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3. Opportunity detectors

Centralised auction sales

Symbolic of the growing importance of the world of Internet, auction sales have enjoyed a huge success in this domain. In the real world they have only developed in a limited fashion, partly due to the lack of information from which they suffer : it is actually very difficult to get hold of the catalogue of each auction, and only the initiated have the opportunity to take advantage of this particular form of selling. It is also difficult to get to all the different auction rooms. Internet has the advantage of solving these two major problems, and for this reason auction sales are currently seeing an important development on the Web : it allows users to be well informed about the current auctions and offers an ideal opportunity for sales by auction. But this is not the only reason. In reality, the auction is one of the closest concepts to the law of supply and demand which is the foundation of the present economic systems. It represents the only true market place where the supply and the demand come face to face on an equal footing. If the demand is greater than the supply, prices rise; if the opposite is true, they fall.

In this way, a new group of intermediaries has emerged. This is a sort of market for direct sales, which is accessible to everyone. But this should not be confused with these virtual group merchandise markets with private auction sales, which are run direct by the manufacturers themselves. This is the case with Nouvelles Frontières-http://www.nouvelles-frontieres.com, which since October 1998 has run auction sales for unsold plane tickets each Tuesday on its website.

The auction sales which fall into the category of primary service providers are the centralised auction management systems, such as Ebay-http://www.ebay.com, one of the best known in the United States. Each individual or business can use this site to create and manage an auction sale from beginning to end, benefiting from the audience which has become the key factor of the system. In the first quarter of 1999, no less than 1.7 million articles were permanently on offer, with 51 million products sold since the system's creation. Buyers seeking a particular item can consult a list of sellers offering this article, either new or second hand. It's worth noticing that some types of objects are more adpated better to this distribution system than others : collectable objects (stamps, coins and bank notes, toys, dolls, antiques, magazines), second-hand goods (cars, computers) and cultural objects (books, music, videos).


It is interesting to note that, just as in the real world of auctions, the prices at which sales are agreed are often higher than 'normal' sale prices.


A few examples of centralised auction sales :

IBazar-http://www.ibazar.com/
Eurobid-http://www.eurobid.com
Michigan Internet AuctionBot-http://auction.eecs.umich.edu
First Auction-http://www.firstauction.com,
Onsale-http://www.onsale.com
uBid-http://www.ubid.com
BidNow-http://www.bidnow.com
Cyberauction-http://www.abysse.net/auction/
WebAuctions-http://www.webauctions.com
Auctionworld-http://www.a-wolrd.com
DealDeal.com-http://www.deal-deal.com
Egghead Auctions-http://www.surplusauction.com/
Utrade Online Auctions-http://www.utrade.com

 

 

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