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Mon May 9 2011 22:19:42

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

By: Ina Steiner

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Bidders began noticing something strange on eBay auctions at the very end of April - some listings were ending with higher bids than they seemingly should have. eBay auction bidding works in increments, as explained on this page. But apparently eBay has been using larger bid increments on some auctions over the past week and a half.

As a bidder explained, "This just happened to me on item 120718163710. There were a total of two bids. The first was $35. The system would not accept another bid under $37, so in frustration I entered $39 and it made the automatic bid of $37. In other words, ebay used an increment of $2 instead of $1. This is exactly double the correct increment, just as in these other postings. I feel I should have won this for $36. Is ebay experimenting with different increments on selected items? If so, they should let bidders know this."

There are multiple discussions about the unusual bid behavior taking place on eBay boards. Some users report that eBay customer service reps are saying it's a test eBay is conducting through May 12 on 5% of active listings.

A user posted a transcript of a live chat with an eBay representative in which the rep stated:

"eBay's transaction team will be conducting two tests to our site on bid increments. There was analysis done where in 22% of auctions, where there was proxy bid placed, the final selling price of the item did not max out the proxy bid. There will be two variants running and two control groups. The first variant test will increment the bid increment by 2x the current increment and the second test variant will increase the bid amount by 3x the current increment."

Since bidders are unaware of the test increments, it's unclear exactly what eBay is trying to test. Some bidders say they've been able to get credits when they have complained about paying higher bids due to the larger increments. We reached out to eBay this evening, and will update this post when we learn more.



The graphic above shows part of the eBay help pages on bid increments, which includes a paragraph that states eBay may, "from time to time," change bid increments.




Comments (44) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue May 10 00:19:43 2011

Like many changes ebay makes, I question the legality of their artificial bidding increments.

The effect is to transform ebay corp into an auctioneer, and ebay corp is NOT a licensed auctioneer in any state that I'm aware of.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Tue May 10 00:34:24 2011

With eBay+PayPal fees now running at near 14% it will be difficult for eBay to implement another of their “lowest fees ever” spin campaigns. The next best thing is to try stop the leaks on the rusting old hulk is to try to increase the prices the mug buyers are paying: those few extra pennies brought in from an increase in bid increment size may well keep the mindless analysts of Wall Street happy for at least one more quarter.

Enron / eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: Gary Overton
Web Site

Tue May 10 02:40:06 2011

Glad to see this article. I seldom run auctions anymore but for a couple of weeks I was auctioning off some family silver.
The bid increments did not look right for some reason & I meant to go back and check them but never did

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: Rich

Tue May 10 02:42:09 2011

This would be good for sellers unless buyers got pissed off and buy even more on Amazon; or they start bidding less or start bidding in smaller and smaller increments.  The Ivy League geniuses at Ebay still haven't figured out why Amazon is a $200 stock and Ebay's stuck on $32.  Amazon hasn't raised fees in years, but grows by allowing sellers to price things low which attracts buyers; while Ebay raises fees and forces sellers to charge more so buyers compare prices and often do not buy anymore on Ebay.  Ebay's loss continues to be Amazon's gain and now Ebay's next move is to raise prices even more on buyers???  

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: Ebay's Slow Death

Tue May 10 02:53:21 2011

This is just Ebay's sneaky way to squeeze more money out of its Users. They've squeezed the Sellers enough for the time being, so now they are going after the Buyers. Trouble is, most Buyers don't even realize that bidding on Ebay is now costing them more. They are already paying more for that commission on S&H.

Ebay management is all about the money now. Squeeze all the Sellers and Buyers until they squeal. Then Ebay just laughs and tries to figure out something else to get more money out of everyone.

I'm tired of giving them anymore of my money. I've moved on.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: Phil deBasquet

Tue May 10 03:55:30 2011

This is the single most amazing abuse in ebay's long history of punishing its users. Ebay certainly seems to be on a path of self destruction. between the fees i pay and doing this to buyers, they are driving me out of business.
thanks john.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: Susan

Tue May 10 06:19:48 2011

I don't even bother to go to ebay any more. Amazon has wrapped up the market for all those hard to find items and even better choose which are available for Amazon prime (costs but free 2-day shipping pays for itself quickly).
Amazon has a great search, reliable and lots of options. If I dont find it in amazon prime I expand to all and 99% of the time find what I looking for in 5 minutes.
Ebay's fee drove me away as a seller but it just does not match the ease of amazon. I am still waiting to be able to have a ccart there and pay when I am finished completely, not have to wait for a revised invoice for "combined" shipping

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue May 10 07:31:18 2011

At first glance, this may appear to be something that's good for the seller. After all, a higher bid means more profit for the seller, right?

But I think that this is a dangerous road to follow, and one that could TURN OFF buyers and encourage would-be buyers to abandon an item they're interested in and move on to something else (or even go to some other venue!).

We all know that eBay has a history of poorly-conceived ''improvements'' that are not very well tested, and I fear that this may be one of them. Where will they draw the line? If doubling the minimum bid increment appears to have a positive effect (on ''select'' auctions) then surely they'll assume that tripling or QUADRUPLING it will have an even BIGGER effect, right?

This is a disaster waiting to happen, and WHO will bear the brunt of the consequences? ~~ Go on, take a guess! Tell me, who?

Answer: THE SMALL SELLERS! (That's who!)

Where will it stop? What's going to happen is that the automatic increment will force the next bid to be higher than what the item would have naturally sold for.

Bidders will be thinking to themselves: ''Gee, $40 is a great price, and I'd be willing to go as high as $44... but I'll be darned if I'll bid $50!''

The example above is exaggerated for effect, but it helps to illustrate my point (and it represents a real possibility of what's likely to happen in eBay world.)

It's easy to see that eBay's overzealous greedy scheme will have an undesirable effect that COSTS SELLERS in profits and sales!

I mean, seriously, eBay... WAKE UP! Just take a look at your core group of buyers and tell us HONESTLY that this scheme won't have a negative impact! These are the same buyers who complain (and punish sellers) for charging  10-cents over actual face-value of shipping, while ignoring the added costs of packing material. These are the same buyers who demand a 50% refund because the color of the item was not an exact ''match'' as it appeared on their monitor. ~~ What makes you think that this type of buyer will be happy to go along with this pricing game?

And if they do... a BIG IF... if they do, you know it will be with a bit of RESENTMENT from the get-go! ~~ Now we have a buyer who's a bit perturbed to begin with. Surely eBay understands that these buyers will not be so generous with their FB and DSR's. There will be MORE complaints, MORE punishment, MORE low DSR scores... the list goes on.

It's a damned foolish and myopic thing for eBay to do... or to even ''experiment'' with.

IDIOTS!

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: John

Tue May 10 07:32:06 2011

The percentage numbers for fee increases to sellers is what eBay is addressing. The "test" they are running is to see how many buyers pick up on it.

If enough don't then they will implement it across the board for auctions. By doing that the percentage numbers charged to sellers drops drastically, and they once again win the day with wall street.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue May 10 07:51:24 2011

-- ''The ''test'' they are running is to see how many buyers pick up on it.''

You're probably on to something, John! I fear that the ultimate effect will be to drive away bidders, and therefore auction-sellers... resulting in a DECLINE of auction-sellers.

At this point, eBay will have CREATED a situation whereby they can falsely claim ''See? People just aren't interested in auctions anymore!'' They are creating their own justification for eliminating the auction format completely.

My question is this: If this is what they want to do (and CLEARLY they do) why don't they just go ahead and focking do it?! Get it over with! Quit torturing us and let us move on!

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: Kevin

Tue May 10 07:57:45 2011

Wow....

they finally did something that screws the buyer more than the seller

I am so glad I don't sell there anymore.  

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: Tania

Tue May 10 08:10:32 2011

I just noticed an item I was watching wasn't following the increment chart and for an item.  It has jumped up and it didn't make sense, so I started to try and figure it out.  For example, this item has gone from $220 to $225 to $305 to $376 now $405... according to eBay chart, it should be jumping only by $5.  They are cheating the buyer!  When I look back to my wins... I have an item that jumped from $49.99 to my 75.99!!!

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: Bobbie Sox

Tue May 10 08:20:07 2011

these experiments could end up costing the seller a sale. or it could end up preventing someone from bidding. if an item is randomly selected for this type of thing then the seller should be rewarded by having ZERO final value fees.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: ZZTopshlf

Tue May 10 08:50:29 2011

How pathetic! They are scrounging for every last dime to survive the next quarter or two with Wall Street.

Yo Hoe, you can't keep up this game for much longer. At some point people are going to realize what a disaster this ''disruptive stupidity'' you've been selling really is.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Tue May 10 09:07:52 2011

I welcome these signs of instability and collapse.

It means the new guy- maybe Marc Andreesen or (in my dreams) Gina Bianchini, will come along just that much sooner.

I just hope the rest of the net doesn't mis-interpret ebay's collapse as, "the problem is auctions"

Sure wish Pierre would suffer a midlife crisis, marshall up his billions, and do a hostile takeover of his once-proud progeny.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: Unimatrix 01

Tue May 10 09:28:00 2011

@OP --
''I feel I should have won this for $36.''

I wonder how many other Buyers will feel the same way & choose 2 punish the Seller at the end of the transaction. If Buyers are willing 2 take revenge on a Seller because USPS was 1 day late with a delivery then its quite logical 2 assume those Buyers will B willing (& eager) 2 punish Sellers 4 the games Ebay is playing with the bit encriments.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: DJ

Tue May 10 09:38:47 2011

It's a lot of fun watching the tweakers tweak -from a safe distance.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: V Dude

Tue May 10 09:58:06 2011

Even with all its rules and regulations I am NOT going to leave Ebay and go to work for Amazon.  I know all of you think Amazon is great but I still like having my own business.  It's about time the buyers paid more.  In fact I think the bid increments should be reversed and the idiots that list things for 99 cents should bear the burden.  I guess all of you who LOVE Amazon want the government to take care of you cradle to grave too.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: 301239

Tue May 10 10:14:35 2011

''I guess all of you who LOVE Amazon want the government to take care of you cradle to grave too.''

LOL! Oh dear. I don't quite see the connection, or how you arrive at that conclusion, but it's clear to me that someone has issues. Have a cup of hot chamomile TEA, it will calm your nerves.

eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments   eBay Mysteriously Doubles and Triples Auction Bid Increments

by: bsanut This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue May 10 10:37:04 2011

Gawd.  Why can't it ever be simple with these guys...

JC

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