Better than a dollar auction

Coding Horror: Profitable Until Deemed Illegal

* You purchase bids in pre-packaged blocks of at least 30. Each bid costs you 75 cents, with no volume discount.
* Each bid raises the purchase price by 15 cents and increases the auction time by 15 seconds.
* Once the auction ends, you pay the final price.

I just watched an 8GB Apple iPod Touch sell on swoopo for $187.65. The final price means a total of 1,251 bids were placed for this item, costing bidders a grand total of $938.25.

So that $229 item ultimately sold for $1,125.90.

In the classic dollar auction, only the winner and the second-place finisher pay the amount of their bid. Here everybody pays — per bid rather than the amount of the bid, but the effect is still the same. It’s really brilliant.

Also brilliant is moving the price up by less than the cost of a bid. Otherwise the cost to the winner would rise too quickly.

I wonder if they should make a chutes-and-ladders version where some event can be triggered every now and then to reset the price down near zero. Then you’d have people bidding pretty much indefinitely on the same item…


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