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Tips for winning auctions on eBay.

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by colbycheese, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. colbycheese

    colbycheese Mu-43 Veteran

    May 1, 2012
    Way up there.
    I am wondering if anyone has some tips for winning eBay auctions
  2. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Be willing to overpay
    • Agree Agree x 4
  3. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    Waiting until the last 30 seconds of the auction before putting in your bid can help. A lot of people get caught up in the heat of the moment and pay more than they want to when they see that someone else is bidding.

    (I say that as someone with experience on both sides of the fence on this one)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    My tip: don't do auctions. They benefit the seller a lot more than the buyer. Look for Buy It Now options and consider messaging the seller with something like "if you could consider changing the price to $XX less I'll buy it right now." Also, always try best offer if it's available.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. You can accomplish this by using a bid sniper. I place my bid, then I forget about it. I put in my max bid amount and the program has a setting for when it will place the bid, and I don't get caught up in the frenzy.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  6. griswoldo

    griswoldo Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 27, 2011
    I've never lost an auction for an item that I'm truly interested in buying. While I may have overpaid here and there, I haven't gone beyond my means or had buyers remorse for having paid "too much". Anyway, the following strategy has yet to fail me. Wait until the last 30-60 seconds before bidding (as others have suggested), but perhaps more importantly, don't bid with round numbers. Instead of bidding $75, do something like $75.01 or $76.17.
  7. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    eBay used to be a wonderful place where you find things at decent prices. These days I avoid it as much as possible for various reasons.

    If you must buy from eBay...

    - Make sure the seller has a solid feedback history with a history of selling similar products over a period of time.
    - Don't bid early. Instead, wait until the last 2~3 seconds and place your maximum bid that you're willing to pay.
    - If you find a great seller, add that seller to your favorites. I have a few myself that deal with certain products and that I've gotten to know. Usually I can let them know what items I may be looking for and what price I'm looking for. This way, they can give me a better price by avoiding eBay fees and without hassles of deadbeat winning bidders.
    - Look at the ending times of auctions. You'll have better luck with auctions that end at odd hours (USA time) and/or times that less people will be in front of a computer.
    - Search for Buy It Now items at good prices and if you find one from a good seller, jump on it.

    However, like I said, it's become harder to find great deals these days versus say 10 years ago.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Maybe because of the last second bidders, I have had more success with auctions that end on Friday nights. Sunday nights are the worst.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    Sunday is the worst day to buy and the best day to have your items end! Everyone is home farting around on the computer and so you have the most bidding competition.

    I generally just to buy it now and jump on items that are priced below average auction ending. If you do want to bid, just look for items ending in the next half hour or you will just be wasting your time waiting to get outbid.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    This is how I do:

    - check the "sold listing" to understand the average item price
    - save searches to receive email alerts of auctions (you could do the same for Amazon used items with camelcamelcamel).
    - decide the highest price you want to pay completely ignoring the current price, for example 100$
    - ask your self if you would be fine with 100+1, and probably you are. Go on until you find the real maximum price
    - round to a "strange" number 103, 106, 113, etc. This must be below the "buy it now" offers or there is no point.
    - be sure to be logged in and wait for the last 3 seconds to bid the highest amount you decided before (it's called sniping)
    - if the price has already gone above your price just give up, wait for the next

    This site can be used to do multi-country searches: http://www.geo-ship.com/
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. Aushiker

    Aushiker Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    I simply decide the price I wish to pay and enter it in http://Gixen.com and then forget it about it until I get a winners email or a outbid notice. I either win or I don't. At least I don't have to be on the computer at the right time and I don't get emotional about it in the last few seconds.

    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I found that playing the bidding game on Ebay is a complete and utter waste of time. I have better things to do... especially over stuff that I don't consider a necessity.

    Simply decide a maximum fair value to you, place your bid, and forget it until end. If someone bids more than you, then they paid more than you were willing to anyways. It doesn't matter if they bid well before end, 30 seconds till end, or using bid sniper. If you try to beat their bid, you didn't place the maximum fair value to you (being dishonest with yourself) from the beginning or which is often the case, over paid.

    I simply keep placing my bid on the items on ebay, try again, until I eventually win. If I want it sooner, then I need to increase my maximum bid, look for buy it now, buy from Amazon, or buy new. For the most part, the whole Ebay bidding war/game for really significant noticeable savings is an illusion once you factor everything. Often the final price could have been found through other venues.

    If Ebay would put into place a "true english auction", then perhaps things will change.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  13. Gary5

    Gary5 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 15, 2014
    I've gotten stuff for the minimum bid on Friday and Saturday nights.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  14. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    Thanks, I was wondering about a good eBay sniper. Using software like that always seemed a bit sketchy to me, but if you can vouch for it with good experiences, I'll try it out.
  15. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    I've won hundreds of auctions and lost some as well. I started on eBay 17 years ago when they had 30 employees. My feedback on eBay is north of 600. Things learned:

    • You are most likely to get a bargain if the auction has few or poor pictures, if there are misspellings in the title that cause normal searches to miss it, and/or if the auction text description is vague, short, or inarticulate. These defects tend to reduce the number of bidders. In Olden Times it was very common to get screaming deals due to misspellings, miscategorizations, etc. These are much less common now with millions of people combing the listings. But they still happen.

    • The current price for an auction is completely meaningless until about 10 seconds before the end.

    • Only chumps bid prior to the end of the auction. The effect of early bids is simply to drive the price up as people's competitive instincts cause them to bid more than they initially planned to. A lot of bidding prior to auction end is usually a signal that the final price will be too high for you. If there are zero bids, 90% of the time there will be one or more at the very last second (see below "sniping.").

    • The way to win is to determine your highest acceptable price, then make it an odd number. Like $26.51 or $302.51. People tend to bid round numbers and if the auction is close, your odd number may just be enough to edge out someone who bids $25 or $300.

    • Submit your bid approximately 8-10 seconds before the end of the auction. When you bid this late, there is not enough time for a chump to see your bid and react to it. This is called bid sniping and you will be competing primarily with other snipers. If you don't win, there is no disappointment; you have already decided that a price higher than your bid is not a price you are willing to pay.

    • Using a bid sniping program is much safer and easier than submitting your bid manually. I have used https://www.jbidwatcher.com/ for many years and it is excellent. You just load it, tell it your snipe amount and leave it running on your computer. (Note: I recently switched to a new computer, installed a fresh copy of jbidwatcher, and lost a snipe because the jbidwatcher default is 30 seconds from the end of the auction. That is way too early and it allowed someone time to see my bid and to outbid me. So be sure to set 8 seconds as the snipe time.) jbidwatcher is free software, but please send the guy some money once in a while when it does something good for you. We need him.

    • Patience is rewarded. If you want something set up a search and keep watching and sniping. Eventually you will get your heart's desire at your acceptable price. Watching for a couple of weeks will also give you a good idea of what the going price is. Searching "Completed Listings" will also help calibrate your price.

    HTH. Questions, let me know here or PM.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    I rarely use ebay anymore except for things like lens adapters. Even then I just BIN. I find that for most things ebay prices are higher than a trusted retailer like B&H. And you don't get ripped off by paypal. Ain't my pal.
  17. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Apologies to any of the previous posters who were offended by my use of the word "chump." I actually wrote the post after reading the OP and did not read the intervening posts. Maybe I should have said: "It is foolish to bid prior to the end of the auction."
  18. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    They certainly can be, but remember that the result of an auction is really not a "price." It is a number that reflects the needs, resources, and emotions of the bidders at the exact time that the auction ended. If you search "Completed Listings" for, say, a used lens you will probably see a range of results from real bargains to outright stupidity. It is patience and price knowledge that will get you the bargains.

    Here's an example: Last spring I bought a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. The way I use it, it is most convenient for me to have multiple stylii. Not long after I bought it, I scored two of them for under $20 each on eBay. About a month ago, I decided I needed another one. For almost that whole month the ones offered were selling at $30-40. I just waited and watched. One day last week, a seller showed up with a BIN price of $16 shipped and I took the deal. Your comment was accurate for the majority of those offerings but not for the one that I took.

    For new items like lenses, I don't even consider eBay. The only new items I buy on eBay are Chinese BIN junk like camera batteries, chargers, quick-release plates, and other small stuff. Usually there is quite a saving on these if you're willing to wait for direct shipment from China. My history is that "ePacket" shipping takes 6-8 business days and regular first class packages take around double that.
  19. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Legend

    Mar 21, 2014
    I find the opposite is usually true for me. While I have found the rare Buy It Now auction that is actually at a good price, the rising popularity of mirrorless cameras over the last few years has given people a hugely overinflated perception of the value of their common old film lenses.

    Most of the "Buy It Now" listings I see are at least 50% overvalued, in the hope that someone will read a bubbly review of some old lens that someone has written, be impatient, and buy it for way too much money.

    Auctions are much more hit and miss, but they're the only times I've found really good deals. Really overpriced sometimes too, but I've only overpaid once or twice on eBay because I've scoured enough auctions to know the real value of things.
  20. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Probably depends on what you're looking for. Often legacy equipment with a Buy It Now option will be overpriced, but I find auctions to be the less reasonably-priced method if it's a current or near-current item, like most M4/3 bodies.
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