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Subject: Con someone explain the "soft reserve" concept to me? rss

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Kevin J
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A lot of GeekBay auctions have a minimum bid amount as well as a soft reserve amount. I'm not really sure what the latter value is for.

If it is what I think it is (the seller may choose not to sell the item if the soft reserve is not met), then that defeats the whole point of the minimum bid. If you're not willing to sell for less than some amount, then THAT is the minimum bid amount.
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Cliff Roberts
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I think the emphasis is on the "soft" in those instances. It doesn't mean that the item won't be sold, but that the reserve is a "probable" selling point. If met, the item will be sold. If not met, the item might be sold.

It's a bit different than eBay's system, in which a reserve is a hard-and-fast minimum requirement that must be met before an item will be sold. Here on BGG, it's simply a way of indicating the preferred minimum value, but it's not always a definite, more of a suggestion. Does that help?
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Ben
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If the highest bid is above the soft reserve, the seller MUST sell it.

If the highest bid is below the soft reserve, the seller MIGHT sell it.

If the highest bid is below the minimum bid price, the seller WON'T sell it.

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Mathieu Perreault-Dorion
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I never understood the concept of reserve, if you won't sell unless the price reaches a certain point, start the auction at said price shake
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Oeternalis wrote:
I never understood the concept of reserve, if you won't sell unless the price reaches a certain point, start the auction at said price :shake:

I think on ebay, the seller pays an insertion fee based on the minimum bid. So low minimum bids are good for the seller, even if they aren't true minima.
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brian
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Oeternalis wrote:
I never understood the concept of reserve, if you won't sell unless the price reaches a certain point, start the auction at said price shake

To entice people to bid. If there is no minimum but you set a reserve at 35, you might get 35 bids which usually represents multiple people. Now they are a bit more invested and might be wiling to go a few bucks higher since they had already been hoping to win.

Start the minimum at the reserve, many more people willjus dismiss it outright and the traffic is lower. It's all about perception.
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Peter
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Though I too am turned off by a "soft reserve" or any reserve for that matter. There are reasons to do so on the Geek. I'll use myself as an example. I may want to sell off a game, but do not want to see it go for less than $30.00, (number pulled out of thin air). But I also know that in the auction setting, a minimum bid at $30.00 may chase off potential buyers.

But if I set the minimum bid at $10.00 and announce 'soft reserve', I could easily see myself selling for say $25.00 if that offer was reached. Even if $25.00 is not reached, I can gauge interest in the game I'm trying to sell based on the number of bids / bidders. Also, I might very well not sell the game, but contact the bidders after the auction and see if they are willing to pay their bid plus add a game in trade. Or just work out a trade as opposed to a sale.

Regardless, I understand your question and I myself usually ignore auctions with reserves, unless its something I really, really want.
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nick mucia
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I am also a little turned off by the soft reserve system. I can see its advantages but it is also annoying to win an auction and then the guy refuses to sell. I guess that if you bid in an auction with the soft reserve then just be ready to pay the soft reserve amount just in case or be alright with losing the auction.
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Daniel Corban
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A reserve only makes sense if the buyers are not aware of the reserve price. If they are aware of the price, then there is no incentive to bid unless they already accept that they will have to bid over the reserve amount.

In regards to Ebay, in the past when I considered a reserve auction (maybe a year ago), Ebay charged you the insertion fee based on your reserve amount, and not the minimum bid. So it wasn't even a method of getting around paying insertion fees. This may have changed, but I suspect not.

To comment on "soft reserve", I feel it is ridiculous. It breaks the seller/buyer implied contract. I state an amount higher than anyone else. You sell it for that amount. Period. Reserves are notorious for lowering the number of participants, which is what really matters when it comes to auctions. This is why, for years, sellers on ebay were proud to announce "no reserve" on their auctions.
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Walt
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The concept of any open (not sealed bid) auction is to get the bidders so involved and invested in "winning" the auction that they pay too much. (Is it a "win" if you pay too much? I'd say, no.) A true reserve is an honest, "I'm not willing to take less than $X. A soft reserve is, "(I've set the reserve to what I think I can con people into.) But I'd like to hear non-binding bids below the soft reserve." The soft reserve isn't necessarily dishonest, but it at least implies the seller is unsure about how little he'll take.
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Curt Carpenter
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In many live auctions (or at least ones I've been to), there is a reserve, but it's totally hidden, even that there is a reserve. The auctioneer merely says that the winning bid is too low, and the item won't sell, and then moves on to the next item.
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Walt
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curtc wrote:
In many live auctions (or at least ones I've been to), there is a reserve, but it's totally hidden, even that there is a reserve. The auctioneer merely says that the winning bid is too low, and the item won't sell, and then moves on to the next item.

Which is kind of a hidden soft reserve, since nothing prevents the seller from taking a bid below his supposedly-hard reserve. (Or, simply bidding on his own sale at his true hard-reserve price.)
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brian
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Which is also the reason a soft reserve makes sense on this sit e- since it isn't set up to put as an auction site. So it gives the seller a way to back out but still be up front. Anyone that sees the soft reserve is welcome to bid at the soft reserve and gaurantee a sale. If they feel it is too high, they take a gamble by submitting something lower and see if the seller agrees. But it is all moot when that person gets outbid anyway.
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Scott aka SuperRadScott aka
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I set a soft reserve on my auctions here because I might sell for lower than I think the item ought to sell for. The soft reserve is the price which I think is the reasonable resell price of that item. If I set the soft reserve at $30, but someone bids $25, I'll likely sell it for $25, as opposed to a "reserve" which says to people "I will not sell it unless i get $30."

Furthermore, this isn't eBay, and I'd prefer to sell to Geekers first, but theres a whole lot more traffic on eBay; so if an auction doesn't generate the interest here that it can generate on eBay, the soft reserve allows me to minimize my loss and attempt to resell elsewhere. If I only get an offer for $20 on a $30 soft bid, but know that on eBay I'll likely get $37, I'll probably just sell it on eBay.

I dont think theres anything underhanded about it.
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Subhan Michael Tindall
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Also, the soft reserve can reflect a certain flexibility in pricing for cases where a single person is bidding on multiple items. Say soft reserve is $30.00. If a bidder 'wins' with $25, but only wins that item, seller may choose not to sell. But, if bidder wins with $25, and also won 4 other items, it makes sense that the seller may 'throw in' the extra game for $25, even though reserve was not met.
It also allows bidders to throw in speculative 'low-ball' bids.

Ever walk up to the table at a swap meet & offer somebody $20 for an item marked at $30? That $30 price is pretty much a soft reserve - The seller is saying "I think this is worth $30, I'd like $30, I'll sell it to anybody for $30. But, I might sell it for less if you are polite, I like your shirt, I think you're cute, you buy 17 other items from me, it's Tuesday, or any of a hundred other reasons"
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John Hathorn
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Soft reserves are arbitrary. They are intrinsically unfair because of their arbitrary nature. Soft reserves only benefit the auctioneer and are a detriment to the bidder. A public hard reserve does exactly the same thing without wasting the bidders' time.

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Stoic Bird
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Speaking only for myself, I just finished an auction here where I used soft reserves on most of the items. It gave me the ability to accept bids from everyone, to sell a game for $35 that I'd originally wanted $42, and let me not take a huge loss by selling a game that I had $25 invested in for $2.

I don't really understand how this system is "unfair to the buyer". Again, using my auction as an example, if I'd just set the minimum at $42, I might not have gotten any bids, benefiting no one. By using a soft reserve, it benefited me by allowing me to sell it for only slightly less than I wanted, and it benefited the buyer because he got to name his price. Yeah, maybe I could've gotten $7 more out of him, but maybe he wouldn't have bid at all, and I'm very happy with the outcome. If you're referring to the possibility of being the high bidder and not getting the game, what is it that upsets you? The ten seconds it takes to add a comment to the list? You're not out anything if the seller declines your offer other than the time (I think the swap meet analogy earlier is a good one). I'm not trying to be snarky; I'm honestly asking, because I don't understand.
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brian
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VolcanoLotus wrote:
If you're referring to the possibility of being the high bidder and not getting the game, what is it that upsets you? The ten seconds it takes to add a comment to the list? You're not out anything if the seller declines your offer other than the time (I think the swap meet analogy earlier is a good one). I'm not trying to be snarky; I'm honestly asking, because I don't understand.

And the bidder knows what the soft reserve is, so he can easily bid that amount and not waste anyone's time. By him bidding less than the soft reserve, he takes the risk that it might not sell. He has no one to "blame" but himself.
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Paul W
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JohnnyOffice wrote:
Soft reserves are arbitrary. They are intrinsically unfair because of their arbitrary nature. Soft reserves only benefit the auctioneer and are a detriment to the bidder. A public hard reserve does exactly the same thing without wasting the bidders' time.


I don't see how fairness enters into the picture at all. A soft reserve is a business arrangement...if a person doesn't mind that arrangement, they can put in a bid for lower than the soft reserve and hope it works out. If a person doesn't like soft reserves but considers the game worth the purchase at the reserve price, they can bid that and be guaranteed the sale. If they don't want to buy for a soft reserve seller on principle, they're welcome to do that too.

No one's time is wasted without their consent...by bidding below the soft reserve, one is saying that not winning the item is an acceptable outcome.
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Yeh Fang
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VolcanoLotus wrote:
Speaking only for myself, I just finished an auction here where I used soft reserves on most of the items. It gave me the ability to accept bids from everyone, to sell a game for $35 that I'd originally wanted $42, and let me not take a huge loss by selling a game that I had $25 invested in for $2.

I don't really understand how this system is "unfair to the buyer". Again, using my auction as an example, if I'd just set the minimum at $42, I might not have gotten any bids, benefiting no one. By using a soft reserve, it benefited me by allowing me to sell it for only slightly less than I wanted, and it benefited the buyer because he got to name his price. Yeah, maybe I could've gotten $7 more out of him, but maybe he wouldn't have bid at all, and I'm very happy with the outcome. If you're referring to the possibility of being the high bidder and not getting the game, what is it that upsets you? The ten seconds it takes to add a comment to the list? You're not out anything if the seller declines your offer other than the time (I think the swap meet analogy earlier is a good one). I'm not trying to be snarky; I'm honestly asking, because I don't understand.


As you were obviously willing to let it go at $35, that should've been the minimum bid. If $2 would be a huge loss, don't start the minimum bid at $2.

Soft reserves would be fairer if bidders were allowed to do the same thing and make soft bids as well without penalty. I'll bid this much, but I may not actually pay that much for your item, esp. if I am bidding in multiple auctions for the same item and win it for a lower bid elsewhere.
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Paul W
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Actually the correct analogy is "I'll bid this much, but I reserve the right to retract my bid when the auction is over depending on how some other auctions go". If you want to contact a seller and they agree to it, more power to both of you.
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Paul W
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The J wrote:
Seems most advantages stated for "soft reserve" could be covered with the statement "seller reserves right to refuse any bids".

Soft reserve seems a code-speak for "this is what I think the game is worth".

At least when used as described in this thread.


That wouldn't be quite the same thing, as it gives less information to potential bidders. That gives them no guarantee whatsoever that their bid will be accepted, which in turn likely means fewer bids. By giving a soft reserve, a seller has less flexibility than a blanket "right to refuse bids" statement, but can attract more bids due to an assurance that a transaction will be made above a certain price.
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Stoic Bird
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Dracil wrote:
As you were obviously willing to let it go at $35, that should've been the minimum bid.


If I had set a minimum bid, it would've been $42. I guess I look at soft reserves as akin to putting "or best offer" on things. Part of the problem with this one was that it was OOP, the designer claims there's a reprint coming but there haven't been any formal announcements to that end, so it's really a guessing game as to how much it's actually worth. But anyway, to use another example, I had another item that I didn't sell because it was too far below the soft reserve. I contacted the bidder, and we're now in the process of negotiating a trade for it. Since he wasn't willing to pay the $29, he would not have bid had that been a minimum, and I might never have known he was interested.

Dracil wrote:
Soft reserves would be fairer if bidders were allowed to do the same thing and make soft bids as well without penalty. I'll bid this much, but I may not actually pay that much for your item, esp. if I am bidding in multiple auctions for the same item and win it for a lower bid elsewhere.


People do this here, without announcing it. I've purchased two items from auctions here; on one, I was not the high bidder, but the high bidder bailed. I have not heard back from one of my winners yet, and am not certain I will. And I don't think there is any penalty for that. I take this as just a part of choosing to have an auction that's more informal here as opposed to eBay. As many have said, if I simply wanted to maximize my profit, I could've just gone to eBay. I wanted to sell here because I wanted the games to have a good home (and a nice byproduct is the lower general insertion costs). Soft reserves certainly wouldn't work on eBay, but I think since this site is more of a community and provides other avenues for getting rid of things (like trades), I see no issue with letting people make offers.

That is, other than that apparently some flat-out boycott auctions with soft reserves, which I didn't know and still don't understand. As others have stated, there's nothing stopping you from treating the soft reserve as a minimum bid and considering anything less to be making an offer (which is basically all a soft reserve means: this is my floor, but I'll listen to offers below that if you want to make them). I can certainly understand not wanting to give money to someone on principle, but I still don't understand what principle we're talking about here.
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Caleb
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JohnnyOffice wrote:
Soft reserves are arbitrary. They are intrinsically unfair because of their arbitrary nature. Soft reserves only benefit the auctioneer and are a detriment to the bidder. A public hard reserve does exactly the same thing without wasting the bidders' time.




Any market thrives on flexibility. The ability to add a feature to an auction is flexibility for both buyer and seller, giving each more information than they would have without it. It's not possible for it to be "fair" or "unfair" as long as it is known up-front. If you don't like it, don't bid. Your choice will be aggregated with the rest of the marketplace and sellers will adjust accordingly. However, if (as seems to be the case) your opinion is the minority one, don't expect the market to bend over backwards to cater to your needs.
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brian
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The other thing that needs to be mentioned is that a hard reserve is item specific whereas a soft reserve can be auction specific.

In other words, the hard reserve is saying I won't sell this particular item, no matter what, for less than X.

With the soft reserve, the seller can look at the entire progress of the auction and then determine if he is willing to let certain items go for cheaper. To me, this is really what the soft reserve is all about - especially since the auctions here are presented as a "lot" even if they aren't all sold together. eBay, even if the ending times are close, are still independent auctions.

I may not sell item A for less than X if all I was selling was A. But if I was hoping the entire lot for Y and accepting a bid under X still gets me to the overall amount, then I am more willing to go below X.

So the soft reserve could benefit the buyers as well. They could underbid, even knowing what the soft reserve is on a particular item, in the hopes that the seller made enough elsewhere and is willing to cut his price.

But as has already been beat to death, everything is up front. So if you don't like it, don't bid. And if you definitely want it, bid the soft reserve and the item is guaranteed to sell.
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