|Re: The special 1%|
Message #22 Posted by John H Meyers on 27 June 2000, 5:39 a.m.,
in response to message #18 by Steve
A real auction is not a submission of single sealed bids, and then waiting around to find out who won -- that's the "bidding for a contract" model, not the "bidding at an auction" model.
The former case is not helped by "auction fever," while the latter case thrives on auction fever -- at least for two of the parties (seller and auction house), while not exactly so for bidders.
Bidding on an auction is not just a buyer estimating an object's worth and dropping off a leisurely bid in a sealed envelope -- it is bidding *against* other buyers, *seeing* the amounts that they are bidding (at least as of their most recent bid), and strategizing accordingly.
If I were limited to placing just one bid per item, surely I would bid *lower* than I might be willing to go if I could watch other bidders instead, for otherwise, other unsuccessful bidders could just push up my cost to almost my maximum amount, just by bidding nearly up to the one "over generous" bid which I might have to make if I could not start lower and raise it at my discretion later on.
To make a "maximum" bid further in advance also limits my options to decide between other alternatives which might come on the market meanwhile, as well as adjusting my budget according to what other items it turns out that I have meanwhile purchased. It's an "options closer" to commit to a higher bid any earlier than necessary, so anyone who wants to keep shopping around might well take this approach, just like the careful comparison shopper who looks for new sales every day.
By seeing what level bidding has reached, I can decide late in the auction whether I want to try to bid at all, and I can try raising the bid by a small amount at a time, instead of by a wider margin in one single bid (which is what will happen, very suddenly, if our two automated proxies suddenly take off against each other).
If another party has instructed a proxy to go right on up to a higher limit, then my bid is unsuccessful, and just pushes his price upwards, instead of it being the other way around, and sometimes I would much prefer to be the "pusher" than the "pushee" !
As has been pointed out by others, keeping one's own bid low, or even letting oneself be outbid earlier on, keeps one's desire for that item from being so telegraphed to others (by watching *my* bid keep rising, in response to someone else's small increments) that they will push the final bid way up, which is, like it or not, just another part of the auction game.
If someone does have "bidding software" to make rapid-fire bids, then surely (s)he has to instruct that software on the maximum to bid -- in which case, that software is nothing but an alternative "proxy," which you can have eBay do on your behalf anyway, so what more good does it do, except to just control the timing, like one of those games of taking sticks from a pile, trying to make the other one lose by taking (or letting you take) the last stick.
I had not bid on anything at any auction for a long time; then a wish for an HP17BII (to actually use, not just to collect!) came to me, and soon I had one -- on which I had outbid the previous guy by 50 cents, and paid $23.25 to the seller. It wasn't beautiful (initials badly hand-carved into faceplate), but otherwise it's in fine shape (sans manual, but I don't care).
I'm not bidding very high on anything, but to get what little I did want, at lesser price, I had to watch carefully, stay up late, and bid just enough! The other guy could have done just the same, of course, but it was his choice not to stick around and watch the auction, just as it's been my misfortune not to have the persistence to regularly scour thrift shops, and thus I lose those *real* buys to sharp and "sneaky" operators like you, who keep just beating me to them!
It would seem beneficial for any auction house (including eBay) to take instead the suggestion to say, as at a live auction, "Any more bids? All through? All done?" (i.e. wait a specified interval after the last bid before pounding down the gavel), since that would keep the prices (and commissions) rising, as long as a sufficient "bid increment" prevents this from becoming too agonizing an ordeal to wait for its end.
But heck, I just visited some on-line auctions by Sotheby's, and they seem to be using the exact same model as eBay -- counting down the exact days, hours, minutes and seconds to when each auction ends!
Why don't we suggest to them that they try this even in their live auctions -- wouldn't it be fun to see what would happen if a Van Gogh were to be sold to the last bidder to hit a button before the "flag" on a sort of "chess clock" dropped? My, that would enliven the stodgy old place, wouldn't it?
Maybe "scheduled auctions" would be better for eBay -- post your item for advance viewing, pay eBay for a "time slot" according to how "prime time" the slot is, and then have all bids come in over a shorter interval. Any takers for this idea? Well, maybe that's how it works anyway, since any "early bids" mean nothing, and people only really come in to bid seriously at the end anyway.
"All roads lead to Rome," it would appear.