Bargain tandem?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Simon Brooke, Oct 10, 2003.

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  1. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    St John Street Cycles have a new tandem on ebay, going tomorrow, and it's currently under £300.
    Don't know anything about it but it looks to me like someone's going to get a bargain.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    ;; Semper in faecibus sumus, sole profundum variat.
     
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  2. Simon Brooke wrote:
    > St John Street Cycles have a new tandem on ebay, going tomorrow, and it's currently under £300.
    > Don't know anything about it but it looks to me like someone's going to get a bargain.
    >
    All the serious bids on eBay normally come in the last 60 seconds. It's a flaw of their system that
    there is a fixed end time; no point in bidding before then.
     
  3. cigarman

    cigarman Guest

    > Simon Brooke wrote: St John Street Cycles have a new tandem on ebay, going tomorrow, and it's
    > currently under £300. Don't know anything about it but it looks to me like someone's going to get
    > a bargain.

    Search completed items on ebay and you will find that 301.00 is about the highest price one has sold
    for recently. At that price they are a good intro to tandem riding. Cycle King have similar quality
    tandems for about
    499.00.Better still, hire one for a day. I did this with my partner and it was a great laugh. I then
    found a s/h Dawes tandem on Loot (www.loot.com) at a reasonable price. So much more sociable
    than solo bike riding.

    Tom replace deadspam with btinternet to reply Tom Anderson Leighton Buzzard England
     
  4. "Zog The Undeniable" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > All the serious bids on eBay normally come in the last 60 seconds. It's a flaw of their system
    > that there is a fixed end time; no point in bidding before then.
    >

    Somewhat true, for a popular item, but not always. I just won something on a bid that had lasted
    four or five days, somewhat unexpectedly. Even popular items can still attract significant numbers
    of bids (and sums) before the end time. Personally, with a fixed end point I can't really see the
    point in raising bids until close to the end, as you suggest, but people still do it.

    I agree it's a flawed system though. Better would be the system that some other auction has of
    continuing the auction until there's been no new bids within a 15 minute period after the end
    time. Fundamentally a system that encourages or even necessitates sniping helps neither buyers
    nor sellers.

    Rich
     
  5. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sat, 11 Oct 2003 08:52:50 +0100, Zog The Undeniable <[email protected]> wrote:

    >All the serious bids on eBay normally come in the last 60 seconds. It's a flaw of their system that
    >there is a fixed end time; no point in bidding before then.

    I won an auction with a bid put in five days before the closing date. Mind you, there were no other
    bidders...

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://chapmancentral.demon.co.uk
     
  6. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    Garry Broad <[email protected]> writes:

    > Not sure how you can have an online auction without a predetermined close of auction time.

    I produced a technical architecture and related business plan for one before ebay appeared;
    unfortunately I couldn't get the financial backing to build it. But I still have the technical
    architecture. My system is snip proof and proof against other forms of manipulation but needs rather
    more infrastructure than ebay, and, in particular, needs a secure client end program - which can run
    as an applet - so is a bit more complex for the end-user to use.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    See one nuclear war, you've seen them all.
     
  7. "Pete Biggs" <pbiggmellon{remove_fruit}[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Zog The Undeniable wrote:
    > >> All the serious bids on eBay normally come in the last 60 seconds. It's a flaw of their system
    > >> that there is a fixed end time
    >
    > It would be rather impractical without.
    >

    It wouldn't be impractical - see my other replies.

    > >> no point in bidding before then.
    >
    > Of course there is. It's called proxy bidding.

    Proxy bidding still doesn't stop you getting sniped by just one bid increment above your max bid.
    That can be very frustrating. You have to draw a line somewhere and don't necessarily want everyone
    else know how high you are willing to go by giving them a chance to bid above you early on in the
    auction - at least so long as the 'fixed end time' applies.

    There is a better system, IMO.

    Rich
     
  8. ----- Original Message ----- From: "Garry Broad" <[email protected]> Newsgroups:
    uk.rec.cycling Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2003 5:55 PM Subject: Re: Bargain tandem?

    >
    > Not sure how you can have an online auction without a predetermined close of auction time.
    >

    It's easy, and doesn't need any sophisticated software architecture to do - as I explained in my
    previous reply to this topic, all you need to do is to let the closing time be extended by 15
    minutes, each time a new bid is received within a 15 minute period of the closing time. That way,
    there can be no snipers, everyone gets time to consider their max bid properly and the auction only
    closes when noone is willing to bid higher.

    Rich
     
  9. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Pete Biggs wrote:

    > Of course there is. It's called proxy bidding. Just place one bid of the maximum amount you are
    > prepared to pay then eBay bids incrementally on your behalf.

    I prefer to work the way the system was designed too, but lots of people seem to be labouring under
    the misapprehension that there is a Great Advantage to jumping in at the last minute, which means
    there really isn't much point in opening the bidding on an item as if you put in your bid as late as
    possible then there's a chance that the eejits putting in incremental bids will run out of time
    before they go past you!

    Of course, if anyone has left a maximum of what they're willing to pay then it doesn't really matter
    if you bid in the last nanosecond if it's higher than you, and if you get outbid on a proxy then
    that's more than you were willing to pay anyway, so who cares?

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  10. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Richard Goodman wrote:

    > Proxy bidding still doesn't stop you getting sniped by just one bid increment above your max bid.
    > That can be very frustrating.

    Only if you can't set a maximum bid to be your *actual* maximum bid. Had this discussion on
    rec.games.board, and it went something like this...

    "but I can't set a maximum, how can I? If I've set up to $20 and some guy puts in $20.50, I'm going
    to want to bid $21, aren't I?" "Then $20 isn't your maximum bid, is it?" "But I don't know that in
    advance!" "If you kept on being incremented by 50c, would you pay $100?" "Of course not!" "Then play
    through the scenario in your head of how much you are *really* willing to pay, going up by 50c
    increments, and when you decide it's gone too far, 50c less than *that* is your maximum bid".

    You have a limit, and you should be able to work out what it is in advance. If you can't then it's
    good advice to stay away from auctions unless you don't like money! If you are outbid by more than
    you are willing to pay, it's not a problem, and it's not a problem because it's more than you are
    willing to pay! The shops are full of things I can afford and would like but am not willing to pay
    for, why should auctions be any different?

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  11. "Peter Clinch" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > If you are outbid by more than you are willing to pay, it's not a problem, and it's not a problem
    > because it's more than you are willing to pay! The shops are full of things I can afford and would
    > like but am not willing to pay for, why should auctions be any different?
    >

    Auctions are different, because the idea is to sell to the highest bidder rather than for a fixed
    price. Whatever your personal bidding practices, I would suggest that is not how most people bid -
    looking at bid histories you can see very well that many people revise their 'max bids' during the
    course of the auction. And in a real auction it _keeps going_ until there are no buyers at all who
    are willing to bid higher - that isn't guaranteed in an ebay auction. The system might serve the
    interests of buyers in general by keeping prices lower than they might otherwise have been, even if
    it can disappoint individual buyers, but I don't think it serves seller interests all that well.

    Rich
     
  12. W K

    W K Guest

    "Richard Goodman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Garry Broad" <[email protected]> Newsgroups:
    > uk.rec.cycling Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2003 5:55 PM Subject: Re: Bargain tandem?
    >
    > >
    > > Not sure how you can have an online auction without a predetermined close of auction time.
    > >
    >
    > It's easy, and doesn't need any sophisticated software architecture to
    do -
    > as I explained in my previous reply to this topic, all you need to do is
    to
    > let the closing time be extended by 15 minutes, each time a new bid is received within a 15 minute
    > period of the closing time. That way, there
    can
    > be no snipers, everyone gets time to consider their max bid properly and
    the
    > auction only closes when noone is willing to bid higher.

    That would seem to reflect how a real auction happens. The auctioneer uses "common sense" to work
    out when the hammer goes down, and if theres interest and bids, the hammer doesn't go down.

    While I'm at it, I went to an auction the other day. Was there for an hour and did not actually see
    anyone bid at all. Even more odd was how they established starting prices (as in someone bids 30%
    less than the starting point) and increments, all seemingly by ESP.
     
  13. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Richard Goodman wrote:

    > Auctions are different, because the idea is to sell to the highest bidder rather than for a fixed
    > price. Whatever your personal bidding practices, I would suggest that is not how most people bid -
    > looking at bid histories you can see very well that many people revise their 'max bids' during the
    > course of the auction.

    Quite so, but in many cases I think typically because they think it's smart to play like a "real"
    auction, so the max bid is set to be just over the current high. But if you set a max bid well in
    excess of anyone else's it will just push it up to the minimum you have to pay, so there really
    isn't any point playing it like that once bidding is underway.

    > The system might serve the interests of buyers in general by keeping prices lower than they might
    > otherwise have been, even if it can disappoint individual buyers, but I don't think it serves
    > seller interests all that well.

    Fair comment, but it is what it is, so might as well play it by the rules as presented. And working
    with those there's nothing much to gain by constantly revising your maximum if you can decide how
    much you're really willing to part with up front, aside from making work for yourself.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  14. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Richard Goodman wrote:

    > Proxy bidding still doesn't stop you getting sniped by just one bid increment above your max bid.
    > That can be very frustrating.

    It is frustrating if you could have afforded to bid more - but a relief if you had bid high but
    later had second thoughts :) It's happened to me both ways.

    > You have to draw a line somewhere

    Exactly. If you keep on coming back with bids to outbid a competitor just because one more 50p/£1
    "won't make any difference" then you have not drawn a line but have Auction Fever.

    Where you draw the line depends on how keen you are on the item. That line should be right at the
    limit of what you can afford (or even a bit over!) if you are desperate. But when just bargain
    hunting, well it doesn't really matter if someone keener/richer/cleverer than you nabs it.

    > and don't necessarily want everyone else know how high you are willing to go by giving them a
    > chance to bid above you early on in the auction - at least so long as the 'fixed end time'
    > applies.

    But that only matters if YOU are prepared to come back and snipe other bids. If you bid the most you
    can afford, then what does it matter at what stage others bid more?

    The "fifteen minutes" idea is interesting and maybe worth doing but it still means you'd have to
    "attend" the auction live towards the end (which may go on and on for ages*) if not using proxy
    bidding. Other bidders will!

    Another approach might to be limit the number of bids per bidder and timing of bids somehow to
    encourage proxy bidding. Might be a problem with people using multiple IDs though.

    eBay is pretty good and very successful as it is. I don't mind the system, personally. I tend to be
    able to get the things I want when I can afford them and don't care very much when missing out on a
    bargain that I don't really need. Selling is the tough side of the business.

    * not good for sellers either

    ~PB
     
  15. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Richard Goodman wrote:
    > You have to draw a line somewhere and don't necessarily want everyone else know how high you are
    > willing to go by giving them a chance to bid above you early on in the auction - at least so long
    > as the 'fixed end time' applies.

    Other bidders don't know what your maximum bid is until actually outbidding you, and you don't end
    up paying more than one increment over the next highest bidder - which of course isn't necessarily
    your max bid.

    I expect you know that Richard but I think it's worth emphasising on the newsgroup because a lot of
    people still don't seem to understand proxy bidding.

    The same thing can be done at "real" a auction house where the auctioneer will incrementally bid on
    your behalf just as if he/she is a bidder in the room.

    ~PB
     
  16. In article <[email protected]>, Pete Biggs wrote:
    >Exactly. If you keep on coming back with bids to outbid a competitor just because one more 50p/£1
    >"won't make any difference" then you have not drawn a line but have Auction Fever.

    At the local police auction of stolen cycles, I've seen a cheap mountain bike go for more than
    Halfords were selling the same bike brand new.
     
  17. "Peter Clinch" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Richard Goodman wrote:
    >
    > > The system might serve the interests of buyers in general by keeping prices lower than they
    > > might otherwise have been, even if it can disappoint individual buyers, but I don't think it
    > > serves seller
    interests
    > > all that well.
    >
    > Fair comment, but it is what it is, so might as well play it by the rules as presented. And
    > working with those there's nothing much to gain by constantly revising your maximum if you can
    > decide how much you're really willing to part with up front, aside from making work for yourself.
    >

    Of course, bidding is a game you have to play by the rules but that just brings us back to the
    point Zog made that started this thread - there's not much point in putting in your true max bid
    until the last seconds of the auction. Doing anything else will likely just contribute towards
    raising the price you'll eventually have to pay to win, and may make the difference between winning
    and losing - if you put your true max bid in early on, it just gives other bidders time to think
    about it and bid above you if they want, whereas if you only bid with your true max at the last
    moment they can't do this.

    By your bidding strategy you might not mind losing in that way, but I think most buyer's bidding
    objective is to win at the lowest possible cost. Sniping is more likely to acheive that than putting
    in an early bid for the highest you are willing to go, and this is the reason, as Zog correctly
    observed, that it's often - admittedly not always as I pointed out when he said it - that it is only
    in the last minute of the auction that the serious bids start coming.

    Rich
     
  18. "Pete Biggs" <pbiggmellon{remove_fruit}[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Richard Goodman wrote:
    >
    > > You have to draw a line somewhere
    >
    > Exactly. If you keep on coming back with bids to outbid a competitor just because one more 50p/£1
    > "won't make any difference" then you have not drawn a line but have Auction Fever.
    >

    Depends. If you keep on going up beyond any reasonable estimate of the item's true value you have
    auction fever, otherwise you're just reviewing how much you really want that item.

    > Where you draw the line depends on how keen you are on the item. That line should be right at the
    > limit of what you can afford (or even a bit over!) if you are desperate. But when just bargain
    > hunting, well it doesn't really matter if someone keener/richer/cleverer than you nabs it.
    >

    If you're serious about wanting to win an item at the best price (or even at all), the timing of the
    bid can also be important.

    > > and don't necessarily want everyone else know how high you are willing to go by giving them a
    > > chance to bid above you early on in the auction - at least so long as the 'fixed end time'
    > > applies.
    >
    > But that only matters if YOU are prepared to come back and snipe other bids.

    Not only. An early high bid just invites people to top it and rule you out of the bidding in
    circumstances where you might have won with a different strategy.

    > If you bid the most you can afford, then what does it matter at what stage others bid more?
    >

    It matters because not everyone follows this "max bid right from the start strategy". In fact most
    people don't. So in an auction where the bidders haven't done this you stand more chance of winning,
    and winning at the lowest price sufficient to defeat other bids, by withholding your true max until
    the last moment.

    > The "fifteen minutes" idea is interesting and maybe worth doing but it still means you'd have to
    > "attend" the auction live towards the end (which may go on and on for ages*) if not using proxy
    > bidding. Other bidders will!
    >

    I would assume doing it with proxy bidding. I don't see any reason to think it would go on
    ad-infinitum, and it only goes on if the price is increasing - which I would have thought would
    benefit the seller more than waiting a few minutes or maybe an hour two would inconvenience them.

    I think there is an online auction which does (or did this), which is how I heard about it - I
    didn't just think it up all by myself! But I don't know which. Not as successful as ebay though,
    although I doubt the bidding system has anything to do with it.

    Rich
     
  19. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Richard Goodman wrote:

    >> If you bid the most you can afford, then what does it matter at what stage others bid more?

    Sorry, I'm still having trouble getting my head round this.

    > It matters because not everyone follows this "max bid right from the start strategy".

    eBay proxy bidding does not place your max bid right from the start and may never need to place it
    to win. No-one else knows what it is until it is needed. It is not the same as instantly raising the
    price to your max.

    > In fact most people don't. So in an auction where the bidders haven't done this you stand more
    > chance of winning, and winning at the lowest price sufficient to defeat other bids, by withholding
    > your true max until the last moment.

    Your true max is withheld until it is needed with proxy bidding, and you don't pay more than is
    sufficient to beat other bids. You will definitely win if your max bid is higher than anyone else's
    no matter when bids are placed as eBay takes care of that for you automatically. And to be sensible,
    you must draw a line for your max bid whether you are bidding in advance or sniping. There is also
    the very real risk of missing the deadline when sniping (by falling asleep, eBay or computer being
    too busy, etc) (hence the 15 min thing I suppose: hmm, so that's the reason for it!). That only
    leaves the factor of how much other people raise the price by and what makes this vary, if
    anything......

    > An early high bid just invites people to top it and rule you out of the bidding in circumstances
    > where you might have won with a different strategy.

    (Ok, assuming the proxy bid, before or after it is outbid, counts as the "early high bid"), I
    think this is the crux of it and the only real argument for sniping. If it does encourage others
    to irrationally bid more than they otherwise would, more often than not, then you must be right
    that single-bid proxy bidding can't be as good as last-minute bidding. (Although then perhaps it's
    worth paying a bit more for the convenience of proxy bidding). I'm not so sure this happens very
    much though.

    One opposite factor is that a substantial current price can completely put people off the item.
    Because they know a silly bargain is not on the cards, they won't even bother coming back and
    looking again let alone bid - where they might otherwise have got in on the act and carried on
    bidding, eventually reaching a high price through auction fever. This is true for high starting
    prices so why not for the price after the opening few bids?

    ~PB
     
  20. "Pete Biggs" <pbiggmellon{remove_fruit}[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Richard Goodman wrote:
    >
    > >> If you bid the most you can afford, then what does it matter at what stage others bid more?
    >
    > Sorry, I'm still having trouble getting my head round this.
    >
    > > It matters because not everyone follows this "max bid right from the start strategy".
    >
    > eBay proxy bidding does not place your max bid right from the start and may never need to place it
    > to win. No-one else knows what it is until it is needed. It is not the same as instantly raising
    > the price to your max.
    >

    Of course I know that. What I'm trying to say is that if you place your max bid early on in the
    auction it gives plenty of time for others to keep on bidding against you, despite proxy bidding,
    until someone else manages to become the high bidder, assuming that there is someone willing to go
    that far. It gives enough time for 'auction fever' or egotistical determination simply to beat you
    to express - for someone to outbid you by continuing to bid until they pass your bid. By not bidding
    until the last minute one can hope that the price might not get raised to that extent, that other
    last minute bidders will place their bid only marginally above the current high, and that you will
    win because even if other bidders, on reflection, would have been willing to bid higher they don't
    have time to do it. Of course it is all just a hope, and it depends who is you are bidding against -
    what bid strategies they employ - but still it does often seem to work, IME. Of course, it doesn't
    always work for various reasons including those you suggest and of course at other times it would
    have made no difference. Still, the possibility that at times it works to win at the lowest possible
    price (by not allowing time for anyone to reflect and raise a still higher bid, assuming they are
    not all bidders like yourself or Pete) is, I think, undeniable.

    Rich
     
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