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Can Someone Tell Me The Point Of Bids Below The Reserve Price On Ebay?

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Can Someone Tell Me The Point Of Bids Below The Reserve Price On Ebay?

Old 03-24-06, 03:51 PM
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Can Someone Tell Me The Point Of Bids Below The Reserve Price On Ebay?

I see this time and again on auctions on Ebay. The seller has a reserve price, usually on a high dollar item, then starts the bidding at $1. Say the seller wants $20K and has a reserve of $18K, yet people are bidding very low amounts (sometimes even $50 or less) and going up in small increments which isn't even close to meeting the reserve price. What's the point? Ebay even tells you when you bid below the reserve you must meet the reserve to win. Why are people bidding these ridiculously low amounts on an item they have no hopes of getting for that price? it seems like an effort in futility.

Last edited by shifrbv; 03-24-06 at 03:54 PM.
Old 03-24-06, 03:53 PM
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Worst eBay thread evar!!!!!


j/k - I think it's intended to get people into a bidding frenzy - you should ask "Summer Wind" (resident eBay expert).....
Old 03-24-06, 03:54 PM
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Don't you not know the reserve until it is hit/the auction is over?
Old 03-24-06, 03:54 PM
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Unless I'm mistaken, a reserve price isn't known to the public.

Why bid $10,000 on something only to find out later that the reserve price was $500?
Old 03-24-06, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Morf
Unless I'm mistaken, a reserve price isn't known to the public.

Why bid $10,000 on something only to find out later that the reserve price was $500?
But this is never the way it works. It's always the other way around. People trying to buy a $20K item for $50. It seems ridiculous. Also, doesn't the seller have to pay when people are bidding such unrealistic amounts for the auction? If they have no intention of selling below a certain dollar amount, why start the bidding at $1? Will the seller pay a lower auction fee? I don't sell on Ebay so I am not sure what would be the benefit in structuring an auction this way.
Old 03-24-06, 04:13 PM
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I'll do it occasionally just to keep tabs on an auction I may want to "up" my bid with later.

It's a way of tracking those auctions where you're not the bidding leader.
Old 03-24-06, 04:15 PM
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Well, that's a slightly different question...

The concensus on starting bids low, but with a reserve, are...

1) The higher the starting price, the higher the cost of the auction, so they feel that the tradeoff of low start price + reserve fee is good.

2) Some feel that letting an auction get up to a dozen or more bids by starting at $1 on a $50 DVD set, for example, is better at the ending flurry than one that doesn't get on anybody's radar because it started at $50.
Old 03-24-06, 04:16 PM
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The point is to show the seller that the reserve price is too high.
Old 03-24-06, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Morf
Unless I'm mistaken, a reserve price isn't known to the public.
The reserve becomes known as soon as a bid exceeds it. The first bid that meets or exceeds it will cause the status of the listing to become "Reserve has been met" and the high bid shown will be the reserve price until the next bid is placed.

Originally Posted by Morf
Why bid $10,000 on something only to find out later that the reserve price was $500?
Why? Well, because you're willing to pay $10,000 on the item. If the reserve was $500, you bid $10,000, and no one else bids, you will still pay just $500.

The whole practice of bidding in tiny increments until you beat the current high bid or reserve price drives me nuts! It is why I snipe unless I have a previous committment that prohibits sniping.
Old 03-24-06, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Y2K Falcon
Well, that's a slightly different question...

The concensus on starting bids low, but with a reserve, are...

1) The higher the starting price, the higher the cost of the auction, so they feel that the tradeoff of low start price + reserve fee is good.

2) Some feel that letting an auction get up to a dozen or more bids by starting at $1 on a $50 DVD set, for example, is better at the ending flurry than one that doesn't get on anybody's radar because it started at $50.
Re: Item 1 -

If I recall, If you put a reserve at $50 and start the bidding at $1, you get billed as if you were starting the bidding at $50.
Old 03-24-06, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Y2K Falcon
Some feel that letting an auction get up to a dozen or more bids by starting at $1 on a $50 DVD set, for example, is better at the ending flurry than one that doesn't get on anybody's radar because it started at $50.
This is why I have done this in the past. I have seen numerous times an auction with a Buy it Now for a ok price get no bids while an item with a reserve or a higher reserve than the BIN price is bought.
Old 03-24-06, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Y2K Falcon
2) Some feel that letting an auction get up to a dozen or more bids by starting at $1 on a $50 DVD set, for example, is better at the ending flurry than one that doesn't get on anybody's radar because it started at $50.
The sellers are playing on the emotions of the buyers. It is like when Black Friday comes around, and some store has a laptop for $350, but they only have 2 in stock. They want to have thousands of people at the doors at 5am. The seller is creating panic and pandemonium.

The worst ebay seller practice is when someone puts in the description the wrong item. For example, if you want to buy a Pentium III laptop, and you search for Pentium III and find "Acer AMD 1000Mhz... Not Pentium II, not Pentium III, not Pentium IV". I hate those pricks. They take up spacing and make it harder to find the right item.

Last edited by Summer_Wind; 03-24-06 at 05:40 PM.
Old 03-24-06, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Summer_Wind
The worst ebay seller practice is when someone puts in the description the wrong item. For example, if you want to buy a Pentium III laptop, and you search for Pentium III and find "Acer AMD 1000Mhz... Not Pentium II, not Pentium III, not Pentium IV". I hate those pricks. They take up spacing and make it harder to find the right item.
That's known as "keyword spamming" and if reported, the auction will be pulled.
Old 03-24-06, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by grunter
That's known as "keyword spamming" and if reported, the auction will be pulled.
Really? Good. Drives me nuts when you search for something and "Not So and So" pops up.
Old 03-24-06, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by grunter
That's known as "keyword spamming" and if reported, the auction will be pulled.
How do you get those auctions pulled?
Old 03-24-06, 08:03 PM
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I refuse to bid on an item with a reserve price. If the seller wants a minimum price, begin the auction at it. It's as if they are holding a carrot on a stick, watching bidders try to reach the reserve price.
Old 03-24-06, 08:51 PM
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There's nothing preventing you from asking the seller what the reserve price is. The worst you get is a "no" or no reply, but sometimes they will tell you, and that gives you an idea of what it'll take to win the item.
Old 03-24-06, 09:36 PM
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Lots of seller put the reserve amount right in the description (no reason not to--reserves turn a lot of people off, so might as well be clear). You still see underbids on those, though.
Old 03-24-06, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Summer_Wind
How do you get those auctions pulled?
Click on this link and go to the bottom of the page.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/keyword-spam.html
Old 03-25-06, 08:43 AM
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Summer wind is right. It stirs people up and gets them bidding.

Example: I had a DVD for sale and I wanted to get $20 for it. I put it up with a starting bid of $20. a week went by, and nobody bid on it. I then relisted it for $1, but with a $20 reserve. How much did it sell for?

$25.

go figure.

-jason
Old 03-25-06, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by fuzzbox
Summer wind is right. It stirs people up and gets them bidding.

Example: I had a DVD for sale and I wanted to get $20 for it. I put it up with a starting bid of $20. a week went by, and nobody bid on it. I then relisted it for $1, but with a $20 reserve. How much did it sell for?

$25.

go figure.

-jason
And I've found that reserve auctions suppress emotional bidding. Depending upon the item (things worth more than $50), Start with $1 bid, no reserve, free shipping, and watch people lose their minds. My auctions typically close 2-3x the highest bids for identical items (even when factoring in shipping).

The words RESERVE NOT MET put a damper on getting bidders emotionally invested in the auction. They don't know what the reserve is, and some figure that it is higher then they are willing to pay. But when they see an item worth $100 with a high bid of $30 with 1 day to go, they go nuts.
Old 03-25-06, 09:51 PM
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If the reserve isn't met in an auction, can the seller decide to forgo the reserve and offer it to the highest bidder? I know that I have lost an auction before only to have the seller contact me saying that the original winner changed his mind or whatever and would I be interested in purchasing the item for my original bid. But that auction didn't have a reserve, so I wonder if the same rules could apply.
Old 03-25-06, 11:34 PM
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The high bidder is obligated to buy the item, if the seller chooses to let it go for under his set reserve. however the seller is not obligated....that is the reason for a reserve.
Old 03-25-06, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by clckworang
If the reserve isn't met in an auction, can the seller decide to forgo the reserve and offer it to the highest bidder? I know that I have lost an auction before only to have the seller contact me saying that the original winner changed his mind or whatever and would I be interested in purchasing the item for my original bid. But that auction didn't have a reserve, so I wonder if the same rules could apply.
That happened to me once. A guy was selling a large set of books with a reserve. I was the only bidder so he ended up selling it to me even though his reserve wasn't met. I guess he just wanted to get rid of them and because no one else bid figured they weren't as worth what he originally thought.
Old 03-26-06, 12:40 AM
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Reserve auctions are shown to statistically get less $ and less bids. Because they are dumb.

People are better off starting the bidding at the minimum price they want for the item. I will start off a $50 value videogame off at about $20 or so...low enough to attract interest, high enough that I don't get some fluke lowball bid nab it too low.

Personally I ignore reserve auctions. Most of the time they are from some dumb**** that wants way too much for their item.

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