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Gixen as an opportunistic trader sniper?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 4:53 pm    Post subject: Gixen as an opportunistic trader sniper? Reply with quote

I thought I'd share my thoughts on another possible use for Gixen. I call it opportunistic trader sniping.

While searching for a laptop to buy, I noticed a large number of laptops that ended for 99 cents with no buyer. And they weren't just isolated incidents - one every few days and the last one was only 1 day old! How did I miss these, I thought?! If I had bid anything, I could have scored a new laptop for 99 cents!

Armed with this information and a new found knowledge of Gixen, I hatched a clever money making scheme. Set up a search on eBay that emails me when the latest laptops (with some minimum specs) are listed with starting bids less than $20. Inspect them briefly to screen out obvious lemons, then add the item number to Gixen with a $20 bid. Even if only win 1 in 100 laptops this way, the profits are there to be made! It would be easy to resell a high value item such as a digital camera or laptop at more than $20 (plus postage). The use of the eBay search emails and Gixen means that minimal time is spent searching through items and I don't have to hang around waiting until the end of auction.

However after a week of trying this I've discovered that most power sellers have discovered sneaky strategies that violate eBay's policies. Basically, they seem to list laptops for $0.99 in order to pay the smallest listing fees. If there have been no bids in the first 7 days, they end the listing early. This is because they deem there to be inadequate time left for a good bidding war to go on and they are afraid of snipers picking up a bargain at the end. Another more devious strategy is when they pull the item even with a number of bidders. I was watching a laptop that ended early with over 10 bidders and a high bid of $515. It would hardly feel good being the high bidder on that item!

The reasons the sellers invariably give is an "error when listing the item". This excuse surely becomes thin as paper after the 100th item they end early like this. We all know what they are doing and according to eBay it's against their policy:

"Note: Sellers are not permitted to cancel bids and end listings early in order to avoid selling an item that did not meet the desired sale price. This is considered to be reserve fee circumvention. Although there are legitimate reasons for ending a listing early, abuse of this option will be investigated."

However, eBay doesn't really care if you report it:

"While I can understand how this may appear, the seller has not broken
any eBay rules or regulations. eBay is unfortunately not in a position
to question why members may end their listings early for any reason."

I do understand the sellers point of view in the first case - who would want to sell a laptop for 99 cents? But when they pull the floor out from under serious bidders paying a reasonable-but-still-bargain price, it undermines trust in the marketplace.

Anway, there's my spiel. I was wondering if anyone has thought of this opportunistic trader sniping? Has anyone had any luck? Any thoughts about ending listings early?
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