Monday, May 15, 2006

Rare Transformer Auction Update: G2 Blades

The auction for the final of the 4 G2 Protectobots is now over. Final value: $4050. And yes, Delphan Rane, the nom de guerre of the winner of the other three auctions, now has a "complete" set (in quotes because there is no G2 Hot Shot). Total cost for all four Protectobots: $11,050.

I was going to use this entry to talk about the Protectobots as a set, but some monkey-business from this last auction requires that I talk about that, and leave the Protectobots message for another time....

About mid-way through the week that Blades was being auctioned, at least one bidder illegally attempted to use the "bid retraction" system to fish for a bid that would put him JUST under the then-current maximum, so as to make the winner have to pay more than he otherwise would have. When this was discovered, the illegal bids were retracted. I hope that the culprit was also reported to eBay for this egregious violation of their rules, but this would have been done outside of my awareness. (Incidentally, I say "at least one" because as I look at the bid history for the item, a second bidder that retracted a bid looks more than a bit suspicious. "Entered the wrong amount" indeed....)

While I did comment previously on the apparent contradiction of a person claiming to be "not rich" while winning so many expensive auctions (and did so even further on the relevant Allspark thread), it truly saddens me to see someone stoop to such low and petty measures to force this collector to have to pay even more just so he could complete the set. That is beyond unfair, and is rightly condemned. Whether or not Delphan Rane is "rich" is well beside the point. He has every right to win these collectors items in an open and fair auction. But the minute that someone does this kind of bid tampering, the auction ceases to be open and fair.

I haven't commented on the issue of "sniping" here on the blog, but I've often spoken out against this bidding method elsewhere in the past. For those who don't know, "sniping" is the practice of placing a very high bid within the last few seconds of an auction, in order to win by beating any other possible high bids at the last possible moment. Despite eBay's nominal discouragement of this practice, "sniping" is very popular. Personally, I believe that "sniping" is dishonest and cowardly, and I encourage people simply to bid the highest amount they're actually willing to pay, and let the chips fall where they may (this is eBay's advice on the issue, as well).

However, it must be admitted that this practice, while more open and honest than "sniping," does leave one vulnerable to the kind of bid tampering that occurred here. It's difficult to argue against "sniping," no matter how dishonest it may seem, when it becomes apparent that such practices are the only way to viably win an eBay auction. It's quite frustrating.

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