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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000054.txt from 2002/05

From: efarmer <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Bad behavior on eBay auctions
Date: Thu, 2 May 2002 23:29:10 -0400

The way to deal with it is to bid your max price, not $1 above
the last person, and if anyone bids above that- oh well, it is more than
you would be willing to pay for the item. So it really doesn't matter
when they bid, if they were willing to pay more that you are for it so
they will "win" the item. And really you do get a notice of a dead line-
it is the time the auction ends.
The real reason this is done is to limit "shill" bidding. If you
bid say $50 for an item that is at $10 now say 4 days before it ends, if
the seller is dishonest and has any other eBay ID's or friends on eBay
they can slowly bid a dollar here and there and drive the price up.
You'll see this as a lot of small bids from one or two people with no or
few feedback points, and the part I love is the points are often from
that seller!! They use low feed back accounts because if eBay finds out
they will close the account and they haven't lost much, and also it
looks like beginners are bidding, since they never want to bid their max
at the beginning. It is VERY hard to prove the seller was part of the
game. The eBay and the police won't look into it unless it involves big
money, and even then it is very hard to prove. That was Sotheby's
executives A. Alfred Taubmans' mistake-- he made millions of dollars,
abet in a different scam. Remember they are not willing to
actually buy the item, just trying to drive the price up, but if they do
top your max price playing this game, well, some outcomes are:

1. You'll bid again, and they got the price up higher then
anyone else was willing to pay.. they win. (Since what an auction needs
to work is at least two people willing to pay for an item - if you only
have one bidder the price won't go up- even if that one bidder was
willing to pay more.)

2. It ends with the shill bid as the top bid by one dollar, and
the seller writes you that the top bidder backed out of the deal but
they are willing to sell to you the 2nd highest bidder for you last bid.
If you buy at that price -they still win, the price is much higher than
if the shill bids were not placed. It should at the least go back to the
price before the shill bidder started, but they never want to do that!

3. Just re list the item in a few weeks (saying they found
another one and this one is in better shape then the last one, may even
write you -since you got outbid on the last one, how nice of them!) and
now if you bid again they have a really good idea how much you'll pay
don't they? This time they won't overbid with the shills.
They win again.

So how do limit this problem? Well you could limit the time
they'd have to play games by ..... welll..... aaa..... bidding
near the end of the auction? Oh wait that is what you don't like isn't
it? Sorry, but this shill business is where that whole late bidding
problem comes from, and oh this last second bidding is called "snipeing"
if you want to read about it on the web. There are at least 4 or 5
companies making software to do sniping. They work quite well in fact,
most can get the 1st bids to show up 30 to 10 seconds before the end, as
you've found out.
Some other auction sites do have a any bids in the last 15
minutes will continue the auction rule, but then ( if your not willing
to bid your max in the 1st place) it can become an endurance game, are
you willing to stay up later countering their bids? Because they can
also counter each of your bids, I've seen them add 8 to 48 hours to the
closing time. And you still get shill bidding.
The last second bidding also happens at live auctions if you
really watch them, the "winner" jumps in at the very end only, they
don't generally start the bidding. And they do have shills, how often I
don't really know.
So, your choices are not to play on eBay or like I said at the
top, bid your max, some where near the end of the auction (as close as
you feel is "fair") and accept that any increases in price after that
may or may not be legit. Generally eBay is a fair, real auction but
sometimes people play games on it, all you can do is protect your self
as much as possible.

-----Original Message-----
Subject: [kl] Bad behavior on eBay auctions

I just sent this e-mail to eBay, reporting what I consider actions of
very dubious morality:

<<I want to report some behavior which will, if it continues, stop me
from buying on eBay.

Twice in recent auctions, I was out bid, in the last 20 seconds of the
auction, by someone who had never bid before.

By the time one notices this, even when hitting the F5 key repeatedly,
to refresh the screen every 5 seconds or so. It is too late to bid

Surely this is NOT what was intended when your service was put into
place. A real auction has a "going, going, Gone" warning for serious

This lurking behavior, bidding only in the last few seconds, I view as
immoral, dishonest and disgusting.

I think that eBay needs to find a way to block this kind of behavior.

Walter Grabner

I know some people think this is smart or clever behavior, but it is
really p*****g ne off! Has anyone else had this experience, and if so,
what have you done?



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