If you are bidding on a "hot" item then you need to be involved at the auction ending to "trump" the last bid just seconds before the close. Or, you can use one of the software tools that will purportedly do this for you.
Simply put, if you really want it, and are willing to pay the best price, then you really should figure to be "there on line" as the auction winds down.
Elsewise, going by what the last similar item sold for, and putting in a similar amount bid (even a couple of bucks more) and then going away will be a near sure loser. Because, at the closing, someone will almost always "tease" your final bid and more likely than not, hit it and go a couple of bucks higher in the last few seconds.
Now you could be a crazy bidder and early on post a bid so "over market" as to be sure to win. But then you may find that some "slightly less than crazy" will come in at the last minute and "bid you up" well beyond what the item is really worth and then give up - leaving you with being a very overpaying winner!
eBay is a game and a gamble. It can be fun - but know your limit!
There is no single strategy that fits every ebay situation. I've won several auctions where I bid a reasonable market price well before the end. I admit that doesn't work so well on items where there is a lot of competition. For those, having your computer's clocked synced to a good time server is very handy.
Thank you very much for the responses.
It has been, arrrrrrrh, how time gets distorted when you get older, six years since I played the Ebay game, and then it was a much simpler thing.
I looked back at what I paid for a F4 and F5 Nikon and was amazed how much more money I must have had to dispose of then, but of the thing I bid on, nothing was too skewed, always expect the worst, except for the Tamron lens being pulled shortly before it seemed to be mine.
THAT annoyed me GREATLY.
I am not sure if the happy thought posts one gets, telling one not to be not happy really help.
Of the things I want I have done some indepth, hours and hours of searching for previous prices (the search engine Ebay uses is NOT efficient, at best.
Unless one does have hours to kill, one must do some odd wording or search heading to find some things.
Putting in Canon F1, will find maybe half the cameras for sale.
Go to All Categories, relating to photography, pick 35mm SLR Canon, and pick other, and then when that comes up put in F1, and I THINK one finds most of the Canon F1 cameras for sale.
One last note, I almost put in a one dollar over opening cost bid on a F1n Canon with servo EE booster and MF motor drive.
A BAAAAD feeling made me stop at the last moment, no one bid on it and it ran again.
I took a closer look at it and the aperture adjusting rod was missing; I contacted the seller and they said it all was there, to look at the pictures.
I did and the bare adjusting levers that connect to the missing part were very plain to see.
I thank God for that one.
Last edited by BobbyR; 11-26-2007 at 11:00 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Excellent advise given by all. MP_Wayne most clearly spelled it out. In addition to his and other suggestions for KEH [which I have used in preference to eBay, consider the Classified Ad at this website too.
Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!
Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
I've won many items at a STEAL!
If your looking to purchase one of the BIG three ( Nikon, Canon, Minolta) you'll find plenty of competion. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a camera that was overlooked for whatever reason. I found a mint
FE2 in the buy now market.
I purchase Mamiya,Fujica, and Chinon 35mm cameras for 15.00 to 30.00 a pop. If you dont collect then these cameras may be useless to you. For me their GEMs. My Fujica ST801 is a beautiful camera and extremely overlooked by photo enthusiast.
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Keep in mind too that just because someone beat you by $3 does not mean that was THEIR high bid. You might have bid it up another $100 and still lost if their max bid was still higher. All losing by $3 means is that you were the second highest bidder.
Is there anywhere else than Ebay for SELLERS? Have you seen the charges these days for the UK?!! I put up a lens for sale this week, got charged £1.30, fine, but then read the small print that states I also have to pay 6.5% of the selling price for photographic gear. That's outrageous! When did these prices go up?
By the way, a shameless plug for my auction - a mint condition Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 Ultron - I've noticed these don't come up at auction all that often, but still I didn't get a single bid last week and had to relist.
I'd like to add my voice to those saying that you shouldn't get emotional about eBay auctions or attached to any given item. That's a losing strategy -- you'll either get frustrated when you're outbid or you'll end up overpaying and suffer buyer's remorse. Remember that, with the exception of very rare items, something similar will crop up again on eBay, even if it's not listed there right now. If you really need it right now, eBay isn't the way to buy it (with the possible exception of "Buy It Now" items).
I find that the best way to approach an eBay auction is to decide, before you place a bid, what your maximum bid is -- the amount over which you will not pay, period. Then bid that amount. If you win the auction, chances are you won't pay your high bid amount. The way eBay works, even if you enter a bid of $10,000,000, you could end up paying just $1; the final auction price is determined by the second-highest bidder, with a few caveats about very close auctions. (And I'll add that I don't recommend anybody actually enter a bid of $10,000,000; if another lunatic does the same thing, or even just enters a very high but still rational bid, trouble will ensue!)
The trouble with entering your maximum bid to begin with is that people who don't follow my advice can poke and prod and slowly drive the price up with multiple bids, then drop out once they realize they've already gone well beyond their own rational limit. The solution to this problem is to snipe -- that is, to wait until the last moment and enter your bid then. Many people get angry at the mere mention of sniping, but I don't see a problem with it. Rather than enumerate all my reasoning, I'll refer you to this site, which lays out my view pretty well, although I'm unaffiliated with the site. FWIW, I use JBidWatcher, which is Java-based sniping software. It works pretty well and runs on a variety of OSes.
I find that I get much less frustrated with eBay when I just enter a bid and forget it. Sniping helps avoid problems with the "creeping irrational bids," but there's a small risk of the sniping software failing, so sometimes I don't use it.
Try KEH and other online stores, as others have mentioned. I have actually bought things for significantly less at KEH than they sell for on ebay, and you get a guarantee and their grading system is very conservative. That being said, I have had a couple of not so great experiences on ebay, nothing drastic, but on all of the other things I have bought I have had great deals so I think at this point I am way way ahead. Good luck.
Um, for sellers there's nothing like eBay. It has reach. In the late '80s I sold gear via the small ads in the back of Shutterbug. eBay is much much better.
Back then, people in the US who wanted to buy used gear had few alternatives: find a camera show, hope to find the item desired there for a reasonable price; buy from a used equipment dealer, usually in NYC, who advertised in MP or PP; buy from an unknown individual, like me, who'd placed a small ad in Shutterbug. The first was an absolute crapshoot, as were the second two. The second two suffered because of the long lag between delivery of the ad to the magazine and receipt of the magazine. KEH is fine for common stuff, otherwise there's no alternative to eBay, including "eBay.restofworld."
Back then, people in the US who wanted to sell used equipment had few alternatives: find a camera show, take the item to it, hope a seller would buy it for not to little; send the item to one of the used gear houses that advertised in the back of MP and PP, hope for an offer that wasn't too small; place a small ad in Shutterbug and wait and wait and wait. The first two always yielded little because the purchasers bought with resale in mind, therefore paid wholesale (or less), not retail. The last was uncertain, required payment up front, and required enough knowledge of the market to set a price. eBay is much much better,
IMO, buyers who complain about eBay are people who want to buy far below market and can't. Sore losers.