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Also posted in http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/2607/ebay-fraud-announcement-from-lego/p5
Scenario #1 is where two legitimate bidders are both idiots, have no idea what the thing is worth, and just go crazy outbidding each other. I think that is very unlikely given that the true market value of #10179 is readily obtainable even to someone marginally aware of the AFOL websites.
Scenario #2 is where the high bidder gets lazy and thinks "I'll just enter a ridiculously high bid and go to sleep. I'll only end up paying a few pounds more than the number two bidder." This sort of thing really does happen. Then the number two bidder comes along and is either an idiot, a practical joker, and bids way too high.
More likely are scenarios where the bid isn't real.
Scenario #3 is the same as #2 except the second bidder is a shill in control of the seller. That is a very risky game to play as a seller though, as you take the chance of getting stuck with the winning bid yourself. Given the seller has a solid history I doubt this happened.
Scenario #4 is where the whole series of bids were a practical joke being controlled by a single person behind two sock puppet accounts. The seller will never get paid and the item will be relisted. Some people just get their jollies this way.
Scenario #5 is where the seller of an identical item stepped forward with a throwaway account and bid ridiculously high on this item. The goal here is to push up the perceived value of the item, and to drive perspective buyers to their own auction.
Your website, BrickPicker, is an interesting idea but you will need some algorithm to weed out invalid sales. I used to do some similar tracking of sales trends except I was watching very rare coins. The amount of chicanery that goes on behind the scenes is interesting. Back then you could see the username of every bidder so it was easier to piece together which bids were real and which weren't. I'd suggest at the least you throw out any sale that is one standard deviation above/below the expected value, except in the time frame immediately after a set sells out where rapid growth is expected.
Not sure how that would work for this sale, mind!
If I was laundering money, this is one way I'd do it...
Just saying... :)
I often find myself paying more during an EBAY auction just to win the Lego set, which makes me a poor buyer at times. I guess I love the competition. Maybe these two bidders had the same issue.