This document explains how bidding and buying items on Go
Swap Auctions works. After reading through this tutorial, you should be
familiar with searching for items and placing bids on auctions. You will also
learn what happens once an auction ends and what the next steps will be.
What is an Auction?
An auction is an item that is sold to the highest bidder
within a fixed amount of time. A bid placed on an auction site is a commitment
to purchase an item for the bid amount entered. Users may place multiple
bids on a single auction item and they may place a number of different bids on
any number of different auctions.
Each auction on the site runs for a fixed length of time.
After the auction ends, the highest bidder is said to have won the auction
and that person is obligated to buy the item for the ending price shown on the
auction. Both the buyer and the seller are notified at the close of the
auction and given instructions on how to complete the transaction.
Completing the transaction usually involves the buyer
sending payment to the seller first. Once the seller receives payment, they
would ship the item to the winning bidder. After receiving the item, the
transaction is complete.
Searching for Items
There are two ways to locate items on the Go Swap Auctions
site. You may either browse the auction categories shown on the home page, or
you may enter search terms in the search box shown on the upper-right part of
the web page. You will notice that the search box appears on every page on the
website. The list of categories for browsing is shown on the home page, which
you may access by clicking on Categories in the menu bar or by clicking
on the Go Swap Auctions logo.
Searching by Categories
Searching by category allows you to view all items posted
for a specific auction category. From the home page, you can see an overview
of all available categories along with a count of the number of auctions
currently running in that category. Clicking on a category will display all
auctions found under the category.
You will notice that there are two different levels of
categories. The top-level categories represent the most general category while
the lower-level categories represent the most specific. Clicking on one of
these categories, will bring up a listing of all auctions posted under the
When you click on a top-level category, the listing
displayed shows all auction items that are in all of the lower-level categories
underneath it. This is a very useful tool. However, you need to realize that
when you browse listings this way, the auction items will all be mixed together
(and not separated by category).
Illustration 1: The home page displaying all auction categories to browse
As you can in illustration #1 above, all of the available
categories are displayed. The top-level categories are shown in bold with the
more specific categories underneath. The number after the category indicates
the total number of auctions running in that category. So for the Tools
category (located in the center of the screen), there are 121 auctions
Searching by Keyword
To perform a simple search by keywords, simply enter the
keywords in the text box shown on the upper-right part of the screen and click
the Find Auctions button. The search results shown will be in a similar
format as seen when browsing by category. See the section Auction Listing
Format for more information.
Illustration 2: The results shown from a simple search for "Cat"
After performing a search, you will see auction listings containing your search
results. If your search results in many items found, you may need to use the
page navigation to sort through the pages of results. Below is shown an
example of what the simple keyword search results look like on Go Swap
Search Using Advanced Search
An advanced search allows you to have more control over
how you search for auction items on the site. The advanced search form is
accessed by clicking on Search in the main menu at the top of the
screen. This brings up the advanced search form shown in illustration #3.
From this form the user may define specific criteria which are used to locate
auction items on the site.
The search results will look almost identical to all other
auction listings on the site. These listing may contain navigation to allow
you to jump from page-to-page of the search results. Clicking on an auction
item will bring up the details and allow you to place a bid.
Illustration 3: The Search form which performs an advanced search for auction items
As you can see from the search form, you can enter Search
Keywords just as you would with the simple search. You can specify whether
or not you want to search only the title, or both the title and the
description. The Exclude Keywords field allows you to specify keywords
should not be contained in either the title or the description.
The Categories selection allows you to choose one
or more categories to search through. Select a category you want to include
from the drop-list and click on the Add button to add a category to your
list. You may add as many categories as you like. If you would like to search
every category on the site, you should just leave this blank and not add any
The Featured Items Only checkbox allows you to
indicate that you only want to search through featured items. Likewise, the Completed
Items Only checkbox means you only want to search auctions that have
The Minimum Price and Maximum Price allow
you to set limits on the current or starting bid for search results. You may
enter just one value, or you may enter both to specify a range of prices for
your search. Additionally, the Seller Name allows you to search for
auctions from a particular seller.
Auction listings are displayed when browsing categories,
performing a simple keyword search, or when using the advanced auction search
functionality. This section will explain the layout of the auction listings
and help you to navigate multiple pages of listings.
Shown below is the category listing for Cookware. This is
the second page out of four pages of auction listings in this category.
Illustration 4: Auction listings from the Cookware category of Go Swap Auctions
The auction listings are displayed in a table format. The
first column contains the auction Title and the second column contains
the number of Bids received on the auction. The Current column
contains the current bid on the auction. If no bids have been received on an
auction, this amount represents the starting bid for the auction. When
at least one bid has been received, this amount represents the current bid
for the auction. See the How Bidding Works section for more
The Buy Now column displays the price that a seller
is willing to stop the auction and sell the item right now. This is a way for
a buyer to purchase an item immediately without waiting for the auction to
end. The Time Left column lets the buyer know how much time is left
until the fixed auction period ends.
You should note the total number of auction items in the
listing is displayed at the top as Items 31 60 of 100 Shown.
Immediately below this is the page navigation. There are four pages of
listings in this category as you can tell by the note which reads Page 2 of
4. The number 2 in this heading is actually a drop-down list which allows
you to choose a page to navigate to directly. You may also navigate the pages
one page at a time by clicking on the Next and Previous buttons.
Since auctions on the site are constantly changing (new
auctions starting while other auctions are ending), you may notice the total
number of auctions in the listings change as you navigate. This is perfectly
The auction listings for browsing categories, performing a
simple keyword search, or running an advanced search look exactly like the
screen shot shown in illustration #4. When you click on a line in the table,
you will see the details for the auction. On the auction details page is a
button which will allow you to return to the listings so you can continue
When you click on a line from the auction listings, you
will see the details for the auction item that will look similar to the
screen shot shown below.
Illustration 5: Auction details shown when clicking an item from the search results
What you should notice about the auction listings first is
that the most important properties for the auction are shown in the Auction
Summary box on the left. Here is a quick rundown of the properties and
what they mean:
Seller The member who put the item up for auction
Shipping A fixed rate shipping cost
End Date Date when the auction ends (winning bidder
End Time Time when the auction ends
Time Left Amount of time remaining until the auction ends
Total Bids The total number of bids placed on the
auction. Clicking on the History link will display a summary of all
bidding action on the item.
Reserve Indicates whether the reserve price for the
auction has been met or not met. See the section How Bidding Works for
High Bidder The username of the member who currently
holds the high bid (or NONE if no bids have been made yet).
Opening Bid The amount of the starting bid (chosen by
the seller when the auction starts)
Buy it Now A fixed price amount at which the seller is
willing to end the auction and sell the item outright.
Your Bid This is where you enter a bid you would like to
place on the auction.
How Bidding Works
This section explains how bidding works on the site. In a
nutshell, the way that it works is that the person who bids the highest during
the fixed auction period wins the item at the auction close. The one exception
to this rule is when someone chooses to buy an item outright by using the Buy
it Now feature.
The Opening Bid
When a seller posts an auction item for sale on Go Swap
Auctions, they specify an opening bid. This is the minimum bid amount that is
necessary to start bidding on the item. Once a bidder places a bid that
matches or exceeds this amount, the current bid for the auction will be set to
this opening bid amount. As long as there is no Reserve Price set on
the auction, the auction item will sale regardless of what happens during the
life of the auction.
All bids placed through Go Swap Auctions must conform to
our bid increment system. This means, that when a person is outbid on an
auction, the new high bidder must bid at least one bid increment above the
Without bid increments, you could see an auction increase
by one cent at a time. This creates a very inefficient bidding system and
frustrates buyers who would only be outbid by one cent.
The table below shows how the bid increment changes based
on the current bid on an auction:
Current Bid (Minimum)
Current Bid (Maximum)
So to give an example: If the current bid is $5.73, any
person who wishes to do so must bid an amount that is at least equal to the
current bid plus the bid increment for $5.73 according to the table shown
The system will calculate the minimum required amount that
a bidder must bid in order for a bid to be valid on an auction. Even though a
bid is valid, it doesn't mean that the bid will succeed in capturing the
highest bid, this is because of our bidding by proxy system, otherwise known
All bids on the website use bidding by proxy. This means
that a bidder tells the computer the maximum amount they are willing to bid on
a particular auction in order to win. An automated bidding system will place
bids on your behalf up to (but not exceeding) the maximum bid you specify.
This ensures that the bidder wins the auction for the minimum amount required.
This system is easiest to understand by showing an
Current Bid: $29.36
Bid Increment: $0.25
Next Bid Placed: $36.57
New Current Bid: $36.83 (Bid Unsuccessful)
This is a scenario that occurs quite frequently. The first
bidder has a maximum bid that was higher than the new bid submitted. This
maximum bid is not visible to anyone and is only known by the original bidder.
It could be any amount greater or equal to $36.83. For purposes of this
demonstration, let's just say that it was $43.13. So maybe our fearless bidder
makes one more bid:
Current Bid: $36.83
Bid Increment: $0.25
Next Bid Placed: $43.13
New Current Bid: $43.13 (Bid Unsuccessful)
In this scenario, the next bidder put in a bid that
exactly matched the current bidder's maximum bid. Because the first bidder put
in their bid first, they still remain the winning bidder. The current bid will
never exceed the maximum bid amount entered (by either the current bidder or
the new bidder).
A reserve price is a fixed amount that a seller defines
which represents the minimum acceptable bid the seller is willing to accept in
order for an item to sell at auction. In other words, the seller wants to
allow lower bids to see how much interest there is in their auction without
being obligated to sell the auction should the high bid not meet the reserve
price. This is best illustrated by an example.
Opening Bid : $0.10
Reserve Price: $10.00
Bidder A: Places Bid of $3.67
Current Bid: $0.10 (Reserve Not Met)
Bidder B: Places Bid of $1.48
Current Bid: $1.58 (Reserve Not Met)
Bidder C: Places Bid of $11.50
Current Bid: $10.00 (Reserve Met)
Again we see how the maximum bid works. Bidder B tried to
capture the high bid, but was outbid by the automated (proxy) bidding system
which raised the current bid to $1.58. However, once Bidder C came along,
something different happened, the current bid jumped well above the previous
bidder's maximum bid. It jumped up to the reserve price set by the seller of
This is done automatically by the auction system to make
sure that an auction will be sold whenever possible. As a bidder, it is your
responsibility to understand how reserve auctions work and understand that
every bid comes with an obligation to purchase an auction item up to the
entire amount of your maximum bid.
This wraps up the tutorial for buyers. We have presented
a lot of information about using the auctions that are listed on this site.
Some of the aspects of bidding can be a little complicated, but by studying
this tutorial, you should be able to get a better grasp of the concepts
involved. As with anything, the more experience you gain by using Go Swap
Auctions, the better you will understand the auction process.
We are interested in your comments, feedback, and
suggestions. We offer the contact us form on the website which allows you to
send your feedback to us. Thank you for taking the time to read our buyer's
tutorial and happy bidding!