Running an auction

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This guide was originally written by Hekomi

Auctions are an important part of Chicken Smoothie and something a lot of people use to get and to trade pets. But like all things, there is a right and a wrong way to hold an auction. Recently, many people have become confused as to what a proper auction should look like and how it should be run. This guide will help you to run an effective and fair auction.

Step One: Choosing a Pet

So you've decided to hold an auction. Great. Sometimes it's very clear what pet you want to auction off, but other times it's a bit fuzzy. Here are some things to think about before even going any farther.

  • Is my pet a rare or a very rare?
  • Is my pet in high demand?
  • Am I willing to part with my pet?

Most auctions are held for pets which are worth a lot, in order to get many bids. There isn't much of a point in auctioning a pet of a low value. Uncommons are great as additions to trades, not auctions. Auctioning pets that are not in demand is also a bad idea; for example, a rainbow draft auction would not go over well. No one really wants rainbow drafts, and there would be little interest in that auction. Lastly, a lot of people auction pets that they 'love' and then refuse to let go of them at the end. This is not fair to the people bidding. If you have such a strong attachment, DO NOT AUCTION YOUR PET. If you are just trying to see what you can get for your pet, don't bother hosting an auction. If you want to know what you can get for it, check out the "How Much Is This Pet Worth?" thread. Also, learn what your pet is called. Each pet has it's own 'name' and can be found by following the links in The Guide Index. A list of URLs will be placed at the bottom of the links to the naming guides.

Step Two: Familiarizing Yourself with Rarities

If you're auctioning a pet, you need to know it's rarity. You have to know how much it is worth, and what kinds of offers you should be looking for. I highly reccomend posting in the "How Much Is This Pet Worth?" thread to get an idea of what you should be looking for in your bids. Remember; just because a pet means a lot to you does not mean it is worth more. This is also the time to start thinking about what you are looking for for your pet. Don't start with the notion that you're going to get a Sunjewel for your Red Rose Dog. Sorry, but that's not happening.

Step Two and a half: Deciding on an Auto-Win

This step can be combined with the above step. An auto-win is a bid which is worth slightly more than the pet you are auctioning. This is because it should be an incentive to get the auctioneer to end the auction and give it to the auto-win bidder so they do not have to wait. An auto-win is not a ridiculous offer you are hoping for. No one is giving you a zebra for your rare '08 advent. Do not make that an auto win.

What I usually do is look at The "Rares" List Guide and find some pets that are just above the pet I am auctioning. For example, if I were auctioning a purple toxic, a good auto-win would be a Spotted Tribal, U-Nick-orn, or maybe a growing white July. I would stay within 2-3 pets above it.

It's exhausting seeing people wanting swirls, jewels, zebras, etc. etc. for common rares and very rares. If you're going to auction a pet, make a fair auto, or don't have one at all. The phrase "I can dream" is also just as frustrating. Auto-wins are not there for ridiculous offers, they are a way to get a little more than what the pet is worth. I can't emphasize this enough.

If someone offers your auto you are expected to accept it. Not ask for more pets on top of that. "If you're worried that your autos might exclude people who might possibly bid a more valuable pet than you have listed, you can always say 'and any pets of greater value than the autos listed'" [Deja].

Step Three: Creating the Thread

First and foremost, read all of the CS Auction Rules. Make sure you are abiding by them at all times, or you could be warned and your thread locked. Now that all those important bits are out of the way, you can create a thread. Usually auctions follow a similar format, with a small blurb at the top, rules, the pet, autos, boosters (things that will help a bid but are not autos), bids, rankings and anything else missed. Make sure you include the end date. Also, when making the subject/title for your auction make sure it is very clear. Ex: "Gearback Tribal UFA", not "08 VR UFA!". Below I have enclosed the format that I always use for my auctions;

[center][size=120][b][u]X UFA![/u][/b][/center][/size]
Blurb; anything necessary the bidders should know. This auction will end [b]date here[/b].

Any rules your auction should have* see guide for tips on rules

[b]The Pet[s][/b]
Your pet here!

See section 2.5 for help with autowins



[b]Ranking System[/b]
[color=#FF0000]You definitely need to add more, sorry[/color]
[color=#FF8000]You could add a few more pets[/color]
[color=#FFD700]Looks almost fair; try adding one or two more pets[/color]
[color=#008000]Great Bid[/color]
[color=#004080]Awesome Bid[/color]
[color=#800080]I must accept this now or I will DIE[/color]

Feel free to modify it to your liking, or make your own entirely. Auction rules should be reasonable. Common rules are:

  • Please only send wishlist pets
  • Send your pets in a group NOT a trade
  • Post in the topic when you send your bid
  • Do not spam
  • Do not whine if you are not in first/you lose
  • I only want dogs/horses/bunnies/etc [Clarify what you are looking for]
  • No commons/vc/uc
  • Notify me if you change/add (to) your bid

They don't have to be these rules though! Feel free to make your own. Just don't make them unreasonable.

People also use various systems for rankings; emoticons, points, etc. Whatever works for you. I'll discuss this more in the next section. Also, when making your thread make sure the font size and colour are legible and it flows coherently. Usually making sections, like I have it above, helps. Also spell/grammar checks are your friends.

Step Four: Getting Bids, Maintaining your thread & Customer Service Relations

You've made the thread, and look, someone's offered on your pet! That's fantastic! Your job as the auctioneer is to promptly add their bid to the front page. There is nothing more frustrating than the front page not being updated as frequently as possible. It is your job to keep on top of the bids. As well, use a system to show who's in the lead and the placings. As I mentioned, colours, smileys and points are a great way to do this. Make sure though that it's always clear who's winning by either bolding their name or having a blurb at the bottom. This way your bidders will not get frustrated and badger you. They will also be able to add to their bid more effectively.

Though it can be frustrating when people drop out, it is a fact of auctions. Graciously thank them for their time, take their bid off, and let them walk away. There's no reason to make a fuss over it. If your pet fits the criteria in step one (rare, high demand, etc) you will have plenty of bidders. Be kind too; always accept people's bids, even if they're under par. Let them know they will need to add to their bid, and point them in the direction of someone who can help them learn rarities. If someone comes on your thread and tells you your autos are too high, or anything of that sort, don't get mad. Check with the "Is this a fair trade?" thread and they'll help you out with your autos. All these will encourage people to bid in your auctions and to bid well.

Step Five: Ending your Auction and Choosing a Winner

Once your auction has been going on for a while, and even sometimes near the very beginning, you will have to end it for various reasons. If someone offers an auto-win that you have stated above, this is a cue for you to end your auction. People will get very frustrated if you do not auto-accept an offer which included an auto-win. This is greedy, and frowned upon. Another reason to end your auction is that you have gotten a lot of great bids, and you want to accept one. If this happens before your ending date, I encourage you to give your bidders at least 24 hours notice before you end the auction. If on the end date, that's awesome. Another reason to end your auction is that even by the end date you have gotten no bids that are a fair offer for your pet. Usually this is an indicator that your pet is not in high demand, and thus, it might not have been the right thing to auction it in the first place.

If you have gotten some great offers, sometimes it is hard to tell which is the best offer. This is where the "Is this a fair trade?" thread comes in handy once more. Head on over there, and ask them which bid is the fairest for your pet. Also, don't discount a bid jut because it's offered something you already have. If it's a VR/R '08 you can always auction/trade it off again or use it as trade fodder. You can never have enough rares/VRs. Once you're figured out the winner, announce it, congratulate them, thank everyone for entering your auction, and wish them good luck in finding the pet.

Then you can either wait for your winner to send the trade or send a suggestion their way. Congratulations! You just hosted a successful auction!

Other Important Things to Consider

It is generally frowned upon to auction a pet and then offer it in other auctions. I discourage this.
Do not bump your auction thread more than is necessary; you should only bump it once it leaves the front page.
Do not have a conversation on your auction thread. Things like this can be taken to PMs and conversations are frustrating for bidders.
Advertise your auction in your signature via a link or a picture. It's a great way to notify people about the auction you're holding.
Sometimes people host quantity auctions, which are a neat spin on your regular auction. In these auctions, a rare pet is offered and the auctioneer makes a list of pets which earn points. The person with the most points get the pet. Usually people offer hundreds of common pets. Do not hold a quantity auction if you are looking for R/VR pets for your pet.
Some people accept more than pets in auctions; other things include art, CS$, or other site currency. Make sure you state whether you accept any of these.
Codewords are annoying. No one likes them. Don't use them.

*Much thanks to Deja, Feathered Beauty, Kohaku, TokinoMukou and anyone else I may have forgotten for their help with this guide. I hope it helps.