Auction Glossary

Having trouble with all the new words and terms used within The Free Auction community? Look no further! Our Glossary will make you an online auction expert in no time.


Abbreviations used by Sellers: Many sellers use abbreviations to quickly describe the condition or value of items they list for sale:

  • AG/About Good: Except in the cases of ancient items, such as Roman coins and very rare variations of antiques and collectibles, "About Good" is synonymous with "completely undesirable at any price."
  • As Is: Selling an item without warranties describing its condition and fitness for a particular use. A buyer is responsible for judging the item's durability and lifetime. Usually, this means that there are no return privileges for the item.
  • A/O: All original.
  • BOMC: Book-of-the-Month Club; in book-collecting circles, a BOMC edition isn't worthless, but even unread specimens are typically worth less than well-read first editions.
  • BV: Book value. Somewhere, some expert proclaimed the item to be worth something, and the seller is quoting it.
  • C1-C10: Many collectibles are graded on a standard system agreed upon by experts in the field. C9 is usually Mint, C1 is About Good, and all the other grades in between are argued ad infinitum among sellers, collectors, and writers.
  • Complete/Almost Complete: Complete is especially relevant to vintage doll outfits (all the accessories are there). Almost complete means, "I have all of 'Solo in the Spotlight' (a vintage Barbie outfit) except I am missing the rose on the dress." Therefore, it's almost complete.
  • EX/Excellent: Not even Near Mint, yet in nice enough condition to warrant interest.
  • EXMT: Excellent-Mint. Better than Excellent, moving toward Mint.
  • F/Fine: In many collecting circles, such as in books and magazines, "Fine" equates to Mint. Not Near-Mint, not "Mint except for (list flaw)." We're talking brand-new, unused condition, and worth a premium over book value.
  • G/Good: When does "Good" truly mean Good? Never. "Good" is a positive way of saying "well-used and ready to be thrown away."
  • GMMT/Gem Mint: Can you get better than Mint? Some collectors think so. A "Gem Mint" piece is allegedly nicer than run-of-the-mill Mint. In sports cards, for instance, maybe the white borders of a card are whiter in a Gem Mint card than a Mint card - or the edges are a little crisper, even though both are within the spec for Mint.
  • MIB/Mint-in-Box: The item is in the same box it came in from the factory.
  • MIMB/Mint-in-Mint-Box: Even the box is in the same condition it came in from the factory.
  • Minty: Synonymous with "Mint."
  • MOC/Mint-on-Card: Used for Hot Wheels/Matchbox die-cast cars and action-figure collectibles that come packaged on a card with an extruded plastic holder.
  • MOMC: Mint on Mint card.
  • MT/Mint: New, unused, and without flaws.
  • NM, NRMT: Near Mint. Used maybe a few times, or unused but with a small flaw or spot of wear.
  • NFRB: This is the same as "NRFB" (see two definitions down), but people get confused. Search on the term, and you'll see that so many such items exist, that dyslexia is an epidemic.
  • NR: No reserve price.
  • NRFB/Never Removed from Box: While NRFB items could be "better than Mint" and often command staggeringly high prices, there are pitfalls. NRFB can actually do damage to some of the vinyls and other plastics in dolls, plastic shoes, and the like. Also, the cardboard can chemically react with doll clothing and fade the back, etc.
  • OOAK: One of a kind.
  • OOB: Out of box, out of package - as in the package is long gone.
  • OOP: Out of print, specifically with books, CDs, and videos.
  • Pristine: Allegedly the finest specimen ever seen of a collectible - or at least right up there.
  • VG/Very Good: Better than good, but worse than excellent. These items can be "placeholders" in one's collection, as in "I'll buy this today, but I'll definitely upgrade it when I find a better one down the road."

About Me page: See "Just Me". 

Automatic Bidding: Use auto-bid to place bids at the lowest possible winning increments. You enter the highest amount you are willing to pay; the computer automatically places bids for you at the lowest increment needed to win your item at the lowest possible price.


Bid: An offer of price for an item up for sale.

Biding: The act of placing a bid on an auction item.

Bid Retraction: The legitimate retraction or cancellation of a bid on an item by a bidder during an auction. A confirmed bid placed on an The Free Auction listing cannot be retracted except under exceptional circumstances.

Bid History: A historical list of all the bids made on a particular auction during or after the auction.

Bid Increment: This is the amount by which you must increase your bid over the current high bid. Sellers set the bid increment when they create the auction.

Big Ticket Items: Items with bids of $5000 or more.

Bulk Loading: Listing a group of different items in separate lots all at once using a bulk loading tool.

Bid Shilling: Fraudulent bidding by an associate of the seller in order to inflate the price of an item. Also known as bid rigging or collusion.

Bid Shielding: Posting extremely high bids to protect the lower bid of an earlier bidder, usually in association with the bidder who placed the shielding bid. Because The Free Auction bidders cannot automatically retract their maximum bids, OUR auctions are not subject to this kind of auction fraud.

Bid Siphoning: The practice of sellers contacting bidders and offering to sell them the same item they are currently bidding on, thus drawing bidders away from the legitimate seller's auction. Because bidder contact information is not released until the end of a successful Auction Brief auction, this practice is rare on The Free Auction.

Bulletin Board: A place on The Free Auction where you can post messages, ask questions, and help others.

Buying Up Lots: The practice of buying all quantities of an item during a Dutch auction. This is typically done for resale purposes.


Category Listings: List of auctions broken down by category such as Antiques, Books, Computers, etc. Caveat Emptor: The Latin phrase meaning "let the buyer beware."

Change Registration/Password: This is used to change parts of your user profile, such as email address, mailing address and password.

Charity Auction: An auction where the seller's proceeds from winning bids are donated in whole or part to a charitable organization. The type of charity is usually mentioned on the auction's listing page.

Chat: A familiar online conversation among The Free Auction members.

Closed Auctions: A place where you can view a list of auctions already ended. You can get some info from these auctions, like find out what a certain item sold for, how many bids it had, etc.

Closing Soon Icon: A Closing Soon icon Closing Soon indicates an item which closing within the next 24 hours. Closing Soon listings can be found grouped together as a link from the bottom of most pages, and also on the top of category specific pages.

Commission: Please see "Final Value Fee".

Contact Information: The Free Auction users provide contact information when they register including name and address. All registered users must have valid and current contact information on file. Please update your contact information or email address as soon as it has changes.

Control Center: A place where you can login and view all your auction activity.

Cookie: Cookies are small files that websites store on your hard drive to help their servers keep track of, and manage, your return sessions. Cookies are designed to read only the information in the cookie files, not other files on your hard drive. 

Customer Support: The Free Auction offers several kinds of support or help for members. There are various kinds of information and feedback available online through our auction. Although there are forms that allow you to send us your question, you can save time by looking at the online resources. You can familiarize yourself with these by browsing the Help pages. There are also three special areas for the topics about which we receive many questions. These boards are continuously monitored by our staff, and you can get quick answers by reading other people's questions and the answers, or by posting your own question. They are: Message Board, Live Chat, and the Bulletin Board.


Deadbeat Bidder: A bidder who does not pay for the item won.

Deadbeat Seller: A seller who either refuses to complete a sale or receives payment for an item and does not ship it.

Dutch Auction: An auction format which accommodates a seller with multiple identical items for sale. The seller specifies the minimum price (the starting bid) and how many items are available. Bidders specify the number of items they want and how much they bid for each one. The final price is determined by the lowest bid among all the winning bidders. The highest bidders are always guaranteed an item, but at the lowest bid price. 


Escrow: Money held in trust by a third party until the seller makes delivery of merchandise to the buyer. and are examples of online escrow services. 


Featured Auctions: Auction listings placed prominently on the home page and category pages for which listers pay a premium price.

Feedback: One member's public comments about another member in regard to their auction dealings. Feedback comments posted on The Free Auction cannot be removed or changed once submitted.

Feedback Padding: One member posting fraudulent positive feedback about another member or leaving feedback for oneself. Feedback padding is a violation of The Free Auction's Feedback policy.

Feedback Rating: Both sellers and buyers are encouraged to rate the people with whom they conduct transactions as to value, service, courtesy, and general satisfaction. These ratings cannot be removed or changed, once submitted, and they're easily accessible to all users. Your feedback can positively or negatively influence sales success. If your buyers give you a high rating, potential future buyers are more apt to give you their business as well.

Final Value Fee: The commission charged to the seller by some auction sites after his or her item sells. The Free Auction does not charge a Final Value Fee.

Fixed Price Sale: Fixed Price Sale listings have a fixed price set by the seller and buyers simply choose to buy the item at that price.

Flaming: Flaming in the online realm is the act of sending verbally abusive or offensive message to others. The Free Auction expects its members to conduct themselves reasonably and respectfully and to refrain from this practice when having difficulty with another member. 


Gallery: Our is a good way of browsing items. The Gallery presents miniature pictures, called thumbnails, for all of the items sellers have supplied pictures for in JPG, GIF, or PNG format. The Gallery displays the same information as the regular listing pages.

Gift Icon: A small icon, which some auction sites have, that shows on your listing to make it stand out and indicate that your item would make a great gift.

Grading: The process for determining the physical condition of an item. Different items have different grading systems. 


High bidder: The participant who bids the greatest amount.

Hit: A term used to describe the occurrence of a page being viewed. The number of hits on a listing page indicates that the listing has been seen by that number of viewers. The number of hits are a reasonable indication of interest in a listing.

Home Page: The introductory page of a website. The home page typically contains hyperlinks to the various components of the site.

Hot Listing Icon: A Hot Listing icon Hot Listing indicates an item which has generated a higher than normal level of bidding interest. Hot listings can be found grouped together as a link from the bottom of most pages, and also on the top of category specific pages.

HTML: HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the publishing language of the World Wide Web. HTML is easy to learn and you can insert it into any text description to make your listings and web pages stand out! The Free Auction provides some basic information and helpful links to HTML education sites to help you get started.

Hyperlinks: Any icon, graphic or text in an electronic document that is connected to a specific location within the same or to a different document or resource. "Links" are the feature that create the Web for countless computers and networks.


Indefinite suspension: An indefinite suspension is a suspension of a user's privilege to use The Free Auction site for more than 60 days with no definite reinstatement date. Indefinite suspensions are generally reserved for the more serious violations of The Free Auction rules, or for repeated violations of The Free Auction rules. Indefinitely suspended users may be reinstated by The Free Auction in its discretion, though The Free Auction may determine at any time that the suspension is permanent. Users who have been indefinitely suspended may not register with The Free Auction during the suspension, nor may they use The Free Auction's site in any way.

Insertion Fee: Some auction sites have a fee paid by a seller to initially list an item for auction. The fee is usually calculated either by the opening bid price or the reserve price. The Free Auction does not impose any insertion fees.

InterActive Classified: In an InterActive Classified, there is no bidding, only the submission of competing offers based on an asking price set by the seller. The buyer and seller can communicate freely to decide on a price for the item.

Item Lookup: A method for finding an item if you already know its item number. (The Free Auction assigns a unique item number to each auction.) 


Java: A complex programming language developed by Sun Microsystems that allows for the creation of embedded applications (called applets) that can be downloaded from the Internet and run immediately within a browser on any platform.  Hot Listing

Just Me page: A customized page where you can tell the world about you. Will show a Just Me next to your name when people view your auctions. Clicking on this icon will take them to your "Just Me" page, where they will see your personalized page with your interests, hobbies or whatever you want them to see. You must first login and personalize it before it is view-able to others. 


Keep Your Emotions in Check: It's easy to strike out against the faceless buyer or seller who upset you. Maybe they didn't mean to. One difficulty of cyber communication on The Free Auction is the absence of tone or inflection in your words. Take extra steps to ensure your e-mail or chat communications with The Free Auction members can be easily interpreted. Courteous and respectful communication is always the best defense against aggressive people. Remember this Internet Golden Rule: Flame, and be flamed. 


Length of Auction: The number of day's people can bid on your auction. Most auctions are open for at least a week or two to allow buyers to locate and bid on the item. The seller determines the length of the auction when they create the auction.

Live Chat: A place on The Free Auction where you can talk "live" with other auction users.

LOL: Message board abbreviation for "laugh out loud."

Lot: A single auction listing.


Market Value: The highest price an item will bring in the open market.

Maximum Bid: The highest price a buyer will pay for an item, submitted in confidence to our automated bidding system to facilitate proxy bidding.

Members Area: A place where you can login and view all your auction activity.

Message Board: A place on The Free Auction where you can post questions, comments, and answers to common problems. A good place to meet others and help out the auction community.

Minimum Opening Bid: The seller stipulates a minimum opening bid, which sets the opening price given in your listing when it first goes online and before there are any bidders. This amount should not be as high as the hidden "Reserve Price," if you have one. Many sellers believe it works to set your Opening Bid as low as possible - $0.01.

My Page: A useful tool that can help you keep track of your trade activities all on one page. By creating your own My Page page, you can keep track of your favorite categories, view the items you're currently selling and bidding on, and check your most recent account balance and feedback. 


New Listing Icon: A New Listing icon New Listing indicates an item posted within the past 48 hours. New listings can be found grouped together as a link from the bottom of most pages, and also on the top of category specific pages.

Neg: Short for "negative user feedback". Usually posted by a member when a buyer or seller's transaction activity falls below expectation.

Non-Paying Bidder Policy: Non-paying bidding undermines trust within our trading community. Bidders who win auctions but fail to complete the transaction may face certain consequences. At the same time, we automatically send an email warning to the user who has been accused of non-paying bidding. The user receives two warnings before suspension. If the non-paying bidding continues a third time, The Free Auction suspends the user from our system indefinitely. The Free Auction understands that users sometimes have legitimate reasons for not being able to follow through in a transaction. They include hospitalization, family emergencies, acts of nature, and computer-related problems. Our warning messages include directions for appealing complaints that we've received from sellers. 


Opening Amount or Price: The opening bid price sellers set for their auctions.

Opening Bid: The mandatory starting bid for a given auction, set by the seller at the time of listing. An opening bid should be either the maximum you would be willing to pay for that item or the opening amount plus the increment shown on the item page

Open Auction: In an Open Auction, buyers bid until the auction ends. The item is then sold to the highest bidder at the end of the auction period.

Outbid: To submit a maximum bid that is higher than another buyer's maximum bid. You will be notified by The Free Auction if your maximum bid has been outbid. 


PIC Icon: A PIC icon indicates that the seller has included a picture of the item for sale on the item information page. Pictures can help you to judge the quality of the item for sale.

Picture Hosting: If you have pictures in your listings, they must be stored somewhere on the Web, accessible through their own unique URL (or web address). You scan and upload the picture to your server then, enter the URL of the picture when you create the auction. You can also upload one of your pictures to The Free Auction when you post your item.

Post: The act of publishing a listing to an online site.

Proxy Bidding: Placing a maximum bid, which is held in confidence by The Free Auction. The Free Auction will use only as much of the maximum bid as is necessary to maintain the bidder's high bid position. 



Ratings and Feedback: The Free Auction makes it possible to offer feedback on both sellers and buyers. This allows the whole auction community to know if a participant has had a positive or negative experience with another member. Members may offer feedback in the form of a number rating as well as a verbal comments from the User Feedback Page.

Registration Agreement: The registration agreement outlines the terms of use for The Free Auction. All registered users must agree to these terms before they can place an online bid.

Registered Auction Member: A person who has registered as a member of The Free Auction. The Free Auction requires the registration of valid contact information prior to buying and selling. Registering is free at The Free Auction. All your information is private.

Re-listing: The re-listing of an item by a seller after it has not received any bids or met its reserve price. Re-listing on The Free Auction is free of charge.

Reserve Not Met: Reserve not met means that no one has yet bid as much as the minimum price that the seller will accept.

Reserve Price: The minimum price a seller will accept for an item to be sold during a Reserve Price Auction. This amount is never formally disclosed.

Reserve Icon: A Reserve icon Reserve Auction indicates an item that has a reserve price.

Reserve Price Auction: In a Reserve Price Auction, the seller has the option of setting a Reserve Price, below which the listing will not sell. The Reserve Price is higher than the Opening Bid amount. If the seller has set a Reserve Price you will see either "reserve not met" or "reserve met" depending on whether the current bid price is above or below this.

Retaliatory Feedback: The term for retaliatory negative feedback, posted by one member in response to another's negative feedback. 


S&H Charges: Shipping and handling charges relating to the sale of an item.

Shill Bidding: The deliberate placing of bids to artificially drive up the price of an item. This is also know as "bid padding" and is not allowed.

Sniping: Outbidding other buyers in the closing minutes or seconds of an auction. This is a perfectly legitimate and sensible tactic for buyers who spot something they're interested in, but don't want to prematurely up the price early in the auction. They wait, then pounce at the last minute. You shouldn't be upset if there isn't much action on your listing in the first days. On the last day, in the last hour, and in the last seconds, there could be a lot of activity and rapid escalation to the final winning bid.

Starting Price: The mandatory starting bid for a given auction, set by the seller at the time of listing. [Same as Minimum Opening Bid.] 


Terms and Conditions: A legally binding agreement that outlines The Fee Auction's operating policies. All registered members must agree to abide by these terms and conditions when using the service. 


URL: A Uniform Resource Locator is a way of specifying a resource, i.e., an Internet address. Every electronic document that is accessible via the Internet has a unique URL. A URL consists of a protocol name, a colon (:), two forward slashes (//), a domain name, and a path to a resource (using / as a separator). For example, the The Free Auction home page can be found at 


Virus: A program which replicates itself on computer systems by incorporating itself into other programs that are shared among computer systems. 


Wildcard or *.* : A character string that is used in text searches to make finding a match easier. An asterisk (*) usually means find any character or set of characters.

World Wide Web: You're in it! -- the system by which you are viewing this document right now! Technically it is a global (Worldwide) hypertext system that uses the Internet as it's transport mechanism. In a hypertext system, you navigate by clicking hyperlinks, which display another document which also contains hyperlinks.

WYSIWYG: An acronym for "What You See is What You Get". What you see in your document in a WYSIWYG HTML editor is pretty much what you'll see when you review the resulting HTML file on the Web in your browser. The HTML code stays hidden beneath the page you create. 

X - Z

If you can think of a legitimate online auction term that starts with x,y or z we'll send you a cool The Free Auction T-Shirt! No kidding!