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Cupid
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:29 am    Post subject:

mystiquez wrote:
If it's something that I'd like to have but only at a bargain price then I'll keep my max bid toward the low end of the historical range. If I really, really want the item, then I'll place my bid toward the high end of the historical range (especially if the same type of item doesn't come around often). While my daughter doesn't agree with the use of sniping, I use it to remove my tendency to get emotionally competitive over an item and eliminate paying way more than the item is truly worth to me.


I think that is very sensible advice for any buyer, thanks for sharing it.
mystiquez
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:56 am    Post subject:

I tend to agree that the $7.01 bid was placed based on the value of the item rather than any type of automated bid discovery methods. I tend to look at the value of similar items that have previously sold and place my bid accordingly.

If it's something that I'd like to have but only at a bargain price then I'll keep my max bid toward the low end of the historical range. If I really, really want the item, then I'll place my bid toward the high end of the historical range (especially if the same type of item doesn't come around often). While my daughter doesn't agree with the use of sniping, I use it to remove my tendency to get emotionally competitive over an item and eliminate paying way more than the item is truly worth to me.

The particular item in the auction I originally wrote about had a rough average of $7. There were others to be had in later auctions if I lost it so I certainly wasn't going to bid high. As it turned out, I won the very next auction for $7.70 after factoring in the $3.95 shipping.
juangrande
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:34 pm    Post subject:

rickyk4 wrote:
Maybe I haven't been around long enough, but I don't really think your situation where you lost to a guy who beat your price by 6 hours ahead of time is the same situation as a guy who beats you 1 second later. A guy who placed a bid so many hours ahead of you and is still came so close to your bid is quite obviously a coincidence. But a guy who places a bid that's just one penny more than your bid, just one second later is something else. Between the prices of $3.85 and $7.00, this guy could've guessed so many other "1 penny higher" numbers such as $4.01, $5.01, or $6.01, but he guessed exactly 1 penny higher than $7.00? I'm not saying that it can't be a coincidence, but I'm saying it's not likely.


Actually, it is essentially the same situation. You are still working under the illusion that timing had something to do with losing by $0.01; and you seem to think that if bids happen to be close in time, they are more likely to be close in amount. I meant no disrespect when I said that you "hadn't been around long enough"; I simply meant that after you've hung around eBay for long enough, you'll see auctions won by less than an increment and you will see that this is independent of the timing of the bids. Clearly what happened to me had nothing to do with the timing of the bids. Timing had nothing to do with the fact that the winning bidder in this auction won by $0.01, either.
Cupid
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:10 pm    Post subject:

rickyk4 wrote:
a guy who places a bid that's just one penny more than your bid, just one second later is something else. Between the prices of $3.85 and $7.00, this guy could've guessed so many other "1 penny higher" numbers such as $4.01, $5.01, or $6.01, but he guessed exactly 1 penny higher than $7.00? I'm not saying that it can't be a coincidence, but I'm saying it's not likely.


It is a lot more likely if the guy (or girl! Smile ) has done some research and worked out that it is worth about $7 after accounting for the shipping costs. There is always a lot more than just guess work in the bids that I place myself, I have researched some rare items for over 12 months before buying one.

rickyk4 wrote:
What if the robot submits its bid directly to the Ebay database servers through something like SQL commands, totally bypassing the overhead of the web interface? Is this not possible?


No that definitely is not possible, eBay are not going to allow anyone access to high bid information other than via their web interface. It would be rather stupid of them to allow access to that information wouldn't it?

If it were possible someone would do what you suggest and eBay would lose out on auction prices. Remember eBay take a percentage of the final price, it is not in their interests to allow methods that would reduce the prices on the items sold.

rickyk4 wrote:
If you're paying in the range of $20,000 for something, your next bid increment would be $100, if you can get away beating somebody with $20,000.01 rather than $20,100.00, wouldn't it be worth it?


If it were possible to do, yes, but it isnt. As John pointed out the only way to find out what a high bidders actual maximum bid is is to place a bid yourself that is less than an increment below that maximum. Once you have done that eBay forces you to place a bid at least one increment above their maximum.

So, yes, you could place random bids until you got to within an increment below or you became the high bidder, half the time you would get to within one increment below and have to bid an increment above them as I just mentioned, and half the time you would outbid them by less than an increment, but even on those 50% of bids you would be evenly distributed in the range between the other bidders high bid and a whole increment, it would be rare to beat them by only a very small fraction of an increment.

Now consider this situation, you are prepared to pay just over $20,000 perhaps even up to a whole increment above $20,000. Unbeknown to you the current high bidder has already placed a bid of $20,000 (maybe he has done some research and like you worked out that it is worth about that), the next highest bidder has placed a bid of $10,000 (their research was either worse, or better! Wink) so the current price is one increment over $10,000. With your proposed method of biding half the time you would find out that the current biders high bid was $20,000 and would not be prepared to bid again because it is above the maximum you are prepared to pay, so you loose the auction. The other half the time you manage to get a bid that is within the bid increment above the other bidder, so 50% of the time you do save some money, the maximum that you save is just under one increment (and that is very rare since, as I say, your bid was as likely to be anywhere in that range). Is it really worth while to loose the auction for a price lower than you were prepared to pay on 50% of the auctions in order to save a small amount on the other 50%, or would it just be better to place your highest bid and always win when you are prepared to pay more than the next highest bidder?. Well nearly always anyway, but lets not get into a whole other discussion here Smile
rickyk4
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:48 am    Post subject:

juangrande wrote:
You just haven't been around long enough. In fact, not only could the $7.01 bid have been a guess, it was a guess. However, it was an educated guess: most inexperienced bidders bid in even amounts and the winning bidder capitalized on this by bidding $7.01. The winning bidder decided on this bid well in advance (at least a few minutes in advance) and placed it in within seconds of the auction's end. Whether it was placed manually or by a sniping service is irrelevant.

I once had this happen to me, but in reverse. There was a vintage set of books that I wanted badly and they were sitting at a current price of around $30.00. I used Gixen to place a snipe of $151.15 and was certain I would win. But no! When I checked the status afterward, I saw that I had been outbid and the winning bid was $151.20! I had lost by $0.05!! Was I outsniped? No! The winning bidder had placed his bid of $151.20 6 hours before I bid! What right did that sneaky proxy bidder have to win by $0.05? The same right everybody else has. My only solace is that my bid cost him another $120.

Maybe I haven't been around long enough, but I don't really think your situation where you lost to a guy who beat your price by 6 hours ahead of time is the same situation as a guy who beats you 1 second later. A guy who placed a bid so many hours ahead of you and is still came so close to your bid is quite obviously a coincidence. But a guy who places a bid that's just one penny more than your bid, just one second later is something else. Between the prices of $3.85 and $7.00, this guy could've guessed so many other "1 penny higher" numbers such as $4.01, $5.01, or $6.01, but he guessed exactly 1 penny higher than $7.00? I'm not saying that it can't be a coincidence, but I'm saying it's not likely.

juangrande wrote:
If you are suggesting a bidding robot was at work, then you are still working under the illusion that the timing of a bid is of primary importance. First of all, the winning bidder bid exactly once, thus excluding the possibility of "multiple sequential snipes". Secondly, there is no way for a "sniping robot" to probe someone's bid without actually bidding, so this fictional "sniping robot" would do no better than 1-click bidding, since eBay's update of the current price would be the time-limiting factor.

What if the robot submits its bid directly to the Ebay database servers through something like SQL commands, totally bypassing the overhead of the web interface? Is this not possible? You can send thousands of back and forth submit and response SQL packets within a second this way. And since all of the bids occurred within a second, they would all be consolidated into the final winning bid.

It would require some sort of direct-to-Ebay API. I don't know what Ebay publishes for its interfaces. Maybe Mario can answer that?

juangrande wrote:
The suggestion that someone used a sniping robot indicates a misunderstanding of how eBay auctions work and why people snipe. Even if a sniping robot were available, very few people would use it. Why? Because it is much more effective to simply bid your maximum.

Well, I did give you that example in the last message about bidding for cars. If you're paying in the range of $20,000 for something, your next bid increment would be $100, if you can get away beating somebody with $20,000.01 rather than $20,100.00, wouldn't it be worth it?

juangrande wrote:
If the thought of losing by $0.01 reviles you, then you should add an odd number of cents to all your snipes, as I and many experienced bidders do. However, you still have to be prepared for the possibility that someone else will bid a few odd cents more...

It's not really a danger for me, because very rarely do I ever bid with rounded numbers. I'm usually bidding with Canadian dollars, so I'm always choosing my maximum bids based on that, but then converting to the seller's currency, and subtracting shipping costs, etc. I use Google calculator to come up with my bids, and they are always weird numbers. For example if I'm bidding for something listed in US dollars, with a shipping cost of US$20 and I'm only willing to pay C$100 for it, I would type "100 cad - 20 usd in usd" into Google, and it would come back with the answer based on today's exchange rate (eg. that answer for today is US$60.9192, but it could be something else on some other day). If the currency is UK Pounds then it is gbp, if it's Euros it is eur, etc.
juangrande
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:17 am    Post subject:

rickyk4 wrote:
If it was an automatic snipe, then how did they know to bid just $0.01 more than mystiquez's bid? The bidder before that had only taken the price upto $3.85, so mystiquez's maximum bid of $7.00 was quite a bit higher than the previous fellow, so it couldn't have been just a guess. It couldn't have been a 1-click bid either, because that would've taken the price up by another full bid increment, not just $0.01.


You just haven't been around long enough. In fact, not only could the $7.01 bid have been a guess, it was a guess. However, it was an educated guess: most inexperienced bidders bid in even amounts and the winning bidder capitalized on this by bidding $7.01. The winning bidder decided on this bid well in advance (at least a few minutes in advance) and placed it in within seconds of the auction's end. Whether it was placed manually or by a sniping service is irrelevant.

I once had this happen to me, but in reverse. There was a vintage set of books that I wanted badly and they were sitting at a current price of around $30.00. I used Gixen to place a snipe of $151.15 and was certain I would win. But no! When I checked the status afterward, I saw that I had been outbid and the winning bid was $151.20! I had lost by $0.05!! Was I outsniped? No! The winning bidder had placed his bid of $151.20 6 hours before I bid! What right did that sneaky proxy bidder have to win by $0.05? The same right everybody else has. My only solace is that my bid cost him another $120.

If you are suggesting a bidding robot was at work, then you are still working under the illusion that the timing of a bid is of primary importance. First of all, the winning bidder bid exactly once, thus excluding the possibility of "multiple sequential snipes". Secondly, there is no way for a "sniping robot" to probe someone's bid without actually bidding, so this fictional "sniping robot" would do no better than 1-click bidding, since eBay's update of the current price would be the time-limiting factor.

The suggestion that someone used a sniping robot indicates a misunderstanding of how eBay auctions work and why people snipe. Even if a sniping robot were available, very few people would use it. Why? Because it is much more effective to simply bid your maximum.

The timing of that $7.01 bid had nothing to do with it: the outcome of the auction would have been the same had it been placed hours or days earlier (assuming, of course, that the other bids were the same). By placing the bid late, the winning bidder did protect his bid against being probed by an experienced bidder or shilling seller (which is why people snipe), but it did not guarantee a win (as my experience should make clear).

If the thought of losing by $0.01 reviles you, then you should add an odd number of cents to all your snipes, as I and many experienced bidders do. However, you still have to be prepared for the possibility that someone else will bid a few odd cents more...
rickyk4
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:30 pm    Post subject: Re: New to this so excuse the daft questions

Cupid wrote:
rickyk4 wrote:
The bid increment only applies when you enter a maximum bid that is much higher than the bid increment.


Can you expand what you mean by that?


Well, for example if you bid $7.00 and somebody else bid $8.00 or higher, then they would actually only win by the next bid increment up, which would be $0.50, or $7.50 in this case. But since they only bid $7.01, their winning bid was also their maximum bid.

Cupid wrote:
rickyk4 wrote:
$7.01 was probably that guy's actual maximum bid.


It was definitely their maximum bid.

rickyk4 wrote:
If the guy had bid $8.00 or more, then he would've likely had to pay $7.00 + one bid increment, which would probably make it $7.25.


$7.50 actually, the bid increment is $0.50 in that range.


Okay.

Cupid wrote:
rickyk4 wrote:
This was simply a case of somebody manually outsniping an automatic sniper. It's not impossible to do, and it has actually happened to me just a few days back too.


What evidence is there that it was a manual snipe? Couldn't it have also been an automatic snipe with a lower offset (in Gixen terms) than the OPs snipe?


If it was an automatic snipe, then how did they know to bid just $0.01 more than mystiquez's bid? The bidder before that had only taken the price upto $3.85, so mystiquez's maximum bid of $7.00 was quite a bit higher than the previous fellow, so it couldn't have been just a guess. It couldn't have been a 1-click bid either, because that would've taken the price up by another full bid increment, not just $0.01.

In fact, I'm now not even convinced it was a manual snipe, I think it may very well have been an automatic snipe but probably from another sniping service or a robot, something that can send multiple sequential snipes in a second and brute force guess the maximum bid of the previous sniper and win it by just a penny. So long as the Ebay servers are fast enough to respond to the repeated bids, it can probably guess the maximum bid. Anybody know of any such robots?

Winning by a penny may not seem like a useful occupation when you're buying something that costs around $7, but I'm sure it's a very useful feature if you're bidding on something like a car where the bid increments may be $100.
juangrande
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:03 am    Post subject:

rickyk4 wrote:
This was simply a case of somebody manually outsniping an automatic sniper. It's not impossible to do, and it has actually happened to me just a few days back too.


As Mark pointed out, there is no way to tell whether the winning bid was placed manually or by a sniping service. In fact, the winning bid could have been placed by Gixen and just happened to arrive in the next second by eBay's clock. As a technical point, the fact that the time stamps of the two bids differed by one second does not mean that they arrived a full second apart: eBay truncates the time to the nearest second, thus the times could have differed by a small fraction of a second.

To elaborate on my previous explanation, at the time v**** made his bid, the current price (also called "current bid", even though it's rarely equal to an actual bid) was $4.35 [correction: $4.10]. Thus, the minimum bid that eBay would accept at that time was $4.85 ($4.35 + $0.50) [correction: $4.35 ($4.10 + $0.25)]. v**** chose to bid $7.01 and it was accepted (because it was greater than $4.85 [correction: $4.35]) and it won (because it was greater than $7.00). This is a perfect example of how one can win by less than a bid increment.
Cupid
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:47 am    Post subject: Re: New to this so excuse the daft questions

rickyk4 wrote:
The bid increment only applies when you enter a maximum bid that is much higher than the bid increment.


Can you expand what you mean by that?

rickyk4 wrote:
$7.01 was probably that guy's actual maximum bid.


It was definitely their maximum bid.

rickyk4 wrote:
If the guy had bid $8.00 or more, then he would've likely had to pay $7.00 + one bid increment, which would probably make it $7.25.


$7.50 actually, the bid increment is $0.50 in that range.

rickyk4 wrote:
This was simply a case of somebody manually outsniping an automatic sniper. It's not impossible to do, and it has actually happened to me just a few days back too.


What evidence is there that it was a manual snipe? Couldn't it have also been an automatic snipe with a lower offset (in Gixen terms) than the OPs snipe?
rickyk4
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:26 pm    Post subject: Re: New to this so excuse the daft questions

mystiquez wrote:
Two questions:
Why would eBay have entered my full bid of 7.00 instead of the next increment above 4.10 (thinking maybe something has changed or malfunctioned)?

If the bid increment was 0.25 (3.84-3.59) then how can someone win with 0.01 above my bid?

The bid increment only applies when you enter a maximum bid that is much higher than the bid increment. But you can still win even if your maximum bid is just a penny higher than the next guy's maximum bid.

So the reason your maximum bid of $7.00 showed up instead of just $3.84 + one bid increment. was because you were beaten by the $7.01 bid. $7.01 was probably that guy's actual maximum bid. If the guy had bid $8.00 or more, then he would've likely had to pay $7.00 + one bid increment, which would probably make it $7.25.

If you look at the bidders list and show all automatic bids, you'll see that had you prevailed with the $7.00 bid, then your price would've only been $4.10 ($3.85 + incr). This was simply a case of somebody manually outsniping an automatic sniper. It's not impossible to do, and it has actually happened to me just a few days back too.
juangrande
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:55 pm    Post subject:

Oh, my! You were the victim of the infamous one-penny snipe! Here are the last three bids in the bid history for reference:

Code:

v****(423)  $7.01   11:24:54
s***e(10)   $7.00   11:24:53
9***9(238)  $3.85   11:13:20


When you bid at 11:24:53, you were winning at $4.35 ($3.85 + $0.50) [correction: $4.10 ($3.85 + $0.25]. Then v**** came along at 11:24.54 and bid exactly $7.01 and won because his bid was higher (by $0.01) than your bid. The fact that he bid later than you is irrelevant, the result would have been the same if you had bid after him.

To protect against this, most experienced bidders add an odd number of cents so that if someone bids on the dollar (as you did), they will win. Had you bid $7.01, you would have won for $7.01, since your bid arrived first (and ties go to the earlier bid).

Remember: it is not the last bid that wins, it is the HIGHEST bid that wins.
mystiquez
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:23 pm    Post subject:

The item was 220357428349. I appreciate the feedback because I still haven't quite figured out how this bidding stuff works and curious minds want to know Question
Cupid
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:21 pm    Post subject:

Well, just because the current auction price was 4.10 doesn't mean that was the highest bidders maximum that they had bid, it was the second highest (at that time) bidders maximum plus one increment.

If the actual bid of the highest bidder before your bid was accepted was within an incremant of your bid (say 6.75) then your bid of 7.00 would beat that but you would be expected to pay the full amount of your bid since it is less than an increment above what the other bidder was prepared to pay.

If that was what happened though I dont think another bidder is likely to have beaten your bid by only 0.01 because the next bid should only have been accepted if it were an increment above the current price, it is possible if both bids were accepted at exactly the same time though (that is very unusual).

I suspect that was not what happened and in fact the auction price was raised to somewhere below 6.50 then the other bid of 7.01 was accepted and beat yours ... alternatively maybe it was the highest bidders actual bid before yours was accepted.

Exactly what happened in what order can only be determined by looking at the times of the other bids, if you provide us with the auction number we can tell you definitively by looking at the bids.

At the end of the day, though you lost the auction to someone that was prepared to bid higher than you were, that is the most important aspect of bidding on eBay auctions, size definitely does matter (even more than the timing of your bid, though that is also important).

Edited for spelling (I always have to check 'increment' Wink )
mystiquez
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:46 pm    Post subject: New to this so excuse the daft questions

Today I scheduled my maximum bid of $7 for an item. I had been watching the item closely and at the time I placed my maximum in Gixen, the bid was $3.59. The item on eBay said that a bid of 3.84 or higher had to be made so I felt pretty good. In the last moments there were some bids and I had the view defaulted to showing automatic bids. The bidding hit 4.10 and then all of a sudden my bid showed up next at the full 7.00. I lost the item with the next bid of 7.01.

Two questions:
Why would eBay have entered my full bid of 7.00 instead of the next increment above 4.10 (thinking maybe something has changed or malfunctioned)?

If the bid increment was 0.25 (3.84-3.59) then how can someone win with 0.01 above my bid?

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