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Question about $0.01 minimum bids on eBay  
 

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Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 12/06/2017   07:43 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Message
There's a philatelic vendor on eBay who starts most of his auctions at $0.01. But it also seems that they most always start off with 1 bid. I've seen the $0.01 auctions with 0 bids, but it is sufficiently rare that I think maybe it is an oversight. While more than one account is used to create these first bids, just looking over a number of today's listings I only saw two different accounts.

This looks to me like a kind of "shill bidding." That is, I think these are accounts used by the seller to have the listings get at least one bid. I don't see any of the kind of shill bidding used to drive the price up.

So, I'm curious. Those of you who understand how eBay works from the seller angle, is there an explanation for what I'm seeing? This seller usually has several thousand items available on any given day, and lists them for a week, adding a few hundred items each day as items listed a week earlier expire. For auctions that don't actually generate any real buyer interest, is there some advantage for it ending up with 1 bid versus no bids?

TIA.
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Posted 12/06/2017   08:04 am  Show Profile Check KRelyea's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add KRelyea to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't think there is any advantage to getting 1c bids unless he's buying Feedback for 1c, but does he really need more Feedback?

I have a couple bidders that usually scoop up my items that sell at opening bid of $2,59. I affectionately call them my bottom feeders and they are very helpful to me. I don't want unsold items laying around and if they buy 4 or 5 items it's just like a $10 sale to me.
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Posted 12/06/2017   08:29 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Placing a 1C bid on your own listing (from another account) would then generate the eBay automated email notification when another person bids on it. I am not sure if this is the motivation or worthwhile but people do some strange things at times.
Don
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Posted 12/06/2017   08:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chasa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Usually the 1-cent offerings come with a mailing fee of 1-dollar or more - which makes the total price more than the stamp's value.
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Posted 12/06/2017   09:31 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Freibergs to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Or is the seller avoiding the cost of putting a reserve on an item by bidding on his own items. His bid may be way more than the penny and what his higher starting bid would have been normally but this way he makes it look like there's a 'bidding war' and hopefully generates some interest and bidding from more than one person.
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Posted 12/06/2017   11:34 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am sure most protect themselves in ways. I perceive there is a lot of shill bidding.
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Al
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Posted 12/06/2017   12:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add archerg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A lot of people place "marker bids" on items they wish to watch. If the start price is not ridiculously low, they simply will not mark it. eBay's automated notification system sends hem a reminder before auction end - the real competition happens at the end of the auction anyway. I don't think the one-cent start is odd if the seller is intent on selling everything. The good stuff usually receives its due competition.

One cent listings do tend to attract flies though, i.e. the type of customer who has a thousand questions and expects everything for nothing.
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Posted 12/06/2017   1:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Usually the 1-cent offerings come with a mailing fee of 1-dollar or more - which makes the total price more than the stamp's value.


Not here. Free shipping.


Quote:
Or is the seller avoiding the cost of putting a reserve on an item by bidding on his own items. His bid may be way more than the penny and what his higher starting bid would have been normally but this way he makes it look like there's a 'bidding war' and hopefully generates some interest and bidding from more than one person.


A lot of this seller's items go for under a dollar or two, and just a few bids after the initial one cent bid, and not by the same bidder as the one cent bid.


Quote:
I am sure most protect themselves in ways. I perceive there is a lot of shill bidding.


Well, to repeat myself, the only "shill bid" I see is the original one cent bid when the item is first placed.


Quote:
A lot of people place "marker bids" on items they wish to watch. If the start price is not ridiculously low, they simply will not mark it. eBay's automated notification system sends hem a reminder before auction end - the real competition happens at the end of the auction anyway. I don't think the one-cent start is odd if the seller is intent on selling everything. The good stuff usually receives its due competition.


I do see evidence of this. The initial one cent bid is a one time thing done, I think, by the seller, not by buyers placing "marker bids." I why do that when you can just tell eBay to watch it. eBay will send emails to remind you of items you are watching before the auctions expire.

I've been reluctant to identify the seller because I don't want to make it seem like I'm calling someone out for improper behavior. I don't think that at all. I buy lots of items from this seller, probably at least once a week on average.

What I've wondered is this: is there a difference in the seller's expense in listing fees between an item placed to start at one cent, but doesn't get any bids, and one that starts at one cent, and gets one bid so that it sells at one cent? Cause that's what it looks like is happening to me.
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Posted 12/06/2017   2:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add archerg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I can offer one possible reason. I know a group of collectors who buy classic Canada. Their interests overlap. They mark with a bid to visibly claim the item, like a dog marks his territory. They may be friends, but they don't offer free advice to each other. Each knows the marker by sight despite eBay concealing their handle. If the item is desirable, it helps them avoid running each other up.

Minimum listing prices work if the seller offers a focused collecting area of good value items, as it induces a buyer to check regularly. If a seller is offering random WW lots only worth a few bucks each then the one cent model seems futile. I doubt I make much sense but I see this happen often.
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Posted 12/06/2017   3:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add djlirette to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If the bid is being 'shilled' by the seller, my guess is they are using the bid to get a free listing even if no other bids happen. eBay does not charge for an auction listing if it sells. That seems to be more work to get a free listing than paying for the few that end with one bid.
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Posted 12/06/2017   3:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If the bid is being 'shilled' by the seller, my guess is they are using the bid to get a free listing even if no other bids happen. eBay does not charge for an auction listing if it sells. That seems to be more work to get a free listing than paying for the few that end with one bid.


FTW? This makes the most sense yet of the explanations offered. Probably more than "few" end with the one bid. I'm just throwing out ballpark figures, but of about 400 listings a day that seem to be rolling through on a FIFO basis week after week, I'd say a third to half end up not selling (maybe closer to the lower end, but either way a WAG). On a high volume basis like this someone could probably write an algorithm that makes short work of placing the initial one cent bid.

Basil
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Posted 12/06/2017   4:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add djlirette to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If the seller does not have a store and 100 items end daily with only the shill 1c bid, that would save $30 a day on insertion fees. With a store the savings would be $10 - $25.

Insertion fees are 30c (after x free per month) for non-store; 10c, 15c, or 25c depending on level of store (after x free per month).

Final value fee varies based on store or not and differs by categories. Of all of the various category commission combinations, the worst case on a 1c ending would be 1c if eBay "rounds up to a charge" when the value normally rounds to 0.


Edited to put action listing vs fixed listing fees.
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Edited by djlirette - 12/06/2017 4:28 pm
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Posted 12/06/2017   4:41 pm  Show Profile Check Battlestamps's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Battlestamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Eventually eBay will start to notice this practice and will end the listing fee credit on sold auction items. Great, someone exploits the system and everyone else will be punished as a result. Same thing happened with the whole "1 cent for the item, but $99 for shipping" scam, but now we all have to pay a percentage on shipping to eBay.
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Posted 12/06/2017   4:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jarnick to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I know of at least one seller who offers substantial amounts of World War II APO covers on eBay, always starting at .01 with free shipping. I've bought a number of items from him and as far as I can tell, he's legit. The items usually quickly reach their market value (or there are no bids at all). It seems to be the way he does business and it apparently works for him. I'm sure there are some cases where the item really does sell at one cent and he accepts that as the price for stimulating bidding.
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Posted 12/06/2017   5:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add archerg to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Once you have a bidder, he/she is building a relationship of trust. They are invested in you, even if it is a penny to start. If you can earn their trust and deliver what they like, you will have a regular bidder for a long time.
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Posted 12/06/2017   5:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Once you have a bidder, he/she is building a relationship of trust. They are invested in you, even if it is a penny to start. If you can earn their trust and deliver what they like, you will have a regular bidder for a long time.




Did you read the OP? It is the seller that is making the initial one cent bid. Are they building a relationship with their self>
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