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Friday, September 15, 2006

Comments

Lord

It is the psychic reward of winning that they find so captivating. Those looking for bargains eschew the whole process. Their time alone is worth more.

A. PERLA

"It is the psychic reward of winning that they find so captivating."

Probably.

Ebay is so stupid. Here's the trick: Find a product you want. DO NOT bid on it till the very last second. If the price is still correct, then bump the price by an appreciable amount above the last bid, say five percent - but NOT the minimum amount.

If you’re lucky, your bid will take it. The poor sucker who though he/she had the winning bid will be gazumped. The problem is that you are the one out of ten, fifty or a hundred who may be employing the same tactic at precisely the same time. If multiple bids arrive at precisely this moment, it is the highest bidder that wins.

Is this bidding or betting? I suspect the latter ...

John Angliss

It can become the emotional equivalent of a dollar auction. People get attached to items and thus bid higher in order to obtain the precise model etc. they have their eyes on, despite a better deal elsewhere. I seem to remember a psychological study in which a trading system was developed and the more rounds a participant held his object, the less willing he was to part with it, even for greater rewards.

A. PERLA

Pierre Omidyar, who conceived the functioning of Ebay, brought to it a feature that was atypical.

There are two types of auction bidding, one open, one closed. Typically the open ended auction prevails. The bidding continues until all desist.

Omidyar brought another idea to limit the time necessary to conclude an auction. Notarial auctions in France have a timing method that dates from medieval times. A candle is lit and, when it goes out, the bidding is over. The candle must be obvious to all bidding, obviously.

By putting a bidding date and hour end-limit on Ebay, Omidyar finalized the auction in time. This finality, I suggest, alters the way one bids. Unless of course, one decides to use the ruse outlined above. Then it is more like a game, where the finality is decided by a computer that simply settles on the highest bidder.

It is fair, nonetheless. The highest bidder should win an auction.

Arthur Eckart

I agree with Lord that the value of people's time spent bidding makes small price differences immaterial. The real value of eBay is being the largest global auction market and largest one-stop facilitator of almost any product, including items not found anywhere else.

A. PERLA

Eckart "The real value of eBay is being the largest global auction market and largest one-stop facilitator of almost any product, including items not found anywhere else."

What value does being the "largest" bring, pray tell? To whom, its stockholders?

Ebay has plenty of competition on a national level in Europe, I can assure you - either for auctioned items or simple retail. Neither is it everywhere considered the best. I don't, for example. Mixing auction and direct sale for the same goods is a ruse to prompt people to take the latter course.

In fact, not everybody likes auctions. They were intended initially for items otherwise difficult to sell (antiques and appropriated property). Ebay, and other online auction sites, employ them a marketing ploys.

Arthur Eckart

A Perla, every firm that has tried to compete with eBay has failed. So, eBay doesn't have any competitors or rivals. The value of eBay is its size, which benefits buyers, sellers, and of course eBay itself. In a free market, it seems, size and opportunity are positively related, which may explain why eBay continues to expand in many new markets quickly.

Arthur Eckart

A Perla, also I may add, you may have a different definition of competition than the standard definition. One analogy is does a top heavyweight boxer really compete with a top flyweight boxer? Of course not. Also, no matter how many flyweights there are, most will watch the heavyweights. So, heavyweights will earn more.

A. PERLA

"A Perla, every firm that has tried to compete with eBay has failed."

I said, "on a national level". There are three French auction sites in France that I can cite.

Yes, internationally, Ebay is the only one surviving. Many of the national sites are knock-off sites.

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