This rant isn’t about eBay itself, this rant is about people ranting about eBay. I’ve heard some other people complaining about eBay lately, and their issues with it really boil down to them not doing it right.
A big issue is the person getting sniped. At the last second, someone outbid them by $1. They would have paid another dollar to get the item, but they weren’t sitting at the PC or they couldn’t bid again in time before the auction ended. The core of the problem is that the person placed a lower bid than what they were really willing to pay. If you’re willing to pay $100, you’re probably willing to pay $102 to outbid the guy that said $101. But if he’s willing to pay $101, he’s probably willing to pay $103 to outbid you again. And it just keeps going back and forth, raising the price. If you’re willing to go up to $110 this way, then just put $110 in as your bid to begin with. If you put in an honest max bid, then there are only two possible outcomes – you either win the item for that price or lower, or you lose because someone else was willing to spend more than you.
I’m not sure why people put lower bids. I guess they’re just entering the amount they want to spend, rather than the highest they’re willing to spend. If you want to spend $80, but you’re willing to go up to $100 in a little bidwar, then just enter $100. You really have to be willing to spend $100 to get the item. As long as you really aren’t willing to spend more than that, there’s no stress involved. You either get the item or it’s too expensive. With a real auction, you have to raise your paddle every ten seconds to outbid the other guy. eBay’s proxy bidding system will automatically raise your paddle to beat the other guy (up to your max bid) who just outbid you. Nobody can see your max bid, so don’t worry about the other guy just bidding $1 more than that. He has no way to see what your max bid is, just like you have no idea how high he’s willing to go.
Somebody else posted a good suggestion for eBay bidding. If you’re really interested in an item, place a low bid early on. This is basically just for tracking, though you may end up getting it for next to nothing. During the auction, think about how much you’re really willing to spend to get the item. Don’t forget to include shipping costs. Nothing like winning something $10 cheaper than at the store, then noticing that shipping is $20. Toward the end of the auction (with 24 hours left or so), enter your max bid, even if you’re still the highest bidder. Sit back and see how it unfolds. Just as I stated above, the only two possible outcomes are that the price will jump up over the maximum you were willing to spend, or you’ll get the item at or below your max bid.
See? Nothing to it…