[FoRK] eBay has a broken auction model

Peter Kilby peterkilby at dsl.pipex.com
Fri Mar 11 11:23:32 PST 2005

Often considered this malady, and wondered if there was any mileage, in 
blind bidding (within a time frame) there by allowing the seller to attract 
the highest price possible, which for some items would attract. I also 
considered a venture called what am I bid where the highest bid wins 
regardless of lower bids and not adjusted down.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephen D. Williams" <sdw at lig.net>
To: <fork at xent.com>
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2005 5:08 PM
Subject: [FoRK] eBay has a broken auction model

> Well, I've let my best domain go for a reasonable, but probably not true 
> market value.
> I had three problems with eBay and its (!) users, one of which is a severe 
> deficiency in their model.
> First, someone used an apparently bogus account to bid up the auction to 
> find out what my reserve price was.  This, in the end, limited my take to 
> just over the reserve, even though I canceled the bids (which were still 
> visible).
> Secondly, someone created a listing of similar domain names fraudulently 
> concocted so that it looked at first glance as if the domain I was selling 
> was also being sold in a package.  (They registered "seeDOMAIN.com" and 
> listed it as: "See Domain.com, bla.com, blu.com".)  I complained by eBay 
> email and their real-time customer service but nothing was done.
> The biggest issue that I've been burned on a couple times is the flaw in 
> eBay's model.  I can't see any reason they haven't fixed it:
> Auctions should not end until some reasonable time period after the last 
> bid.  This should be at least 1 minute and possibly tunable between 1 and 
> 5.  The first guy who bid over my reserve was sniped by another guy with 6 
> seconds to go and emailed me that he would have bid much more.  No real 
> auction operates this way: bidding continues until no one is willing to 
> bid any more.  This probably cost me tens of thousands of dollars and will 
> drastically limit what I put on eBay in the future.
> I know some past Internet auctions have worked this way, but nothing has 
> overcome the network effects of eBay, so hopefully they will fix this.
> sdw
> -- 
> swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
> Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw
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