Auction feedback post

This is the post for general auction feedback (if you want the what-to-do post, head here). Behind the jump, I’m revisiting the topic of last-minute bidding as well as addressing some feedback I’ve already heard. I’d very much like to hear your thoughts on any other topics, as well.

I’m aware that the site got bogged down close to the bidding deadline, and I’m very sorry. For next year, I will investigate what server-side measures I can take with my hosting provider. This is also another factor weighing in favor of making a change to last-minute bidding procedures, as we previously discussed. So, I’d like to reopen that poll again (see the prior post for more detail):

In 2015, how should Con or Bust handle auctions with last-minute bids?

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Other feedback I’ve heard:

There was some confusion over the deadline. I will address that by (1) putting a “what time is that?” type link in the boilerplate at the bottom of every auction post; (2) putting a countdown clock on the front page; and (3) investigating the possibility of inserting a countdown at the bottom of every auction post (that may lead to performance issues, however).

(Next year I will also make the deadline 4:00 my time, so I am not juggling dinner and bathtime as things close.)

And no-one’s actively complained about this yet, but because of a failure of foresight on my part, some of the response emails that went out last night didn’t have all the necessary information in them, for which I apologize (and one of them was just wrong, eep). I believe that’s fixed now, but you should feel free to contact me at con.or.bust@gmail.com if any problems remain.

If there is anything else that made the auction less than awesome for you, or would make it even more awesome, please let me know! Were you able to find things you were looking for—were the index and tags and search helpful? Would you like to see more of a particular kind of item (and have suggestions for people I might ask for donations)? Anything else that comes to mind?

Thanks—all feedback is useful feedback, and I want this to be a satisfying experience for everyone. (Reminder: if you have specific questions about the handling of individual auction items or what to do about your bid or offers, please use this post.)

15 Comments…

  1. I suspect putting a countdown timer in every post will bog the site down like whoa. Perhaps a link to a countdown?

  2. Very possibly! There are very small, code-wise, timers available, but I’d rather go for site stability. But yes, there are linkable counters out there, cool:

    (Example, next year’s dates not fixed yet)

    Bidding opens (time) and closes Monday, February 23, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (GMT -5) (time zone conversions & countdown). More information.

  3. Convenient-but-likely-worse-for-server: option to have sent to oneself reminder emails ‘hey, auction closing in [$TIME-CHOSEN].’

    Items: more chocolate, please. That was the one item that I really regretted not being able to get in to place a bid on.

    Overall: seemed a pretty excellent set of items and auction in general. Kudos.

  4. Ewan, duly noted, and thanks!

  5. There were several items I would have loved to bid on but since they were only available to US bidders I couldn’t get them (like the hand made choccies and some of the books). I know shipping is expensive but if you could convince more people to offer international shipping as long as the bidder pays for it that would be wonderful
    Also I’d love to see even more signed ARCs and hard to get books and series of books if at all possible
    Thank you

  6. Thanks! Some of the books couldn’t be shipped internationally because of publishing rights, but I can make it clearer that individuals can offer to ship internationally if the bidder is willing to reimburse them.

  7. I would have offered to ship my items internationally with the winner paying, except that my impression is that a lot of people haven’t really kept up with international shipping costs and would be unpleasantly surprised when the auction was over. For example, a 5 lb package (4-5 books) costs at least $35 to mail to Canada, and more anywhere else.

  8. Dan, thanks; I’ll think about ways to inform people about that next year.

  9. Yeah, I’m personally not willing to ship overseas (I’m in the USA); I don’t think my boxes were super-hot items, but I *have* kept up with international shipping and with boxes as heavy as mine are, I’m just not wiling to pay that much money up-front. :-/

  10. There are some Australian/New Zealand books I’ve been trying to get my hands on. If it’s okay for individuals to buy copies to ship overseas, then an auction type that might go well is “I will buy 3 books for you and ship them overseas.” And set the starting bid for like 10-15$ per book and buyer pays shipping. Several people in different countries could do that.

    An international shipping calculator for book rate might be a useful addition to the website.

  11. I’m not aware of any country which still has a “book rate” for international shipments by the general public (I think there are a few exceptions for libraries and such). The US doesn’t, the UK doesn’t, and I just checked Australia and they don’t.

  12. I mostly meant ‘at the rate most auction items would probably be sent’, which is not very good short-handed to ‘book rate’, I admit. I don’t have much experience shipping internationally.

  13. Sorry, I misunderstood. A lot of people do expect there to still be things like book rates and surface mail (which some countries still have, but the US is not one of them), which I alluded to earlier. I ship internationally a fair amount, but it’s really not worth it for most things. Books are particularly problematic because they are so heavy.

  14. Yeah, in fact it was a prior auction when I discovered to my dismay that the USPS had discontinued surface mail . . .

  15. I remember the unpleasant time I discovered the doing-away of surface mail with distinct vividness. I don’t regret still sending that package (it was for a fannish candy exchange), as the recipient apparently loved the contents, but man…sticker shock.