SMART EBAY BUYING––WIN MORE, PAY LESS, USE YOUR BRAINS

 

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY
The beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, home of national award winning author, Sandy Nathan

Sandy NathanSandy Nathan
Let’s talk about things that matter . . .

That’s what we do here. Things that matter cover a wide range. Like on-line auctions, eBay and getting smart. Check this out:

 

IT JUST HAPPENED AGAIN––SOMETHING I WANTED ON EBAY WAS SOLD AT A PRICE THREE TIMES WHAT I WAS WILLING TO PAY––AND THREE TIMES WHAT IT WAS WORTH! ARGGH!

That was the last straw. I decided to write this article, no more procrastination!

BIDDERS KNOW THIS: THE ONLY BID THAT MATTERS IN AN ON-LINE AUCTION IS THE WINNING BID, WHICH OCCURS AT THE END OF THE AUCTION.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SIT THERE LIKE A CHICKEN, PLUCKING AWAY FOR EIGHT DAYS, RAISING YOUR BID EVERY TIME SOME OTHER ADDICT RAISES IT, AND THINKING THAT YOU’RE BEING A SHARP BUYER. OR THAT YOU’LL WIN. THAT IS NONSENSE.

THE ONLY BID THAT MATTERS IS THE ONE THAT WINS. THAT BID IS THE ONE IN PLACE IN THE LAST INSTANT OF AN AUCTION. THE REST IS ADVANCE TITILLATION––THE EXCITEMENT THAT HOOKS THE LOSER.

THE ONLY TIME YOU SHOULD SHOW UP IN AN ON-LINE AUCTION IS THAT LAST INSTANT, DELIVERING THE WINNING BID––ASSUMING YOU’RE BIDDING FOR SOMETHING YOU NEED AND THE BID IS WITHIN YOUR BUDGET.

DON’T BE A DOPE. BID SMART.

THERE. I’VE SAID IT.

COYOTE IN SANTA YNEZ VALLEY
Creatures to emulate: Be a coyote, not a chicken.

At the end of the auction that prompted this tirade, I looked at the item’s auction page, wanting to do a post game analysis, and knowing what I’d find. Come with me now. Check out (almost) any completed auction on eBay. (We can all find the auction ad page right? I’m writing for beginners on eBay, as well as others. The auction ad page is where we placed our bid, right?)

I went straight to auction page’s Bid History line. That’s in the middle of the info section in the top area of the page, right above the winning bidder’s name. (The area where the End time, Shipping costs, Ships to, Item Location, History, and High Bidder are stacked on top of each other.)

I clicked on History, which is a number indicating the number of bidders, and sure enough, the bid history looked like this:

(No, it doesn’t look like this. I’m having a bit of trouble getting WordPress to write a table. I’ll try to figure this out. Meantime: the table on eBay shows our bidders bidding more and more for the same item, often with no other buyer in sight. In the info below, salliemay raises the bid from $29 to $150 all by herself, no other bidders showing. Her final bid of $273 is almost ten times her initial bid. She doesn’t pay the increase she caused; the winner does.)

BIDDER . . . . . . . BID AMOUNT . . . . . BID TIME

muggsie (781). . . . .$276 . . . . . . . . 12 noon (1 sec. before auction ends)
salliemay (2) . . . . . . . .$273 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Seven minute before close
salliemay (2) . . . . . . . .$271 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nine minutes before close
bee-bob (7) . . . . . . . . .$266 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ten minutes before close
salliemay (2) . . . . . . . $264 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eleven minutes to go
fritz (14) . . . . . . . . . . . $262 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eight hours to go
bee-bob (7) . . . . . . . . .$260 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 hours to go
fritz (14) . . . . . . . . . . . $225 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Four days to go
bee-bob (7) . . . . . . . . . $175 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Two days to go
salliemay (2) . . . . . . . .$150 . . . . . . . . . . . . . We’re heading to the initial listing date
salliemay (2) . . . . . . . . $125
salliemay (2) . . . . . . . . .$99
salliemay (2) . . . . . . . . .$89 . . . . . . . . . . . . .Closer and closer to the auction start
salliemay (2) . . . . . . . . . $59
salliemay (2) . . . . . . . . . $29
BOZOMAN (0). . . . . . . .$10
Starting price . . . . .$9.99 . . . . . . . . . . . . TIME ZERO: AUCTION BEGINS

(These are made up bidder names, by the way. If there are real BOZOMAN(0)s out there, let me know and I’ll change the name.)

Okay, what happened here? Basically, our friend salliemay bid up the price of the item from a lousy ten bucks to $273. She didn’t do it alone; she had help from her friends, fritz and bee-bob. (BOZOMAN opted out after firing the opening salvo.)

Notice anything about these wannabe winners? Yes, their highest feedback score is 14. Ol’ fritz managed to win fourteen times and earn the (14) behind his name. These people are BEGINNERS.

They drive me crazy. How did muggsie (781) win the item and get that 781 positive feedback score that the (781) behind his name indicates? By using a sniping program. Simple as that. Do you think a smart guy like muggsie (781) is going to sit around his computer waiting for the last second to throw in his bid? No. Software does it.

When does muggsie (781) show up in the auction? Once––one second before it closes. Where do I show up? Not at all. When salliemay did her thing with the price, I pulled my snipe. The item was out of my budget range. I never showed up at all.

Where did I learn this? While I was getting my (286) positive feedback score. I have an entire web site devoted to helping you improve your game on eBay. See SANDY’S AUCTION WISDOM for many well thought out articles about both buying and selling on eBay, as well as managing the little problem that many of us find ourselves with: eBay addiction.

Lots to read on SANDY’S AUCTION WISDOM, folks. I’m not going to replicate it here. The articles on that site were once some of the most highly ranked articles on buying and addiction on the Net, by the way. I don’t keep changing them all the time to stay up in the ratings, because I’m not addicted to my own website statistics. My articles on buyding and selling and marketing are good reading, if you’re serious about being sane and participating in on-line auctions.

One funny aside, my auction domain name http://www.sandysauctionwisdom.com, the cumbersome Sandys Auction Wisdom, was originally the snappy ebayonspurs. I chose that catchy URL, because it referred to my ‘zine, Spurs Magazine, and led to my web articles about eBay on Spurs. That seemed easy enough.

Not to eBay. I came out with ebayonspurs and got a letter from Meg Whitman faster than I could post an auction listing. eBay frowns upon people trying to catch a wave by latching onto its corporate image. Use of the word “ebay” in any domain name is a no-no. When threatened with legal action, I rolled, pulling my cute moniker and going to something obscure, but kosher.

More about what happened in the auction above and most auctions. I want you to look at the bidding history of any recently completed auction. Almost invariably, somebody bids and bids and bids, apparently against her (or him) self. Why? I don’t get it. If another bid was made, it would show up in the bid history, yes? They must be doing it for some reason, thinking they’re winning––this time, they’ll finally win. Yay!

I’ve looked at lots of auction results, and it always seems that one bidder keeps upping the price and upping it. It’s always a low feedback score person––a newbie. And the auction is almost always won in the last seconds by someone whose feedback score shows lots of winning. And at a much higher price than necessary if salliemae could have been THROTTLED at her first bid.

Oh, yes, you may get several beginners doing the same thing, as we have above. They should all be THROTTLED.

I couldn’t figure out what was going on. The solitary bidder listed again and again, bidding with no other bidder recorded, raising the price.

So I wrote to eBay, saying what I’ve told you above. They got back pronto, with information about shill bidding. You know what that is? Check it out: shill bidding from eBay’s site. Ebay is the best source of info about eBay, their on-site guides being up to date, easy to understand and authoritative. (My articles are basically correct, but eBay changes so quickly that you should check any uncertainly you may have with their HELP PAGES. )

When I told eBay about the pattern I’d observed over and over again, they thought it was shill bidding––salliemay was actually the dreaded RUPERT (21,741), who was in collusion a pack of other auction pirates, bumping up bids right and left.

I don’t think so. Why would RUPERT want a ratty old fur coat? Why would RUPERT want table linens or the other stupid (sorry, lovers of fur and lace) things that catch my eye? And why would what I show in my example be so pervasive?

I chalk it up to an even more pervasive human trait: STUPIDITY. Or IGNORANCE, if you want to be more polite. I’m just sick of the sallies and wonnies and dopies of the auction world causing me to lose stuff that’s probably feeding my own addictions and also causing strain with my husband about my overspending. (So, okay, the loss isn’t important in the bigger scheme of things.)

And I’m sick of beginners and idiots (Sorry. Sometimes I get really heated . . .) making everyone pay more than they need to for trivial to extremely useful stuff.

So: use a sniping program. To learn what this is, go to my series on on-line auctions and memorize it: THE PLACE WHERE YOU GET THE SNIPING HARDWARE.

To make it easier than that, I use esnipe.com, which has helped me get pretty much everything I’ve won. Every once in a while, I pay them $20 bucks or so. They bid for me electronically, charging a minimal amount when I win something. I’m out of the bidding wars. Out of sight, lurking like a sneaking bandit, waiting to win.

Which is what we want do to, yes? We’re not just sitting in front of our computers knowing our hips are spreading by the day, we’re trying to win. Sign up for esnipe, they’ll take care of you.

eBay has it’s own, in house sniping program, which you can use on bundles of things you want. It will bid on a group of specified items for you until you win something. That’s pretty neat. I’ve never used it, so can’t say how it works. But salliemay, for goodness sake, stop bidding against yourself and start winning!

eBay’s Bid Assistant Check it out!

Oh, you won’t win if your bid isn’t the highest bid in place at the auction’s closing. But that’s a matter of choice and budgeting. Read my whole series, I get into all of that. Financial sobriety, the soft addictions, not going broke. Having your soul come out on top instead of your lust for stuff. These are deep articles, sumptuously illustrated by stuff from eBay.

Ebay also has it’s own really good tutorials on everything eBay related. Here’s the eBay LEARNING CENTER.

That’s it, folks. Oh, one other thing you should read to get smart about on-line auctions:

STEPPING OFF THE EDGE cover
Stepping Off the Edge

Winner of six national awards, including:
Bronze Medal, 2007 IPPY Awards; finalist, Benjamin Franklin Awards in New Age; finalist, 2007 Indie Excellence Awards in Memoir, Self Help and Spirituality; finalist, BEST BOOKS OF 2007, Memoir

I’ve got two chapters in Stepping Off the Edge about eBay addiction. How I got it, how I handle it. Financial experts have told me they’ve never seen on-line addiction treated the way I do.

So, get my book, and read my SANDY’S AUCTION WISDOM series. A reader sent me the following about that series:

Dear Sandy,

Thank you very much for your site. Your analysis of what causes this kind of addiction has helped me to break down why I am doing what I am. Because of that I now have a much better chance of freeing myself from this and whatever else I manage to become compulsive about in my life.

I think that the way that you write about this subject matter is very insightful and nurturing, I got something out of every section and it taught me something about myself that was way more valuable than just how to quit compulsively shopping from my computer.

I think your articles will help everyone with the intelligence to understand the concepts and the patience to read more than a paragraph. I may even buy your book based on my enjoyment of your writing. I have copied and pasted a small section of the text from it and put it in a folder I keep on my desktop called “read this everyday”.

Thanks Sandy.

Sandy Nathan & Her Dogs

Thank you, my dear reader. Now let’s all be smart, non-addictive, winning buyers!
Sandy Nathan, National award winning author. Winner of eight awards as of 12/11/07!

 

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