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Mindat Auctions now live!

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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 19, 2010 12:34AM
Yes, finally you can start posting real live auctions.

as a TEMPORARY trial while I'm away for Tucson, there is no charge to post auctions, although we ask for a donation if you have a successful auction of a percentage value of your choice. This will be replaced with a fixed-fee structure at some point in the near future, unless you all surprise me with your extreme generosity!

There may still be some teething problems so please bear with me, I'll try and fix anything serious I find as soon as I'm able.

Jolyon
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 19, 2010 12:35AM
You can still post TEST auctions if you want to try the system before committing for real. However at the moment you can't convert a test auction to a live one, so you'll have to repost it again if you want to post a test one for real.

Jolyon
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Michael Garced January 19, 2010 02:38AM
Hello,

I want to thank all who was responsible for creating the auction part of mindat.
I posted a few items to see how things go. From a collectors point of view, its nice
to have an option like this to sell mineral specimens to other collectors. I will be happy to
give a donation if I happen to make any sales.

Regards
Michael
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Chris Stefano January 19, 2010 03:23AM
I've joined in the party as well!
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Dana Slaughter January 19, 2010 05:15AM
Hello All!

Just listed my first rock on the new mindat auction site! Jolyon--you guys (I assume that you had help!) made it VERY easy to list and I'm looking forward to adding more as time allows and kicking back some coin to keep the mindat ball rolling! Many thanks---it seems a great venue to reach true mineral addicts.

Kindest regards,
Dana
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Steve Sorrell January 19, 2010 09:28AM
Congratulations Jolyon and all others involved...

A minor issue which probably won't be there for long is that currently the 12 items listed show on page 1 (http://www.mindat.org/auctionsnew.html) and the next link to page 2 (http://www.mindat.org/auctionsnew.html?cform_is_valid=1&new=1&cf_minq_page=2) shows the same 12 items.

Regards
Steve
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 19, 2010 11:14AM
Actually, I didn't have any help - did it all myself :) Except for the super help from everyone here testing it.

Now, i'm glad to see people have started listing auctions. But if you want it to work (and want to keep mindat successful!) then you have to start bidding!

Jolyon
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Jeff Weissman January 19, 2010 02:00PM
We need to get serious about respecting the categories - I noticed two auctions, albeit 'test', that are listed as rare minerals - chalcopyrite ::o being one of them; I haven't checked any other categories for internal consistency. I realize that this may eventually be a lot of work to moderate this, let us know if you need assistance.
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Steve Sorrell January 20, 2010 11:43AM
Jolyon Ralph Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Actually, I didn't have any help - did it all
> myself :)

Even more impressive Jolyon!

The bids will come!

Regards
Steve
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Debbie Woolf January 20, 2010 12:06PM
Jolyon Ralph Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
Actually, I didn't have any help - did it all myself :)
Jolyon


Thank You Jolyon, I appreciate your hard work & I love the way the photo gets bigger when you close it !

I maybe jumping the gun here but I'd like to know more about the donation, would it be best to donate on a monthly basis ? Will the account & donation details be in the final sale email ?

:)
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Steve Sorrell January 20, 2010 12:11PM
Hi Jolyon

Any chance of adding a Mineral Art category?

Regards
Steve
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Chris Stefano January 20, 2010 02:46PM
I have noticed one issue- it seems that when I click to go to the second page of listings, it just takes me back to the first, I can't see the second page. Otherwise, this is great! Thank you!
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Van King January 20, 2010 10:38PM
I would guess that the auctions will really take off after Tucson. I intend to be a participant. At present, if you go through eBay and PayPal, you end up giving 20% of the proceeds to the "man".

I notice that there is great variety of locality claims being made. Hey, this is mindat! How about localities going through the Mindat database? Also, shouldn't we have a way of knowing if a photo isn't in our database? - and for Mindat have use of the photo? Lots of specimens are going to be offered never before submitted to the primary database.

Best Wishes, Van King



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/2010 03:01PM by Van King.
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 20, 2010 11:03PM
Bug in page 2 now fixed.

mineral art category added

My thought about donations was that people should pay them to me once they reach a reasonable level - it will keep track of what you promised and remind you when you haven't paid me anything for a while! Obviously it has to be of singificant value to avoid being swallowed up with paypal fees.

Jolyon
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 20, 2010 11:04PM
Also, for those who are paying donations to mindat for successful auctions, we will be giving business invoices for your payments listed as auction fees. Although the fees are currently optional, they're still fees that you should be able to mark down as a valid business expense.

Jolyon
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Tomasz Praszkier January 20, 2010 11:27PM
Hi,
I started to list some auctions and I have some questions/suggestions:
1. I think that there should be possibility of selling under company name, not private name. It is even not clear where I can change info about my "auction" profile.
2. I did not found were I can edit auction (before somebody make bids). If there is no this option it should be added.
3. I think that there should be "box" with size of specimen and the biggest crystal on it (not obligatory to fill of course).
4. It will be great if localities could be (not obligatory) selected from MinDat database (like during listing pictures), same with minerals - there will be less chaos and mistakes.
5. I did not found were I can see who is the bidder and possibility of blocking (in the future) some not-serious clients.
6. It will be great if in Shipping prices some jpg could be uploaded with list of all shipping ranges etc. Filling this to each specimen with various weight is annoying.

Overall it looks very good to me and after improvements I hope that there will be a lot of sellers and buyers here!
Only one thing that I am really afraid is that, if there will be a lot of auctions somebody should really check them. If not here will be the same "trash" as at ebay. I know that this is subjective, but for example for me among already listed active auctions any of the "Top end" is not really "Top end".

Last question is - is it possible to use link to auctions on "private" web-pages? If yes, where some banner can be found?

I am really happy that this auctions starts to work!

Tom

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"Spirifer" Geological Society
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 20, 2010 11:58PM
1. I think that there should be possibility of selling under company name, not private name. It is even not clear where I can change info about my "auction" profile.

You can add a company name in your profile. Once I'm back from Tucson i'll add an option so you can choose the company name as your default name in the listings.

2. I did not found were I can edit auction (before somebody make bids). If there is no this option it should be added.

No current way to edit auctions (actually, because of the way the posting system is done that's quite hard right now), but I will work on this again when I'm back from Tucson. We already have the 'preview' stage before submitting the auction, so for now take care. In the meantime if you do something terribly wrong ($1 instead of $1000) then email me and I'll resolve it.

3. I think that there should be "box" with size of specimen and the biggest crystal on it (not obligatory to fill of course).

Agreed!


4. It will be great if localities could be (not obligatory) selected from MinDat database (like during listing pictures), same with minerals - there will be less chaos and mistakes.

Absolutely agreed. Again, this will come later, I just wanted to get something started.

Once we have localities and mineral names specified, we can add option to automatically post the photos to mindat at the same time as posting for the auction.


5. I did not found were I can see who is the bidder and possibility of blocking (in the future) some not-serious clients.

Only the winning bidder is made public for now. Because we are an auction open to many sellers, many of whom I don't personally know, I can't be sure how safe it is to allow sellers to have full details of the people bidding - they may go and try to spam the other bidders for other sale items.

However, if someone is reported to me as a non-serious client, I will try and discuss things with them, and if a solution is not reached they will be blocked from ALL auctions.

6. It will be great if in Shipping prices some jpg could be uploaded with list of all shipping ranges etc. Filling this to each specimen with various weight is annoying.

Not sure about a JPG - that seems wrong :) but if you upload standard text for this, it will remember it in your browser cookies so next time you edit an auction it should still be there.

Jolyon
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Tomasz Praszkier January 21, 2010 12:00AM
One more observation:
On my auction: http://www.mindat.org/item-122.html there was 2 bids - 15$ (or 13$ - I do not remember exactly), reserve price still was not reached. Now there are still 2 bids, but price is 22$... (reserve still not reached). This is very confusing, because you can not see how many bidders there is etc. So I think that first bidder increase bid, but still why there is no 3 bids, but only 2? If you would like to hide bidders names maybe it is better list them as a numbers?

Tom

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"Spirifer" Geological Society
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Tomasz Praszkier January 21, 2010 12:08AM
Once we have localities and mineral names specified, we can add option to automatically post the photos to mindat at the same time as posting for the auction.

I am not sure about this idea because if you will do this MinDat will "sunk" under thousands of poor quality photos of poor minerals. Now people make a selection before posting pictures, during listing everyone will do it.

About bidders data I agree - it should be confidential, especially when they have full names as "ID". But still they can be a numbers - Bidder 1, Bidder 2 etc.

I added to my profile business name but it is not appearing. I changed it yesterday, today I listed new auctions and "info" is still the same.

By the way - again great job with MinDat!! I really would like that this auctions will "dominate" ebay and other services.

Tom

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"Spirifer" Geological Society
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 21, 2010 01:37AM
Thanks for your comments and suggestions Tom, I'll be working on the site to improve the auctions as and when I get time.

The problem with the "missing bid" you saw in your auction was because of a bug I fixed in the way bids below reserve value were shown.

Previously it worked like this:

if auction starts at $0.99 and hidden reserve is $100 and first bidder bids $50, it would set the first bid as $0.99 (lowest possible value) but say the reserve is not met. Then next person comes along, tries to bid $2, and is immediately outbid by the first bidder. But that bid is entirely pointless because it's still below reserve.

So what it does now is raises the bid to the maximum bid value the bidder puts IF the maximum value is still lower than the reserve. So it hopefully means less pointless bids and quicker reaching the reserve figure. This is why the bid appeared to increase with no more bidders. But of course, because it's still below reserve, noone has lost out on this!

Jolyon
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Vandall "Van" King January 21, 2010 01:48AM
There might be a check box where by there could be some sort of Express cross-over listing chosen by the auction poster. Obviously the specimen sales pitch is not the same as a database description, but it would be a way for the process to act smoothly. Certainly, many of the images might go to the user's gallery, but that's an option now.. If the photo is automatically checked and tagged as a species not represented from the locality's gallery, an editor can decide whether to also add to the database gallery.
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Vandall "Van" King January 21, 2010 01:55AM
BTW The only reason people have reserve bids at eBay is that the listing fee is lower. With no listing fee (at the moment) or a flat fee (possibly later), the starting price is the "reserve" price. I always thought eBay was stupid on this point. If there was no competing bidder, you could never buy the item no matter how high you initially bid.
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Steve Sorrell January 21, 2010 11:03AM
Personally, I would always prefer to see the reserve as the starting bid. If the reserve isn't met, unless you are intending to offer the specimen to the highest bidder after the end of the auction for some agreed price, there doesn't seem to be much point.

By the way, thanks for adding the Art category Jolyon.

Regards
Steve
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 21, 2010 11:31AM
I'm considering what to do with reserves.

several possibilities.

1. Remove altogether (sellers won't like this though)
2. Tie reserve to start price (so, for example, reserve cannot be more than 2x start price)
3. Allow seller to optionally accept highest bid below reserve (not sure about this myself)
4. Keep reserve, but make sure it costs more.

When we start charging listing fees on the auctions it's quite likely the listing fee will be based on the starting price of the auction, so an item that is $0.99 start price will have a much lower start fee than an item that is $99,999

However, if you have a $0.99 start price and a $99,999 hidden reserve, the listing fee would be based on your hidden reserve not the start price.

Jolyon
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Tomasz Praszkier January 21, 2010 12:25PM
In my opinion the best will be option :
4. Keep reserve, but make sure it costs more.

About fees it is of course your decision Joylon, but if would you like really "friendly" for sellers it should be some % of value of sold items. Fee for listing should be symbolic, but if you sell an item you pay some %.

Tom

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"Spirifer" Geological Society
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Roger Lang January 21, 2010 12:40PM
Hi Jolyon

Jolyon Ralph Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> 3. Allow seller to optionally accept highest bid
> below reserve (not sure about this myself)
> 4. Keep reserve, but make sure it costs more.

i agree with Tom that 4 is a good option (as for instance a hidden reserve may become an extra payable option to choose). Hidden reserve only makes sense if you have an advantage in case of listing fees are less with low start price. ->

> When we start charging listing fees ....so an
> item that is $0.99 start price will have a much
> lower start fee than an item that is $99,999

contraproductive .. thats a thing why i left ebay years ago as a seller
i would suggest a small listing fee for all start prices and a linear fix percentage of final sale value as provision

Otherwise all will be listed at 0.99, fake bidding will be encouraged to reach the reserve the seller needs to obtain not to lose money on the specimen etc. High listing fees for higher start prices will prevent people from offering higher quality specimens as the market for those is certainly less as for 10 $ specs. I don´t see the advantage for me to list a 200 $ specimen i have a 10 % chance to sell and pay lets say 10 $ listing fee ... so i would go with the 0.99 start (and let´s say a 0.20 $ listing fee) and offer 5 $ specs so my chance to lose money is minimum.

So far i am totally with Tom,
cheers
Roger
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Ralph Bottrill January 21, 2010 01:30PM
I agree with Tom and Roger

Regards,
Ralph
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Richard Felicioni January 21, 2010 02:32PM
I would like to comment on reserves from my buyers point of view. I have never understood having a reserve price, the minimum acceptable price you will sell the item for, not be the starting price. If you won't sell the item for less than $500 and I don't want to spend more than $300 on a specimen there is no sense in me bidding on the item and I am wasting my time. I have not nor do I plan to bid on reserved price auctions. I am confident that others do bid at these auctions otherwise they wouldn't occur. My preference would be to see what you are looking to get for the item and let the auction take care of the final sale price.

But I am not a seller, so maybe I just don't understand the dynamics behind the reserve price. I wish Jolyon and Mindat great success with the new auctions.

Richard



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/2010 02:34PM by Richard Felicioni.
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Mark J. Sigouin January 21, 2010 02:50PM
To me, the reserve concept is just an odd marketing ploy. I see it as a form of bait and switch. Like reading a add with a price on an item in the newspaper, going to the store, picking up an item clearly marked with a price tag, going to the check out, and then having the clerk tell me that those prices aren't the real price. It's more, and by the way, you need to guess what that price really is. Oh and by the way, if you guess it, you are committed to spending that much. Now that would upset me to no end.

In my opinion there should be no reserve. A seller should just list the item for what they want for it, and hope bidders compete with each other to run the price up. If they don't want to accept the low bid, then don't waste people's time and don't put the item up for auction.

If dealer's want to be open for haggling, then have a "buy it now" with a "best offer" option.
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 21, 2010 03:13PM
What we don't want is the auction used just as a sale room for items at full price (eg start price or reserve at the same price it would normally sell for online), that defeats the whole point of it being an auction.

Now, I know that's impossible to police (and i'm not particularly concerned about someone selling his book in the system this way, for now!).

Having listing fees tied to the start price/reserve price is probably the only way I can think of to stop this.

Reserves are probably very useful right now while the auctions are unproven, to give dealers some element of trust.

But the more I think about this, the more I think my 2nd option is probably best, never to allow reserve price to be more than 2x the start price.

And perhaps in the long term we should try and scrap them altogether?

Jolyon
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Roger Lang January 21, 2010 03:17PM
Richard, Mark,
you both made a good point. Any hidden reserve only makes sense if it minimizes costs e.g. as i wrote earlier. I prefer to set items at the start price i need to get without losing money. But if listing fees are higher for higher start prices i am reluctant to risk money ... from a sellers point of view this is i think acceptable for all. Another thing is the psychology of the auction concept. From my experience bidders are more eager to 'compete' if started at a common low level. Even if i set a reserve to lets say 20 and start with 10 i receive more bids (and also higher final sale price) than starting with the 20. Thats odd but a fact and i have some years of experience with that.

BTW a buy now option is a good thing,

cheers
Roger
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Roger Lang January 21, 2010 03:28PM
Jolyon Ralph Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Having listing fees tied to the start
> price/reserve price is probably the only way I can
> think of to stop this.

this will prevent listing higher level specimens ... sry

>
> Reserves are probably very useful right now while
> the auctions are unproven, to give dealers some
> element of trust.

reserves are the fail-safe exit (or should be)

>
> But the more I think about this, the more I think
> my 2nd option is probably best, never to allow
> reserve price to be more than 2x the start price.
>

sry, thats nonsense in my opinion. Either start with the 'fail-safe' price (this only possible if listing fees are low for all start prices) or low start and allow reserve free to choose (even if you may charge extra for a hidden reserve option). For me the first option is the better one.
Regarding your argument you don´t want the auction concept to be softened by high start prices similar to an online shop: this maybe right in part, but you wouldn´t like to see sellers list a 300 $ item starting at 0.99, ending up with 100 maybe and the specimen costed 180. In that case the seller should be able to start with 180 to be safe and then see what happens. If you charge high listing fees this won´t be the case.

just 2 cent
Roger
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Richard Felicioni January 21, 2010 03:42PM
Right now there are no listing fees and I see reserve not met listed on items for sale. However it works out, I am sure I will at the very least enjoy viewing the items listed for sale. Would it be possible to indicate whether an item has a reserve or not? I didn't see this information listed with the items, hopefully I didn't just miss it and it is there.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/2010 03:58PM by Richard Felicioni.
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Richard Felicioni January 21, 2010 03:53PM
One other thought, if you do allow hidden reserves why not make bids actual bids. Where if I bid $50 and the next highest bid is $20 the bid price goes to $50. This way the buyer doesn't have to worry or wait for someone else to drive his bid above the hidden reserve price. Also I would know right away if what I am willing to pay for the item meets the minimum requirements of the seller.

Richard
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Tomasz Praszkier January 21, 2010 04:19PM
Again about reserve price. I am a seller. I do not know psychologically how it works but often if specimen listed form low price (like 0,99) is selling more expensive that listed with final price. Nobody write here this true but all sellers know this. So possibility of listing with low starting price + hidden reserve make some kind of "play". It is engaging buyers in bidding etc, I think a little bit like poker (I am not sure because I do not play smiling smiley).
I do not know what do you decide but I think that as everywhere there should be possibility of hidden reserve price. Again, fee should be counted as % of sale price, so for persons like Roger there will be no difference to list auction with final price or with low starting price.

Tom

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"Spirifer" Geological Society
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Richard Felicioni January 21, 2010 05:21PM
Thomasz, are you the same Spirifer that has a store on another auction site? If you are I have a question below, if not I apologize and ignore the question.

At this auction site store there are 930 items listed for sale with only 66 being offered for auction, the rest are buy it now offers. Of the 66 only 3 are listed with a low starting price and a reserve, with only one of these having a bid attached. The other 62 items have a higher starting price and of the handful I looked at there was no reserve. If you are the same Spirifer, why aren't your listings using this excellent bidding model you speak of, so you can obtain higher prices?

I hope I haven't upset anyone. I just don't like the hidden reserve auction model. I know ultimately I can decide not to participate and what works well for most should be what is utilized.

Richard



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/2010 05:27PM by Richard Felicioni.
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Nik Nikiforou January 21, 2010 06:39PM
I'm with Richard and Mark on this one; I will not waste my time bidding on an item if the seller isn't forthcoming about the minimum amount they will accept for the item; it also "feels" wrong to me if the seller is keeping that information secret from me right at the start. I also would like to see an indication on the mindat auctions informing as to whether or not the item has a reserve.

I have been buying and selling on ebay for eight or nine years and my policy is to never bid on a reserve auction, or put a reserve on any of my auctions. I have sold about 7,000 specimens on eBay over the years that I've been doing this; 99% of these had a starting bid of $1 with no reserve, way below my cost. Until about a year ago I had lost money on less than twenty of these items; this has gone up recently because of the economic downturn, especially on lower/medium quality pieces (high quality pieces are still holding their own for the most part). From my experience, the higher quality specimens are actually the safest to list at low starting prices (again with no reserve) as these almost always fetch prices that result in profit.

Nik
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Steve Sorrell January 22, 2010 07:37AM
Maybe an option is to charge a listing fee for only those items above a specified amount (or with a hidden reserve above that amount) and only charge a percentage of sale for those under?

BTW, I always have no reserve, so if its 0.99 and you are bidding, then that's the bid!

Regards
Steve
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Scott Sadlocha January 22, 2010 03:07PM
I agree with Richard and Mark on the issue of hidden reserves. I haven't sold much on eBay, but I have done a little bit through the years, though none of it is minerals (I don't know enough yet to even consider this!). When I initially started selling some items a few years ago, I listed a more expensive item with a low starting price, to take advantage of a lower listing fee, and a hidden reserve. After a week, I got many emails asking me what the reserve price was, and barely any bids, none of them even close to the reserve. I then listed the item with no reserve, but started the price at what my reserve would be. This time around, I got no bids.This led me to evaluate how I listed the item, and I did some searching online. I found a lot of discussion on the subject, most of it not in favor of hidden reserves, and some of it not in favor of reserves at all. A lot of people seemed to feel that the hidden reserve involved too much secrecy, and thinking about it a bit more, especially from a buyer's perspective, I agreed.

In reading, it seemed that many people liked a lower starting price, as this seemed to spur bidding, even when it was below the reserve amount. I don't know what it is, but it seems that people like auctions with more bidding activity. I have seen this many times when I search for an item. I will find two items, exactly the same, with the same starting price and nearly identical terms, and one will have much more bidding and be at a higher price that the other item. So, in the case of my item, I listed it with a reserve and a lower starting price, but I also listed the reserve price in my auction notes. This time around, I got some furious bidding, especially in the last moments of the auction, and I was a good bit over my reserve price when the auction closed. Since this time, I have listed a few more items, only using reserves on items that are a bit more expensive where I want to make sure I get a reasonable amount (always listing it in the item description) and most of the time not using a reserve at all. Sure, I have gotten burned once or twice, selling an item below what it was worth, but many more times, the lack of reserve seemed to be a benefit, and I have sold many items for far more than what I thought I would sell them for.

Most of my activity on eBay is from a buyer's perspective, and through the years, I have come to disregard hidden reserves in my own purchases. As I look through items, if I see a reserve on an item, with no amount listed in the description, I keep moving on to the next item. I realize that sellers want to spur activity on the auction, and that activity is what makes the auction a viable method of selling rather than an outright or "buy it now" price. Perhaps some type of middle ground can be reached, though I am not sure what it is. Maybe a listed reserve with an amount that is the absolute minimum the seller is willing to take for the item, but still lower than what would be charged in a straight buy, such as at a show or store listing. This would allow the seller to at least make their money back (with the chance for more) and the buyer to feel like they are getting the item for less than what they would pay at a show (with a chance that it would go up to, or over, a "show" amount)
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Adam Kelly January 23, 2010 12:19AM
I'm just happy there are options to pay besides paypal.
I refuse to help support them.
I'd much rather give Joylon and Mindat my money.
AK
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Robert Simonoff January 23, 2010 02:09AM
A couple of suggestions:
Maybe there should be a way to go to the seller's Mindat home page directly from their auction, if he or she has a home page. Like a 'view seller's Mindat home page' link.
I think that a way to see how many times an auction has been viewed could be helpful.
Something that would be really helpful would be a way to go from seeing an auction to the Mindat gallery of photos of that mineral from that locality. This could be used two ways: to compare the piece in the auctions to other samples of the mineral from the same locality, and if somebody looking at the auction thinks the mineral may be misidentified.
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Alfredo Petrov January 23, 2010 04:47PM
I fully agree with Richard, Mark, Nik, Scott, etc.... No hidden reserves! Let Mindat be a venue for those who like transparency in their business transactions. For the same reason, I also enjoy the fact that the vast majority are posting their offerings under their real names, not pseudonyms or business names. From now on I will make it a point myself to only bid on items with real seller names and no hidden reserve. Those who want to play games with my head can go to E-bay and many other venues, where I won't visit them. Well that's my two cents worth, anyway; I'm sure the more professional sellers will disagree.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/2010 04:48PM by Alfredo Petrov.
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Dean Allum January 23, 2010 05:19PM
I also agree there should be no reserve price. These auctions are not limited to HONEST sellers. There is no way of preventing DISHONEST sellers from participating. A reserve price will only serve DISHONEST sellers to avoid paying their auction fees. Those items where the high reserve has not been met at the end of the auction, will immediately be offered at the sellers webstore for the maximum bid price. Jolyon, make your life easier and mindat auctions more popular. Eliminate the reserve!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/2010 10:46PM by Dean Allum.
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Tomasz Praszkier January 23, 2010 08:01PM
I really do not understand this problem - if you do not like auctions with hidden reserve - do not bid on them. It is so easy!
At my auctions at MinDat I especially made few with reserve and few without. It is easy to see that for clients there is no problem to bid on auctions with hidden reserve price (even more peoples bid on them).
I believe that all people should have a choice - if you do not like reserve do not make auctions with it, do not bid on them. What is the problem?
Also selling at seller name as obligatory is REALLY BAD idea. It can works if would you like to make this auctions for fun, for a few persons. If would you like to involve a lot of serious clients and sellers there HAVE to be possibility selling as "company" not private person.
We talk so much much about reserve prices, names etc - I think all this is really not very important. Much more important is to think what should be done to protect this auctions to became "trash" as Ebay. So many people complain here about ebay, but have you got any idea what we have to do? As for me it starts already to be the same at on ebay... Specimens have no sizes (some only weight), categories are missed (see top-end or rare minerals) etc. When this auctions became really popular it will be really chaos. So are any ideas what should be done with that?

Tom

-------------------------------------
"Spirifer" Geological Society
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Tomasz Praszkier January 23, 2010 08:06PM
Richard,
sorry for so late respond but I missed your post. Yes, I am also on Ebay.
Every seller use his techniques - I do not see problem. Sometime I sell with reserve price, sometime no. It is sure that some specimens listed with a low starting price and hidden reserve sales much more expensive than specimens listed with final price. Some specimens are too expensive to risk selling them from for example 0.99 without reserve price.
You have also to know that on majority auctions sites bids are appearing when auction became to the end, so if you check what is going on with bids on my auctions keep tracking to the end and you will understand better.

Tom

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"Spirifer" Geological Society
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Roger Lang January 23, 2010 09:58PM
Dean Allum Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I also agree there should be no reserve price.
> These auctions are not limited to HONEST sellers.
> There is no way of preventing DISHONEST sellers
> from participating. A reserve price will only
> serve DISHONEST sellers to avoid paying their
> auction fees.

Excuse me Dean,
what has a reserve price to do with honest or dishonest sellers? This is a harsh statement. So you allege me being dishonest as i am using reserves sometimes???
And what fees do you mean? The discussed higher listing fees if you start at higher price? If you want 0.99 stuff you will get it. I would be reluctant to list a 300 $ specimen for 0.99 when it costed me 250, i would prefer listing it for 250 start but if i am to pay high listing fees compared to a 0.99 start ... Ok, then list only 0.99 stuff.

Alfredo, if you are a mineral dealer with a business name it would be stupid to change to a persons name ... so people like Tom would certainly have a disadvantage as many people know him under SpiriferMinerals. I am selling as a hobby but i also am more or less known by my longtime synonym .. any who wants to know my real name can read it on the webpage and here in the forum of course.

I agree with Tom that every seller has his/her selling techniques/preferences. It is up to the bidders to accept it or not - they usually are or become convinced by quality, service and smooth transactions. I do not really like hidden reserves (although i also use them from time to time). I prefer start prices that keep my risk at minimum (failsafe) and everybody can see the 'reserve' as it IS the start. But i am not willing to pay more listing fees if my start is higher than 0.99. Again, there are many specimens in the mid range which were too expensive to risk it to lose money if they are receiving bids below the treshold.

Regarding paypal (some posts earlier) ... now tell me a better and faster way for intercontinental money transfer. In Germany it is almost impossible for hobbyists to accept credit cards .. and you wouldn´t use Western Union, won´t you. I don´t know your fees for international wireless bank transfer, but i know what it costs to do so from Germany to outside of Europe.

Finally i agree with Tom that there is still a long way to go for mindat auctions to get some IMHO needed basic standards. Missing sizes, etc. shouldn´t be accepted when posting the auction by default input forms. And i also agree with Tom that one should try to avoid creating a second ebay with all of its strange and crap stuff. Also if due to the high visitors number mindat auctions could become a good deal (and i hope also for Jolyon as he doesn´t do this certainly for public welfare (:P) ). And with a fix linear percentage of the final sale value + a small standard listing fee for all start prices should be easy to handle on the backend side of the auctions for Jolyon.

I will give it a try of course

cheers
Roger
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 23, 2010 10:31PM
The idea that a reserve can avoid people paying auction fees is incorrect.

As I said before, the plan is to have a sliding scale of charges for auction listing (sorry Roger - it has to be done this way otherwise people will list hundreds of high value rocks at artificially high reserve prices because it costs very little to do so and the potential return from a single sale would cover this) and this would be based on reserve price, NOT start price (or start price if no reserve).

So sellers save nothing by listing a $1000 rock at $0.99 with a $1000 reserve, they pay exactly the same as if they'd listed it at $1000 start price.

Jolyon
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Alfredo Petrov January 23, 2010 10:36PM
Of course I don't think dealers should risk selling a $500 stone for $0.99 - that's why starting prices can be selected; seller can start with the minimum price they would be willing to sell for and, if two or more people are interested, the price will go up. I think there is a confusion in this discussion between starting price and hidden reserve price - It is the hidden price that annoys me, not a high initial start. Anyway, I recognize that the world doesn't organize itself according to my annoyances ") Some people I've talked to seem to actually like reserves - they have fun guessing what it is!

Similarly for use of business names. I have a preference for personal names, but business names are acceptable, as long as buyers have an easy procedure for finding out who a business belongs to in case of disputes.

And I agree with Roger that there should be a (small) listing fee, even for pieces that don't sell. This will discourage non-serious sellers from flooding Mindat with hundreds of items at ridiculous high starting prices just on speculation, or as "free advertising" for their businesses. Even at this early stage I'm starting to see some of that going on.
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Tomasz Praszkier January 23, 2010 10:39PM
Again about selling on "personal name". For example for me it is strange situation because I work for Society, I am not owner of specimens. But I have to sell them as mine. A lot of sellers and MinDat users have companies or work for companies. Now they are forced to sell as private persons. So, if MinDat auctions are programmed to be "serious" in the future and useful for dealers (not only for amateur-seller) it have to be possibility selling by companies, not only private people.

Tom

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"Spirifer" Geological Society
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 23, 2010 11:07PM
I have no problem with people using business names to sell under. The system will change to allow this.

Jolyon
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Knut Eldjarn January 23, 2010 11:55PM
Jolyon and Tom,
The only problem I see with selling under a business name is the potential legal challenges with unregistered businesses and societies. It will be hard for Mindat (and potential buyers) to know if a business or society is a legal and responsible entity correctly registered under the law of a given country. Therefore I believe there must be an individual responsibility linked to the sales and traceable to an individual registered as Mindat member. If you decide to sell specimens on behalf of your "society" under the Spiriferminerals name, you will personally have to share responsibility in fulfilling the obligations towards the purchasers and Mindat. If not, Mindat and Jolyon may be placed in a difficult position not only in relation to buyers and other Mindat members, but also under the law.
Knut
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Jorge Muñoz January 24, 2010 12:13AM
Sellers should be obliged to mark RADIOACTIVITY in minerals they are selling! Some hints regarding toxicity when selling stuff like Realgar, Cinnabar, Hutchinsonite etc would certainly not do any harm either...
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Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 24, 2010 12:16AM
I'm not sure how it works in other countries, but in the UK you can trade under a "trading name" without needing any formal registration, in fact up until December 31st 2009 that's exactly how I ran mindat.org.
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Robert Williamson January 24, 2010 02:11AM
A couple of things, some have been brought up, but my 2 cents anyway...

definitely need a 'box' for size. I actually forgot to put it in the first auction I listed and had to add it as a note, (embarrassing)
on that subject, need to be able to edit, at least until there's a bid.

a separate input 'box' for location would also be helpful.

I couldn't find anywhere if there is a max size of pic file that the system will accept, that would really be helpful.

(just for edification, I sell on ebay, my own site and e-rocks, so...) I definitely think that when regular fees start, there should be
at least a nominal listing fee. Otherwise, as has been said, the site could be flooded with junk/overpriced items.

the whole debate about reserves is a tempest in a teapot, imo. If you don't like them, don't use them, or bid on items with them.
however, there should be a notation in the listing if the seller is using a reserve so that the auction can be quickly passed over by
people who don't like them.

and, a question - can we put HTML in the description? Would be helpful.......
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Knut Eldjarn January 24, 2010 08:12AM
Jolyon,
I am sure private persons may operate quite freely under "trading names" in most countries as long as the acitivity is accepted as a "hobby". But in such cases all legal responsibilities rest with the individual. In many countries registering a "one-person-company" entity for commercial purposes requires the name of the individual to be included in the "trading name" to clarify responsibility even with a registered entity.
Tom raises the problem of Mindat members just "working" for societies or companies who would like to use the Mindat auction to sell goods which are not legally in the posession of the individuals registered as Mindat-members. When entering into a commercial contract - even just by offering goods and making bids in your auction, I am sure the legislation of every country requires clarity in relation to the legal status of the parties involved. If SpiriferMinerals offer a specimen on the Mindat Auction without fullfilling their obligations towards the purchaser, Mindat-members and potential bidders should know the extent of responsibility for the individual (Tomasz Praszkier) representing the society in this transaction.
Therefore before letting companies and societies offer specimens in the Mindat auction you should consider these issues.
My advice would be to stick to the indivual membership responsibilities also in such cases. In the case of SpiriferMinerals, specimens should be offered "by Thomas Praszkier on behalf of the SpiriferMineral society" and not by "Thomas Praszkier working for the SpiriferMineral society" or just by "the SpiriferMineral society". In this way the individual registered with Mindat has to ensure that he or she can personally guarantee that the obligations towards other Mindat members and bidders will be fullfilled.
Knut
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Reiner Mielke January 24, 2010 01:52PM
Most of the sellers who put a reserve on their items do so because they would like to get at least what they paid for the item, either in terms of dollars or time and effort. So for those of you who insist on framing this issue in terms of honesty I ask you. Is a dealer who insists on receiving at least what the item cost him dishonest, or is the person who insists on the right to purchase an item for less than what it cost the dealer dishonest?
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Roger Lang January 24, 2010 01:55PM
Reiner,
a FULL ACK from me!
cheers
Roger
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Maggie Wilson January 24, 2010 02:10PM
A thought provoking discussion - here are some of my thoughts

This is an auction, after all, not a store. The way I look at it, sellers hope/assume that several buyers will be interested in their piece and the $0.99 starting price is simply a place holder to get the item on the board.

As a buyer, I do not have a problem with reserve bids: I might feel disappointed that I wasn't able to meet the seller's reserve, but I would not feel cheated or dishonestly treated.

As a seller, I am grateful for the option. I agree with Roger that it is harsh to call the practice dishonest. I consider the reserve bid as insurance that if only one buyer comes to the table, then my piece will sell for what I consider a reasonable price. "Reasonable", of course is in the eye of the beholder and involves many variables, as has been discussed in other threads.

I may be wrong, but I expect there to be no difference between an online auction and a live one. Quite often at a live auction, the opening request for a "reasonable" bid is met with silence. The auctioneer drops the price to rock bottom, then the bidding starts. Human nature kicks in and the fun begins, and often bids rise past the first requested price. Sometimes considerably higher. And isn't that the reason for selling at auction as opposed to a store? To get a bidding war started?
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Alfredo Petrov January 24, 2010 04:58PM
Reiner and Roger, you are still confused between Starting Price and Reserve. You are implying that, without a hidden reserve price, a dealer has no guarantee that his piece won't sell for less than its initial cost. But that is false - He still has the option of putting a higher starting price, visible to everyone.

Furthermore, why should dealers have no risk? I think they should take the risk of suffering a loss. That's the fun of auctions... like gambling. If a dealer doesn't want to take any risks, why is he involved in auctions? Let him sell on his own website for fixed prices like any regular shop.
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Reiner Mielke January 24, 2010 06:26PM
Hello Alfredo,

Maybe you could explain this to me. Time and time again at live auctions I have seen the following. The opening bid is say $50 and there are no bids so the opening bid is reduced to $10. Now there are bids. In the end the specimen sells for $75! What is at work here is human nature and that is why it is wise to start at a low opening bid. Seems to me in such a case both the buyer and seller had fun, why shouldn't the seller be allowed to have fun?.
Dealers do take risks all the time, that is way most dealers put up specimens without a reserve as well as a reserve. I also fail to see why only the dealer should take risks, what is the buyer risking? He can just stop bidding any time. The dealer cannot just stop the auction anytime.
There is also another factor involved and that is that the auction be attended by enough bidders to be able to get a fair price. I have lost hundreds of dollars on 99 cent opening bids because there was only one bidder and that wasn't because the specimen was no good. I saw one very nice specimen up on ebay that opened at 99cents but did not sell. The sample was relisted and sold for $130! That was because the second time around there were bidders and the first time there were none. In that case the dealer was lucky that there wasn't even a single bidder the first time our he would have had to let it go at 99cents. Not everyone can afford to take that sort of risk. The reserve bid is insurance against that sort of thing.
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Amir C. Akhavan January 24, 2010 06:27PM
Maggie Wilson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I may be wrong, but I expect there to be no
> difference between an online auction and a live
> one. Quite often at a live auction, the opening
> request for a "reasonable" bid is met with
> silence. The auctioneer drops the price to rock
> bottom, then the bidding starts. Human nature
> kicks in and the fun begins, and often bids rise
> past the first requested price. Sometimes
> considerably higher. And isn't that the reason
> for selling at auction as opposed to a store? To
> get a bidding war started?

Well, that's the point. There is a difference.
If that was the practice here, a seller would start with the price that he
wants and that he openly announced, and if that doesn't work run another auction
with a lower price or simply decide to not sell it.
An auction is an open business, a reserved bid makes it a bit of a "blind auction".
Some customers perhaps like that extra "kick", I don't.

The sellers are not dishonest at all, on the contrary, their motives are pretty obvious ;)

What I'm more worried about is that this "no-risk business" causes the auction to be flooded
by offerings and that the quality suffers because there's no risk on the dealers side.
It might basically turn into an outpost of web shops.
There is also a fee, of course, maybe I'm too pessimistic.
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Richard Felicioni January 24, 2010 07:17PM
I don't think blind auction are dishonest either, I just don't like to bid on them. I would be happy with a way to distinguish between the two types of auctions. This is just my personal feelings, I want to know if I should even being bidding on the item or have a hope of purchasing. I have a budget I follow and there are many specimens I have no business even thinking about bidding on. I may like to look at their picture, but I would prefer to only bid on items that are realistically in my price range. I am getting better at knowing this on my own, but I still often get caught up in wishful thinking. I also don't like to wait to see if my bid meets the reserve and then no one else bids up to my bid and then you never know. Everyone likes to feel that they got a bargain, with blind reserves I don't think you every get that feeling. The only thing I would ask of Jolyon is a quick way to tell if an auction has a blind reserve.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/24/2010 07:18PM by Richard Felicioni.
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Reiner Mielke January 24, 2010 07:25PM
The idea is to get some bidding going. If one started at the reserve price it is less likely that anyone would bid. How is a no reserve auction going to prevent the auction from being flooded by specimens with high opening prices that no one is going to want to bid on? If you can guarantee bidding on specimens with high opening bids and no reserve that would be awesome!

It is far more likely that without a reserve system poor quality specimens would start flooding the site, specimens that a seller doesn't mind giving away for next to nothing. I sure am not going to put anything up for auction that is really good at a low opening bid without a reserve, and I am not going to waste my time putting something up at a high opening bid that no one is going to bid on either.
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Knut Eldjarn January 24, 2010 09:21PM
What about Jolyons suggestions as posted previously in this thread ? If I understand correctly:
1. Allowing for a reserve price but clearly stating that the auction has a reserve price.
2. Reserve prices must not exceed 2X (or 3X ?) opening bid.
3. A fee system based on a fee for listing the specimen + a percentage of the final selling price - if the specimen is sold.

To encourage sellers to have reserve price as opening bid - or not so far above the opening bid - the listing fee could be composed of 3 elements:
A flat rate for all listings + a small percentage of the opening bid + a larger percentage of the difference between the opening bid and the reserve price (if the seller hopes to get a better price by using this option).

Maybe such a compromise could suit everybody. Purchasers can decide if they want to bid on auctions clearly marked as having a reserve knowing that the reserve price cannot be more than x2 or x3 of the opening bid, sellers can choose a reserve price option with a lower opening bid (hoping to get a better price) but pay a bit more for using this option than for using the reserve price as opening bid.

Knut
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Amir C. Akhavan January 24, 2010 09:48PM
You simply get the bidding going with a good initial price.

> How is a no reserve auction going to prevent the auction
> from being flooded by specimens with high opening prices
> that no one is going to want to bid on?
By being a waste of time and money on the sellers side.

An auction is not supposed to guarantee bids.
Why would I want to guarantee a bid on a specimen, expensive or not?
What would be awesome about that?
If a specimen does not sell, so be it.

How a reserved bid and the minimized risk on the seller's side
is going to prevent the auction from being flooded with bad specimen
is beyond me (which is not to say that there will be "a flood", I don't know,
probably not)

You don't have to open a bid at 0.99, no one is asking you to do that,
that would be stupid.

If this matter is worth all the fuzz - hm......
I'm free to bid or not bid. And I prefer an open business,
so I won't bid on auctions with a reserved bid.
Others may join and play the game, if they like.
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Amir C. Akhavan January 24, 2010 10:18PM
@Knut
sorry, missed your posting.

Basically I'm all with you in that we need to find a way of preventing mindat
turning into a "all items 0.99" auction, your suggestions might be one way.

Then it will be like this:
Those who have no objections and who join auctions with a reserved bid
know what they do and dealers and customers are happy with it.
Those that don't want to join - like me - will stay away and go to other auctions
and dealers and customers will also be happy.

(I certainly can deal with missing a luxury good once in a while, I won't die from it)
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Leigh Br January 24, 2010 11:43PM
Great-looking auction site so far. Would it be possible to show the time remaining in the item's details, the same as it's shown in the overall auction list?
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Reiner Mielke January 25, 2010 02:33PM
Hello Amir,

First of all a reserve price does not guarantee bids, it only guarantees that if bidding does take place that the seller will not be denied a fair price. Your theory that reserve bids will result in a flood of poor quality items can easily be tested. If you look at current auction items on Mindat and compare the quality of the specimens with reserve prices to those with no reserve, you will find that the quality of the ones with a reserve are higher than those without, exactly the opposite to what you claim!
As for your statement that an opening bid of 99 cents is stupid, it is common practice for retailers to advertise items at low prices ( even below cost) to draw customers into their store in the hope that they will buy something else, something on which the store can make a profit. In a similar way, a 99 cent bid is designed to draws bidders into an auction in the hope that it will stimulate a bidding war to the point where the seller can make a profit.
I fail to see the logic in refusing to bid on something because it has a reserve bid. Are you implying that if an item you liked had an opening bid of say $10 and a hidden reserve of $100 you would not bid on it, but if that same piece had an opening bid of $100 but no reserve you would bid on it?
Since the reserve bid is hidden until someone bids, what would you do if you where the first to bid and then discovered that there was a reserve, would you stop bidding? What if your starting bid was greater than the reserve, would you also stop bidding even thought the reserve would then be redundant?
I think all of you who object to a reserve do so because the reserve simply will not allow you to buy the item at the low price that you want to pay. So spare us all the illogical rationalization and move on.
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Alfredo Petrov January 25, 2010 03:30PM
It's not "illogical rationalization", it's annoyance at something that resembles "bait and switch" tactics... too common already in the commercial world. Reiner's analogy with stores enticing buyers in with below-cost items, in the hope that they'll also buy something more profitable, is a faulty analogy because those stores do actually sell the profit-losing item for the low price advertized - they don't switch it on you after you enter the shop and tell you sorry, you can't really have it at that price. That is illegal, in the USA anyway, although plenty of stores do it anyway (which doesn't make it a more honest business practice).
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Reiner Mielke January 25, 2010 04:33PM
Alfredo,

Bait and Switch? please!! Once a seller puts an item up for auction there is no switch, he must sell the item shown if the reserve is met. The " Loss leader" analogy is perfectly valid because the seller cannot change the reserve price once the item is put up for auction, no more than the retailer can change the price advertised. The only analogy to bait and switch that I can see is the illogical rationalization that somehow once the hidden reserve is revealed ( which is as soon as a bid is placed) it somehow constitutes a switch? It is if though you think you are the only one bidding ( which I am sure is every bidders dream). The fundamental principal of an auction is that the price will change, (or switch) as more bidders place their bids. If you don't like that then stay away from auctions!
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Alfredo Petrov January 25, 2010 05:43PM
Reiner, I certainly don't expect an auctioned item to sell for its starting price, but I do expect the starting price to be the starting price. (Strange concept?) When you have a hidden reserve and a starting price, then the starting price is not really the starting price, which is where you trangress the line in honest advertizing. If the seller insists on a hidden reserve, that fact should be clearly stated in the initial offering, and set the "starting price" at zero - Why the sham of any other starting price - a meaningless number?

When I say "bait and switch", I'm not referring to switching the item on sale, but switching the start price, which is in effect what's going on when you have both a "starting price" and a hidden reserve. I'm fully aware that sellers like the current system because it is more likely to incite a bidding war, in which customers run the risk of getting caught up in the emotion of the "fight" and end up paying far more than the market value of the rock - it's a risk, and part of the excitement of auctions. But then I find it rather cynical of sellers to insist on playing these games with their customers while at the same time being unwilling to accept the risk that their item might sell "too cheap". Why should the seller be immune from the risks of auctions? If he's averse to risk, he can sell for fixed prices on his own website.
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Roger Lang January 25, 2010 06:29PM
Alfredo Petrov Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Reiner, I certainly don't expect an auctioned item
> to sell for its starting price, but I do expect
> the starting price to be the starting price.
> (Strange concept?) When you have a hidden reserve
> and a starting price, then the starting price is
> not really the starting price, which is where you
> trangress the line in honest advertizing. If the
> seller insists on a hidden reserve, that fact
> should be clearly stated in the initial offering

> Why should the seller be immune from the risks of auctions?

Folks,
this is quite circling the wagons now... i think one should point out some things:

1st without sellers no auctions so i think it is quite important to grant people who sell the minerals to have their concept, to express it and give the reasons why ... talking about honesty or something similar (ridiculous to me) is not useful at all.

2nd the auction "feeling" ... as Jolyon posted before he wouldn´t like to have items start at higher prices as he wants to have the auction feeling. I prefer to start with the fail safe higher price so i wouldn´t lose too much or get at least a break even when listing higher quality specimens. If you count the time to take pictures, set up auctions etc. you still would lose even if you get the price the specimen had costed before. People who make their living with professional selling of minerals also have to pay taxes etc. So i have either the possibility to create the auction feeling and take serious risk to lose money or i will have to open with higher start price (but Jolyon already announced that the listing fee will be significantly higher to do so, certainly no win-win situation).

IMO it is no problem setting up a hidden reserve (and again, i am certainly am not a fan of this) if it is clear that there is one (for instance by a small flag in the auction; at the moment the auctions show if reserve is not met so what the problem) .. people who don´t like are not forced to bid. people who like it may be curious and do bids ... finally the results are counting and the market will regulate itself.

> Why should the seller be immune from the risks of auctions?
Alfredo, if you look at professional auctions, there is always a base (open) reserve .. so the risk is minimal. And i am willing to take the risk for items in the below 25 $ class, but not for a > 500 bucks specimen. I cannot afford that. Period! So again, i would prefer to start such an item at 500 (open reserve, i write this as i may have been misunderstood before, i know what a hidden reserve is ;) ), but if i have to pay high listing fees compared to 0.99 start i am reluctant to do so and also Jolyons preferred auction feeling would be gone then ;) ... so a hidden reserve is certainly an option to increase the auction feeling and to failsafe the seller - i agree that it should be clearly marked if there is a HR but see above.

In general i seem to notice a slight(?) attitude against sellers in the whole discussion... i don´t think there is any need to ... and in dubio winking smiley .. see my 1st point: without sellers no auctions,

cheers
Roger
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Scott Sadlocha January 25, 2010 08:43PM
Personally, I don't have a problem with reserves, if used judiciously. I understand a seller's need to minimize risk with certain specimens, though I don't feel they are needed for all auctions. The risk of loss should be a possibility with some auctions, just as with the possibility of furious bidding running the price up to higher than it would be with a normal sale. I think that is what makes an auction exciting, the idea to a buyer that they can get something for a lower amount than if they had bought it outright, and the idea to a seller that they can sell something for a decent amount more than they paid for the item because two or more individuals want the item badly and bid it up. However, let's be reasonable. I don't expect a dealer to list a $500 (or even less, just pulling this number arbitrarily, really it is up to the dealer and their situation) specimen for $.99 with no reserve.

The problem I have is with hidden reserves. The whole idea of it just smacks of too much secrecy to me. I just don't understand why the reserve price can't be listed in the item description, at which point a prospective buyer can read the description, determine if it would or would not be a viable purchase, and make a bid or move on. It just saves time and effort and seems (to me at least) to make good business sense.

As a matter of fact, I bid on an auction item this weekend that I was interested in. As soon as I placed my bid, I found that the item had a hidden reserve, and I was disappointed. For the heck of it, I placed one more higher bid to see where it got me, and found that I still had not met the reserve. At this point I determined that the auction wasn't worth my time and moved on. Now, if that reserve is very close to my bid, I would bid again, if I knew it. Since I don't, I am not bidding again, over and over, until I reach it. It is this aspect that disappoints me. Of course, this is just my opinion, and I understand that everyone is entitled to theirs as well. I just want to get across that I am aware of this concept from a buying and selling perspective, and I hope that some of the sellers out there understand how some buyers feel about it.
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Roger Lang January 25, 2010 09:43PM
Scott Sadlocha Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Personally, I don't have a problem with reserves,
> if used judiciously. I understand a seller's need
> to minimize risk with certain specimens, though I
> don't feel they are needed for all auctions. The
> risk of loss should be a possibility with some
> auctions, just as with the possibility of furious
> bidding running the price up to higher than it
> would be with a normal sale.

Scott,
thanks a lot for this post ... i am really glad that there is an opinion from the buyers side of view seeing the issues on the seller side .. i missed that a bit. We all should be aware that both sides are tied together very strongly. I really appreciate!

> As a matter of fact, I bid on an auction item this
> weekend that I was interested in. As soon as I
> placed my bid, I found that the item had a hidden
> reserve, and I was disappointed. For the heck of
> it, I placed one more higher bid to see where it
> got me, and found that I still had not met the
> reserve. At this point I determined that the
> auction wasn't worth my time and moved on.

That´s exactly what i was telling .. if you feel this isn´t ok for you or above the budget you want to spend .. you are free to stop and ignore.
But let me point out again: The only compromise between auction/bidding experience and the need for a seller to be on failsafe is a reserve. An open reserve is the actual higher starting price .. may attract less bidders but that is ok for me. If Jolyon wants the auction 'feeling' which is tied to low starts then either the specimens quality will be less or hidden reserves maybe allowed. I repeat: if there is a hidden reserve this should be flagged in the auction. All can see, but no one knows the amount .. i do not find this dishonest but quite interesting .. i did myself bid on such auctons frequently and limited myself to my budget .. if it worked out ok, if not .. also ok.

Now, if
> that reserve is very close to my bid, I would bid
> again, if I knew it. Since I don't, I am not
> bidding again, over and over, until I reach it. It
> is this aspect that disappoints me. Of course,
> this is just my opinion, and I understand that
> everyone is entitled to theirs as well. I just
> want to get across that I am aware of this concept
> from a buying and selling perspective, and I hope
> that some of the sellers out there understand how
> some buyers feel about it.

As a sometimes online-buyer also i can support this of course. But again, when i wasn´t convinced that the reserve is ok for me i stopped bidding. What would be an option and also discussed before is the possibility for a seller to sell the item for the highest bid below reserve as he/she is willing to do. See, it is always a balance between decent gain and losses if you sell minerals, especially if you do this as a hobby (pro´s have to calculate in a different way, but i am not a pro) and i can balance a loss against a gain. I want to improve my collection by this way. So as you wrote above, a reserve (also hidden) maybe needed for some auctions .. but not all. But to look upon a hidden reserve as the evil thing doesn´t make sense to me.

Finally, and as i wrote earlier, quality, service and smooth transactions are the things to convince the buyers, not a reserve/no reserve or else

cheers
Roger
avatar
Maggie Wilson January 25, 2010 09:54PM
Thanks for your feedback, Scott.

Up until this thread, I was naively unaware of a negative point of view toward reserve bids. And I am still uncertain as to how to approach future listings on "our" e-rocks site. I suppose we could post our items with an invitation to contact us if the customer wishes to know the reserve... but I'm not sure that is satisfactory.... certainly, that is rather inconvenient for last minute shoppers.

Truly an enlightening thread.

Maggie
avatar
Maggie Wilson January 25, 2010 10:01PM
some more wondering...

at live auction houses, for minerals or household goods or whatever, the auctioneer does not announce the reserve price. At least as far as I know he/she does not. They announce that there IS a reserve, but not WHAT that reserve is.

Why should it be any different online?

But even here, with Mindat auctions in the growing pain stages, once you bid and get the message "reserve not met" ... well, you've got the message! No one is trying to be clever, or deceitful, or otherwise dishonest. It's just basic auction practice.

Maggie
avatar
Roger Lang January 25, 2010 10:05PM
Maggie,
full ack
cheers
Roger
avatar
Tomasz Praszkier January 25, 2010 10:10PM
Very important is to add an option like "sell similar" - it will be great improvement for sellers.

So many people discuss here but why do you not post auctions with good rocks? Why do you not bid on them? If you really care about this auctions site you should to improve it by your great rocks.

Tom

-------------------------------------
"Spirifer" Geological Society
avatar
Maggie Wilson January 25, 2010 10:55PM
I've been bidding, Tomasz... not winning, but I've been bidding! ;)
avatar
Greg Dainty January 25, 2010 11:14PM
Accurate descriptions are most important, why is a fire agate listed in the opal section???? This may seem minor to some people , but the fact is, that it is incorrect. If details like this are not policed, they will magnify, and contradict the high standards that Mindat has achieved. Apart from that , well done Jolyon, and thanks for the tireless effort. ...... Greg
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