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Topic: EBay chicken?
Message: Posted by: balducci (Mar 8, 2007 11:51PM)
Does anyone here ever play chicken on EBay?

By which I mean, make a bid on an item you don't really want in order to jack the price up a buck or two?

I swear, sometimes I think that is what people have done to me in various auctions.

Once or twice, maybe I've enjoyed a guilty pleasure doing it to others as well. :)
Message: Posted by: irossall (Mar 9, 2007 06:45AM)
Being a single parent who does not make much money I sometimes need to make a purchase that is not a luxury item but something that I or my Daughter needs and E-Bay is one source I look to for help. I guess it is great fun to play "chicken" but it could potentialy prevent someone like myself from saving a few bucks and being able to get that item at an affordable price.
I don't mean to be harsh but things are just not funny when you don't get to witness the person's reaction to the prank or someone is hurt (physicaly or financialy).
Just my take on this subject.
Iven :patty:
Message: Posted by: balducci (Mar 9, 2007 07:51AM)
You make a good point, irossall, and I will admit I phrased my post a little provocatively in order to generate some discussion.

I'm not talking about buying basics or essentials, though, but rather collectible luxury (at least, non-essential) type items. For example, rare magic books, or collectible baseball cards or comics, etc. Items in which the extra dollar or two would amount to much less than 1% of the total value.
Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Mar 9, 2007 11:16AM)
Please don't undermine the system like this - you materially hurt everyone who uses it.

Or are you the judge of what's an "essential" and what's a "luxury", and who should buy or sell it without interference?

I sell a lot on eBay - good products that I have worked hard to create. Jokers (not the word I'd like to use, you joker) who bid and don't pay when they win cost me money - if the high bidder defaults, the lower bidders have usually lost interest and often don't buy.

It's especially troubling that you seem proud of your juvenile pranks.
Message: Posted by: balducci (Mar 9, 2007 11:48AM)
From the replies above, it seems no one understands what I'm talking about. Maybe I did not explain myself all that well.

I never said anything about not paying or undermining the system in any way like that. If you bid, you must be prepared to pay.

Let me give you a specific example.

Say you purchased a collectible magic book (for the sake of discussion) and you paid $500 for it. A month later, you see the same book on EBay for $200. You don't really need another copy, you don't really want another copy, but you figure if you can get it for a real bargain price it might be a good investment. So you edge the price up bit by bit, playing chicken if you will, testing the waters, trying to see if you have any hope of winning before the price gets too high.

This happened to me twice last week. I had the high bids on a couple of different books, and all day other people (specific single individuals in each case) were edging the bid up, by a dollar or two at a time. In one case I won the final auction, in the other I did not (but I came close).
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Mar 9, 2007 12:45PM)
I don't play chicken, I snipe. I win every time. Its such a rush. Timing and a good internet connection is crucial.
Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Mar 9, 2007 12:54PM)
If I misread your intent, I apologize.

In that case, I agree with the advice from Matthew W. "Testing the waters" IMO only encourages people to bid and raise the price. Snipe - wait till the last moment, and bid then.
Message: Posted by: Jim Poor (Mar 9, 2007 01:08PM)
I tried the method of bidding my max for a while and I was often outbid by 2-5 bucks at the very end. I guess I'll have to try sniping next time. However, with spring approaching, photography will start to compete with magic for my dollars. Good time to learn the things I have already.

Have Fun!
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Mar 9, 2007 01:11PM)
I will often get into bidding wars. When the price gets right at about my limit, I'll go a few dollars more just to make sure the other guy isn't getting too much of a bargain. I figure if I can't have the item, I'll at least make sure someone else pays more for it.

Message: Posted by: MAKMagic (Mar 9, 2007 01:48PM)
If I sell something I have friends of mine that have no intention of buying it bid on it to raise price and interest on it.
Message: Posted by: Freak Prodigy (Mar 9, 2007 02:04PM)
I snipe as well!

Message: Posted by: Jim Poor (Mar 9, 2007 02:54PM)
On 2007-03-09 14:48, MAKMagic wrote:
If I sell something I have friends of mine that have no intention of buying it bid on it to raise price and interest on it.

What's your Ebay handle? ;)
Message: Posted by: MAKMagic (Mar 9, 2007 03:00PM)
Lol umm "magic_makers"
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Mar 9, 2007 06:04PM)
On 2007-03-09 14:48, MAKMagic wrote:
If I sell something I have friends of mine that have no intention of buying it bid on it to raise price and interest on it.

You do know that that is illegal, don't you?
Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Mar 9, 2007 10:40PM)
On 2007-03-09 14:48, MAKMagic wrote:
If I sell something I have friends of mine that have no intention of buying it bid on it to raise price and interest on it.
Very VERY counter to eBay rules.
Message: Posted by: MAKMagic (Mar 12, 2007 10:46AM)
Illegal - I highly doubt that....against ebays policies probably. I'm willing to bet that most folks that have sold a couple items on there do it plenty as well. All it does is show interest in the piece as opposed to just STARTING the price higher - and is in no way different from playing "Chicken" On top of this, I've only soldattempted to sell 2 items since ebay's birth.
Message: Posted by: hoodrat (Mar 12, 2007 11:35PM)
I just won a 1930s electrified candelabra lamp on Ebay yesterday. I had been the highest bidder all week at $75. As the auction got down to the last few minutes, some other bidder had made a bid. She and I had a "bidding war" at the very end. I finally won the item by placing my maximum bid amount at 2x what the current selling price was (the current selling price was around $170). My maximum bid was $375, and I placed it a minute before the auction ended. She tried to outbid me during the final minute, but only got as far as $300. I consequently won the lamp for $305.

Is this what is meant by the term "sniping" that was used in some of the posts above? If so, it was my first time doing it on Ebay. I kinda got an adrenaline rush as the auction came down to the final 30 seconds and I was "at war" with this other bidder!
Message: Posted by: balducci (Mar 13, 2007 12:20AM)
More or less, although you can go one step further and register with on-line sniping services that will make the bids automatically on your behalf, in the final seconds of an auction.
Message: Posted by: MagiClyde (Mar 14, 2007 12:19AM)
I wouldn't consider what hoodrat was doing "sniping" if his intention was to actually win the lamp. That's the whole point behind auctions. You try to outbid your rival to win the item.

If hoodrat's intention had been to raise the price of the lamp in order to make the other person shell out more without hoodrat actually wanting to buy the lamp, then I would consider that sniping. The objective of sniping, as I understand it, is to make the other poor soul pay more to win an item than they would otherwise have had to pay. That IS against ebay policy, as it artificially inflates the value of the item.
Message: Posted by: balducci (Mar 14, 2007 12:33AM)
I thought sniping was just bidding in the last seconds, in order to win an auction?

Here is an automated sniping service, to help you win auctions:


This USA today story also says snipers are out to win auctions, not to inflate the bids:


In fact, that story actually suggests there is evidence that the sniping strategy actually REDUCES the winning bid:

"a study by South Korean physicists confirms via some elaborate mathematical modeling that "sniping" waiting for the very last second to submit your bid on that Elvis-shape throw rug is indeed 'a rational and effective strategy to win in an eBay auction.'

Some companies even exist to snipe for you. Sellers, however, have grumbled that the practice keeps winning bid prices lower than they would be in a more open-ended auction, in which prices may be driven up by competition between buyers. If nobody bids until the last second, it's inevitably just a (relatively) low-bidding person who puts in the highest-price bid and walks away with the item."
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Mar 15, 2007 07:40AM)
If you have the means to do this, then I say "Go for it". Personally, I set my maximum price and just sit back and wait. If I get it, fine; if not, then I'm not that worried about it.
Message: Posted by: MagiClyde (Mar 15, 2007 11:51PM)
Ok, here are the definitions as I have found them on Ebay.

Shill Bidding
The deliberate placing of bids to artificially raise the price of an item. This practice undermines trust in the eBay Community and is not permitted. To avoid the appearance of involvement in this activity, family members, friends, and individuals living together, working together, or sharing a computer should not bid on each other's items.

Placing a bid in the closing minutes or seconds of an auction-style listing. Any bid, placed before the listing ends, is allowed on eBay. To protect yourself from being outbid at the last moment, enter the maximum amount you're willing to pay for an item up front, and eBay will bid automatically for you, making sure you're the high bidder until your maximum is reached. This system is sometimes called proxy bidding.

According to these two definitions, what hoodrat was doing is called sniping or proxy bidding and is perfectly "legal" on Ebay.

My apologies for the confusion, as I was really thinking of shill bidding. Hope things are clearer now.