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On eBay Addiction 90

El Volio writes "Believe it or not, Worth magazine has a very funny, subtly insightful article on the phenomenon of eBay addiction... " I've witnessed said addiction in people. Its more than just a little disturbing. Its fairly similiar to the Day Trading addiction I've witnessed in roommates too (the worst part is they don't trade, they just reload all day long).
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On eBay Addiction

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  • What makes someone addicted?

    Well, let's look at why we become addicted; I feel it's becouse our minds, needing focus, find the easiest place to put it. Other examples are TV, alcohol, etc.

    It's not easy to focus on kids, other people (unless it's sappy social trivialities), or (god forbid!) using a computer for productive behaviour. We all know the experience of sitting down at the PC intending to make that cool new driver and ending up spending hours surfing. I've considered deleting my web browser.

    So how do you break this habit? It's an issue of empowerment. When you whittle away your time, you feel controlled by your habit, disempowered. To break the habit you need to adress your personal needs; you need to concentrate on what empowers you and do it. If you feel yourself being distracted the resolution is simple: ask yourself if this distraction is empowering or not and make the right decision.


  • Yeah the comments are pretty sick, I was following the mainstream for the first 10 deals or so, (mostly were start with "two thumbs up..." just because I want to justify the orgiastic praises the buyers/sellers gave me.) Then I realized how stupid it is. It doesn't matter as far as I gave him +1, so now my comments are like this "Once Upon a Time in American, the soundtrack is the best."

  • Very similar, also involves hitting Reload quite a bit.... Seems confined to the lower life forms though.
  • Believe it or not, there are people selling their ICQ UIN#/pw on eBay, starting at $50 for numbers in the 1million range. I talked to one of them, who styles himself as a broker of numbers, asking him what my # (103792) would be worth, he said he'd pay me $450 for it, and could probably auction it for $750. The things people would bid on...
  • Similar situation here. I sold a Canopus Pure3D-II (Voodoo2) that I bought refurbished for 150% of what I paid for it, at a time that better tech (TNT) was out for cheaper. Blew my mind, but happily padded my wallet :)
  • Probably the only reason why I'm not a complete e-auction junkie is that I've not yet figured out how to effectively pack stuff for shipping. Else, I've got a room full of junk that's ready to go. Anyone want lightly used back issues of DDJ? hehe. I remember a buddy of mine regularly attending a monthly community yard sale, just to see what would sell and what wouldn't. I paid for a lot of pizza that way, and it was a good way to kill a Saturday morning.

    Seriously, national/international online auctions tend to cater to high-price localities. People may get greater-than-expected prices for items, but that price may still be cheaper than what the buyer can get the item for in their area of the world. I'm separating this factor from the competition factor, which also drives prices. The sum of these two effects plays upon the profit motive of people who can get their hands on goods at a relative discount.

    One other note, from watching online auctions for a few years: quality information results in higher price. I saw this on display in the article, and I suppose this is due to the "blind" nature of the auction.

    So, why do you think that the recent Internet transaction tax bill is originating from South Carolina? Their captive markets, decended from plantation economy, are starting to get away from them, and the Old Money is getting restless. :)
  • Last time Rob posted stats, Slashdot was getting 1 million hits a month. eBay gets 1 million hits an HOUR. There is no "Slashdot Effect" in the world of eBay. I'm sure any eBay sys-admins reading your post are chuckling quietly to themselves.
  • did you ever notice how 50 years ago there were no 'addicts'???
  • (The Gibson Article linked above)
    makes the opinions here (especially katz) look like the chickenscratch most of them are...
  • Damn, maybe I could start selling email accounts now from dusted.net. Now my roommate has all sorts of ideas of selling his number (176377) and getting out of debt. Sheesh, the things people buy.
  • You tell me... I think my number of posts has tripled ever since I started feeling rewarding for posting intelligent comments. :)

    Can you imagine coupling eBay addiction with Slashdot addiction...

    "Remembered by fellow Slashdot readers as the originator of Insightful, Interesting and Funny comments, this Slashdot user account has been negatively moderated only once for suggesting we get rid of Katz, and once for making an anti-Microsoft joke at an awkward time. Karma around 82 as per 13/09/1999. Perfect for trolls who are looking for an account which requires three negative moderations before having a negative score (posts start at 2.) Burn that karma, then return account for a refill.

    "Payment by certified cheque. User id and password will be handled out on receipt of payment.

    "First bid starts at $200."

    How long before we see that? :)

    "There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

  • My wife has had great success selling used kids clothes on Ebay for 2 and 3 times what we bought it for (often used) several years ago. I've noticed a definite competitive effect. People just don't like to lose an action - and they bid stuff up for way more than its really worth for no other reason than to make sure somebody else doesn't get the junk.

    I have no problem taking there money though. If I can help somebody's self esteem and make a few bucks in the process what the hell. Its probably still cheaper than therapy!
  • my impression of EBay is that it's a place where it's much more easy to lose money than to win it, *especially* as a buyer. sure, there are success stories of unloading junk for far more than it's worth, but if you have some techie skills, how does it compare to your hourly rates at work? probably not that great, actually. I'm sure it's possible to get good buying deals on Ebay, but that'd be by finding things that look good to you but noone else is bidding on, rather than playing the competitive game of overbidding for that-thing-you-really-need. a popular auction is a near-guaranty that you'll get screwed: either you don't get the thing, or you're the one who was willing to pay the most for it, which means you're willing to pay more than the average of what people think it's worth. sounds mostly like a losing game to me.
  • hint: go to your own user page (linked from any comment of yours; just bookmark it), and there it shows all your recent posts, with the number of replies. a hell of a lot easier than reloading stories just so you can grep for your nick and find if people replied.
  • Actually, he mentions his id several times in the article: fish8 [ebay.com].

    Numerous buyer feedbacks mentioning the article... and the Madonna and baby are real, and listed for sale here [ebay.com].

    The scary thing is, someone actually bid on it. Probably in response to the article, but still...

  • I think that eBay is a terrible place to buy anything that you can buy elsewhere. Like that digital camera. I guess there's a few reasons for this.

    As someone else said, people will bid stupidly just because they don't want to lose. So you bid $50 for something that costs $100 in the shops, and you feel pretty good. Then someone outbids you. You get into a bidding war. Even when it goes over $100, it seems worth paying "that little bit extra" not to LOSE. Not me, of course, but I'm sure some people feel this way. :-)

    Then there's flat-out ignorant buyers. Don't know what somethings costs in the shops, can't be bothered to comparison shop, it's easier just to bid some bucks on eBay.

    Then there was the interesting comment someone made about high-priced localities. I bought a Diamond Viper 770 TNT2 card on eBay for more than what it costs in the shops. The American shops, that is. But all the places I found that had lower prices wouldn't ship internationally (I live in Australia). The eBay seller was happy to. I paid twenty bucks less than any price I could find here in Sydney. Maybe similar things were going on with those digital cameras?

    But for old stuff, weird stuff, I love eBay. I'm mostly interested in music (that TNT2 card was the only computer related thing I ever bought there). I can find so many old singles, bootlegs, LPs, stuff that simply is not to be found in record shops. Unfortunately there's a lot of stupid bidding goes on. A lot of the time I get outbid so fiercely I just have to think "what is wrong with this idiot, that they would pay so much?!". But maybe it's the last item they need to finish collecting someone's entire discography? All you can do is shrug and assume that sometime someone else will be auctioning the same thing some time soon..

    I've only ever sold a few things there.. records that while not bona-fide "rarities" or "collectibles", aren't things you can just go out and shop for. I've gotten good prices.. in the vicinity of $US20 for CDs. If I took these to a second-hand record shop, they'd give me $5 or $10 for them, and that's Australian dollars. So I'm happy.. the buyer is presumably happy.. and eBay are certainly happy.

  • Og the Cave Man probably collected interesting rocks he found sitting outside the opening to his cave

    Just visualizing that image is quite amusing.

    • Og: Look Ag, me have new rock!
    • Ag: That's nice, Og.
    • Og: Falls when drop!
    • Ag: Uh huh.
    • Og: I'm keeping this one.
    • Ag: Not more damn rock here.
    • Og: Can't keep?
    • Ag: NO!
      • ...
  • I first tried out Ebay on a whim - I had heard about it through a friend of my GF, and decided to see what it was all about (this was sometime last year). I had been to several real life auctions in the past (mostly for furniture) - and Ebay was easy stuff compared to fast talking auctioneers (although, funny thing about these guys is that after you listen to them long enough, they begin to sound normal, and everyone else seems to sound slow after the auction - including yourself!).

    Anyhow, my first item I bid on - and won - was a Dinky model of a Tucker (a gift for a friend). Since then, I have bid and won multiple times (about 20 or so), and have highly rated feedback. I have sold once (that was a nightmare - due to some a-hole with zero feedback rating bidding on the item - a laptop - then not paying. I eventually sold it later on Ebay to an honest buyer). Only a couple of times have I bid and one things that I think I got screwed on (one is this old radar detector I have in my truck - doesn't seem to do much than beep when I get close to cities or microwave towers - oh well, only $10).

    There have been times I have thought about bidding on something, then looked around a bit and found it on the Net for a cheaper price. However, the best things I have bought on Ebay tend to be those things that are impossible to find anymore in any other way:

    I collect old Tomy toys - you, the kind before Tomy became a brand for toddlers...

    Through Ebay I have bought both an Air Jammer Car and a Chatbot (I already have a Verbot and an Omnibot 2000 - just need an Omnibot to fill in the middle a bit!). Not related, but one of my most recent purchases was that of a Milton Bradley Big Trak. Works great too (I am thinking about converting it to wireless computer control)!

    I often wonder what my Tomy Zoids Giant Zrk would go for...

    Or my Bandai Spacewarp sets...

    That is all speculation - I will never let go of these things anyhow - can't get such things anymore - toys nowaday's almost universally suck (not all - but most).

    I haven't bid on Ebay in a while (my last purchase was a VGA -> TV converter - X works great with it, I am going to use it for VR), but I expect to again in the future.

    Some people are addicted to Ebay - I am not one of them...
  • Because there's more people searching Ebay for
    stuff than any of the other auctions. I recently
    put up an old Sun 3/50 computer on Ebay for $0.50,
    the cost for me to put it on Ebay) and was surprised to see the price jump to $46! If anyone's interested in what a Sun 3/50 is I have some info here [ebay.com].

    I was ready to take it to the great computer recycling center in the sky. I guess one man's junk is another man's treasure.

  • He may have written things in a fanciful light but it looks to be based in fact. All you have to do is surf to eBay and run a search on the user feedback for fish8. It's hilarious! This guy really knows how to hype pure crap! Check out his writup for the Depp match boxes [ebay.com].

    As a magazine columnist it isn't surprising that he'd interview celebrities.

  • Heheh. We on the west coast *LOVE* it when people post contests by midnight, EST. Oh. Yeah. 9pm. Sure could be doing other things at the moment (taking a walk, watching TV with kids), but oh no, gotta get on the 'net because some crazy east ender decided to close it at midnight >G.

    (for the humor impaired: the preceding was *humor*. specifically, sarcasm.)

    Seriously, though, I've seen auctions where people do pay way more than *local retail* prices. If people are willing to pay $100 more than retail on a digital camera, and pay shipping...

  • Here's a story of something I sold on eBay.

    The very morning of the day my wife's Powerbook 1400 broke, we talked of selling it to fund a new computer purchase. As Murphey's Law would have it, that day I managed to crack the screen-- leaving about 85% of the screen unviewable.

    What did I do? Put it up on eBay anyway!

    [Up for bid, one Powerbook 1400/117 48M Ram, 750M HD. Everything works except screen and ethernet card.]

    Included a description of the screen and picture. I also noted that I had a practically new 3 gig 2 1/2inch drive I could throw in for an extra $150.

    The result? Final bid over $400. Buyer opted to buy the HD. In the end, we got over $650 for a BROKEN Powerbook! I love eBay! That was close to what we wanted to get if it was working!

    The only reason we put it up is that I noted that someone had sold a near identical model, with a borken screen. However, he had only gotten $150 for it. Personally, I would have been glad to have gotten that.

    I wanted to post a link to the auction, but it was over 6 months ago and it has disaapeared from eBay's server. :-(
  • I've recently signed on at eBay. I've been enjoying it's evolving place in pop-culture through the attempted sale of kidneys, Irridium shares, D.net blocks, etc.

    However, when I started to do a bit of research into how and where to place an item I wished to sell (D.Net blocks as it happens), at first I couldn't even find a place to list it, but then the places I did find had total crap in them. Eg;

    • ~ ~ ~ ~ BANNED IN 27 COUNTRIES!!! ~ ~ ~ ~ :) $5.95
    • {~-~} BILL GATES JUST CALLED ME CRYING {~-~} $5.99
    • HACKS & CRACKS-NEW & SEALED!!! $7.80
    • Make Ebay Your Career! + Free Software! WOW!! $4.95
    This is a sample of items in the general software category. When this sort of stuff arrives in my inbox, I call it spam. I'm not going to waste my time or money competing with this junk.

    How can anyone possibly get addicted to this?


    "I'm a half-wit. I sold the other half on eBay."
  • Who the hell would want to 'boink' Tori Spelling?
  • The only way to get rid of an addiction, as I've found, is to give it up completely, cold turkey.

    I'm not sure that is entirely true. I was once addicted to a MUD - so much so that I flunked out of college. But now, years later, I log on when I get a chance, after I've accomplished everything else on my agenda (including homework), and it is no longer an obsession. I know of lots of people who have quit smoking by using the patch or some other nicotine-controlling product. I think the only way to get rid of an addiction is to want to stop. If a person is serious about giving up an addiction, they will. Even if they can't do it themselves, they will find the help to get it done.
  • >I've heard, and known, people who would scope out
    >yard sales and plan routes for the quickest way
    >to hit all of 'em.. it's sad, if you ask me. and
    >they'd even take their kids along. with no
    >breakfast! ack!

    I remember when I was a kid, my mom would take me out to saturday morning yard sales. Of course, she always made these huge breakfasts beforehand, and only went during the summer, so I guess it's not as bad as what others went through.

    Besides, she always took me out the the mall every other week or so right afterward to buy a Transformer. Damn, I wish I still had that Starscream... He was cool. >:)
  • You're combining shopping addiction with Internet addiction. I bet they'll put out medication a few months from now. :)

    Btw, Worth uses an annoying registration and nagging windows. That's very annoying.

    "There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why do so many people use eBay? Their user interface SUCKS, they *CHARGE* to post auctions (even if nobody buys it), plus they charge a % if somebody DOES buy it. Personally, I use Yahoo because it's 100% free, has a much nicer user interface, and actually has good catagories to keep the auctions separated and so you can find what you are looking for. And it's not full of "make money fast, only $5!!!" actions or warez homemade cd sellers.

    Plus eBay switched everything over to IIS instead of Apache after the server crashed for unknown reasons for 24 hours a couple times. Who knows what MS put in there, they are probably recording everybody's NSA_KEY that post software auctions.
  • I bet these guys have some terrible withdrawal symptoms when EBay goes offline for a day or two at a time...
  • See Man With Complete "Mama's Family" Video Library Never Going On eBay Drunk Again [theonion.com] for our favourite news journal's cutting insights into this growing crisis.

    "NEWTON, MA--In a solemn pledge to himself and the
    world, Kevin Wollersheim, the new owner of a complete Mama's Family video library, announced Monday that he will "never, ever again" shop the online auction house eBay while inebriated."
  • People use ebay because people use ebay. It's that simple. The more popular it is, the more useful it is. That's why it's one of the few internet companies that is making money and will probably continue to make money.

    As for your other points, the user interface could certainly use improvement etc, but their backend is fairly solid notwithstanding the outages. I'd bet on ebay improving before a smaller, better rival takes it's place.

    As for using IIS, oh well, IIS can't find out any more about you than your browser tells it, so get yourself a real browser and quit yer complaining.
  • You know, the fact I'm posting in the first 10 comments on this article proves I exhibit a very similar reloading addiction here on Slashdot... I don't do nothing... I just hit reload all day...

    "There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

  • People use eBay because it's the first name in auction sites. ("Oh, you're doing on-line auctions? I hear eBay is usually pretty good for that sort of thing.") Generally speaking, people will stop at the first good-looking choice they have in many regards. (This has corollaries in real life and in operating systems, but that's another story.)

    Also, (1) there is a LOT of crap on Yahoo! Auctions: illegal stuff, miscategorized items, and phony auctions/bids; and (2) it's very easy to create a fake eBay account, run your bill up until they cancel the account, create another account, etc., etc., etc.
  • by jelwell ( 2152 ) on Monday September 13, 1999 @06:46AM (#1684903)
    Collecting is a old habit, that gives many people a purpose in life. The main force behind ebay addiction (IMHO) is purpose. People like to having a strong feeling inside that drives them - and ebay, in paticular, collecting can give such a drive. Everyone can collect whereas many people can't be derive daily motivation from programming or singing or whatever occupation they have. With Collecting there is always a goal, but it's major strength is that the goal is unbounding.

    I've seen, and been involved in ebay addiction all to often. But even before ebay i've witnessed collection addictions.
    Joseph Elwell.
  • Yeah, and i bet the cheapest place to gte those drugs will be on ebay....

    How ironic that would be
  • Even before medication, I'm sure that some psychiatrist will give it a name - probably relating it to a mild form of autism. :)
  • Yes, indeed.. collection addictions have gone on long before Ebay and will continue long after, I'm sure, because there are just some people in this world that like to collect things, and Internet/Ebay/etc hasn't been around forever.

    I've heard, and known, people who would scope out yard sales and plan routes for the quickest way to hit all of 'em.. it's sad, if you ask me. and they'd even take their kids along. with no breakfast! ack!

    Not for me.. that's for sure
  • I had no problem getting right to the article.

  • Wow, I gave away one of these with two 19" b/w monitors three years ago, because they weren't worth the cost of shipping. How I wish eBay was around back then...
  • Yeah, yeah, and that Rock 'n' Roll music is gonna turn our children into Satan worshippers! Seriously, though, eBay is a problem for exactly the sort of people who get addicted to things like Dungeons & Dragons or gambling or (God forbid) Gallagher-- that is, people with problems. So eBay is just one more manifestation for an addictive personality to get its fix. So I have some sympathy for eBay addicts. Only, not too much. If Johnny5 wasn't cruising the bids for a Brad Radke rookie car in mint condition or a 1956 Elvis doll, he'd be Grand Vizier of Oltoss or throwing back Old No. 7. And at least with eBay you stand a reasonable chance of getting even a piddling return on your time investment.
  • I was considering buying a digital camera. My
    brother suggested I check out eBay and sure
    enough, someone was auctioning off a model I was
    considering. But I did a little search and found
    a price for the the thing on Buycomp. More net
    research showed this was an older model that had
    been much more expensive 6 mos previously. The
    guy on eBay ended up selling 2 of these things at
    auction for more than the NEW price at Buycomp.
    Moral: You really have to know what you're doing
    or else you're a sucker.
  • Also the fact that you win an auction makes it feel better for some. Think about it, you not only bought something but you had to compete for it. And the fact that you outbid anyone else means you either a) had the stronger will b) are wealthier c) were the only serious bidder.

    those are three great ways to rationalize it. Our society is increasingly competitive, this feeds off that.
  • Crazy as it sounds, I'd like to see Rob eBay some Slashdot goodies for us to feed on. Heck, I'd bid. I'd even buy moderator points. YUMMY! 'Sides, can anyone imagine the fun that the Slashdot Effect would cause those poor guys? Better set up some eBay mirrors, Rob...
  • If you do 10 trades worth $1000, and get charged a commission of $14, then your total trade is $10,000 and your total commission is $140 - thus only a 1.4% loss.

    Yes, my wife works for Ameritrade... :)

  • find an early 1980's Bandai 'Frisky Tom' handheld VFD game (great color flourscent display and game play) for a nice price 'cause the seller did'nt put 'vfd' in the title so people searching for one couldn't find it - love it.
    Keep it up, sellers!

  • I never said I was refering to my own posts.
    hint: go back to france
  • ...and now that I can view my karma points on my user page, it's even worse. I have this inexplicable urge to try to figure out how to boost my slashdot karma. Post more, meta-moderate more, etc.

    No, really, I'm not addicted. I swear.

    I have an alpha pager. Last weekend I got intimately familiar with the SNPP perl module. That's all I'm going to say...

    (somebody shoot me, please)
  • They nailed that one on the head - it's hard to imagine owning anything worse than that...yech!

    I don't know what's scarier, that there are actually people that sell that kind of stuff or that people compete against each other to buy it.
  • by jblackman ( 72186 ) on Monday September 13, 1999 @07:15AM (#1684924) Homepage
    William Gibson had a very good piece in Wired on the same subject at http://www.wired.com/wired/archiv e/7.01/ebay.html [wired.com]. It also (very successfully and poetically, I thought) brought eBay addiction into a more far-reaching context. Plus it convinced me that he could do much, much more than sci-fi.
  • Why is this funny and insightful? It reads way too much like the excerpts from "Microserfs" that floated around on- and off-line for a bit before the book came out -- sounded like "Good juicy stuff" about life at Microsoft and then turned out to be complete fiction.

    So this article is about a guy who has a $200/hr job yet prefers to make money (at $200/day) with his big eBay addiction, develops a hankerin' to collect "antique" electronic hand calculators, rubs elbows with Tom Arnold and was mere moments away from having the opportunity to doink Tori Spelling while at the same time having a completely dysfunctional relationship with wife and daughter? It just sounds way too "cool" for me to really believe it's at all true; more like a character from some Neil Stephenson short story.

    It's maybe slightly insightful, but we've known that people get "Addicted" to certain websites for about as long as, well, around about as long as slashdot has been on the scene.


  • I feel so dirty selling my stuff on eBay, just because so many people are addicted to it. Also I have a bad stigma associated with it because eBay's servers seem to be down so often. Whatever you're selling, just make sure like you're not selling your soul. I feel like such a freak doing it...
  • by jammer ( 4062 ) on Monday September 13, 1999 @07:20AM (#1684927) Homepage
    I have gone through an ebay addiction myself, although not hardly as extreme as the one described in this article. I have since recovered, and manage to maintain a more normal approach to things, using auction services when necessary, but not obsessively slavering over them.

    I have put a little thought into just what makes these creations so addictive. I think alot of it has to do with a more general class of websites -- those which are vaguely interactive. Just look at how many of us spend our time reading and replying to stuff on Slashdot. Now amplify it to an arena in which the whole purpose is interaction, and you get the drawing force that much more strengthening.

    Next is the fact that ebay is open 24 hours a day, and your auctions can change any time during that period -- the compulsion is very strong to just check it when you wake up, then when you get home in the evening. But then you're sitting at work, and you wonder if you've won the auction on that widget and you check... then 10 minutes later wonder once more what the current bid is. Put millions of people into an almost instantly responsive environment, and you can easily buld an obsession.

    Furthermore, as has been mentioned previously, there is the sheer quantity of *junk*, especially collectables, on these places. Collecting things is an age-old hobby -- Og the Cave Man probably collected interesting rocks he found sitting outside the opening to his cave.

    Finally, there is the financial aspect. It is possible to get rick quick... and to pay much more than you could ever want for something. This, especially, combined with the previous collectables factor, I think lead to a very strong motivation to keep coming back, and stay on top of an environment which changes every minute of every day.

    Combine all of this with an addictive personality, which easily obsesses on the smallest thing, and you have a recipe for a broken home.
  • Sometimes, we forget that weird stuff like this happens, and more specifically that it can happen to people like us. Frankly, I can suspend disbelief for a bit and go along with the article. After all, my boss a few yars back was Howard Rheingold, and it doesn't get much more odd than that.
  • by chazR ( 41002 ) on Monday September 13, 1999 @07:24AM (#1684929) Homepage
    Funny, I sit around a lot too much just hitting the "Restart" button on my NT box at work. Am I addicted? No. Am I ashamed? Yes.
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Monday September 13, 1999 @08:55AM (#1684930)
    It shouldn't take 5 pages of text to tell that this person has a serious addiction and needs help. *reloading slashdot a few more times* Hrrmm... no new articles. *reloading slashdot again* Huh. Still no new articles... *reloading slashdot*.... That guy should really seek help - he'll spend all his time online doing nothing if he doesn't break the habit...

  • ...it's the prices! I don't know whether the author was completely serious about the kind of markups he got on items, but I'd be inclined to believe it. In the categories I look at (computer stuff, mostly), I think most things are overpriced. There is, in fact, a semi-mathematical proof of why auctions are in general a bad idea for buyers and a good one for sellers: since the price is set by the highest single bidder, all it takes is one fool to inflate the price of an object far beyond its real value. The larger the pool of prospective bidders, the more likely it is that it contains a fool who will do this; hence, the larger the pool of bidders, the higher (on average) the prices get.

    That said, ebay in particular seems to have some odd cultural problems. Go read the evaluations people write of each other. What sound like perfectly ordinary transactions get reviews like "Fantastic! Great to do business with! 9 out of 10!!!" and Crom forbid you should tell the truth, namely, that everything went pretty much ordinarily. My girlfriend once bought some jewelry on ebay, and wrote a review of the seller like "completely satisfactory", and he wrote to her sounding very hurt, asking why she hadn't praised him more highly...

  • Not long at all - check this out: http://cgi.ebay.co m/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=157498247 [ebay.com] - $400 for a VIRTUAL house.

    Now we just need /. to legitimize the transfers, and we're there.

  • For $200, I'm selling (don't have 82 points though, yet :-) )

    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • by Lamont ( 3347 )
    The William Gibson article was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this headline on /.

    I second the recommendation that everyone check it out...definitely worth the read, especially if you are a Gibson fan....
  • Some people take them very seriously you know. If you look in the back of Western Horseman, or any kind of cattle mag, there they are - golf clubs and canes made out of a ex-bull's reproductive parts. Plus, you can even get the purses, but on a ittle stand. I have no idea what you would fill them wit
    h - candy???
  • I can see where this would be a problem... Ebay has had me addicted for the past 6 months. I have been trying to save some money and get some used tape decks off there (Nakamichi)... I spend most of my freetime checking the time left and how much the bidding goes up. I get really pissed off when someone *dares* outbid me on an auction. I get annoyed when there are no pics, and reserves. It is just the Internet I try to tell myself, but the Ebay in my takes over, and back to staring at the time tick away I go.

    A sad existence perhaps, but just another pitfall in the Internet world...
  • While before ebay people have always had collecting as a hobby, obsession even, ebay connects so many people, creating a huge number of suppliers of any given item or category. Certainly larger than in RL where a dedicated collector might exhaust all local or regional suppliers. On ebay, there is always someone willing to sell something. I'm sure if you put out a call for peoples' mothers' ashes, you'd find more than a few people taking your offer.

    I can see how ebay makes normally reasonable collectors obsessed; you just can't have a complete collection of anything, there's always more to buy. And just when you think you've got it all, there will be yet another seller soon, and there you go adding to your collection again.

  • Oh. I went to the main page, and then clicked on the link from there. It prompts me for registration if I want to see the article. Seems they forget to check that if you link directly to the article... Kinda like Hotmail inboxes. :)

    "There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

  • LOL I get the shakes when I bid on something and it's down to the last min or so. But I'm not addicted. I only check once a week...you can spend way too much $ on it! Not to mention time :-)
  • I have a problem. I'm addicted to trying to underbid people in the antique pocket watch section as well as the cheap PC system section (I want me a linux box). Have I tried going cold-turkey? Of course I have. Went cold-ebay for approximately 3 months... but you know what brought me back? trying to find a specific poster for my girlfriend. So instead of my girlfriend trying to save me from my addiction, because of her, I'm doomed to clicking the reload button until 2 am. EST because for some dumb reason, people on the West Coast always seem to set up their auctions at midnight west coast time which is 2 or 3 am east coast time (more of a reason to switch to a standard internet time).

    But there is hope. There is a use for ebay that will allow you to surf around ebay and get stuff for free without having to bid. I've found, being a graphic designer, that I can find stock photographs for tons of weird stuff that NO STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY CD will carry. Looking for a picture of a shag rug? doubt you'll find it in Photodisc, but I guarantee you'll find a photo in ebay. looking for crazy pair of sunglasses? same thing. TONS OF IMAGES!!! YIPPEE!!!

    That's how I got over my addiction, by chanelling my need to find junk at ebay with the ability to get all the stock photographs I could ever use.
  • Why use eBay? Simple.

    People on eBay happily pay more than items are worth.

    It's a great way to make money.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • Whatever you're selling, just make sure like you're not selling your soul. I feel like such a freak doing it...

    Well, definately make sure you're not selling your soul. From what I've seen in past auctions, selling your soul really doesn't get you that much money. I think they went for about $20 at the most.

    And then when you consider those stories about people who sold their soul to Satan for wealth, etc, it sure makes him look like a real sucker!
  • Jerck Labs has announced that researchers associated with the development of Prozac have slightly altered the molecular structure of Prozac to increase it's efficacy against the obsessive/compulsive disorders exhibited by both Ebay and Home Shopping Channel uses. Bayzac, the name given this newly enhanced drug, will only be sold via the internet. Jerck Labs has indicated to stock market analysts that Bayzac will be the first drug targeted and sold to users via the medium they are abusing -- Ebay and the Home Shopping Channel. Bayzac will only be sold in these two forums. Initial reaction to Jerck Labs' announcement was muted on the NYSE. Market analyst Jim Beeglemeister attributes this to the unique marketing ploy of Jerck Labs. "It's like selling an anti-alcholism medication diluted inside a can of Budweiser." Beeglemeister has advised his customers to sell Jerck Lab securities as soon as possible. Jerck Labs has refused to comment. Fnord.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak