The Auction Economy

Posted on June 4, 2008

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Lotsof buzz this week around how some things are meant to be auctioned andsome aren't.  eBay has finally realized that people like the "buy itnow" feature more than the "wait and see" of their traditional auctionmodel.  In his take on the topic, Mathew sums it upnicely by saying, "eBay was seen as a giant hammer, and everythingstarted looking like a nail."  As I'm sure Priceline discovered sometime ago, certain business models work are better for selling thingslike airline tickets than others.

Why am I thinking about this now?  Because my transient best friend who now lives in Brooklyn has recently discovered that you can make a lot of money selling things on eBay.  Since she moves so much these days, it's great for her.  In fact, it seems to me that when you take a look at the economy we're in, eBay should make an effort to market to people just like her – she's typical GenXYZ, moves a lot and needs to get rid of some nice, hardly used "stuff."  They should try to make the opportunity a little more appealing instead of hiking fees and discouraging her from selling everything in site.  She's also great WOM for eBay, I keep walking around my apartment looking for things to sell.

What else does this make me think about?  I once had an hour long discussion with another (less transient) friend about what other products lend themselves to the Netflix model.  We couldn't think of anything that wasn't already taken… luckily our friends at Bag Borrow or Steal did.  Now that they're featured in Sex and the City (an awesome movie), I wonder how much traffic will spike.  All it takes is the right model and the right products… hmm.  I'm sure I'll think of something.

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