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Old January 7, 2006, 08:13 AM   #1
Cayuga
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Bidding on Ebay: Why do folks run up bids?!

I can't for the life of me understand why people run up bids during the course of a listing. The only meaningful number is the one at the end.

What is the point of playing the one-upmanship game each day (or for some, each hour!)? From a buyers point of view, it unnecessarily drives the cost of an item up!

Am I missing something?



**P.S. Moderator - please see note on first thread with similar title.
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Old January 7, 2006, 09:40 AM   #2
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I don't think they are "running up" the bidding at all. I would like to believe that all are legitimate bids for an amount they would be willing to pay. Not everyone wants to use a sniper or can be available at the last few seconds to place their lowest bid so they use the system as it is designed by placing a fair bid and then let the auction proceed.

I know there are some "phony" bids that do drive up the price that may be used by some sellers. Not withstanding, in a real auction the end would come when those involved stopped as opposed to a pre-stated day and time when somebody snuck in and threw out a number just as the time ran out. So a more accurate question (at least from a seller standpoint) might be why do auctions have to end when there might be more buyers willing to pay more?

No matter what system is used there will be ways found to exploit it. As long as everybody knows the rules then either use it or don't.
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Old January 7, 2006, 11:12 AM   #3
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Two reasons I can think of: First, in auctions, some people get into a "feeding frenzy," and become invested in the item. So, they bid until they are the high bidder. Then, when the price goes up, they want to still be the high bidder and bid more.

Second, shill bidding. Sellers use shills to get the price of their items up to a level where they feel comfortable selling it.
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Old January 7, 2006, 01:10 PM   #4
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Question It's a mystery to me too

I suspect most of the bidding upon bidding is done by:
1) Folks who are hell bent to win the auction and pay ANY amount of money for the item and are NOT snipers.
2) Folks who have a problem similar to “gambling fever”. These folks have a desire to bid and can’t help themselves. The must have the high bid or they can’t sleep.
3) Folks trying to “test the waters” as to your reserve. The same person will enter more bids until the reserve is tripped.
4) “JohnyFromHell” a person with sever social problems who just loves to screw up expensive auctions – his cousin “TrojanHorse” has the same affliction with computers.
5) Shills; but that normally is just the seller in disguise in another eBay ID bidding up his own auctions.


I am a proud sniper and 7 seconds before an auction ends my program submits my offer; some I win and some I lose. I, however, have NEVER paid 1 penny more than I wanted to.

I too can’t understand why folks bid more than 7 seconds before an auction ends – its not like eBay is a real auction like an “outcry” auction with sequestered items in a catalog that have undergone independent verification in some cases.

Last edited by PerryM; January 7, 2006 at 10:48 PM.
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Old January 7, 2006, 08:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoc
Two reasons I can think of: First, in auctions, some people get into a "feeding frenzy," and become invested in the item. So, they bid until they are the high bidder. Then, when the price goes up, they want to still be the high bidder and bid more.

Second, shill bidding. Sellers use shills to get the price of their items up to a level where they feel comfortable selling it.
That is exactly why I will and will always be a "sniper". I have no interest in a bidding war (if I win, I win. If I lose, I lose), and I have no interest in continually monitoring an auction and marking the time when it will end.
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Old January 7, 2006, 08:20 PM   #6
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I do Perrys number 3 and if really interested will snipe with 6 seconds letftusing a snipe bid placed well before the auction ends.

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Old January 8, 2006, 12:02 AM   #7
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I always decide what I am willing to pay, and snipe my bid at the very end. The one exception is on a no-bid auction. That is because the seller can change the terms of the auction until s/he has a single bid on it.

I learned the hard way to make a bid when there is none, because I entered a snipe and won on an auction that did not have any bids. What I did not realize is that the seller changed the shipping and handling fees to $700.00 ten minutes before the auction ended, so I wound up with a winning bid of $3 on an item worth about $100, but with $700 in shipping/handling fees.
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Old January 8, 2006, 02:15 AM   #8
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I try to explain sniper bidding to people at work and they just look at me crosseyed. Hey, that is the same look they give me when I tell them about timeshare! :-)

Yes, sniper bidding removes you from the psychology of the auction. Otherwise you just end up in a bidding war and the seller loves that.

BTW: When I was first introduced to online auctions it was at a now non-existant site named onsale.com. They would keep the auction going as long as there were bids still coming it. Each bid would extend the auction period a certain amount of time. The auction site was very successfull but was purchased by egghead who used it's traffic to bring more people to egghead an then they abondoned the auction business. It was a shame. They also had an interesting feature where you could post messages with your bids so people would post mini-notes like "keep it low $99 a bestbuy" to keep people from bidding auctions up to much.

I had a buddy sell a very used popup trailer on ebay. To his surprise it sold for more then he paid for it after he used it several/many years. We are only talking about $500 but still. The guy came to pick it up and admitted that he was at a football party with his friends and they were drinking when he placed the bid. So there are all kinds of reasons. I just purchased a very used poker table, using a sniperbid and still probably paid too much but I think it is cool so value is in the eye of the guy willing to pay for it, drunk or sober.

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Old January 8, 2006, 08:34 AM   #9
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Why use a snipe bid when you can use Ebay's proxy bid. In case of a tie an ebay proxy bid would win?
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Old January 8, 2006, 08:47 AM   #10
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You use a snipe bid so that another bidder doesn't have time to react to your bid. With a proxy those that want to win will just chip away at your proxy in the same manner Perry talked about finding a reserve price. BTW a snipe is a proxy bid just done at the last moment.
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Old January 8, 2006, 09:09 AM   #11
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What is best snipe software or web site?
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Old January 8, 2006, 09:15 AM   #12
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Exclamation Be quick

Placing a normal eBay bid, a proxy bid, is a very BAD decision; why?
(“Locking" an auction with a minimum bid is ok).

Image a 30 day auction for at timeshare that starts at $9.99 and you place a bid of $2,000 (and you are the first bidder).

When you do you will see $9.99 as the bid since the hidden reserve is really $2,500 but you don’t know this.

Now more bidding takes place and the price is up to $1,000 and you are still the high bidder. Then a similar timeshare comes up for auction with a Buy it Now price of $2,000 – you could get it right now!

What to do? You have to remove your bid from the first auction and this statistic is kept track of eBay – its in plain view that you retract bids.

Lets say you do this and by the time you get to the newer auction you missed out – someone snapped up your timeshare for $2,000.

eBay does not give the bidder the proper tools to manage their open bids.

The new auction for $2,000 was probably picked up by a sniper who doesn’t have to worry about eBay’s proxy bids at all.

This is but one reason NOT to use eBay’s proxy bids – there are more strategies where being fast is required and not slowed down by eBay.

P.S.

I love and use iSnipeIt.com at http: www.isnipeit.com

It requires your computer to be on while the bid is submitted – I like this factor. If, in the case of emergencies, I don’t want sniping to go on I just kill the program or turn my laptop off.

Last edited by PerryM; January 8, 2006 at 09:23 AM.
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Old January 8, 2006, 09:36 AM   #13
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powersnipe is good also

We use powersnipe (www.powersnipe.com) and that does the trick as well. We have probably used it 30 times successfully including the times when it was activated but did not place a bid because the real bids outbid our powersnipe bid. Again, you have to know when to hold em and when to fold em. The program tells you that it cannot change your bids during the last two minutes but before that time it is easy to go in an adjust your bid either up or down. Your computer does not have to be one to use powersnipe and it costs about 50 a year.

One time, however .......Yes, one time it did not work. Traffic was simply too busy on an auction that ended at 7:00 p.m. pst on a Sunday. Can you imagine how many tens of thousands of auctions end at that time? It simply did not get through.

From that time one I have always made sure our own ebay auctions end at 15 minutes after the hour or 45 minutes after the hour so that we do not have buyers missing in cyberspace! Funtime.
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Old January 8, 2006, 10:26 AM   #14
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But if you put in your highest bid thru ebay proxy , you don't care if your outbid and you dont have to worry about communication problems and ties. If the same item comes up cheaper you have a problem, but in timeshare auctions that is highly unlikely.
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Old January 8, 2006, 10:41 AM   #15
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Lightbulb No good reason

e,

I see it all the time with WorldMark auctions – they are so many and come up so fast that placing a proxy is a stone around your neck.

Also, in the timeshare world, eBay is but one way of buying – there are 50+ other sources that may have the same exact timeshare or a more attractive one – why be the high bidder of an auction when a “once in a lifetime” offer comes up somewhere else?

However, the greatest advantage of sniping is to keep a “cool head”. Set the price you want and put out a dozen snipes for various auctions – if one is hit you kill the others or what ever you want to do.

With the one exception of “locking” an auction I can’t think of a single reason to use eBay’s proxy system.

Well, ok, there is the occasional auction where the bidder ends the auction early and awards the auction to the highest bidder. Normally this is due to things “outside of eBay” e.g. a special deal was cut to avoid higher fees to the seller.

Last edited by PerryM; January 8, 2006 at 03:17 PM.
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Old January 8, 2006, 10:49 AM   #16
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Lightbulb Oops

Sorry, wrong thread

Last edited by PerryM; January 8, 2006 at 02:23 PM.
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Old January 8, 2006, 01:38 PM   #17
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Personally, I will not use a snipe bid. Again, my principle will be to offer the highest I can, then I win some or loose some. However, I am one that will bid up my highest price, I like to monitor who is bidding on the auction, take a look at the bidders' feedback, to determined who I am up against. I never bid my highest offer at first bid. Also the one advantage is that I can always change my mind up to the last seconds regarding my bid.
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Old January 8, 2006, 03:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e.bram
But if you put in your highest bid thru ebay proxy , you don't care if your outbid and you dont have to worry about communication problems and ties. If the same item comes up cheaper you have a problem, but in timeshare auctions that is highly unlikely.
The only reason I see for not using ebay proxy is the problem identified by the initial post: there are those who want to see themselves as the highest bid, or who get into a bidding frenzy. If they keep bidding against your proxy, raising it higher and higher until they have the high bid, you have lost your item. Otherwise, they raise it higher than you would otherwise have had to pay.

If, on the other hand, there is no $2,000 proxy bid to go against, and the high price is $300, then they will not keep bidding higher. When you come in at the last minute with your $2,000 snipe bid, you get the item for $305, instead of getting it for much higher, or losing it altogether.
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Old January 8, 2006, 03:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Also the one advantage is that I can always change my mind up to the last seconds regarding my bid.
This is actually more of an advantage with a "snipe" bid. A "snipe" bid is never really a bid at all until 6-10 seconds before the auction ends and most programs will let you cancel your "snipe" bid with as little time as 2 minutes before the auction ends. If you cancel a "snipe" bid, nobody knows you were ever there.
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Old January 8, 2006, 04:29 PM   #20
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The rules of the ebay game favor sniping and until they change, snipers will prevail.

The rules of the ebay game favor sniping. If they change the rules, sniping may not be as powerful but now it is, in my view, a must use technique. Before I got into sniping I was furiously trying to bid at the last minute on some auctions and had a high miss rate. Slow connection, slow computer etc. I now compare manual bidding at the last minute to those using a selectric typewriter. Hey, a selectric is better than a manual typewriter but it does not compare to a computer.

Okay - to mix more metaphors. Ebay allows snipers to wait in hiding until the last minute and the more experienced bidders most of the time are just doing that. (Think of a vision of a sniper with a long rifle hiding amongst the trees.) The rest of the bidders are in the open field with their bayonets poised ready to charge -- their position is transparent or easily discernable. They often think that they are winning an auction because they are in the lead for 6 days and 23 hours but they are not. They are lulled into a false sense of security and may have bid higher had they known that others were going to bid against them -- but alas, the sniper does not telegraph his or her move. Sniping allows a dedicated buyer to buy for less because others do not know that they should have raised their bid to counteract the sniper.

By the way, I do not think that there is a moral position one way or the other on sniping - the system allows it and it is a tool to be used. JMO Funtime
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Old January 8, 2006, 04:38 PM   #21
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Lightbulb A slooow death

Funtime,

You got it absolutely right – sniping is THE way to use eBay.

Nothing is more pleasing than to watch an auction die a slow death – one bidder after another bumping up the price, a few bucks at a time, and the reserve has yet to be hit! Ohh I love to see those slow ones – the seller is demoralized and is starting to think of relisting the auction.

Snipers wait in ambush and allow slow moving auctions NOT draw attention.

Once an auction dies a horrible death that’s when the most experienced bidders go to work.
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Old January 9, 2006, 07:12 AM   #22
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Entertainment

I am currently watching an auction where not only was it a case of two or more people outgunning each other but this person bid against themselves to the tune of 6 bids in a row for around a $600 jump in a span of less than 30 minutes.

I know you are forced into bidding on ebay in order to set your max bid, but only for the initial set. I am not sure if the person was hoping to scare off other parties by pushing the price up quickly or was just having some fun. It doesn't appear the former worked and I don't see much fun in the latter.
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Old January 9, 2006, 07:59 AM   #23
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I believe that what you saw was someone placing bids that were not higher than the proxy bid of the original bidder. Each time a bid is placed, it shows a jump in the bid of the original bidder since only high bids are shown.
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Old January 9, 2006, 10:08 AM   #24
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Talking

Dave H, if Bill is talking about a auction I had bid on you are correct on what went on!


Bill if it is the same auction 3 of the people I talked to will put in snipe bids in. If those bids are lower than the winning amount they may not shown up as being bid.

Bruce

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_H
I believe that what you saw was someone placing bids that were not higher than the proxy bid of the original bidder. Each time a bid is placed, it shows a jump in the bid of the original bidder since only high bids are shown.
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Last edited by brucecz; January 9, 2006 at 10:55 AM.
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Old January 9, 2006, 11:45 AM   #25
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Bruce,

Since I don't know your id on ebay, I couldn't say for sure. This auction appears to be one you in which you would be interested.

I may be missing an ebay feature that hides certain bids that happened between this person's bids but aren't displayed. From the timing of the bids, it did appear to be either a sniping or proxy automatic bid. I think that all bids should show on an auction in ebay especially for proxy/sniping bids so a person can see why their bids were entered.

So Bruce, if that was you I hope you win it.

Bill
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