Help > Auction FAQ's

 
  Auction FAQ
 
How do I place a bid?
Placing a bid on an item is actually pretty quick and easy.  At the bottom of every auction listing will be a "bidding" section.  There will be three boxes to fill out, the amount you want to bid, your Username, and your password.   You must bid at least the minimum bid price, which will be shown next to the bid field.  With the Audiogon Proxy Bidding system, you can actually bid your maximum price, and let the Proxy do the bidding for you.  To see an example of how Proxy Bidding works, click here.

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How much should I bid?
Deciding on your bid amount is an important part of the buying process at auctions.  One benefit of the auction format is that you can see what other people are willing to pay for an item.  The best strategy at the Audiogon Auction is to bid the price you are willing to pay, and let your Proxy enter bids as necessary.  Proxy bidding is described below, and you can find more information in the Buyer's FAQ.

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What is Overtime?
Normally, an auction closes at the scheduled time as displayed within the listing.  However, if there are bids entered within the last 5 minutes of the closing time, then the auction will go into overtime.  The auction is extended until there are no further bids for a continuous 5 minutes.  This is similar to an auctioneer continuing to take bids until there is no further interest.  For example, if a bid comes in with 4 minutes left in the auction, then there will be 1 minute of overtime, unless more bids are submitted.  Thus, it is possible for an auction to be extended continuously, although the record so far is 20 minutes.

Overtime helps dissuade "snipers", or last second bidders.  For example, you may have spent considerable time and research to achieve your high bid status at an auction.  Without overtime, someone could time their bid entry to within a few seconds of closing, leaving you without enough time to notice the bid and enter one in response.  This is a common practice at online auctions, and somewhat unfair because if you have a slow internet connection, you could be at a disadvantage.  At a live physical auction, you can see your competition, and the auctioneer continues the auction until no one else bids.  The Overtime feature allows Audiogon auctions to more closely resemble a live auction.  We have found that 5 minutes is enough time to receive an outbid email from our system, log in to our site, and place another bid. 

So what's the best strategy?  If you have the time and enjoy hanging out at online auctions, then wait until the last few minutes of an auction to bid.  Your competition will have 5 minutes to respond, but maybe they are not available.  But if you are not able to attend the closing of an auction, then use the Proxy Bidding method, described next.  Together, these two features save you considerable time online, while still protecting your chances of winning auctions.


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The Proxy Bidding System:
The Proxy Bidding System is designed to save you the time of having to watch every bid at the auction, and is used by all reputable internet auction systems.   Essentially, you bid the Maximum price you are willing to pay, right off the bat.   But your bid is actually kept confidential, and not posted.  The system is now bidding for you, as a "Proxy". 

When you enter your maximum bid, one of three things might happen:

1. If there is no reserve, or the reserve has been met, then your Proxy will try to bid as little as possible to get you the high bid.  Then it will wait to see if anyone tries to outbid you. Your Proxy will only bid one increment more than your competition, and will never bid more than your maximum.  If someone bids more than your top price, you will be notified.

2. If the seller has a reserve price on his auction, then your Proxy will see if it can meet the reserve.  If your maximum is more than the seller's reserve, it will submit your bid at the reserve price exactly, and then see if anyone tries to outbid you.

3. If the previous bidder had a Proxy in place (hidden maximum bid), then your proxy will try to beat the previous bidder's if possible.

Example with NO reserve (or met)
Current high bid is: $100.00  
Bid Increment is: $2.50  
Minimum Bid : $102.50 (the least it will accept)
     
You bid maximum: $160.00 (the most you would pay)
Your Proxy bids: $102.50 (the least required)
Joe comes along with: $105.00  
Your Proxy bids: $107.50 (just enough to beat Joe)
Joe bids again: $125.00  
Your Proxy bids: $127.50  
Mark comes along with: $175.00  
Mark's Proxy bids: $162.50 (just enough to beat you)
Your Proxy does NOT bid: It emails you.  

 

Example WITH Reserve price
Current high bid is: $100.00  
Bid Increment is: $2.50  
Next required Bid : $102.50 (auction says Reserve NOT met)
   
You enter your max.: $160.00  
Seller's reserve was $125.00  
Your Proxy bids: $125.00 (just enough to meet reserve)
Next required bid $127.50 (auction now says reserve MET)
   
Mark later bids: $127.00  
Your Proxy bids: $130.00 (just enough to beat Mark)

 

Example with dueling Proxies
Current high bid is: $100.00  
Bid Increment is: $2.50  
Next required Bid : $102.50 (assume no reserve)
 
You enter your max.: $160.00  
But John's Proxy had: $130.00 (his secret maximum)
Your Proxy bids: $132.50 (just enough to beat John's Proxy)
 
Mark later bids: $135.00  
Your Proxy bids: $137.50 (just enough to beat Mark)

Your proxy (the computer), will never bid more than your maximum, and will always try to help you win for as little as possible. By bidding your maximum right away, you are sure not to pay too much at the end of an exciting auction.  If the bidding goes higher than your maximum, then you probably would not have paid that much anyway.

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 What is a Reserve Price auction?
Sellers have the option of setting a hidden Reserve Price that is above the minimum starting bid.  If a reserve price is in effect, then the seller does not have sell the item unless the high bid meets or exceeds his reserve.  Auctions with a reserve price will be noted in their listing, describing whether the reserve has been met or not.  The actual amount of the reserve price is not revealed to bidders, until it has been met.

When you submit a bid on a reserve price auction, one of three things might happen:
(1) If the reserve has already been met, then your bid will be submitted at one increment above the next highest competitor, in the same manner as an auction without a reserve price.
(2) If the reserve has not been met, and your maximum bid is also less than the reserve, then your bid will be entered at one increment above the next highest competitor.
(3) If the reserve has not been met, but your maximum bid is enough to meet the reserve, then your bid will be entered at exactly the seller's reserve price.  If your maximum was above the seller's reserve, then your proxy will defend your bid, up to your maximum.

If you are the highest bidder at auction close but the reserve was not met, then neither you nor the seller are obligated to the transaction.  However, you may wish to negotiate further via email, to see if a mutually satisfactory price can be reached.  You can check your closed bids in MyPage, and email the seller at any time.

EXAMPLES:

No sale:
     Item #9999 had a minimum starting bid of $100.00
     The seller set a reserve price in his listing of $200.00.
     At the end of the auction, the highest bid is $175.00.
In this case, the seller is not obligated to sell for $175.00, but may choose to do so anyway.

Sale:
     Item #8888 had a minimum starting bid of $900.00.
     The seller set a reserve price in his listing of $1,200.00.
     At the end of the auction, the highest bid is $1,225.00.
In this case, the seller is obligated to sell for $1,225.00 to the highest bidder.

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  Will I be notified of my bid status?
If you are outbid by another bidder, you will receive an email informing you of this.  If you are the high bidder at the end of the auction, you will receive an email with the good news.  The email is sent immediately after either of the above events, but it is hard to predict how long it will take to traverse cyberspace and hit your in-box.  So, if you are keen on acquiring a particular item, sign in to the Audiogon near the end of the auction and watch the bidding.  You can quickly check the status of your bids in My Page.

The Audiogon Auction has a small built in feature to safeguard against "snipers".   Snipers are bidders that wait until the last minutes of an auction, and place bids just above the high bid.  The "Overtime" feature of the Audiogon Auction works by continuing a particular auction until five (5) minutes after the last bid is placed. 
For example:
Auction #1234567 is due to close at 8:00 PM, and Joe Sniper outbids you at 7:59 PM.  Even if you were actively watching this, you may not have enough time to submit a new bid.  With Overtime, however, the auction is extended until 8:04 PM, unless you or someone else bids again.  If your bid is recorded at 8:03 PM, the auction will be extended until 8:08 PM.

The reason auctions are exciting is the bidding process.  Most bidders wait until the last few hours of an auction to get serious, so pay attention to your interests near the closing time of an auction.   Better yet, bid your maximum price right away and let your Proxy watch your interests - this works even into Overtime.
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  How do I list an item for auction?
Go the link titled "Start an auction".  The Form is self explanatory, but you may want to read the Sellers FAQ as well.  Once you have filled out the form, you will be shown a Preview of your listing.  If the preview looks good, then go ahead and finish the process, or make changes and preview again.  Your auction will start immediately, and run for the number of days that you specify.  
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What price should I start the auction at?
You must enter a minimum bid amount to start the auction.  You should give some thought to this amount before listing.  Most sellers like to start the bidding a little lower than what they hope to get for the item.  Keep in mind that you are required to sell the item for the highest bid, with the only exception of a Reserve Price - details in the next question and answer.
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Should I set a Reserve Price?
You may set a hidden Reserve Price higher than the minimum bid, which means you are not required to sell unless the high bid meets or exceeds your reserve price amount.  Your reserve price is not revealed to bidders - only that you have set a reserve.   The listing will also indicate whether the current bid has met the reserve or not.  If the the high bid does meet or exceed your reserve, then you are obligated to sell at the high bid amount.   

Deciding whether to set a reserve price requires some thought.  You want to protect your investment, but you also want bidders to participate.  Some bidders do not like reserve price auctions, and will not bid on them.  Most bidders will be annoyed if the reserve price was un-realistically high.   Some sellers will reveal their reserve price to bidders, either via private email or by adding a comment to the auction (through MyPage).  Disclosing your reserve price often sparks more interest as bidders can tell how close they are.  

Our recommendations:

  • If you have a bottom line price that you absolutely will not sell below, then enter your bottom line price as the minimum bid amount to start, and do not set a reserve price.  This way, bidders know you're not wasting their time.
  • If you're not sure what you can expect to get for an item, then set a low opening bid, and a reserve price at what you think it might be worth.
  • If you really want to move an item and generate some excitement, then start the auction at a opening bid ($1), and do not set a reserve price.  This is a little risky but most often gets market value or more, and always gets a lot of bidders interested.


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 What should be the Duration?
You can choose from three (3) to fourteen (14) days for the duration of your auction.  Select a short duration if your item is of very common interest, or you absolutely must sell quick.  Select a longer duration if your item is more exotic, much more than $2500 new, or not well known.

Seven (7) days is the most common auction duration, and that is what we recommend for most items.   This gives buyers a solid week to see your listing, research your item, place bids, and watch the action.  It is a good idea to cover at least one week's cycle, so that bidders that only sign in on Sundays for example, can bid on your item.  You should also consider what day the auction will be ending.  Sundays and Mondays seem to be good days for an auction to end, whereas national holidays are not.
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Got a question we missed?
If you would like clarification on any of the above answers, or have a question that we have missed, please contact us, and we would be happy to email promptly.  If you have a specific auction you are asking about, please include at least the title of the auction or the item number in your email.

Have a suggestion?  Please contact us.   We would greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions you might have.


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