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Buying/Selling/Trading/Auction - PART V TRADING For Toy-related Newsgroups Frequently Asked Questions & Posting Guide Developed and Maintained by Eric G. Myers & Scott J. Gordon Version 2.0 - 6/98 This document may be reproduced in whole or in part as long as no modifications are made and the maintainer information and all acknowledgments are kept in tact as appropriate. For corrections, additions or questions, please contact [email protected].
FAQ Index | General | Buying | Selling | Trading | Auctions


Q4.1: Do people want to trade? How does it work? How can I get people to trade with me? Q5.1: Why should I hold an auction? A5.1: An auction might be a good idea if you aren't really sure of an item's worth or you are not sure what people might be interested in paying for an item. Auctions do require a significant amount of time and organization to be run effectively. As an unusual, but verifiable plus, some items have been noted to fetch significantly higher prices when auctioned than when offered for straight sale. There are numerous examples of someone bidding more for an item even when there may be a cheaper straight sale post for the same item right below the auction post. Auctions bring out people's competitive natures. Auctions may also alienate some buyers who prefer to complete transactions faster, who don't trust that there's not a "ringer" driving up the price, or who don't like the "god" rule. You have to weigh this against your potential for gain. Additionally, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that auctions pose a greater risk of non-payment than straight sales. Some people get caught up in auction-fever without really having the money to back up their bids. Its important to keep good records during an auction so you can contact previous bidders should the winning bidder fail to send payment. Q5.2: What is the preferred format for an auction? A5.2: There are really two main auction methods: 1) The Once, Twice, Sold method (sometimes referred to as the Going, Going, Gone Method) 2) The Time Limited Method. For the Once, Twice, Sold (OTS) method, bids are accepted on items and updated at regular intervals. A new bid that is posted at the first update or supersedes a lower bid is listed as NEW. A bid that remains unchallenged after one update period is listed as ONCE (or GOING ONCE). A bid that remains unchallenged after two update periods is listed as TWICE (or GOING TWICE). And a bid that lasts a full three update periods without being replaced with a higher bid is then listed as SOLD. For the Time Limited Method (TL), the auctioneer announces a closing date prior to accepting any bids. The highest bid received by the specified closing date is the winning bid. If you have the time and patience, the OTS method is vastly preferable. With the TL method, you often end up extending the closing date anyway and may have angry bidders who might have actually been willing to outbid the winning bid on the closing date. OTS auctions avoid some of those problems. Q5.3: What are the standard rules for an auction? A5.3: Rules may vary from auction to auction. Its really up to you, but try to make sure you cover everything that is important to you before you even begin. Changing the rules in the middle of an auction is a sure way to lose bidders. Todd Lehman, author of the LEGO (r) Auction and Shipping FAQ suggests these categories: Type "This is a Once, Twice, Sold auction." "This is a fixed-length auction." Duration "Auction ends when all items have been marked Sold." "Auction ends on such-and-such a date at midnight." Currency "All bids must be in US$." Minimum Bid Increments "Bid in $1 increments." "Minimum bid increments go by the following sliding scale: ..." Payment "You may send a personal check, money order, cashier's check, or other non-cash form of payment. There will be a one week waiting period for personal checks to clear." Shipping "Free shipping if you live in the U.S. Otherwise, you pay shipping." "Free shipping if your total is $50 or greater." "Fixed $3 shipping fee if you live in the U.S." "Buyer pays shipping." In general, put the rules at the end of your auction post. Place a note at the top stating that the rules are attached, but there is no need to have everyone read all the rules if they aren't interested in what you have to offer. Plus, you probably want to put the most exciting or desirable part of your auction post first anyway to entice people to read on. Don't bore people with the rules, captivate them with your cool stuff! Then post the rules. Q5.4: What is a "lot?" A5.4: A "lot" is a term used to describe an item or items for sale in an auction. A lot can be a single item but is often used to describe several items being sold or auctioned as a group. Q5.5: What's the best way to give updates or let bidders know when there is a new bid or a change in bids? A5.5: Far and away, the best method is to e-mail all your bidders directly. This is the fastest, most direct method of updating. However, it is probably not enough just to e-mail updates since you'll want to attract new bidders as well. Therefore, you will probably need to post updates to the newsgroup at some interval as well. Daily updates (or more frequent) are unnecessary and poor netiquette. it is considered fairly standard to post public updates at two or three day intervals at minimum. This allows you previous post to propagate reasonably well before sending out updates. Posting updates more frequently may actually hurt your auction since it can become confusing to bidders if updates arrive out of sequence or are delayed by a slow newsfeed. The best possible solution is a combination of both methods. Post public updates every three or more days. Send e-mail directly to bidders (or other interested parties) for more frequent updates. Q5.6: How should I format my auction posting and updates? A5.6: Again, this is personal preference. Your primary concern should be readability though. If your post is sloppy or hard to read, you will lose potential bidders right there. Put the rules at the bottom of the post. Only people interested in bidding will read the rules anyway, so its best to start your post off with the good stuff (i.e., what you have on the auction block). You might want to consider numbering your items (or lots). Q5.7: What is a "Buyout price" or a "Quick-sale price?" A5.7: This is an amount that allows you to purchase an item or a lot outright (like a straight sale, no bidding). Generally, buyout prices are higher than the final bid price. This allows individuals to purchase items without having to wait through the auction process, though they usually end up spending more for the item. Q5.8: How should I decide on minimum bid prices? A5.8: Again, this is a matter of personal preference. A good rule of thumb is to set minimum bids at the lowest possible price that you would sell the item for. If you set the minimum bid too high, you may scare off potential bidders. If you set the minimum bid too low, then you might end up selling the item for less than you had hoped. Q5.9: What should I do if the winning bidder doesn't send their payment? A5.9: As noted, this is a risk with auctions. The best thing to do is to contact the next highest bidder. This assumes that you have been keeping good records at every stage of the auction (a prudent suggestion in any case). Q5.10: What is E-bay (Auction Universe, etc.)? How should I announce my auctions at these web sites? A5.10: There are a number of web based auction sites. These sites allow you to run nearly automated auctions. All have different features and fee structures. Be sure to research your choice well before placing an item for auction or placing a bid. Here is a list of some of the more popular sites. More are starting up all the time. E-Bay Auction Web http://www.ebay.com Auction Universe http://www.auctionuniverse.com Up 4 Sale http://www.up4sale.com If you are going to post an announcement of an auction being conducted on a web site please observe a few rules of common courtesy. First, make sure your subject line says "AUCTION" or "AUC" and NOT "FS." The abbreviation "FS" is inappropriate for these types of posts. Also, be sure you give a complete URL for the specific item you are auctioning. If you just ask the reader to search the site for your auction, you will reduce your audience tremendously. Finally, be sure to post your notice only every few days. Do not post your ad every day. There isn't enough turnover in readership to justify posting your ad daily. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, CONTRIBUTORS & THANKS: Marcia Bednarcyk - for general comments, suggestions and general good advice. John Gersten - for editing help, numerous comments and suggestions, and a really good Einstein quote. :) Pam Green - for the Toy Shop info, International deals info and other numerous comments and suggestions Todd Lehman - for permission to use parts of his LEGO(r) Auction & Shipping FAQ Gus Lopez - for permission to use parts of the rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting FAQ along with numerous comments and suggestions.
FAQ Index | General | Buying | Selling | Trading | Auctions

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