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Old 20th July 2006, 02:57 AM
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Damnatio Memoriae

The ancient Romans called it Damnatio Memoriae - the practice of "damning" or erasing the memory of someone who had fallen into disgrace. I am reminded of this after having seen an earlier post of mine today disappear without a trace or explanation. Indeed, all the other posts in the same thread were also gone. At least I can't find them.

The subject was developed from an auction post and focused on whether auction reserve prices should have to be the same as starting prices (I was against it).

I thought this was a useful subject. However, someone evidently thought otherwise. Our moderator Mulligan was part of that discussion and so perhaps he knows what happened to the missing posts. I would be very grateful to have even the shortest explanation if possible - so much nicer than just guessing about the reason.

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Old 20th July 2006, 05:06 AM
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Re: Damnatio Memoriae

The posts were removed for a number of reasons.
The main one being that the reserve had been removed from the thread and the starting price is now the 'reserve'
As member asdfer had taken on board the whys and wherefores of the 'reserve' issue and it being a sales thread first and foremost I removed what I seen as irrelevant content from his sales posting. (Yours, mine and RD's comments)

Feel free to bring up any and all questions and issues here, where there is nothing for sale.

A reserve is for the buyer to decide whether to have or not.

As was pointed out by RD, in an auction that has a reserve the reserve is always known by a trusted third party. (by ebay, Christies etc) Here there is no such party and only the seller knows the reserve so it becomes less of an auction and more of a "keep making offers until I am satisfied" sale.

I cant recall one auction that had a reserve (I havent scanned every auction) and as was also pointed out buyers wont bid if they dont know what the 'reserve' is for the reason above...

By all means when your are having an auction have a reserve but dont expect many bids.
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Old 20th July 2006, 05:46 AM
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Re: Damnatio Memoriae

I think I would be inclined to take things a stage further and not accept Reserves in Auction threads, but make it a rule that if an unknown reserve is being sought, then the correct place for the sale is the normal sales threads. It won't always be abundantly clear to all that there is a hidden reserve price, which I feel is likely to result in confusion and mistrust, which will ultimately be damaging to market confidence.
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Old 20th July 2006, 08:21 AM
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Re: Damnatio Memoriae

I assumed that it was an unspoken rule, and that 'no reserve' on some auction posts were tolerable artifacts/badges signifying migrated Ebay users.

Hidden reserve on an auction is ridiculous on any auction site, in my opinion. Start the bidding at your lowest price and take your chances. Anything else is really a waste of time.
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Old 20th July 2006, 05:10 PM
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Re: Damnatio Memoriae

Mulligan : Thank you for the explanation of the missing posts. I had wanted to believe those were the reasons and am happy to have them confirmed.

As to the larger issue of auction reserves, I agree that they should be honored .

However, auction companies such as Christies and Sotheby's are not "trusted third parties". They are agents for the sellers, pure and simple. And, as long as you are mentioning them, you might also read their terms of sale, in which they disavow any responsibility whatsoever for anything they write in their own catalogues, advertising, etc.. In that regard they feel obliged to look out for themseleves entirely.

In my view, the reserve question becomes crucial as the value of the property rises. As long as the expected price is $50 or $100 for a domain, there isn't much to care about. However, for a $100k domain, can one really expect someone to just put it out there and settle eventually for $1k if few bidders show up? Not likely. And if that did happen, it would destroy the confidence of future sellers.

Two available answers to this scenario are not satisfactory:

1) Set a high visible reserve
That's OK, but it seriously dilutes some of the key advantages of auction - the dynamics of competitiveness, hope, changing expectations, timeliness, etc. that make auctions unpredictable and potentially rewarding.

2) Move the sale from "auctions" to "sales" thread.
In this case you are simply excluding the seller entirely from any advantages of auction.

As prices rise in any given auction, buyers struggle to adjust, and sometimes decide to change their limits and bid higher. On the other end, sellers should also be free to act similarly, perhaps to conclude in the end to accept a lower price. This is all part of the dynamic of auctions that needs to be expressed for a healthy market.

Low starting bids are part of the mix, but they should not dictate reserves. Auction houses regularly underestimate prices in order to draw in participants, knowing that more bidders, once in battle, will help to raise prices, and possibly even drive the price through the ceiling. You may not like that, but it is an established part of auction marketing, and generally benefits the seller.

One way to bridge the gap between the needs of buyer and seller is to provide the sellers' estimates of the expected price in advance. The reserve then becomes dependent on these estimates, rather than on the opening bid.

Reserves are always individualized, but usually amount to about 65% of the lower estimate and not higher that the low estimate. It should also be part of the sale understanding that the reserve should not exceed the high estimate. This allows buyers to know that something estimated, say, at a high of $3k, is not going to be held out for a million.

Here is a simplified example of how one might structure such a sale:

Reserved Auction:
gimmemöney.com
xn--1234.com
English Translation: "get rich quick"
est. $2,000-3,000
Starting bid: $800
$50 increments under $1,000, $100 increments above $1,000.

In this case, the seller might have a private reserve of, say, $1250 (but not legitimately more than $3000). Other outcomes might be that the domain sells for $5000 or more, making the seller happy, or the seller might decide in the end to let it go for a bid of $800, making the buyer happy. Whatever the result, such a strategy is neither complicated nor misleading, but at the same time allows maximum flexibility and incentive.


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Old 20th July 2006, 05:20 PM
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Re: Damnatio Memoriae

As I said, it is up to the seller what format he/she uses for their auction.
As a seller myself I dont set a reserve, I start my auction at a price I would be reasonably happy with if there was only one bid.

Ultimately I want the best price for my name as do we all so it is up to each person to list their name in a manner that they think will bring them the best return, it is theirs after all...
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Old 20th July 2006, 05:29 PM
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Re: Damnatio Memoriae

I have started an anonymous poll on this one. I have to say I am vehemently opposed to any form of hidden reserve. Rather than providing excitement in my view it waste time and provides opportunity for sellers to duck their responsibilities. In my view this has been one factor in the demise of a viable market on this Forum.

http://www.idnforums.com/forums/5259...t-auction.html
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Old 20th July 2006, 05:40 PM
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Re: Damnatio Memoriae

I am also opposed to any hidden reserves and would probably not participate in any such auctions.

Definately agree that if it is decided to have hidden reserves, that a 3rd party must verify the amount. If not, the seller can manipulate all bidders along for a long ride, then tell the "high bidder" sorry you didnt' meet the reserve.
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