I have been away from the list for a while, so I have missed some of the prior debate about eBay tactics and ethics, but I frankly do not understand what others find wrong in the proxy bid system. If I am consdering purchase of an item, I bid the maximum amount that I will be willing to pay for it. It is not revealed to anyone unless they are willing to commit to a bid. For example, if I am willing to pay $100 for an item, I will bid that amount. If the item is at $50, and the increments are $1, all anyone will know is that my bid is $51. The only way way they can find out how much more I am willing to pay is to make their own bid. In the example given, if you then bid $75, eBay will respond for me with $76, which is still what I am willing to pay and fair to both me and the seller. If you bid $100, the item is still mine because my bid was first. If you bid more than $100, then you get it at $101, and I would not respond because I started the auction with a decision that $100 was my maximum, and if I am disciplined I will stick with my decision. It is worth $100 to me, and I will not pay more. A live auction may benefit the seller because people tend to respond in an undisciplined an emotional way (well, I was willing to pay $100 for it, but $101, or $110, or whatever is just a little more....); but for the potential buyer the system supports rational decision making and then supports discipline in sticking with that rational decision. If the item is worth $100 to me at the start of the auction, why would it be different in the last moments? And the market place is so large that if I don't get the platinum-plated magnesium alloy fender bolts for $100 today, there will probably be another set listed tomorrow, and if none sell in my price range, then the message that I need to listen to is that my personal desire for the item is not sufficient to purchase it in the current market. There are a lot of things out there that I might buy if the price were lower, but don't want at current prices, and items on eBay are just one of them. So my question is, why does it matter if others bid in the last picosecond? If they are willing to pay more than you for the item, their bid should win. If you had a higher bid in on the proxy bid system, your bid would be the winning bid. What is wrong with this? Ed Feinberg Newton, MA I. P. Merkin and Charles Andrews wrote: -----Original Message----- From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of IPMerkin@aol.com Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2006 10:23 PM To: email@example.com Subject: [CR]Re: eBay auction tactics (I.P. Merkin)
Charles Andrews wrote:
"No ethics involved. No fair-play either. People behave during ebay auctions EXACTLY the way they behave at normal in-person auctions. In a normal, in-person auction, no-one reveals how much they're willing to pay until the end of bidding. Ebay's proxy-bid system violates that basic tactic: it forces you to reveal what you're willing to pay."
"Snipe systems fix this problem, by allowing all bidders to bid exactly as they would at a real auction. Sniping makes ebay into a REAL auction site."
No, it doesn't make eBay into a REAL auction site. In a REAL auction (not counting sealed bid situations), bidding continues until only one high bidder is left and the rest have thrown in their towels. For eBay to be like a REAL auction site, auctions would continue for some amount of time after the last bid was placed. If bidding continued, so would the auction. Of course, that would remove the opportunity to get a "fair" deal. Snipe systems just make it possible to be sneaky AND lazy at the same time. I personally have more respect for someone who goes in with a minute or two left and places a high bid. Just as in a REAL auction, all the other bidders are given fair notice to (as my late grandmother would say) s**t or get off the pot. Then again, maybe I'm just naive.
As another writer noted, the whole sniping matter has already been beaten to death many times over, and I offer my own apology for continuing it. I suppose I just get a bit irked by the rationalizations (or plain old absolution) that some give of their own behavior. Few people ever seem to think their own conduct could possibly violate the tenets of ethics or fair play. Just ask a few Congressmen if you don't believe me.
I.P. Merkin Providence (where it'll be 80 tomorrow), RI