Auctions - why bid early?

It seems to me that bidding anytime before the very end of a timed auction merely raises the final price. Fun aside, if winning the unit up for bid is the goal, can anyone offer a practical reason to bid early?
I'm fairly busy on ebay and I have learnt, that bidding early makes no sense whatever to the buyer. I helps the seller though, because it mostly, as Rockvirgo says, raises the final price. I've learnt to hold back and wait, even callously and coldly snipe if necessary, if there is something that I really want.
One possible explanation is I think a lot of people like the fun of bidding on a "dream" item, like that Krell monster amp they could never afford. They can fantasize about getting it for a really cheap price. At least until reality kicks in. These are probably some of the same people who buy lottery tickets.
Interesting thought, Kinsekd, you may well be right! Cheers,
Another theory I have about this is that it's kind of like bluffing with poker. If somebody sees something (this is more applicable to Ebay than the 'gon, but anyway) they want, they may be reluctant to bid on it if there's already a bid, 'cause who knows how much that person bid already? Sometimes I bid on something (Ebay) with basically a low bid, but a little higher than the opening bid, so if somebody else comes along and bids, they get the "you've been outbid" message, and think (in my little fantasy world) "wow, this guy must have put down a huge bid, there's no point in going up against him!" Of course, if I'm really obsessed I'll hang out and snipe it anyway, and that's happened to me too. So I don't know if bluffing really works...I just know I buy too much stuff online :)
Ok-- I'll try a different aproach. You bid what you want to get the item for.--So all the +$50 bids are met with "you have been out-bid". Even if you have over-bid, the selling price should be held back to the last $50 dollar increment bid by the second highest bidder--you get it for 50bucks over the second highest bid.
Fortunately the proxy bid system has eliminated the need to "snipe" just enter your max bid. If you use proxy no need to do this days ahead of time, but also no need to enter bid with 10 seconds left thinking you will sneak in a low price a couple dollars more than last bid, since you have already committed to max price.

The only "problem" with proxy bid is friend of seller with no intention to actually buy item may bid up the item at the end and hope to push proxy bids up automatically......I wonder how much of this happens, and how would you ever prove or find out about it?

I would think red flags would go up if the same item were auctioned more than once from same seller (if you could find out this info).
The times that I will bid early is only to clear out the non serious bidders - I want to get it over a certain amount to test the waters and see who stays in the game. Kinda like poker, I guess, huh?
I then sit back and wait. I usually will not enter my final bid until the end and hope my proxy kicks butt. I have been beat too many time when bidding too early.

megasam, why would red flags go up? I have relisted items when my reserve price was not met. Is that what you mean?

There is a reason no one else has mentioned. When an item is obviously being auction by a private individual (Not an antique dealer) and is extremely under it's value I'll place a bid just to keep a dealer from taking advantage of the uninformed. A good example would be someone selling their Dad's collection, or stereo after he has passed on.
I have bought and sold on both formats and a few others. The only thing I have learned is you cannot predict what will happen.Sometimes everyone wants it or no one.
I have sold stuff that didn't work (for parts ect.) and got 2 or 3 times what I expected.Put up great items ( to me anyway ) that didn't get much responce or bidding.
Sold stuff in 5 min.after posting and posted items 5 times to sell.
Buying has gone the same.
If I ever figure out when and how to bid and when and how to sell...LOOK OUT B. G. !!!
I sometimes will bid early just to track and or watch something i'm interested in, e-bay use to have a 20 item max. that you could watch, i think it's now 30, but you can bid early or low and watch as many as you want. A $10.00 bid on a $1000-2000 item hardly brings the total up.
Angela, yes there can be legitimate reasons why same item is auctioned more than once by same seller as you just described. I am just wondering out loud about my description above where friend "could" bid up item to raise proxy bids, and then if he went too far and was high bid not buy the item. Seller would then have to auction again later.

That might be a nice feature to have at Audiogon, an auction history so buyer could see previous results if same item was auctioned before, and draw his own conclusions.

The scenario I describe hopefully rarely if ever happens at Audiogon auctions, especially if seller has great feedback history. Don't want to get too off track here from original question about when to place your bid.
Angela, I think thtt Magasam was referring to an Ebay seller who relists an item that was ostensibly "sold" in a previous auction (to his friend Rocco who put in false bids in an attempt to push up the proxy). I suspect this happens frequently, especially for sellers of big ticket items who have set their reserve price too low and start to get nervous towards the end. I've also seen "no reserve" Ebay auctions get pulled by sellers at what seems like the 11th hour, i.e., just when I thought I was getting a steal. The overtime system at Audiogon cures many of these ills, but I wouldn't think it would be appropriate for Ebay since their market is so broad. It helps here since we're such a civil (anti-snipe) group!
I bid early via proxy bidding all the time. The way I figure it, I'll set my max and if I'm sniped so be it. My max is truly my max so there's no need to worry about being beaten; the same item will come up for bids again shortly. For those who wait for the last few seconds to bid, I can see that being kind of fun but I just don't have the time or inclination. Yes, I love "buy it nows"! An observation: people are far more accurate in their decriptions of their gear here on the 'Gon than on Ebay. On the other hand Ebayers don't ask the buyer to cover PayPal fees. I prefer the 'Gon all the same.
Jeff, I envy you.... I was trying that for about 2 months on a Marantz tuner and always got outbid.... I didn't want to pay too much, you know how the range can vary hundreds of dollars. Finally, I did what you said and bid a fair, but high proxy (I watched recent auctions end to see what going price was) and I just said, I want it,dammit, and if this is what it takes, then okokok already, UNCLE, I'll bid it :) and guess what? I got the tuner (McIntosh mr71) for WAY less than I hoped and my proxy was was fair, but DOUBLE what I ended up paying for it.
I agree with AudioBob, you just never know - I think that is part of the attraction and the game.
Megasam, that practice is illegal and anyone caught doing that will be banned from eBay.
I recently had a friend that someone bid on their auction and won and then started the sob story about no money and could he wait a week or two, then the guy had the bal... er I mean NERVE to copy the guy's auction and put the item up for bid when he didn't take possession yet. too much, he got burned and banned... You just have to be careful. I agree that I feel much safer buying and selling here
off to enjoy her Sunday :)
I really don't like the auction process and rarely use it. The reserve or opening bid is usually at or close to fair market price so the auction system as a rule is for sellers to increase their return. I have bid early on occasion on something I am serious about purchasing. I list my max price and if I get it, fine. I just don't have the time or energy to play auction in the last hour or so. On occasion on e-bay I have had other sellers e-mail with the same product that I lost the bid on and take my bid offer.
Auctions- why bid at all?

Seems to me that buying unseen, unheard in the context where the price can only go up, probably over the price you would pay when dealing in the course of a normal negotiation is almost invariably a losing propostion. The reserves are usually high. Recourses if something is wrong with the product non-existant, save and except for the pious wishes of e-Bay and others in the business of running these things.
I cancelled an auction when it got no bids. Got messages asking "what happend to the auction?". Sorry but I don't do auctions for your "entertainment". If you want something, lock it in with minimum bid and then you can watch it till the wheels come off. Lately, I get the feeling that the personal computer game has run its course and the nerds have moved into audio.
Dweller...I've seen many many auctions on eBay get no bids, and then go for a much higher price than normal at the end, because a large number of snipers show up then hoping for a deal. Setting a reserve price will protect you from giving it away.

I always bid early when someone sets a "buy it now" with no reserve on an item I like, but think the "buy it now" is more then I want to pay. Bidding on a non-reserved "buy-it-now" auction makes the buy-it-now go away.

Not every auction gets sniped. I have gotten good deals on eBay bidding early, mostly when I knew I would not be around at the end.
On an item I want, but is nearing my max, I oftentimes place a bid in hope that other sellors see there are additional buyers out there. Often times I'm able to win at a lower price on the next listing.
I've done exactly the same thing. :)
It's stupid to bid early. Your right drives the price up. Hey it's bad for the seller but can be great for the buyer. So wait till the last second..........HAPPY BUYING....
I have two thoughts. I have bought cables and power cords from manufacturers for the same price as they went for on recently closed auctions. If i like the price I contact them and ask if I can buy one at that price. It has worked alamost every time I have tried it.

On auctions I find myself getting emotional if I start bidding too early and more than once I have bid more than I had promised myself than I would as I find myself really wanting the item and the hype gets to me. This is one reason I try to limit myself to auctions that have little more than an hour or two remaining.