[FoRK] New types of web auctions / scams

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Fri Oct 8 16:56:31 PDT 2010

  Years ago, I was involved in a web auction startup...  I didn't think that much of the model, and I don't really like eBay either, 
at least as a seller, because of sniping.

This one solves the sniping problem in the appropriate way, ending auctions only when no more bids are being placed for a period of 
time, but they have an interesting twist: bidding costs money.  Plus, the countdown timer is only 10 seconds.  And you can "use" the 
funds committed by bidding (at $0.75/bid) for 'buy it now'.

So, they can advertise that the winner often pays only 5% or something of the value of an item, however they may have collected far 
more overall if the item was popular.  They are the only company offering any item, so they get the whole take and no one need know 
how extreme it is.  Kind of a disguised lottery system.  Gambling in effect.  As with many of these new wave selling schemes, 
probably fails when it is popular enough to be gamed and/or overwhelmed.  Or when they run out of suckers.

There are plenty of clues to the huckster nature, including the fake Local TV channel-like web site pushing it:



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