15 Minute Rule
How do our auctions operate?
Typically at auction, there is a countdown that happens as part of the final call giving buyers a chance to decide if they wish to keep bidding. "Going Once, Going Twice, Going Three times" - someone places a bid - "Going Once, Going twice" - another bid placed - "Going once, going twice" and so on until the auctioneer completes the entire phrase "Going Once, Going Twice, Going Three times, SOLD to the highest bidder".
Our sellers specify the number of days their auction will run. The auction listing displays the scheduled closing time.
The 15 minute rule
If there is bidding activity at the end of the auction window – within 15 minutes of the scheduled closing time, then the auction will automatically switch into a special extended mode, just like ‘going, going, gone.’ When this happens, the auction is extended until no further bids have been placed for 15 minutes. When 15 minutes pass with no bidding, the auction is finished.
Why do you have the 15 minute rule?
The 15 minute rule makes auctions unbiased. It allows all bidders an equal opportunity to place their best bid. In other online auctions where an auction ends exactly at a given time, some bidders will hold their bids until the last minute or so, in the hope of winning an item on the cheap. This is referred to as 'sniping'. The 15 minute rule gives all bidders an equal opportunity to place their best bid on an item before the item closes. This way, no bidder loses an item to sniping, and the seller can be assured that they have received maximum value for the item.
In a 'live' auction, the person who is willing to pay the most wins the item. Why should it be different on the Web? We certainly don't hide the fact we do this - you will find the 15 minute rule described in our Help Center, User Agreement, etc. It is also why our auction listings say "Ends On or After".
Why 15 minutes?
Our online auctions are conducted more like live auctions, bidding continues until no one wishes to place another bid. Since they are conducted entirely over the internet, rather than with people in the room, we allow 15 minutes to give reasonable time for slow connections, delayed notifications, connection drop outs or other technical difficulties.