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Sunday, June 10, 2012

eBay should make the winning bid stick for at least an hour

Dear eBay[1],

In the current bidding process, the auction ends at a particular time which gives unnecessary importance to it. This can be evidenced by a lot of inactivity at the beginning and a frenzy of activity at the very end.

Eliminating this "auction-ending-time arbitrage" (AETA from now on) is very simple and easy. Just make each "winning bid" stick for at least an hour. If necessary, extend the "auction ending time" further.

You can be even more creative by providing this chance only to the previous "winning bidders". I will let your strategy team work out the finer details. But the underlying idea is very simple. You need to provide a better way for others to re-participate in the auction.

If you think I can be of further assistance, ping me kamaraju at gmail dot com.


Why is this such a big deal?

To be honest, the current system sucks. It is very easy to be outbid at the very last minute by a tiny amount.  There is not enough time left to reenter the bidding process when it happens. This can be very frustrating for the current winning bidder especially if he/she is leading the race for the last couple of days/hours. These winning bidders deserve a second chance to rebid and reparticipate in the auction.

This is not a big issue for items with a lot of bidders (high liquidity). But for items with a very few bidders (illiquid, niche items), the suggested improvement provides a good price discovery mechanism.

When you have a good price discovery platform, the sellers will be more inclined to use eBay resulting in more revenue. So it is a win-win for both eBay and its customers.

References:
  1. www.ebay.com
PS:- I have arbitrarily chosen the "sticky period" as one hour. But in reality, it can be any reasonable choice.

PPS:- If any one else agrees with me, go to http://pages.ebay.com/help/account/suggestions.html , click on the "Buying and searching" link, fill the form and make this suggestion to eBay.

1 comment:

Kamaraju Kusumanchi said...

Today (2014-03-13) ebay sent me a survey link regarding improving customer experience. It was a great help having this article around. I simply copy pasted and made minor edits.

I guess posting rants on blogs has its advantages. May be I should do this more often! :-)

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