|oh, okay, then, let's go for it!|
Message #53 Posted by Glynn on 3 Nov 2000, 4:29 a.m.,
in response to message #52 by Mike Sebastian (USA)
Not having known what eBay itself defined as "sniping", I knew from context that it had to do with bidding in the last few moments.
THEN, I speculated on a SINGLE methodology for doing "high-stakes" sniping, and asked for your thoughts on the validity of the premise that it COULD be and probably IS done, within the set of all tactics used.
I look back at my first post and still don't see a way to have stated clearer that I was talking of one particular practice, A VARIANT, NOT LATE BIDDING in general.
I tried to make my case in post two on this thread that I do not consider LATE BIDDING a problem; indeed it is a perfectly good tactic considering eBay's system.
But, well, I can't ask anyone to differentiate between a normal behavior and a deviant one by appropriating terminology that everyone believes applies to both. Sorry for confusing anyone.
If eBay defines ALL late bidding as "sniping", then please allow me to redefine my terminology with a new word:
DYNAMITING: Theory and Practice
(hey, does that have a ring, or what?) ;-)
I looked forward to responses indicating whether the specific methodology of Dynamiting (now that we know what to call it) was in evidence. While many in the course of explaining what THEY believe is happening told stories of price-swings which would tend to support my theory, it seems everyone has a DIFFERENT explanation for what is REALLY going on (naivety, heat-of-the-moment, etc).
But almost everyone was willing to believe that "sniping" is what THEY do, as if LATE BIDDING were in and of itself a dirty little secret for success (funny!).
Okay, all, "sniping" is what you do, and it works, and I do it too, and there is good reason to do it, and so the last one in is a rotten egg. Great, we should have a "Order of the Snipers" club, and award medals to those with ping/purchase ratios that most closely approach unity. ;-)
Pardon me, but I was ASKING something else: in that final few seconds, do you, would you, COULD you bid AN OUTRAGEOUS AMOUNT, knowing full well that, unless someone else is doing the same as you AT THE SAME MOMENT, you will never ACTUALLY pay more than "one bid-increment" more than the previous bidders who submitted logical and reasonable bids?
I am convinced that the REAL "bid out of all bounds at the last possible moment" sniping system, or Dynamiting as I now describe it, explains some of the anomalistic prices found on eBay.
("Dynamiting: When Good Sniping Goes Bad: A Fox Reality Special".) :-)
Whether by some automated software bidding script, or just nervy bidders caught in a clash by others using similar tactics, I think my theory is likely valid.
I DO NOT AGREE that one bidder cannot, while submitting a bid that results in a valid auction result, be UNSCRUPULOUS to other bidders (the implication that the only unscrupulous behavior is the kind which is adverse to the seller kind of irks me).
Now, I suppose, Mike, I need to look up "unscrupulous". But before I check Webster's for the answer, let me say that I don't figure LEGALITY into my rough understanding of the concept. eBay has its set of laws, and it bans bidders and sellers which don't follow them. It also "punishes" behavior it does not approve of. But eBay may or may not approve of some behaviors *I* would call "unscrupulous". It may not have a law, nor a means to enforce, action against someone who is unscrupulous but who is not defrauding a seller or other bidders. In fact, if the behavior benefits the client of eBay.com, SELLERS specifically, why WOULD eBay wish to legislate against a bidding behavior that say, merely annoys others by obviating their purchasing efforts?
I am not suggesting that Dynamiting is a good practice. It is NOT one I would engage in (I can't afford it should my timing be off by a second or two). I see NOTHING that violates the rules or even INTENTIONS of eBay, however, and the fact is, it would benefit the seller by the same degree as any other high bid. Is it a Scrupulous thing, then? Does it do anything beyond parasitically feasting at the valuation-table of other bidders? If eBay doesn't say any bad thing about a carefully-timed bid of intent to "pay whatever it takes to overcome the competition", is it therefore GOOD just because it is allowed?
eBay may settle this in its own way: by legitimizing a new way of ending the auction before one begins by allowing the seller to pick a "Buy it Now" price. Buyers could, prior to first bids, commit to purchase for the asking price, and no auction would then need to proceed. Whether that works is pretty much in the hands of the seller.
I think it will help. I myself would possibly pay more to get something RIGHT NOW, rather than wait for an auction with all its uncertainties and timing.
Regardless, Mike, let me tell you about my VERY FIRST eBay purchase. It was last February, and I cruised around, just marvelling at what you could find there. While using the search engine, I remembered that I once had a pair of stereo headphones I really loved-- made by a company called Stax. They were in a box the movers lost years ago, but I had never found any headphones I liked as much in the interval. I typed "Stax" and lo, there they were on eBay; in fact many pair... and I chose the ones like I had (a good model), and bid on them. Shortly after my bid, I get an email from "a friend" who said that what was being advertized on eBay as "electrostatic headphones" were NOT REALLY so, they were merely "electret", and that was VERY different and inferior, and I might not have known the difference, but I would likely be unhappy if I got the headphones. The post was from an anonymous server, so I did not respond to my "friend"... instead I upped my bid and got the headphones (oh the bliss of "electrets"!!).
Anyway, my first eBay experience clued me in to the fact that there are people out there who have little or no shame when it comes to acquiring things, who would misdirect or take advantage of their fellow bidders' trusting natures. I call that "unscrupulous", and eBay may think it unscrupulous, too, but then, that's the place where my "friend" got my email address, and eBay could not stop or stifle this kind of behavior if they cared to try.
Incidentally, that incident also made my mind up that I was going to be suspicious of people that spout "official" definitions pedantically, using them to justify opinions or advice that may only apply given their denotated criteria, without regard to the intended message of the person first using the word. ;-) But I do agree: Bid Sniping is NOT, in and of itself, BAD.