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Auction Error

Posted by Jake Harper  
Jake Harper January 11, 2018 03:11AM
The auction is not working correctly. Our Anahi mine Amethyst had less than 1 minute before close for us to win and then upon refreshing the page it is now back up to 3 1/2 hours before close!! Why?? This also occurred with the Veracruz Amethyst.....sigh.
Erin Delventhal January 11, 2018 04:32AM

The timing of the auction was set back because of a bid close to the time of closing.

See here:,6,428459,428544#msg-428544

"There is a bid buffer which extends the auction briefly if there are last-minute bids to deter last-second sniping.

This is much closer to the traditional auction model of an auctioneer waiting until there are no more bids before closing the auction and is fairer to everyone who wishes to bid."
Jake Harper January 11, 2018 05:44AM
OK, thanks. Though I must say that 3 1/2 hours added to the auction is FAR from "brief".
Jake Harper January 11, 2018 06:32AM
Another 2 hours added. It would be thoughtful to include this prudent information at the top of the auction page and let folks know the rules and how they do differ from Ebay before they bid.
Erin Delventhal January 11, 2018 06:37AM
That will certainly be done in the future and I apologize for both the confusion and the inconvenience.
Don Windeler January 11, 2018 08:33AM
Totally agree on this point. I posted the question on auction closing quoted above and should have pressed for specifics on what "X" was; based on other auction sites in play today the norm is either 5 or 10 minutes, not multiple hours. (<> briefly)

I just happened to bash that amethyst out a few more hours further, as i saw it was still open even though I missed the main auction close -- I just thought there were a few pieces that had a later closing time but hadn't read this thread. Still will be happy if I end up with it, though I won't know for quite a while.

Paul De Bondt January 11, 2018 11:16AM
I think about 8 years ago, when there was a first attempt for an auction on Mindat, that problem of adding 3 hours occured already. Not funny if 2 people want the same specimen.
Owen Lewis January 11, 2018 12:14PM
IMO, a 3 hour addition to the auction time is unreasonable. Make the time increment 10 mins (requiring serious bidders to follow the auction on line and in near realtime) or make the incremennt 12 hours (for the greater comfort and convenience of those scattered around a 24 hour time zoned world. I'd vote for 10 min only extensions .
Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 11, 2018 01:10PM
Apologies for this - the original intent was to ensure that everyone who wants to bid has time to bid, and not to have a "mad rush" of bids right at the last moment, which can lead to frustration and disappointment.

In future there will be a much shorter increment of time (between 15 and 45 minutes.)
Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 11, 2018 01:12PM

Thank you to everyone who took part!

Those items that have not been sold will be relisted as part of a future auction.

Doug Daniels January 12, 2018 02:31AM
I didn't bid on anything during the auction, but just a few thoughts based on the above comments.

Other auctions have a stated date and time for closing. I always assumed those were hard and fast rules, but I've seen the closing time drift a bit on some auctions.

Yes, this is an international forum, so may have bidders from who-knows-where. Really, each of us has to to pay attention to when the auction will close, relative to your time zone. We can't have whoever is running the auction decide to extend the close time to avoid the "mad rush". If you really want that specimen, guess you have to be available near the close time.

And as far as when the bidding time gets close to ending - there have been several auctions where I wanted to up the bid, but unfortunately I was working at the time. So, I lost. Life happens. I'm still here (to the consternation of many...).

Anywho, hope it was a good auction for Mindat.
Jake Harper January 12, 2018 05:39AM
I personally found this auction method both disappointing and uncomfortable.
If a closing time is shown, well, that closing time ought to be honored.

Surely, this is not an unreasonable expectation.

Those who are bidding know what time an auction ends and those who are swiftest with the most foresight will win. The “mad rush” is actually the most exciting and enjoyable aspect of any auction. And, if you lose, the disappointment following will pale in comparison to seeing more time added to the auction after you thought you had won.

It might well benefit the seller to tack on more hours to the auction if there is a heated bidding war at the end — but perhaps not. I know that I lost interest quite quickly.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph January 12, 2018 09:07AM
I know it's disappointing to the person who bids at the last moment hoping to grab a bargain, but we have a responsibility to get the most for an item as possible to support mindat!
John Collins January 12, 2018 12:23PM
Did I miss something? During the auction, I never noticed the minimum bid requirement. Was this mentioned with certain specimens?

Ronald J. Pellar January 12, 2018 06:18PM
I have participated in several live auctions and none of them extend the bidding for more than a minute or at most two, as there are many lots to finish in a limited time. I know the internet allows for more time to finish an auction, but the extension of time to allow more bidding after a last second bid is simply an example of pure greed. The only on line auctions that I participate in have a fixed ending time and allow for a maximum bids to placed at any time. This allows for participation by bidders who cannot be at the terminal at bid close. The concept of a maximum bid is to set a limit on what a bidder is willing to pay and the time extension is designed to take advantage of a last minute impulse buy. Sniping is a means of counteracting these impulse bidders, who bid only the minimum increment over the last bid, that an extension policy is designed to take advantage of. I feel that this policy of extending a bid based on a last minute bid will discourage more people from bidding on the auction thus reducing the total revenue that would be possible without it.
Andrew Debnam January 12, 2018 06:28PM
"I feel that this policy of extending a bid based on a last minute bid will discourage more people from bidding on the auction thus reducing the total revenue that would be possible without it".

Agreed Ronald, Doug, John and Jake. I would prefer a more fixed deadline. If pricing is a concern perhaps an opening bid level as many auction houses do have that policy.
Ronald J. Pellar January 12, 2018 07:01PM
I have participated in and always watch a few items on certain online auctions, e.g., MineralMan999 and eBay, They have a hard ending time and the highest prices are realized in the last minute, i.e., sniping! These prices are almost always considerably higher than t0 to 15 minutes before the auction closes are based on the maximum bids submitted.

The term "sniping" has a bad name that is undeserved. It was invented for auctions that allow a maximum bid to be input which encourages the bidder who likes to up the bid by a single increment over the last bid until he exceeds the previous bidder's maximum bid to try to get it as cheap as possible. If you want to eliminate sniping get rid of the maximum bid altogether, i.e., make a bid count at face value. If you did this, I feel that you would really reduce the number of bidders drastically and your revenue as well.
Peter Andresen January 12, 2018 07:29PM
While you have been complaining about what gives you the biggest thrill in an auction, I've renewed my three sponsored pages. Just to be sure to get my daily mindat fix, and catalouge up and running. Hope you all do the same!
Andrew Debnam January 12, 2018 07:55PM
Peter, I donate funds to mindat every year and I have never used that as leverage to try and make others feel like they are not worthy of giving honest and open feedback or what you refer to as complaints. Whilst I understand the sentiment of your statement that mindat is a very valuable resource and should be supported. I do not agree with your characterization of other people's feedback. To each his/her own as long as it is civil.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2018 08:39PM by Andrew Debnam.
Peter Andresen January 12, 2018 10:02PM
Aww, why did I even think about making a coment, and then I did...

How uncivil of me, you have all reasons to make a complaint, Andrew! My donations are pure egoistic to keep mindat online, and not to make others restricted to feel one way or the other. Neither do I want people to stop complainig, if that is the feedback they want to give. Personaly I complaint a lot, and I think it's my civil right. Not so much on mindat, because too often what is said on forums here are interpreted in worst way. So there was my complaint. When did it become wrong to complain about things?

Sorry to be sarcastic, but as a norwegian i only know one english word for a shovel; shovel...

Keep donating to mindat!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2018 10:03PM by Peter Andresen.
Ronald J. Pellar January 13, 2018 07:15PM
On further thought, I was wrong about "face value" bids eliminating snipe bids. Anyone, who has attended a silent auction, where every bid is a "face value" bid, can observe the bidders lining up behind each other to get the last bid in, i.e., a "snipe" bid. By definition the last bid is a snipe bid.

On internet auctions an item is available for bidding for many days whereas live auctions the item is available for bidding for a few minutes, all bids are "face value" bids, and the auction ends after a reasonable pause in bidding. The extended bidding time on online auctions is to provide international participation without any time zone considerations, particularly with the added capability for a "maximum" bid wherein the auction software automatically increments a current bid to a minimum increment above the previous bidders maximum bid, i.e., automatic sniping. The use of third party snipe software to place a maximum bid in at the last minute, or less, is to get around the bidder entering his won bids at last minute with minimum increments and cannot react in time to a new bid for the close of the bidding. When an online auction automatically extends the closing bid time, they only eliminate the effectiveness or the third party snipe software, but their own "snipe" software, i.e., maximum bid mechanism, is still in place and reacts in less than a millisecond.

In my opinion, the effectiveness of extending the closing time to increase revenue is minimal due to the "maximum" bid function available for the full duration of the time that the item is up for bidding. The annoyance factor of having an unknown closing time defeats the purpose that feature is intended to achieve by eliminating some potential bidders. I really thing that Mindat should carefully revisit this issue.
Kyle Bayliff January 13, 2018 09:16PM
Perhaps it would be beneficial to make an outline of the features we want and the rules that need to be spelled out for the next auction. Or perhaps if there is an auction site you think would serve as a good model, point it out. Just remember, Mindat is NOT an auction site, so there may be things that are not feasible or efficient to implement on Mindat that might be effective elsewhere.

So far here are some points that might be helpful (some of mine and some from discussion):

Reduce buffer time added after a last-minute bid (minimizes bidder attrition, increases competition)

List the reserve prices up front for each item (avoid no-sale lots)

List minimum increment for bid increase

Mix of single-item and multi-item lots to generate increased interest (this will depend on donors)

On a different note, when will the next auction be? I was interested in some of the items that did not make the reserve price. Are the fundraising auctions only conducted once a year?
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