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Ebay Behavior(12 posts)

Ebay BehaviorFez
Mar 19, 2003 7:26 PM
Do sellers have alternate IDs (or friends) to place bids on their own items?

I heard sellers do this in the early stages to create the illusion of traffic and interest in the auction, especially those with low starting prices.

My own experience on Ebay as a seller kind has been bad. I haven't sold bike parts yet. Recently, I was selling some rather nice jewelry. Rather than having a reserve, I decided what the lowest price I was willing to accept and made that my starting price.

Well, I got tons of traffic and inquiries, but no bids. It seemed as though some folks wanted to bid, but didn't want to be the first one to do it and here's the nasty part - as soon as the auction ended, I got private emails from these folks who saw my auction and they wanted to further lowball the price and buy it outside of Ebay!

I was wondering if my auction had a few starting bids then it would have encouraged these folks to bid and not wait it out and lowball me after the auction was over.

Any thoughts?
re: Ebay Behaviorafrican
Mar 19, 2003 7:36 PM
maybe put a low starting bid but a reserve on it.
mixed resultslaffeaux
Mar 19, 2003 7:41 PM
I've sold several things with mixed results. Items that I thought were valuable have sold for less than expected, while other items that I thought were not worth much have brought a relatively high price. The brand of an item seems to dictate price more than true quality. When someone can't see the item I think that they are more concerned with brand recognition, as that is all they have to go on.

I've started auctions high (and watched other do this too) and it seems to scare away bidders, or have only one bid in the last few minutes. Also bids that start low and have a high reserve price seem to get lower bids. The exception to this is if you are selling an item that you think there is an extremely small market for (i.e. 1 or 2 bidders).

The last items I've listed starting a $9.99 (eBay charges less for auctions starting under $10), a low reserve (1/2 of what I think the item is worth), and a buy it now for a little higher than I think it's worth. I figure that this is a free market and the items will sell for what it's worth in the end.

If you have a buy it now price and no reserve, the first person that sees it and bids $10 will wipe out your buy it now. I think that a low reserve lets people know that the item will be sold and they have a chance of winning it. When I bid on an item with a reserve that is high, I'll stop bidding as I feel like I'm bidding against the market and the owner - I prefer to only be in competition with other bidders.
re: Ebay Behaviorpurplepaul
Mar 19, 2003 9:51 PM
The best way to gauge what your item will bring is to see what identical items went for. Presentation goes a long way, but buyers can smell insincere salesmanship. I stay away from reserve auctions unless I really really want something. Actually, I've never wanted something so badly that I had to bid in a reserve auction.

If you know what other identical items went for and you have good presentation, starting the bid at $1.00 or $9.99 won't hurt you. This signals to buyers that you know you've got something good and trust they will too. I think buyers appreciate it when their arms aren't twisted. I've seen auctions where the Buy It Now price was $5 higher than the starting bid. Nobody usually bothers with that unless the seller made a mistake and set the price too low.

As for sellers rigging auctions, a number of years ago there were stories about that and I believe some were actually caught doing so. Ebay clamped down on that by forcing bidders to reveal their identity when they sign up. I believe one now needs a credit card or checking account that can be verified electronically. Thus, it is easier for Ebay to track bidders who have multiple ID's and harder for people to set up lots of them. Furthermore, a bidder with no feedback always raises suspicion.

What I do is decide on the highest amount I am willing pay, put that in and not worry about it. If a seller bids up his own auctions but not enough to go over my price, I still feel I've gotten a deal because I never raise my price.

Hope this helps.
re: Ebay BehaviorAlexx
Mar 20, 2003 4:51 AM
Using an alternate name to bid on your own mdse is called shill bidding. not only will it get you banned from EBay, but it is illegal, too.
Your experience in selling jewelry is common. EBay attracts a lot of bargain hunters, but the fact is, your stuff was overpriced. If nobody bid your starting price, it's because nobody thought it was worth the starting price-that's the way capitalism works.
There are ways to maximize your selling price. Give good descriptions, take good pictures, and have your auction end on sunday evening. The rest is up to the current market forces.
Jewelry and some numbersFez
Mar 20, 2003 6:02 AM
To give you an example, the jewerly piece was Tiffany and it was new and current and it retailed for $2400. I set the start price at one third ($800). One thing about Tiffany is they do not have sales and everything is an exclusive, so you can't get it elsewhere new for less.

Assuming I wasn't asking too much in today's market, I thought about starting it lower like $200 and putting a reserve at $800. Lots of similar auctions got the traffic, but of course there is the risk the reserve never gets met and its a waste of time.

I had a feeling a few people wanted to bid, but why would you want to when no one else has? My guess is each of them thought they were the only one interested and decided to wait it out so they want to further lowball me after the auction has ended. That supposedly is against the Ebay rules as well, but I don't know how if it is enforced.
Mar 20, 2003 10:01 AM
It's not against Ebay's rules, you just aren't entitled to any Ebay protections. I've found it's a great way to get good deals. Okay, I don't actually wait until an auction ends and then make an offer, but I have made offers on parts of auctions. For example, I got a great deal on a rear shock for my mountain bike when it was offered as a "spare" in an auction for the whole bike. I recently did the same thing with some 105 STI shifters (the auction was for shifters, bars and stem, but I only wanted the shifters). I actually was the high bidder on that one, but the reserve wasn't met. They sold me just the shifters for my high bid). The only downside I can see is that you don't get to leave feedback after the auction.

What really bugs though, is people who say, "If you'll accept X dollars and end the auction early, I'll buy it." Had a guy try that on me (he only offered me $1 more than my $99 starting bid!). The auction ended 3 days later anyway with no bids, and then he said he could only afford $75. Somebody else "highballed" me and paid $110. I'm sure the item would have sold eventually, but it saved me the hassle of relisting.

Ebay is a fun place, and there are plenty of strategies, but I've never really worried too much about getting scammed until this recent spate of bogus auctions. Grrr!
Seriously, now,Alexx
Mar 20, 2003 12:11 PM
who in their right mind would shop for expensive jewellery on EBay? Here's the answer: morons and bottom-feeders. If you are lucky enough to get the former, more power to you! Still, most morons would rather actually see the thing in their hand before paying too much for it... Bottom feeders are willing to take a chance-for 20 cents on the dollar.

Jewellery is hard to sell online. No picture will ever show the features adequately, and all the brand names and certificates of authenticity mean nothing over a computer screen. There must be 5 dozen companies with the name "Tiffany", and most of them are purveyors of junk. If it's "Tiffany and Sons", then say so. But don't expect to get people clambering all over each other to bid high on something they can't actually see...
Tiffany on Ebay...TJeanloz
Mar 20, 2003 2:26 PM
There is a key problem with trying to sell something with as strong a brand as Tiffany on Ebay; there are a lot of fakes. It's the same with a number of strong brands: Callaway (golf), Coach (leather goods), Burberry (clothing), on down the line. I would be quite aprehensive about buying a Tiffany piece anywhere except at the store.

In particular with Tiffany, I ran across a series of auctions where the seller had taken a necklace and replaced the Tiffany diamonds with CZs, and put it up on Ebay, with the sales receipt and everything, "proving" what it was worth. For my own amusement, I emailed him, and he told me that the CZs were original to the piece. At least he wasn't trying to pass them off as diamonds, though he sort of was buy showing the old receipt. Anyway, just one anecdote in the sea of Ebay.
Yes, absolutelyFez
Mar 20, 2003 3:26 PM
Prior to my listing, I did a search and there were more fakes or "Tiffany style" pieces than genuine Tiffany items.

And all those peddling fakes claimed they had the all important blue box, felt case, and certificate of authenticity (obviously from a piece other than what was auctioned).
Best resultsCrankist
Mar 20, 2003 6:20 AM
I lay the boys out on the chopping block (so to speak) with "no reserve" auctions and start 'em out real low. Putting "NR" in the title generates a lot of hits and bids.
Never been close to burned - always get more than I guessed.
Really that is what an auction is to me.
re: Ebay Behaviorshamelessgearwhore
Mar 20, 2003 9:39 AM
Some things lend themselves well to selling with Ebay and others don't. I would never ever buy jewelry this way and I would expect many feel the same way. You cannot expect to get the best bids on it then. Known product like books, records, thisandsuch bike frame are easier to sell with ebay because there is no surprise.