Patent number 8566174 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Online auctions are a popular way for participants to bid for products and services (collectively referred to as 'items') over the Internet. Online auction sites such as
"Some online auction sites employ automatic or 'proxy bidding' where an online auction bidder specifies the maximum bid amount that he or she is willing to pay for an item. Automated systems at the online auction website will place bids on the bidder's behalf typically using a predetermined incremental amount over the current high bid. As other bids come in on the item, the automated proxy bidding system will continue to place bids for the bidder up to the specified maximum. The bidder's maximum bid is kept confidential until it exceeded by another bidder. Proxy bidding makes it convenient to participate in an online auction without participants having to watch online auctions and come back to re-bid every time someone places a higher bid and thus encourages the online auction participant to specify the maximum amount they are willing to pay for an item.
"Fixed duration online auctions are susceptible to a practice called 'sniping' in which a bidder jumps in and places the highest bid very close to the online auction's end time so that there is not enough time for other bidders to increase their bids beyond their specified maximum. Although sniping advocates point out that the sniper only wins the auction if he or she is willing to pay more for the item than the other bidders, sniping draws complaints from both online auction buyers and sellers alike. Some online auction buyers dislike sniping because they find it frustrating to place a bid and then patiently wait for an online auction to end only to have the item get snatched away at the last second. Buyers may also feel that it is unfair that they do not get another chance to bid after seeing and evaluating the other higher bid. Some buyers have expressed a desire to know what other bidders are willing to pay and be given a chance to place a higher bid as is common in regular live auctions where the auctioneer provides opportunities to place final bids by saying 'going once, going twice, . . . gone' before ending the auction with a bang of the gavel. Some sellers of items on an online auction site also dislike sniping because they believe it lowers the price that they might otherwise receive for items if buyers could get caught up in the excitement and frenzy of the online auction. Sniping may be viewed by sellers as a practice that precludes the possibility for buyers to drive up the item price as they attempt to outbid each other.
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