(last updated on 10/19/2011)
You can optionally specify a BuyNow! price on your auction item. The BuyNow! price is publicly displayed in the item listing. If you specify a BuyNow! price any bidder can elect to use the BuyNow! option to get the item at that price and immediately end the auction, making them the winner of the item. Using the BuyNow! option allows the bidder to decide to buy the item immediately instead of bidding and waiting for the auction to end.
One potential down side of BuyNow! pricing is that you may not get a higher price for the item than the BuyNow! price, since bidders will elect to exercise the BuyNow! price instead of bidding above it.
If you set a Reserve Price on an auction, and the bidding meets or exceeds the Reserve Price, the BuyNow! option will be disabled at that time. If you do not set a Reserve Price, then the BuyNow! will only be disabled when the current bid has met or exceeded the BuyNow! price. Most other auction sites typically disable the "instant buy" feature instantly once any bid has been placed - so as a compromise we allow the BuyNow! to continue until the Reserve is met.
The BuyNow! price is not like a Starting Bid nor a Reserve Price in that the BuyNow! price does not affect the minimum amount an item can be won for. If you want to guarantee that you will get a certain amount for an item you must use a Starting Bid or Reserve Price.