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it is not just seing, you can then bid 1 cent below the top guy to be #2 or 1 cent above him to be #1. It helps to see the bids.
This was probably true back in the day, but now the algorithms are far more sophisticated and it doesn't work like this anymore. Many factors are taken into account when the engines decide on which ad ranks where. Look at Google for instance….they are calculating QS, which is a big factor in ranking, at the time of the query.