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Subject: The putative utility of the reserve in eBay auctions rss

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K G
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Might someone explain to me what a reserve is good for? Why doesn't the seller just start with his reserve price?
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David Morneau
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Didn't ebay used to charge a listing fee based on the starting price? If I'm remembering that correctly then the reserve would let someone start an auction with a low price, but not have to commit to selling below a particular price.

You're right though, it seems pointless now.
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Seth Owen
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Kluvon wrote:
Might someone explain to me what a reserve is good for? Why doesn't the seller just start with his reserve price?


No doubt you'll get a lot of comments. People seem pretty exercised over this feature -- a real love/hate relationship.

Starting with a high initial price tends to inhibit bidding, so eBay encourages sellers to start with a low price. The Reserve price is simply a price below which the seller is not OBLIGATED to sell at the winning bid price. The Seller can elect to sell after all. This is different than the regular rule, which is that the seller MUST sell to a winning bidder.

I rarely use a Reserve price, but I have used it when I was simply not willing to sell a game or game collection that I still valued for myself at some level at too cheap a price. For example, I sold a complete collection of BattleLore not too long ago. I had expended considerable time, effort and money in accumulating the collection and I still liked the game. I simply needed to raise some cash. I was willing to reluctantly part with the collection IF it raised the cash I needed, but if I wasn't going to get the money I needed for it then I preferred to just keep the collection.

Like I said, I usually don't use a Reserve. I save it for specific cases like this. There's an extra charge for it and usually if I've made the decision to sell a game then I'd just as soon see it go out the door. And it does tend to aggravate some bidders. I'm glad for the option, but I use it sparingly.
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Richard Seeley
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I believe it is due to how Ebay structures it's fees to the seller. Example: if you list your item with a starting bid of $1 with a reserve of $30, the amount of the Ebay fee is less than if you listed the starting bid at $30. I could be wrong about this but that is how it worked many years ago when I first found Ebay.
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K G
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Thank you for your responses. I understand better now. (At least I'm pretending to!)
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Jeff K
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A Reserve is a great way to get people to ignore your listing and not bid.
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ebay sure has its moments and buyers/sellers their tactics.

1. I was shocked in the early days how people did not consider shipping to be part of their cost!

2. Found that many sellers try to have inflated shipping/handling costs - profit guaranteed it seems - the bid price is extra.

3. People would ignore high cost shipping/handling

4. I did not, and found the bid prices were low - so, instead of paying 50-60 bucks each for 5 dollar shipping costs each on Ace of Aces, I found them with winning bids of 6 and 7 dollars each with shipping of 10 dollars each.

I say I did pretty good.

==============================

The Buy it Now - found a mistake on a seller this week - CityFight for 9.99 in fantastic condition with 11 dollars shipping (no rip off there).

It was likely a mistake - because the guy had other stuff with buy it now in 4 digits (Kings and Things, 39.99).

A good sized dealer too, LLC, very favorable ratings, and most of the stuff looks like Estate Sale things.

==============================

I am no eBay junkie; I just look around occasionally and exploit errors and tactics where I can, and more importantly, decide on a price BEFORE I go in that INCLUDES shipping.

I did have to learn these tricks, but learn them I did.

==============================

The Reserve thing though - I understand why a buyer would do this, but the reserve is frustrating as a buyer.


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Enrico Viglino
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Wilhammer wrote:


The Buy it Now - found a mistake on a seller this week - CityFight for 9.99 in fantasist condition with 11 dollars shipping (no rip off there).





DANG!

Patrolling for deals was keeping me there for a while,
but I find I end up buying too much - or not enough to
justify looking. Had to pretty much stop. Not a lot I'm
looking for anyhow.
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stuart glanvville
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Quote:
Found that many sellers try to have inflated shipping/handling costs - profit guaranteed it seems - the bid price is extra


a lot of sellers will charge time to pack in this cost, also the price of the packing goods, also they place their paypal fees in here (3.5% of the bid price+shipping) and their ebay fees...

 
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Seth Owen
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Xookliba wrote:
A Reserve is a great way to get people to ignore your listing and not bid.


This is why the seller has to consider the trade-off before deciding to use it. It's probably not a good idea to use it most of the time because of this kind negative reaction that you get from some buyers.

It does have its use, however, if you don't want to be disappointed at the low price that some "treasure" brings on the market and you'd rather keep it.

The other issue is that many are upset if the Reserve price is not openly revealed. There's no obligation to do so in eBay, but apparently many buyers expect it to be available information.
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Iain K
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Kluvon wrote:
Might someone explain to me what a reserve is good for? Why doesn't the seller just start with his reserve price?


Also, one of the theories is that auctions that start at a lower price lead to more sales and that those sales tend to end in higher bids.


I have tried to sell a game for example, at $29.99, with Buy it Now and got nothing but crickets. Re-listed the game at $0.99 starting bid with a reserve of $29.99, and had the game sell for a price in the 30's.

I kid you not.

I suspect that two of the dynamics at play are that (a) people tend to bid on lower priced games, regardless of where the price of said game is likely to go historically. And (b) once people have bid on a game, they often become emotionally invested in THAT auction and are more likely to bid on the item again, even if said game goes over the "fair market value".

At times I think I'm the only person willing to look at an item priced at the historic "fair market value" and Buy it Now, saving all the BS of bidding in the unlikely hope of getting a deal.

There's a lot of psychology that goes into the world of eBay.


My advice is to bid what you're willing to pay. Period.

Happy Hunting.
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Enrico Viglino
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There's something screwed up with the ebay reserve.

I've put bids in which may well exceed the reserve, but
never have an opposing bidder - my highest bid is never
even taken into account.

I pretty much just avoid 'em now - as it seems do most people.
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Quote:
Also, one of the theories is that auctions that start at a lower price lead to more sales and that those sales tend to end in higher bids.



I blame the Anchor Effect (or is it the Focusing Effect?) on this - and I resist it greatly.

You bid, you get attached, it drags you down.

for some, eBay does become one of winning bids no matter the cost.

Me, I really am a cheap SOB, so deals or nothing.
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calandale wrote:
There's something screwed up with the ebay reserve.

I've put bids in which may well exceed the reserve, but
never have an opposing bidder - my highest bid is never
even taken into account.

I pretty much just avoid 'em now - as it seems do most people.


Heck, it is possible there that you not only met a reserve but someone with AutoBid turned on - a hidden reserve.

Or not.

But I have run into the hidden autobidder before - that is as bad as reserves.

 
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Enrico Viglino
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I've made my peace with external autobidding.

I've not lost something that I bid over - I think they've
tuned it so ebay's autobidder gives the edge. Of course, a
sophisticated autobid tool would register an ebay autobid
near the end.

As a seller, I would NOT like the external tools.

Reserves don't bug me half as much as seeing 18 copies of some
rare item show up, all at once, at a low starting bid. Then, once
whatever market info someone's looking for is determined from bidding,
the items are withdrawn.
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Steve Arthur
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I refuse to critisise Ebay in any way whatsoever..it's been too good to me..


By this I mean I've managed to obtain just about every game I've ever wanted on Ebay...sooner or later...you just have to be patient

Because I live where I live I regard postage costs as a fact of life and either disregard them or not bid at all if I regard them as too high..there'll always be another chance

I make a practice of only buying off sellers with excellent feedbacks...as far as I know I've never been ripped off...

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Jeff K
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wargamer55 wrote:
It does have its use, however, if you don't want to be disappointed at the low price that some "treasure" brings on the market and you'd rather keep it.


I agree with you mostly. But this point is important. I have found (and done an awful lot of research and selling on eBay, once upon a time) that if you have reservations (pun intended) about letting something go, my advice to you is: don't do it!

To make eBay work, you have to list something at $0.01 and just let it go. Don't even think twice about it. If you do not do this as a seller, your item will not fetch a decent price. In my experience (again, which is fairly extensive), if you are not willing to part with it for whatever the price, then don't even consider eBay. Just put it up here at BGG, CSW, etc for what you would consider a reasonable price (ie what a "reserve" auction price would be for you.) Why bother with eBay and the fees/hassle?

That low price bouncing around during your auction is really what drives folks into a bidding frenzy. Reserve auctions rarely end up much higher than the reserve, unless it is a truly spectacular item OR you have been very conservative with the reserve, which sellers never seem to do.

As a buyer, I never consider auctions with reserves, without exception. Invariably, the seller is way overvaluing their item. As a seller, you will discourage sniping with reserves, which contrary to what one may think is actually your friend as a seller. All in all, I did really well on eBay (I don't sell much anymore). But not every single item was a hit. But some were an absolute runaway success, wilder than I thought at the time. More often than not, my item fetched a higher prices than I had estimated it would. But I start all my auctions at $0.99 max. It's a game of numbers, but more often than not, you can win as a seller.
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Quote:

You should NEVER agree to pay higher shipping fees.

They generally are not covered by refunds, and create very easy scam systems.


except, of course, when it works against them.

Those Ace of Aces games I got, almost friggin' new and I was the only damned bidder!

PPL just did want to pay that 10 dollar shipping per on it, I guess, saw it as a potential rip off, and did not participate.

===========================================================

Atraxrobustus wrote:
I refuse to critisise Ebay in any way whatsoever..it's been too good to me..


By this I mean I've managed to obtain just about every game I've ever wanted on Ebay...sooner or later...you just have to be patient

Because I live where I live I regard postage costs as a fact of life and either disregard them or not bid at all if I regard them as too high..there'll always be another chance

I make a practice of only buying off sellers with excellent feedbacks...as far as I know I've never been ripped off...



Ebay did me justice a few years back when I returned to the hobby. Not one bad experience, and I got most everything at what I was willing to pay, often less.

Just gotta think while you shop.
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Steve Arthur
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This is true about thinking when you shop..it's very easy to lose your head while bidding...for example trying to win by putting in an enormous ambit bid confident that no one will be able to match it at the end then finding that the other bidders nearly did and you're stuck wth paying too much..this happened to me ONCE...although I DID end up with the game..

Also I'm looking to play not collect so I tend to favour opened and pre-loved copies...I'd rather have a reasonably priced punched game in fair condition than some expensive shrinked collector's item...

...and every now and then you get lucky...I once got a battered but perfectly servicable copy of the GDW classic 'Road to the Rhine' for $15 plus postage!!!..for some weird reason no one else put in a bid...it may have been the seller's very (one almost might say 'overly') honest description of the game's condition
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Reserve auctions I ignore. Just annoying.

Almost all of my purchases are through Buy it Now, I generally filter so only buy it now is displayed.

In the rare instance there has to be bidding I just enter the fair price and have done with it.
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Richard Seeley
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For those annoyed about shipping cost on Ebay I have a process that you might find useful. First, when I see an item I want to bid on I decide what is the absolute highest price I am willing to pay for it. Second, I look at what the seller is going to charge me for the shipping. I then subtract the shipping cost from my highest price and the remainder is what I bid. This system has the effect that the seller will not get any additional money from me by over charging for shipping. Of course I do not always win the auction but it the final combined price is more than I am willing to pay then I do not mind. There will be other oppotunities.
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K G
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I recently won an auction where the seller listed his\her postage at 6 bucks or so. I assumed he\she would use media mail and earn a couple of dollars in the transaction. (The auction price was something unbelievably small, like 99 cents.) The seller sent the game by priority mail! I still feel guilty about it! He or she lost money selling and shipping me the game!

I'm hoping to buy something else from his or her store and at least make up the difference.

Edited for spelling.
 
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Enrico Viglino
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Kluvon wrote:
I recently won an auction where the seller listed his\her postage at 6 bucks or so. I assumed he\she would use media mail and earn a couple of dollars in the transaction. (The auction price was something unbelievely small, like 99 cents.) The seller sent the game by priority mail! I still feel guilty about it! He or she lost money selling and shipping me the game!

I'm hoping to buy something else from his or her store and at least make up the difference.


I can't see feeling badly for someone who can't estimate.

There's a reason I don't sell - I don't want to be bothered with
dealing with mailing. Once a year, I drag the couple of oops purchases
that I made down to CSWExpo, and auction 'em off there - so far I think
I've come out about even that way.
 
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agrognard wrote:
For those annoyed about shipping cost on Ebay I have a process that you might find useful. First, when I see an item I want to bid on I decide what is the absolute highest price I am willing to pay for it. Second, I look at what the seller is going to charge me for the shipping. I then subtract the shipping cost from my highest price and the remainder is what I bid. This system has the effect that the seller will not get any additional money from me by over charging for shipping. Of course I do not always win the auction but it the final combined price is more than I am willing to pay then I do not mind. There will be other oppotunities.


'Tis the method I've been using for years. I've yet to feel that I've overpaid for anything I've won off eBay.

And Reserves? I'm not afraid of bidding on them. Even if I don't reach the reserve price, it opens the door to negotiation.
 
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Seth Owen
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J.L.Robert wrote:

And Reserves? I'm not afraid of bidding on them. Even if I don't reach the reserve price, it opens the door to negotiation.


Right. All the reserve means is that the seller doesn't HAVE to sell it. They still may.
 
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