Online Auctions

9 Results

 

The Alibaba Effect

Alibaba's $200 billion mega-IPO is history-making in a number of ways. Bill Kirby and Warren McFarlan discuss what the deal says about Chinese entrepreneurship and American markets. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Testing a Purportedly More Learnable Auction Mechanism

Each year, auctions are used to determine how billions of dollars of goods and services will be allocated across the globe. On eBay alone, $52.5 billion in merchandise was exchanged in 2.4 billion auctions conducted during fiscal year 2006. Considerable attention has been paid in the academic literature to the question of how to design auctions with efficient allocation and revenue-maximizing properties. However, in part because auction rules are typically published and standard theory assumes economic agents are capable of computing optimal strategies from published rules, little attention has been paid to the question of how to design auctions whose optimal strategies are easy to learn. Evidence suggests that even when auction rules are published and dominant strategies exist, people nonetheless struggle and sometimes fail to learn to play their optimal strategy. As a result, the authors argue that the question of how to design a learnable, strategy-proof auction mechanism is an important one. Read More

How Do You Value a “Free” Customer?

Sometimes a valuable customer may be the person who never buys a thing. In a new research paper, Professor Sunil Gupta discusses how to assess the profitability of a customer in a networked setting—a "free" customer who nevertheless influences your bottom line. Read More

A Survey-Based Procedure for Measuring Uncertainty or Heterogeneous Preferences in Markets

People who buy retail prescription drugs, invest funds, or participate in auctions rarely have complete information about the product they are buying. Often the only auction information participants have is the number of bidders, observed bids, and product characteristics. If data from an auction, for instance, is a function of bidder behavior, then external survey data may help in testing hypotheses about bidding behavior. Researchers often avoid using surveys because they consume time and effort, but Yin presents a survey design technique and econometric tool to deal with a general population of survey respondents. Her application tested eBay online auctions selling personal computers. Read More

Information Dispersion and Auction Prices

How can auctions be used most effectively? Government and industry traditionally use auctions to price and allocate assets and contracts with high but unknown value. Millions of people use Internet auctions for goods that are often of unknown value (e.g., used goods, unknown brands). This paper asks: Do bidders behave in the way auction theory predicts they should? And, what are the effects of different types of information on prices? To answer these questions, Yin combined theory, econometric modeling, and survey data. Read More

Empirical Tests of Information Aggregation

While neither buyers nor sellers may be certain of the worth of used goods, both may possess private information about the value. Do prices become more informative as the number of bidders grows? Using data from a sample of eBay auctions for computers, Yin looked at how and under what conditions auction prices converge to the common value of a given item. Read More

Amazon, eBay and the Bidding Wars

"Sniping" is a popular way of winning a bid in the world of online auctions. But how far can it change the playing field? HBS professor Alvin Roth takes a look at how bidding rules change the way the game is played. Read More

How to Harness Auction Fever

HBS assistant professor Deepak Malhotra talks about the phenomena of "auction fever" in which bidders are driven to win at irrational costs. Read More

Market Makers Bid for Success

Two CEOs at the forefront of the transformation in the way businesses buy and sell goods—Scott Randall of FairMarket (HBS MBA '87) and Glen Meakem of FreeMarkets (HBS MBA '91—spoke with Professor Bill Sahlman recently about their paths to new business models and what they've learned along the way. Read More