The Online Dutch Auction

Good piece by my old friend Rani about how online auctions work in Singapore: 

When I tried to sell my xda II online, I was surprised to find out that the logic of online auction is almost totally different in Singapore. At first, I tried to sell my xda II in Singapore Pocket PC user group (PPCSG). However, I can say that, although PPCSG market place forum is a great place to buy stuff, it is not a great place to sell stuff. People from the forum would mercilessly bargain 40-50% from the initial price. Having been unable to sell my xda II with a good price in PPCSG, I looked for other alternatives.

Enter auctions sites, namely, Yahoo Auctions Singapore and ebay Singapore. And I was surprised to find out that… nobody bids on those auctions sites. It was not long until I find out the unwritten rules of the online auction game in Singapore, which is totally different from my experience doing online auction in the US and UK.

Basically it’s like a reverse auction: Put your highest price as the opening bid, and wait for folk to call you with lower bids. Then you just seal the deal over the phone. I wonder how true this is elsewhere? And I wonder, too, whether Rani’s suggestion that eBay and co actually build the capability for reverse auctions into their software, so that in places like Singapore, people actually use their services?

Service: Phlog? Photog? Photblog? Phoblog?

 From my friend Rani in Singapore, I read with interest of a new service designed by two 19-year old twins Keng and Seng. It’s called Phone Logger, or Phlogger, and it allows anyone (not just those residing in Singapore) to update their blogs (online journals called web logs, or simply blogs) via their handphone’s Short Message Service, or SMS. Actually it utilizes the more advanced MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service, which includes longer messages and photos. The service is free, and while testing has already got 340 registered users.
 
An interesting idea, and great that it’s being developed in this part of the world. My main worry, apart from the less-than-mouthwatering name, is that it’s already been adopted to mean Photo Logging — see phlog.net, by a guy called Alan from Reading in the UK. Who was first? There’s also moblogging, for mobile blogging, which is pretty much the same thing as Photo Logging, firing off photos from your handphone to a website. Fotopages is one example of this. Other terms still floating around: Photog, Photblog, Phoblog. I’d plump for moblog to mean any blog that’s being updated wirelessly, whether it’s pictures or text. Objections, anyone?