Monday, July 24, 2006

Rare Transformers Auction Update: G2 Wildrider

The final Stunticon auction is over. G2 Wildrider was sold yesterday with a winning bid of $2950 by kayeskollection (who has won 2 of the other 3 G2 Stunticons put up so far).

As has been the case for most (if not all) or the Hartman auctions thus far, this bid came in by sniping toward the very end of the auction. Within the final 60 seconds of this auction, no fewer than 5 bids (by three different culprits, of whom the winning bidder was by no means the worst) were placed. Although I know I'll get criticism for saying this, I find this to be a cowardly and reprehensible practice that goes against the spirit of what an auction is all about. It is perfectly legal according to the rules of eBay, but is purposely done in a way to get an item before someone else realizes that they have been outbid.

Now, it should be noted here that the eBay system encourages you to put in the highest bid you're willing to pay, and if everyone did this, the impact of snipers would be minimized. At the very least, you wouldn't see all these multiple bids by last-minute snipers trying again to win the auction upon realizing that their attempt didn't work the first time. In fact, the final attempt made on G2 Wildrider came in only 9 seconds before the auction closed, and it's entirely possible that the person who made it failed in snatching the item out from under the actual winner only because he didn't have another second or two to make another attempt.

It has often been said, when I've brought this up on other forums, that although this is, at best, a sad commentary on the human condition, it is also a fact of life of bidding on eBay if you want to win an item. That answer is unsatisfactory to me. This situation continues to exist because not enough people have taken a stand against it. If people did, we'd see two things happen. 1) People would actually bid the highest amount they were really willing to pay in the first place, and sniping would lose its effect, and 2) eBay would be encouraged to change its practices to something more in keeping with the intent of the auction format.

I have not forgotten one other legitimate argument in favor of sniping, which was demonstrated back when G2 Blades was auctioned off. Some one (or perhaps more than one) tried to place bids they had no intention of winning with, simply for the purpose of inflating the amount of money the eventual winner (presumed at that point to be Delphan Rane, who did in fact win the auction in the end) would have to pay.

But this situation only demonstrates a similar lack of integrity to that which sniping itself does. Yes, these behaviors exist within some members of the Transformers community. Everyone knows it. I maintain that we do not defeat such practices by lowering ourselves to their level. Rather, we must continue to fight for what is right (in this case, honesty and integrity in our auction practices) in order to achieve change.

Of course, one alternative many people advocate is avoiding eBay altogether. If looking for non-eBay Transformers sales with a clearly stated price appeals to you, then check out my own TF sales page. However, I must confess that I still shop and sell on eBay, too, so I'd be a hypocrite if I argued for such "eBay avoidance" myself.

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