My highest praise - for Audiogon

All too often, we hear the negative. Of everything in life. But today, I wanted to put forth my story. One that is positive. Of excellent thinking, planning, and execution when it comes to customer service.

My highest praise. My deepest thanks and appreciation. For who, for what? For Audiogon auctions!

Last night, I was involved in an auction here on Audiogon, and put in my bid for about as high as I would go on the item. A pair of Manley SE/PP tube amps(fabulous amps, congratulations to their lucky new owner). It was bested close to the end of the auction. I decided to stand pat. I will probably go with a new Rogue Magnum instead. Just a judgement call, trying to use my head along with my heart. But, I did see a bit more activity, and wanted to see how things ended up. So, at the close of the auction, I tried to check the winning bid.

To my surprise, it went into OT. Cool!

It goes like this, if there is activity in the waning moments, it goes to OT. No sniping. The winner will be the true winner. The honest and fair winner.

I remember Audiogon's real time auctions back a couple of years ago. Very cool. My biggest complaint about auctions is how someone swoops in the last 5 or 10 seconds, and steals something I was set on. All's fair in love and war? BS. It's low down and cowardly. In fact, last year I lost a pair of black pearl earrings for my fiance on ebay. Believe me, if I ever come across the person who did this, I am still mad enough to tar and feather them. I honestly mean this. With all my fiber. They will pay...

Auctions should be where the person who wins is the one willing to pay the highest price. The highest bid. Auctions should not end precisely at a certain time, but should end once the highest bid has been submitted.

As I said, I did not end up with the amps, but I would have had I WANTED to. And, THAT is the only fair way to play.

THANK YOU Audiogon!!! You are doing it right!
I have the greatest contempt for auction sales. In my opinion the only thing an auction does is push the price on an item above a fair price. This has been the case with everything that I have bid on because the reserve price is always set at the fair resale price anyway. So, everything above that is just gouging. You may like them but I will avoid them with a vengance. I recently tried once more to bid on an item (Vinyl LP)on Ebay I had a very reasonable bid placed on this item there were no bids until the last 5 minutes where it pushed the sale into a ridiculous price range. Why didn't these scumb bags just set their high bid at the auction start. Never again. have a GREAT!!! time with your auctions I HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO WITH MY TIME.
Wholesome, clean family entertainment too. I do like this site and the community.
I agree..the way Audiogon conducts their auctions is far superior to Ebay.
I too have lost out on items because of that last minute sniping bidder.
I don't have a fast connection,dialup,so I can not compete with the faster connections.
OT with the Audiogon auctions levels the playing field.
Keep up the excellent work Audiogon...
Easy to navigate. Great discussions. Passionate, helpful, knowledgeable members who seldom resort to personal attacks even when opionions diverge widely. Great used gear. Blue book, manufacturer directory ... Pretty cool all around! Thanks Audiogon.
Agreed audiogon as a great site(in fact one of only two that I visit everyday) and as far as a marketplace I don't think it gets much better in the cyber world. And of course who can forget the diversity of the members, one hell of a community that I am proud to be part of :). ~Tim
I guess I should be known as lowdowncowardlyscumbag Artemus from now on. Gee I didn't realize I was so morally corrupt.
Nice comments, everyone, and I send kudos to my online friend, Trelja, for starting this thread. I've been frequenting A-gon for about 3 years now, and with one minor exception a year or so ago, I have had uniformly positive experiences with everything about this forum.

During the past 3 years, I have bought and sold a fair amount of audio gear, and -- with one minor exception with a seller -- my experiences have been uniformly positive. In an era when corporate greed (Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, etc.) and the "screw you, Jack, I've got mine" mentality is far too prevalent, how nice it is to be able to enjoy a hobby with a large number of really fine, decent people.

We're fortunate to have a site such as Audiogon -- but let's always remember that the quality of this site ultimately hinges on the honesty, integrity, and sense of community from our members. Thanks to everyone who contributes to this site, and a warm round of applause to the staff who run Audiogon.
As an avid member of eBay, and the occasional sniper, I must take issue with the way this method is described in this thread. First, the highest bid DOES always win an auction, no matter what time the bid was placed. Someone who carefully watches the clock on an auction and then times his bid to best another still has placed the highest bid, no? For those who complain about this "unfair" practice, resulting in losing a pair of earrings or other item, why did you not place your highest maximum bid initially and let the system proxy bid for you? Both eBay and Audiogon appear to use virtually identical systems, so why not place a bid, as recommended, for the MOST that you're willing to spend? Should a sniper come along and bid more, then you have very little room to call "foul" since that person was willing to spend more than you. If you REALLY want an item, why not bid $100,000? I'm pretty sure you'll get it... The whole point of the proxy bidding is to avoid problems with slow versus fast connections, since nothing is faster than the system to increase the current bid price.

To that last argument, some might say "But what about those nasty people who just bid and bid just to drive up the price?" To me, this argument appears specious, since I know of no one who has unlimited funds just to ruin other people's days. In fact, I believe that the overtime system utilized here (and I must confess that I have never used the A'gon auction system and am merely going on a logical extension of what was described in this thread previously) lends itself to a higher incidence of shill bidding which could result in unfair auctions. An "associate" of the seller can easily bump up the price in the last few minutes of the auction, especially if there is considerable interest in the item, and cause a new round of bidding which inflates the price. Again, I make no accusations, and have no idea if this takes place. I would like to hope that it does not, since the vast majority of people on this board appear both congenial and sincere.

I'm terribly sorry if this post has aggravated anyone. I don't post very often, quite rarely in fact, although I do enjoy reading the dialogues in these threads and I do see some names above which regularly contribute and whose opinion I respect.
Yes, A-gon is a very nice site & the auction feature is more than fair. Like anything else, you have to use common sense when making any deal.

I want to point out that not just for the NCAA championship & the Superbowl, but for all games, when the buzzer sounds at the end of the game or contest, that means it's over. At least every game I've ever played in or watched or heard about. (Of course unless called due to weather, etc.) Even if somebody scores during the last microsecond of the game it counts & the winners with 1 second on the clock are now losers. Well guess what? That's what happens on ebay.

Trelja, I've had my heart set on some items before but was outbid in the closing seconds. I don't harbor any animosity towards those that won & I accept that they were willing to pay more for the item, regardless of it's perceived value. In every situation like that the winning bidder was willing to pay more & usually they bid at the last second. It's just one of those annoying trends like all the slow drivers on the interstate who've decided the center lane is now the slow lane instead of the right lane.
Audiogon is the premier audio website, and for good reason. It is run right and the people in charge and the people who are members are good people. It is up to us to maintain this standard. Treat every person here as you would like to be treated yourself. The "Golden Rule". I never miss a day on this forum, unless I am totally jammed up. And then I spend double the time the next day catching up. I don't do auctions much, I prefer to just buy at a price, but many like the excitement of auctions. Let those who do, enjoy them, those who don't can sit out. It is rare these days to find anyplace that has integrity. This is one haven in a crazy world. And who would imagine that it could be populated by a bunch of audio nuts? Let's keep this place in the top spot by doing the right thing each time we make a transaction or post. It is all in our own best interest to do so.
I too have been an Agon member for about 3 years now and I tip my hat to the staff and members. I have met some wonderful people and picked up some pieces of equipment that if not for this site I would not be able to afford. As the auctions go, I do get disappointed that I have not got some pieces that I really would have liked to have. I try and look at it from the respect that it just wasn’t meant to be, and it always seems that something better always comes along. Patience really is a virtue.

I am also an avid member of ebay, but when it comes to my audio equipment it is not even a consideration anymore. I have seen too many scams and people paying way more for the same equipment that you can buy it for right here on Agon. Too many people get caught up in the auctions with the “I’m going to win this no matter what” attitude. That’s when it’s time to walk away. When it comes to auctions, my rule of thumb is to always place the maximum bid that I am comfortable with and is a FAIR price for the piece. When it goes beyond that you can’t get upset about it because, TO YOU, it is beyond a fair price, and you have to look at it from the respect of someone just paid too much money for that item. I hope this helps in some way to soothe your conscience and ease your mind.

I also have the highest praise for Agon. It is truly the ONLY high end marketplace for me.
Good thread Joe, and I agree-- Audiogon is the best. I don't participate in the auctions much, but have certainly gotten a lot of use out of the Classifieds, both buying and selling. Cheers. Craig
Very nicely said and i agree. Sean
Agree with all praise of A-Gon, but must agree with Artemus, Driver, and Ryan about the invalidity, in my view, of the auction complaint. I don't understand just where the supposed foul is that Trelja and JC are so upset about, and I *really* don't understand the animosity generated toward people who, in their estimation, were apparently willing to "overpay" for an item. This is what a free market allows for. It may indeed suck that somebody was willing to pay more than you for an item you really wanted, but what of it? Let it go. It's happened to me many a time, and the best thing for it is to just pretend it's as if you never bid the item in the first place. What else can you do? I routinely go onto ebay and bid the minimum bid for records that I'm interested in, but don't absolutely have to have. Most of these I will lose, but every so often one slips by under the wire and I get a record for a better than reasonable price. Does this make me a crook because I paid less than the "book" - the mythical "fair market value"? No - because I *was* the "market"! Then there are the times when I really do want a record, but decide not to bid my highest bid first, because I don't want the proxy to quickly inflate the market to the level of my maximum, in the case of there being significant other interest. Doing this, however, tends to mean that one must be prepared to watch the auction like a hawk, and to bid again right up to and including the very end. This, of course, is a risky proposition; I might be able to win with a bid lower than if I had max'ed 'er right out of the gate, but the chances are also greater to lose if I generate a last-minute bidding war, or am too busy to finish what I started. There's a lot to said for discouraging your opposition earlier than this by letting them run up against a relentless proxy. In any case, this is the nature of an auction - they can be nerve-racking, anxiety-causing, and deeply disappointing - in other words, as JC learned about himself, they are not for everyone. But this doesn't mean that they are by nature unfair (absent any fraud, of course). The best way for anyone to approach an auction is to know your limit before you start bidding, to stick to it, and to consider the process itself as a form of entertainment, a lot like betting on the ballgame or buying a lottery ticket: You may win, you may lose, but you took your joyride just by participating.
I enjoy Audiogon. I haven't tried the auctions but there is a lot of very choice gear going through. I have bought off dealers here though and every transaction was excellent. I also enjoy the forum....sometimes I may stick my foot in my mouth but people here are gracious. And I do learn a lot. It always food for thought here....keep it coming.....
I guess the only thing I can say to those who do not see the dastardly ways of sniping is to correlate it to a sucker punch.

Yes, the guy who gets the last deadly shot in wins. Yes, if you really wanted to beat the guy you would have thrown the punch before the other guy was ready in a perverse shoe on the other foot thing. Yes, I already prefaced my comments by the "All's fair in love and war" mantra that is the ultimate license to screw anything or anyone in the universe.

The sports analogy is like comparing apple sauce to orange juice. I am a lunatic sports fan, and have never witnessed any game along the lines of this. Oh wait a minute, I forgot about Rosey Ruiz...

Fairness, equity, and looking someone in the eye are a better means of conducting oneself. At least, in my opinion. This isn't a perfect world, but I will support the Audiogon method over the alternative.

I apologize for this slipping into a disagreement. My real point is to thank Audiogon for doing things in a manner I see as a better way. I am glad it is different here than ebay, where all is fair in love and auctions, people are being taken in increasing numbers, and a the sounds of a growing backlash are becoming more and more audible.

Thanks again Audiogon, my good friends, and everyone here who makes it great!
Yes, I love this place! :-)

I would like to comment on the Auctions here. The rules for Audiogon auctions are closer to what an auction is intended to do than the way eBay does it. Remember, fairness is established by BOTH sides of an agreement. An auction is defined specifically to maximize the potential selling price for the SELLER, not to lower the price for the buyer. However, it does so at an increased RISK to the seller. In the presence of a low-ball bid, if nobody is around willing to pay a higher price, the seller doesn't have the ability to say "Ahh, I've changed my mind so I'm gonna wait a couple weeks and try again". He has to give it away for the low-ball price. This is why auctions work--the same as the stock market. If you are willing to risk more, the potential for greater gains are there, but the potential for lower prices by the buyer are there as well. Note my use of the word "POTENTIAL" :-)

A normal auction (in order to maximize the seller's income) does not end at a particular time or bell. It goes until everyone has decided that they have made the highest bid that they are comfortable with. THEN the auctioneer closes the auction. Everyone has had a fair and equal chance to put in their highest bid. The auctioneer judges this by the SLOWDOWN in bidding. Why should an auctioneer ever stop the bidding at the peak of activity (as happens on eBay when the clock times out). The overtime concept of the Audiogon auctions allows the bidding to wind down the way it should.

The time limit is only an artificial constraint necessary to mimick the decision made by the auctioneer since a live autioneer is problematic for E-autions. The assumption is that everyone has put in their bid by the closing time. If the assumption is incorrect, then the "equal chance" component of an auction is violated and the potential for maximum income that the seller should have, is lost. Sniping at the end of an eBay auction not only can prevent a person that may have been willing to buy from achieving the purchase, it ALSO robs potential funds from the seller (Remember him? He's the guy that took the higher risk so that the bidders in return had an increased potential at getting a lower price)

Frequently a person bids higher than they wanted for a "great" price but until that bid is challanged, they don't know whether they are willing to go higher or not. This is where proxy bidding is flawed, it does not allow for this. As a result, when "brick-wall" timeout terminated auctions are used, a flurry of activity can ensue and techniques to "beat the system" become prevalent. My personal preference is for a more civilized approach :-) Bravo Audiogon for civility enforcement!! :-)

BTW, I have been guilty of sniping (although not maliciously). I discover at the last minute that I've been overbid but I could possibly obtain what I want by bidding another buck or two. I may win, but the person who may have been willing to pay many times more than me has been shut out simply because they weren't present at closing. IMHO, sniping has a predatorial feel to it that I don't personally like.

I prefer a system that is fair to everyone and doesn't tend to create large amounts of frustration. Saying that I could have made a much higher proxy bid 8 days ago isn't justification, but again, that is only my personal opinion. Obviously, it can be made to work anyway that the website developers choose. However, I don't like the frustrations that can start due to the "cabbage-patch doll syndrome" that occurs at the end of an eBay auction without overtime, so I tend to avoid them.

Anyway, there's a few thoughts for Y'all :-)

- Jeff
Excellent post Jawiseman! Well thought out and a balanced approach in the analysis. I agree with all of your comments 100%.
BTW, I didn't mean to give the impression that I disapprove of the OT system that Audiogon has implemented (although I must admit that I didn't even know about it prior to reading this thread - thanks, Trelja!) - just that I don't agree with vilifying someone for taking advantage of the rules as they exist on eBay. eBay itself, and how they constuct their site, is another question entirely, and a perfectly legitimate one. I also have to admit that I do sometimes find myself bahaving in a strangely altruistic manner on eBay with regard to ends of auctions. If I place something on my "Watch" list that has one bid on it for the minimum, and no further activity takes place on it before the end of the auction, I could, if I'm looking at the auction just before it closes, decide to test the waters with the first bidder's proxy. But I don't believe I have ever done this. I usually start thinking to myself that I'd probably just wind up driving up their bid before dropping out anyway, so I leave it alone. Or even if I could win it by only bidding a small increment above the first bidder's price (unbeknown to me without trying, of course), I still feel some inhibition for probably ruining their day, and don't do it. So I suppose that, as it regards my own actions, this fact of my conduct does mean that I personally (if not universally in theory) side with Trelja on the morality (but not the ethics - they are different) of "sniping". Thinking about this brings to my attention the potentially significant fact that Audiogon does not incorporate a "Watch" feature one could use to tag auctions without actually bidding on them, and follow through "My Page". This is could be just as meaningful a gesture on Audiogon's part to discourage the practice Trelja abhors as the overtime feature itself. However, the presence of the somewhat similar-acting "Ending Auctions" button on this site, in conjunction with the OT, will probably tend to work in the seller's favor - as it undoubtedly should.
How silly of me to suggest a sports game wasn't over at the buzzer. It might really be true that the outcome is decided by armchair quarterbacks. Yep, state of the art timers & photo finishes are just for show.

Take ebay for what it is & leave it at that.
Great points, Jawiseman and Zaikesman.

You are a sports guru, Driver.

But, I would like to clue you in on OT in sports which you may not yet be familiar with. There is a buzzer at the end of the games in these sports, but believe it or not, it is possible to play on after the "official end" of the game. A short list would be baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer. You might want check them out sometime, I personally find them quite enjoyable(soccer excepted).

And, many would argue that boxing was more pure, or barbaric - take your pick, when there was no preset number of rounds. The match ended when one person no longer answered the bell at the start of a round.
Baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer are not sports, they are games.
Moot point Trelja, about OT. Perhaps I should have said the final buzzer but you undoubtedly are able to comprehend based on your comments.

Speaking of comments, how about Believe me, if I ever come across the person who did this, I am still mad enough to tar and feather them. I honestly mean this. With all my fiber. They will pay... I don't know about being a lunatic sports fan as you qualify yourself but what I get out of your comment is that you're a sore loser & will resort to ??????? to "rectify" the situation as you see fit.
Right, Ivan, just like auctions are. And if it's too hard to display good "gamesmanship" when you lose, better stay off the field! :-)
...which is why baseball is still the game of goes until somebody wins...a lot like this thread...
Great point, Zaikesman.

Ah, the good old days... Now, I should ask my good friend carl_eber(I am overdue on e - mailing him) to jump in here. The discussion was a lot more interesting back then.

Driver, you are not only very knowledgeable in regards to sports, but also in quoting. Are you a sports journalist?
I've enjoyed the pseudo repartee & I'd have to say it's much more civil than any BBS I've ever been too. That in itself makes Audiogon a joy to visit.

As for what I do, it's a reflection of my moniker.
I guess I'm one of those "snipers" that many of you seem to hate. I actually prefer sniping, to me it's the gentleman's way to bidding. It reduces the slow overtime "slug fest" in my opinion. Everyone gets a fair shot to place in one punch (or maybe two? I usually can) just before the auction ends. It's interesting to see who'll "go out on a limb" and proxy with the highest price. Exciting. Plus it helps keep the price down, since most of the activity is confined to the last few minutes (or seconds!). Overtime slug fests, just drive the price up. (from what I've seen). Wall flowers, like youself just love to bid and bid, driving the price up. I like to "limit" that wallflower factor. Keeps the price lower.

And as for the comment about just place your highest bid at the start, and stop with this sniping foolishness!. Ugh. That's the worth thing you can do. Nothing is sillier than the current bid aready at full MSRP with FOUR FULL DAYS LEFT in the auction. Yuck. I'm not made of money. I enjoy "esniping" those of you who are too conversvative to initally bid you full amount. I'd rather play a mental game with you than try to match muscle (read: money). Since I'm sure some of you gross much more than I do. It levels the playing field. Again, only seems to be a big deal to the wallflowers.

And as always, the highest bid wins. It doesn't matter if it was during the first 2 seconds, or the last two. If you lose, then someone wanted to pay more than you, plain and simple. Question: How is holding out your bid until the last few days or hours that much better than the sniper who uses the last few seconds? It's just about the same idea. In both cases you're trying to refrain from raising the price too early. The wallflowers, again show their clumsiness by still bidding too early.

It's just that we'll have to agree to disagree. You view my tactics are cruel, dirty, and underhanded. I view yours as slow, clumsy, and anachronistic. And not to draw an inappropriate parallels, but I think initially guerrilla warfare was treated with the same disdain. Executed properly it is quite elegant and a sight to behold. I've always been a fan of [SURPRISE] THEM, then hit then swift and HARD!!

Generally, if you can knock a (wo)man off balance, you are probably an order of magnitude more likely to kill them with your next blow - then had you not done so.

(If only I could make my posts as "swift and hard" as I preach, LOL. Then we might truly have something!!)

...from the desk of a known sniper.
I don't even want to know what Aroc does for a living... Aroc, do realize that a "wallflower" is someone who chooses not to participate? That hardly describes a person who "just loves to bid and bid", as you put it...

No one here ever said that sniping wasn't *effective*, just that they are against rules that encourage it (I'm not too concerned one way or the other myself).

I am, however, delighted to learn that if I ever run into you in some mercenary-infested equatorial jungle, you will behave like the gentleman that you are, and surprise me off balance, slaying me with one elegant coup-de-grace, rather than engaging me in some anachronistic, drawn-out slugfest that would only highlight my clumsiness. And I thought chivalry was dead...