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This is a two part question- part one is from something that happened to me, part two is just a kind of "opinion" kind of thing (I want to see what people think on the topic).

Part One-

An artist I follow was hosting an auction. This artist (as some artists do) had all of the "auction info" (i.e. Start Bid price, Autobuy price, minimum bid increase price, Start date, and End date) all in the image for the auction. There was nothing in their description other than mentioning that all of the info is on the submission image.

Admittedly, I did place a bid last-minute.

HOWEVER- the artist then came in and responded to me that "Because this bid was placed last minute, the Snipe Guard goes into effect and lasts for two hours". Snipe guards are a pretty standard thing to see around the auction scene, obviously- but this artist's auction said nothing about a Snipe Guard. Their page said nothing about a snipe guard. They have no TOS linked about a Snipe Guard.

Basically what I'm asking is this- can an artist rightfully add a rule like that in last minute?

Part Two-

This is just an opinion spot because I want to hear what people think.

Personally, I don't always understand Snipe Guards. The INTENDED purpose for a snipe guard is to protect the people who've already bid on the auction from being sniped last minute (which is understandable). HOWEVER- the big question I have (because I see this a LOT) is this- IF a snipe guard comes in to play, should people who hadn't bid on the auction before be allowed to bid? (As in, a person who hasn't placed any bids at all on the auction- the Snipe Guard comes into play and THEN they start throwing bids around after the technical "end time" of the auction?)

Personally, if I was invested in an auction (as in, I had been bidding from the beginning) and a snipe guard went into effect, I would personally expect that the bidding is just between the people who'd already bid. I'd be kinda irritated if some random person who had shown no prior interest in the auction came in after the snipe guard was activated and then started to bid? (I guess it's the mentality of "If the snipe guard hadn't been activated, this person wouldn't have had any bids on the auction, and they'd have been the auction's end time")

Although maybe it kinda depends on an auction (I know there are some artists who host very short auctions, and sometimes that sucks for the people who have to work? Personally, if I missed out on a YCH or whatever due to work, I'm not usually too mad- that's not the artist's fault, nor is it the other bidders' fault, it's just "how the cookie crumbles" so to speak)

Anyway! Thank you for the input in advance!
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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 19th, 2015 08:30 pm (UTC)
When it comes to situations like this you're kind of at the mercy of the auction holder. Comment sections of art galleries are not originally meant to host auctions, so there are no set "rules" other than what the artist chooses to do. The sites that host these galleries tend to not want to get involved, so there's always a risk of weird behavior involved. Admittedly, I'd be put off by a rule that had never been mentioned before prior to me bidding.

Snipe guarding is new to me. I've used Ebay extensively, and TheDealer'sDen and don't really quite understand the reasoning for a snipe guard. I'm sure folks who utilize auctions more than I do can offer a better discussion on that matter. Does a snipe guard mean an auction will theoretically keep going until people stop bidding? Seems dubious to me.

Edited at 2015-02-19 08:31 pm (UTC)
Feb. 19th, 2015 08:36 pm (UTC)
Theoretically, yeah. If in the last 5 minutes (for example) someone bids, and artist extends it 15 minutes... and someone again bids in the last few minutes, it extends again... until finally no one bids anymore.

While I am okay with 'snipe guards' ... I think that both 2 hours is excessive, and if they intended it to be a rule, they should have said so. It isn't an unspoken rule that all auction hosts have, so it needs to be stated.
Feb. 19th, 2015 08:51 pm (UTC)
yeah the 2 hour snipe guard is extremely excessive, i've seen them mostly be anywhere from 5-10 minutes tops normally, which is pretty fair to give the other person a chance?

i used to have snipe guards but in the end i stopped doing them for no real reason other than i was anxious to see if anyone would pop in last minute LOL
Feb. 19th, 2015 10:10 pm (UTC)
As I said to mistresswolf- this person's old snipe-guard timeframe used to be 12 hours (yikes!).
Feb. 19th, 2015 10:12 pm (UTC)
oh god yeah that's.. way excessive. i don't think i'd even participate in an auction with that ridiculous of a snipe guard tbh. 30 mins is like a cap for that for me and any more and i just won't bother. you might as well make the auction end the next day or something?
Feb. 19th, 2015 10:17 pm (UTC)
Well, and like I said- this artist had NO mention of a snipe guard rule anywhere. It wasn't in their auction (nor any of their previous auctions) and they had no TOS mentioning a snipe guard or anything like that?

They basically added it in arbitrarily at the last minute, which to me is kinda shady?
Feb. 19th, 2015 10:19 pm (UTC)
oh definitely, i don't disagree with you there! honestly i would explain that you didn't know there was a snipe guard and just possibly back out and let them know they should make it clear

i know when i've held auctions i accidentally forgot a rule or two and had to add it in later, but yeah..
Feb. 19th, 2015 10:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that was my issue with it also. (According to them, their old snipe-guard timeframe was 12 hours- yikes!)

It's more the fact that it wasn't stated anywhere on the auction (neither in the description or on the image itself), it wasn't mentioned on any prior auctions of theirs, nor did they have any TOS anywhere stating that a "Snipe Guard" was a thing.

As I said to celestina, it'd be like if I took a commission for a piece and when it was almost done, I said "Oh, by the way, I don't like the content of this picture. If you want to receive your image, you'll have to pay me extra money even though I never said anything about this in my TOS."

To me, that comes across as super shady.
Feb. 19th, 2015 10:07 pm (UTC)
Right, and I do understand that. I mean, the artist/auction holder has the right to run the auction as they want. They can set prices however they like, and set start and end times as they please- that's totally their discretion.

It's more the fact that the "Snipe Guard" thing wasn't mentioned anywhere on the auction description (or the image itself), they'd never mentioned anything about a Snipe Guard on their other auctions, and they had no TOS regarding a Snipe Guard.

The fact that they basically added it in arbitrarily after the auction had "closed" was what bothered me? It comes across as really shady, IMO.

It'd kinda be like if I took a commission for a piece and then when the commission was almost done I said "Oh, BTW, I don't like this subject matter- so if you want to receive your commission, you have to pay me extra money even though it's not mentioned in my TOS."

Theoretically, yes. A snipe guard can extend an auction indefinitely until people stop bidding (or someone finally gets fed up and autobuys the piece).
Feb. 19th, 2015 09:45 pm (UTC)
The artist can do what they want, really. It's their auction.
I don't personally use snipe guards as i find them annoying to look after.
Although I do think 2 hours is excessive.

As for the second part, yes I think anyone should be allowed to bid, even when the snipe is in act. I personally wouldnt buy/bid from someone who disallowed people due to snipes.
Feb. 19th, 2015 10:12 pm (UTC)
As I said to celestina, I do agree. It's up to the artist's discretion on a lot of things- they have every right to run their auction how they want (including choosing prices, bidding increments, start and end dates, etcetera).

However, the main problem I had with it was the fact that they didn't have it stated anywhere- not on the auction itself, not on their other auctions, no TOS on their page anywhere mentioning any kind of snipe guard.

So yes, while they're within their right to add it last minute, to me that's kinda shady?
Feb. 19th, 2015 11:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this. There are no set "rules" for auctions in the comments section of art sites and the sites themselves usually have no desire to get involved, so while adding a stipulation at the last minute may be kind of obnoxious they're within their rights to do so.

If you'd prefer something more structured, you might be happier bidding at actual auction sites.
Feb. 19th, 2015 10:10 pm (UTC)
I understand online auctions are a relatively unique thing with their own circumstances, but normal auctions (voice auctions) will go as long as people are bidding, and this is to the BENEFIT of the auction host.

Any auction with a snipe guard is to the benefit of the auction host. So yes, Snipe guards are something auction hosts choose to implement because it means their item may sell for more in that last 15 min (or whatever the condition is) than it would if they closed at a specific time.

I pretty much only use eBay nowadays for listing Buy It Now style sales because of the weird social conditions that they've created with auctions ending at a specific time. Inducing folks to hold off on bidding until they frantically bid at the last minute. That style of auction is to the benefit of the buyer, and not the auction host, because it isn't about paying what you think the item is worth, its keeping the price low until the very last minute --trying to keep it low.

It is a little unusual for it to be 2 hours, but again, this is to benefit the auction host who is looking for top dollar on their sale.
Feb. 19th, 2015 10:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, no. I understand what a snipe guard is- I've participated in plenty of auctions that had them!

It's more the fact that the snipe guard rule wasn't mentioned anywhere at all. It wasn't on the auction itself, it wasn't mentioned in any of their other auctions, and they had no TOS specifying that they had any kind of snipe guard rule.

They basically arbitrarily added it in last minute with no warning- that's what I found kinda shady?

Yes, I totally understand that. I've sold on ebay as well as some of the furry auction sites (FurBuy and TheDealer'sDen). I usually just make sure I put in a reserve if I absolutely feel it's necessary, as I know sometimes people can be daunted by a "Buy it Now" price.

According to what the artist told me, their old snipe-guard rule used to be 12 hours (yikes!)
Feb. 23rd, 2015 07:51 am (UTC)
That style of auction is to the benefit of the buyer, and not the auction host, because it isn't about paying what you think the item is worth, its keeping the price low until the very last minute --trying to keep it low.

And now we know why government auctions extend if a bid is placed in the last few minutes ;)
Feb. 20th, 2015 05:28 am (UTC)
As an artist that used verbal text based auctions outside official sites (IE: eBay) I never assume my top bidders are going to pay. Ever. Unless this is being done through A PROFESSIONAL AUCTION SITE, the final bid is never official until paid. (I WILL block, ban and never work commissions with a bidder who backs out on casual art site bid...)

As a seller, I will OFFER the option to a losing bidder to pay the same bid costs if a 'WINNING' bidder backs out, I NEVER hold a losing bidder to that, and always state in contact this is a secondary option.

From your commentary, I feel like this is something that randomly HOLDS a verbal bidder to BUYING an art thing AFTER you hit a goal or limit on an artsite, where you AREN'T expected to keep the money on hand, and then ARE expected to pay after losing...

Unless you are putting a 'default commitment to sale' there's no reason a casual artisite auctions should HOLD you to an earlier BID value if the high bidders back out after the fact,

TL;DR: Unless your text bid won, I don't see how a seller on an ART SITE can force you to pay for your bid...
Feb. 20th, 2015 06:20 am (UTC)
I think the main purpose of snipe guards is to discourage people from waiting until the very last second to place a bid, and thus not participate in earlier bidding which helps raise the final bid. Think of it this way - if Bidder A wants the item and figures he can just bid last second and get the item without raising the cost by placing bids, he won't bother with participating in the main bidding. However, if the artist warns that there's going to be a snipe guard, Bidder A may participate in regular bidding since he knows a last-second bid will extend the auction and he won't get a better deal.

Of course, snipe guards only encourage normal bidding if you warn bidders about them at the very beginning of the auction. Telling people at the end of the auction that there's now a snipe guard extension defeats the purpose of one.
Feb. 20th, 2015 10:45 am (UTC)
I always thought the purpose of the snipe guard in auctions where there's no auto-bid function is to take into account people in different time zones?

I can imagine it being incredibly frustrating for someone to be involved in the bidding from the start and be leading bidder, only to have to the auction end in the early hours and be bid snipped while they sleep with no chance to put in a higher bid.
Feb. 20th, 2015 06:49 pm (UTC)
I personally don't find it shady, They just saw you bidded in the last moments and decided to give the other person a chance. I know I would be upset if I bidded on something and during the last minutes someone outbidded me without leaving any time for me to still try to get it.

They probably did not give it even a second thought.
They should probably add that they have a snipe guard thought but other then that I don't see any problem with what they did.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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