$1 Bids, the dickest of dick moves.

The Misprints and Rarities Facebook group has become the primary marketplace for auctioning off misprints and rarities.  Unlike eBay, the FB group has a tremendous amount of visibility directly to the target audience.  Also unlike eBay, Facebook auctions are a sequential series of non-binding, unregulated comments.  There's an inherit risk when buying and selling on FB, but it's usually a small one since we're a moderated community.  "So what does this have to do with $1 bids, Jason?" you ask.  Well, it's that whole community thing.

I suppose the title of this blog is slightly misleading.  Despite my strong aversion to $1 bids, there is a time and a place for them.  Personally, I believe that place to be on any item that's current bid is less than $5.  After that, is when the dick moves start, and get progressively dickier.  Outbidding by $1 on anything higher than $50 is downright shameful.  Context is key here.  If you outbid a fellow community member by $1 every time they place a bid, it's disrespectful and a waste of their time (it also generates spam level FB notifications), even if their bid is lower than your potential maximum.  In most cases, $1 is not enough of a deterrent for people to fold.  All you're doing is being annoying. 

There are 'strategic' reasons to make $1 bids on auctions.  They mask your potential highest bid, they will save you the most amount of money when they stick, and they put other bidders on tilt.  If your MO is to win auctions for the least amount of money, those are pretty good strategies.  You're welcome to exercise them if you want, but don't pretend that you're not being an asshat to other members when you do that stuff.  If you find yourself not respected by the community at large, don't be surprised.  Misprint collectors are a pretty tight knit community.  Bad reputations will not serve you well in the long run.  If you show respect to other members, you will in turn be respected.

Most sellers set $1 minimum bid increments as a means to prevent dealing in pennies (something that can easily be done by just saying. "Bids must be in whole dollar amounts.").  They also have the added benefit of continually bumping your auction thread.  Higher visibility usually leads to more action and higher end prices on auctions.  This can backfire though.  It doesn't always guarantee you more bidding action.  When members see a post get bumped to the top of the group a million times a day, they start ignoring it.  What you think is helping, can actually hurt you.  Additionally, there are members who are less likely to even bother bidding against the $1 bargain hunters because it's not worth the hassle.  If you want the best way to get solid action on your items, I would recommend using a minimum bid system that escalates in proportion to the current bid.  Here's what that might look like;

  • Minimum bid on cards < $10 is $1
  • Minimum bid on cards < $20 is $2
  • Minimum bid on cards < $30 is $3
  • Minimum bid on cards < $50 is $5
  • Minimum bid on cards < $100 is $10
  • etc, you get the math that's going on here and can fill in all the blanks.

I prefer this over flat % based minimum bid systems because it's very easy for bidders to calculate what the minimum bid on an item is.  This is a great idea for sellers because it can net you HIGHER prices when true bidding wars break out.  Bidders will be forced to be very thoughtful about their bids, and it will make things smoother in the long run.

If you want to employ the $1 bidding strategy, go ahead, but know that you are doing so at the cost of a negative impact to your reputation in the community.  There are a lot of collectors who don't share that sentiment, but there are also a lot of collectors who feel the same as I do.  If you want that sort of action, go to eBay and save us all the headache.  Facebook is not optimized for auctioning, but it's what we've got.  I'd really appreciated it if you stopped being assholes.  "If you can't beat them, join them."  Fuck that.  I have integrity. /endRant