Skip to content

Making a quick buck

I got a chance to talk to John Morgan today about an experiment he ran at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

His experiment set out to see if there was a benefit to sellers to switch between eBay and Yahoo! auction sites. Among several interesting points, it came out that sellers could make 29.7% more money on eBay for the same items, with the same descriptions, from the same seller with the same reputation.

One of his conclusions is that eBay is becoming a monopoly, and this is evidence of “tipping” towards that state.

So I asked the question — If someone can buy things at Yahoo! and sell those things on eBay and make an immediate 30% profit, why aren’t there arbitragers making money that way, and flattening out the markets? The answer was that the information was not widely known, and so the arbitragers weren’t there yet.

The next question was — Wouldn’t it be in Yahoo!’s best interest to make this widely known, so that the tipping towards an eBay monopoly would be thwarted, and Yahoo! would make more money, and the end users would benefit from competition?

Of course Dr. Morgan could not speak for Yahoo!, but seemed to agree that it would be in their interest to make his work a best seller.

So, all of you auction site site users, and all of you who are quick with the occasional Python script, do yourself and Yahoo! and possibly the world a favor, and help stamp out a burgeoning monopoly, and get a 30% return on investment right away.

Categories: Computers.

Tags: , , ,

Comment Feed

No Responses (yet)

You must be logged in to post a comment.

By Simon Quellen Field
Follow me on Google+
Find us on Google+