As I sit here waiting on an Ebay item I bid on to end, I can not help but think about just how annoying reserve pricing is. For those of you who don’t understand the concept, let me give you the definition from Ebay:
A reserve price is the minimum price the seller will accept. This price is hidden from bidders. To win, a bidder must have the highest bid and have met or exceeded the reserve price.
Basically what this means is that if you don’t bid an amount acceptable to the seller, they won’t sell it to you. This idea isn’t terrible, as no one wants to sell a fully functional Playstation 3 for $2 just because no one else bid on it.
The issue I have with reserve pricing is when someone sets the minimum bid below the reserve pricing. Why the hell would you set the minimum price someone can bid at a price that you are unwilling to accept? It doesn’t matter if it attracts more bidders if they aren’t bidding high enough to actually win the auction.
As I mentioned, I’m not against reserve pricing. However, the fact that the reserve is hidden is ridiculously annoying. If I don’t know how much you are willing to sell an item for, I’m just wasting my time. I might as well go bid on someone else’s auction instead. At least then I’m not playing a bidding guessing game.
Instead of setting a reserve price and then a low starting price, why not just set the starting price to your minimum acceptable price? Either that, or tell people what your reserve price is. If you’re only willing to accept an amount higher than what I’m willing to pay for your item, than we clearly aren’t a match and we’re wasting each other’s time.
As a buyer, this kind of crap doesn’t make me want to buy from people who have reserve prices. If you have a minimum acceptable price, I need to know how much it is if I’m going to bid on it.
Others have suggested that you simply ask the buyer what their reserve price is. That’s just stupid. I shouldn’t have to ask them because Ebay shouldn’t hide the reserve to begin with. It does no one any good to hide this information. It’s the same as if every store decided not to post their prices, then waited until you got to the register to either sell it to you or immediately take it away and put it back on the shelf.
Anyway, time to continue Ebay surfing.