Snipe S/W?

From: John Foust <>
Date: Thu Dec 21 08:42:12 2000

At 05:39 PM 12/20/00 -0800, you wrote:
>An auction format that is sensible is the "going once, twice, sold" method
>which was used in newsgroups before online auctions came to be. It allows
>fair bidding, results in a fair price (for both buyer and seller), and so
>overall is fair for both buyers and sellers. Each party wins.
>In a sensible auction proceeding, sniping should not
>be possible, or even relevant.

One man's snipe bid is another man's bid. How do you determine
a sensible period between "going once" and "going twice"? In a
real-world auction where they're in a hurry to move to the
next item, N seems to be between zero and two seconds.

In your system, would I not be able to join the bidding
between "going once" and "going twice"? Why not? Because
I'm morally flawed for finding the auction at the last minute?
Maybe the only reason I saw the auction was because it was at
the top of the search results because it had five minutes to go.

To better fulfill this market, and perhaps aid the classic
computer collector, I wish there were better mechanisms for
obscure items, over longer periods of time.

A great deal of eBay's success seems to be people fulfilling
long-held wishes for items they couldn't acquire earlier
in their lives. I really want the 1962-era Knickerbocker
Yogi Bear plush doll with the soft hands, not the hard hands.
One seems to come up every three-four months, and I've missed
two, I think, not to snipers, but to an unwillingness (so far)
to pay more than $40 total. I don't remember what happened
to my Yogi in the late 60s, but I'm willing to wait to replace him.

I wish eBay had better mechanisms for managing the time period
of auctions. For some items, why not have an indefinite time
period, and let the seller determine when the auction count-down
starts? For example, if I want to sell a very obscure item
that I don't want to sell for $1, I could let the description
sit for a month (to attract flies and lure bidders) and then
when 10 bidders have signed up to show interest, I start the
3-day auction period in today's fashion.

In fact, this is this morning's business idea. You could
leverage eBay's present mechanism in toto, and all of the
above could reside at a second site, and part of your service
fee would include auto-posting the info to eBay.

Call it "". Well, the domain's taken but there's
no web there... and there's even a revenue stream from
mini-payments ($1?) from users of the service.

- John
Received on Thu Dec 21 2000 - 08:42:12 GMT

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