I've encountered auctions online where the seller has set their reserve price hidden. What are the benefits to the seller that would cause them to do so?
As a buyer, if I see an item I like, I may put in a bid. If it has a hidden reserve and I did not meet it, the systems tells me right away. I can then either move on, or place a higher bid.
And even if I'm not bidding, I'm told the reserve for the item has not yet been met.
I agree that not letting your minimum price be known, is a good tactic during negotiations. But here I'm bidding. There's no opportunity to negotiate with the seller. If there's anyone I'm negotiating with, it's the other bidders.
If the reserve price is known, I may either put in a bid, or decide that the reserve is too high for me and move on without bidding. If the reserve is right at the edge of my budget, I may be tempted to go over my budget, just to meet the reserve.
If the reserve is hidden, I can play the guessing game, by bidding the minimal increment, until I either meet the reserve or reach the extent of my budget. I'm less tempted to go over my budget, since I don't know if I'm off by 5 or by 500.
So I see no real benefit to hiding the reserve price. Yet I see it all the time. What am I missing?