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Help For Users

Following is help on some common usage issues relating to this site.

User Agreement
Please read our User Agreement which outlines the site policies and terms of use.

Reverse Auction Types
See our new Reverse Auction features:  Reverse Auctions

English Auctions
English auctions are probably the most common type. Users bid the highest price they are willing to pay for an item and bidding activity stops when the auction duration is complete. The item is sold to the highest bidder at their bid price.

English auctions also allow the seller to specify a reserve price below which the item will not be sold.

Vickrey Auctions
The Vickrey auction allows for selling single items as does the English Auction. The difference is that the highest bidder obtains the item at the price offered by the second highest bidder. This is a good format because bidders have the incentive to bid what they think the item is worth and not worry about what others will bid.

Dutch Auctions
Dutch auctions are special type of auction designed to handle the case where a seller has a number of identical items to sell. The seller should specify the minimum price (starting bid) and the exact number of items that are available at that price. The bidders bid at or above that minimum price for the number of items that they are interested in buying. At the end of the auction, the highest bidders earn the right to purchase those items at the minimum successful bid.

Here is an example, say there are twenty-five widgets being sold at $75.00 and forty-five bidders bid for one widget each, at $75.00. In this case, only the first twenty-five people will be the bidders who get their product successfully. Since the bid amounts are the same, the earlier bids will take merchandise.

Now, let's say that one of those people bids $100 for one widget. Since his bid is higher than all the others, he will certainly be one of the bidders to get the merchandise.

If bidders continue to bid higher than the starting price enough times, then the final bidding price will increase as well. In another instance, if less than twenty-five people bid in our example "widget" auction, only that number of widgets will be sold at the opening price of $75.00. For the selling price to increase past the opening price specified by the seller there must be a higher or equal level of demand than the supply indicated. In our example, the selling price would only increase if twenty-four or more widgets were bid on, no matter what the amount of each bid.

In a case where a bidder bids for multiple quantities, the bidder who bid the lowest will not always get the merchandise that he/she bid on. If the bidder who made the lowest bid requested a quantity of four widgets, he/she may not even be entitled to one widget. For instance, if 12 other higher bidders each bought two widgets, there would only 1 widget left. In this case, the original bidder would only be entitled to one widget, even though he originally bid for four. The way around this problem is to ensure that you are not the lowest successful bidder. Note: A bid's value in the auction is determined by the total number of items bid on, multiplied by the bid price.

Yankee Auctions
A Yankee Auction is a variation of the Dutch Auction where successful bidders pay what they bid as opposed to paying the price determined by the lowest qualified bidder (as in a Dutch Auction).

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