Sunday, July 09, 2006

A gift to Ebay: Sealed bids!

A recent study suggested that the best way to win an ebay auction is to enter your one best bid at the last moment. That can be pretty inconvenient when auctions end in the middle of: the night, or whan you're at parties, concerts and so on. Many people use computer programs to bid for them - and bid to the very end of the auction for them - making the auction experience less pleasant for other bidders. Many people who sell on ebay hate the bidding programs and prefer to sell to real human beings.
So I suggest that ebay provide an alernative for those who want more human, easier to use auctions: sealed bids. In a sealed bid auction, the bidders do not know how much others are bidding. You simply submit your bid and find out later whether you've won. Economists approve of this type of auction, it apparently produces desireable results just as well as a competitive auction. But sealed bidding would seem to have an advantage at ebay: I cannot see how it would help to have a computer program assist you (absent hacking the auction), and you could make your one bid at any time.
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