions - i.e. without a fixed closing time, but extended after every bid to allow a new bidder - then sniping wouldn't make any sense. However the way E-bay structures its auctions, with a fixed deadline, it encourages sniping and makes it a legit (but certainly not foolproof) strategy.

If you don't like it, don't bid on E-bay becaused fixed ending times (and thus sniping) are part of the way it works.

sirlancelot06 Dec 2004 3:15 p.m. PST

The basic principle of an auction is for the seller to get the best offer for the item provided.

But yes, E-Bay being structured the way it is, and the world being so full of morons, it doesn't work in practice.

There are many ways to fix it. My personal favourite would be a second-priced one-shot blind auction.

cfuzwuz06 Dec 2004 4:56 p.m. PST

I do not snipe but do not think it is a big problem. I just bid what I am willing to pay. I try to think of it as an in person auction and give the other fellow a chance at the item and the seller a good price on his items. I guess I feel snipers are kind of chickens - t!

Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP06 Dec 2004 5:38 p.m. PST

I despise snipers. For a long time I really let myself get worked up by them, but now I do what so many others here have suggested - bid the max I'd be comfortable paying and be happy if I win or understanding if I lose.

I still don't have a high opinion of auction snipers, though. I think that eBay ought to have a five-minute extension rule for bids entered in the last five minutes. That would give people a chance to respond to snipers (and might push up the seller's take of it, as well). That whole sniping thing just feels underhanded.

Derek H06 Dec 2004 5:55 p.m. PST

There is no advantage in bidding early, apart from Justin's "early bidder wins in the event of a tie" rule. I can easily live with that.

When I bid on Ebay I do exactly what all you early bid advocates do, I decide exactly what I'm willing to pay for an item - usually several days in advance of the auction's end. Then I add a few random pennies to avoid Justin's rule, 13-23p or something like that (up to 45p if I really want the item).

But then I wait as long as possible before submitting the bid. Why declare your hand earlier than you have to?

Usually I try to submit the bid with a minute or less to go. If the auction ends in the middle of the night I submit the bid just before going to bed.

If I don't win it's because someone else was willing to pay more than I was. That's fine, I walk away knowing I didn't overbid.

Any of you early bid fans able to come up with another reason why an early bid is better than a late one?

That's a late bid that's actually been placed before the close of an auction, not one that's been missed through bad luck and/or incompetence.

Cormac Mac Art06 Dec 2004 6:04 p.m. PST

I think sniping is a waste of time. When I bid on something I just enter my max amount I am willing to pay, be it 8 days before closing or 8 minutes. I bid and then I don't worry about it. If I win I win, if I don't so what.

Neotacha06 Dec 2004 6:07 p.m. PST

"Any of you early bid fans able to come up with another reason why an early bid is better than a late one?"

Yep. I bid on the auction when I see it, and then I can ignore it and get on with my life. Since I've bid what I'm willing to pay, there's really no point in waiting. I'm not going to bid any higher.

So far there has been precious little I've cared about losing to a sniper.

Heretic Priest06 Dec 2004 9:22 p.m. PST

I bid as close to the end as possible so if someone tries to beat my bid, they only get one shot to beat my bid. If they bid their maximum and it is more than mine, then they win. However if they just put a small amount over the current bid and that doesn't get it, they don't have time to bid again.

Arteis07 Dec 2004 12:36 a.m. PST

Well, I've learned a lot form this discussion, after posting the original message. I didn't know what I was doing was called "sniping", or that it was frowned on by some people. I will now consider some of the other (perhaps more ethical) techniques mentioned by people here for my future buying attempts.

Red358407 Dec 2004 3:32 a.m. PST

I've never actually managed to buy something on Ebay [although I've only 'dabbled' and then only a few times].

It's interesting the emotional response you get to being outbid at the last minute..I lost on some GW LOtR stuff in the dying seconds and briefly stomped around the room muttering 'B******s they're all against me!'[..the cat somehow escaped being kicked] and then I calmed down and realised how annoying the game [and that's what it is] can be if you take it too seriously.

If I'd really wanted the stuff I'd have bid higher or alternatively gone to shop and actually bought the end I haven't actually lost anything and only suffered a dented ego.. a lesson learned.

yowiedemon07 Dec 2004 6:21 a.m. PST

I've been sniped lots of times and just deal with it...the money I was gonna spend on the item is still there so I can then hunt for new bargains! You can still easily get 30-50% off retail prices if you are lucky.

Topkick89007 Dec 2004 10:39 a.m. PST

I agree with the official ebay position that people should not make private deals after the auction closes. Instead try contacting the seller and explain and ask him to relist. Most will and it gives you another chance to get the book without breaking ebay's rules.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2004 12:24 p.m. PST

I love to play ebay. It's line gambling but you cannot lose. If you do not win, you keep your money. I like to make a reasonable early bid to see who will come in, then wait until the last day and if I am low, then I'll bid up to reach the reserve amount. I like to think the opponent will then outbid me by some, and hold. Then I wait till the last minute, like Waco Joes says, with two windows open. Logged in. One has the bid screen, one has the item screen.

As others bid late too, I can counter. Back and forth into the last seconds. The adrenaline is pumping, can I get the last entry in. I will always go 10% over what I really want to pay because I have lost by a little, sometimes and said to myself, I would have gone a little higher.

Then the last screen refresh - "You have been outbid" or "You have won." Does it matter which? On the next item. What a game. I am thinking it is better than war gaming with figures. This is man to person conflict at its best- for high stakes and anonymous

Matakishi07 Dec 2004 3:24 p.m. PST

Ah, Bob666, you display true warrior's spirit.

Derek H07 Dec 2004 5:00 p.m. PST

Justin Taylor wrote: "To gain the advantage of being the first bidder as you mention."

No real advantage at all unless you're daft enough to bid even amounts.

"I feel, that it also helps by making a cool clear-headed choice early on. But thats just an opinion."

If it helps you, that's fine. But personally I'm quite capable of making cool and clear headed choices early on - then implementing them at the last moment. Or walking away if the auction has gone above the limit I decided early on.

"Granted if other bidders are bidding up a bit at a time, as Heretic Priest describes, the late bidder has an advantage. So the correct (and most effective) way to bid is to place a bid up to your max. amount and let eBay handle the rest. Its the only way to be sure (ref. film Aliens)."

Agreed. But the correct time to place that bid is as late on as possible in the auction, ideally in the last minute. To place your maximum bid earlier than you can possibly manage does nothing but give other, less rational, bidders the chance to change their mind on their own maximum bid and then raise it.

The bottom line is that the main effect of placing your maximum bid early on is to drive up prices.

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