Round up

by on December 6, 2006 at 1:59 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. The economics of blogging, and there are data in the comments.

2. Are ambidexterous people and watch enthusiasts more self-reflective?  Hat tip to Fashion Incubator.

3. What kind of innovator are you?  And here is the associated blog.

4. "Basketball vests (singlets) with electroluminescent displays that show a player’s score, and number of fouls, are being trialled in Australia."

5. Gift certificates selling at more than face value on ebay?  Why?

1 patrick December 6, 2006 at 2:32 pm

Two possibilities:

1) collectible?

2) You can’t buy that denomination on the old navy website. If the buyer is indifferent between a $20 and $25 gift certificate (since he won’t spend it, presumably), he ends up saving a penny, after shipping.

Note: I don’t believe either of these… it’s a mystery to me.

2 meep December 6, 2006 at 2:56 pm

Money laundering?

3 srboisvert December 6, 2006 at 3:34 pm

Perhaps it is automated sniping software not being set with a reasonable upper limit. The strange part is that the over value bidders were experienced ebayers. It also may be a paypal thing – Old Navy might not accept the payment form the ebay bidders can use. They can also avoid the purchase showing up on a credit card bill.

4 tyler h December 6, 2006 at 3:42 pm

Aha beaten to the punch.

5 Matthew December 6, 2006 at 5:04 pm

I believe the competition story mentioned above–at first you want a sweater, but by the end you wan to win, but I also think that some of the competitive behavior comes from people incorporating some of the sunk cost of following the auction into their decision.

People get invested in these auctions for 7 days, and I know from experience that if you lose an auction you have been watching for a week, you can feel like a jackass for having wasted all that time. I don’t know if I would feel mor ethan $2 worth of jackassedness, but it would not surprise me if someone did.

Some of the loss may be related to the endowment being endogenous to expectations a’ la Koszegi and Rabin’s forthcoming QJE paper “A Model of Reference Dependent Preferences.” If you have a week to incorporate the item into your endowment as a function of the probability of winning, you may experience a loss if you do not win. If you are loss averse and you attached a high probaiblity to winning, that loss may exceed the amount of your overpayment.

6 josh December 6, 2006 at 5:38 pm

Maybe the bidders thought it was funny.

7 Phil December 6, 2006 at 7:20 pm

What’s even odder is that there were two people making competitive bids. Looking at Old Navy’s website, they charge $5 for shipping, no matter what the purchase. So, the cost is the same for this auction vs buying from ON.

8 Mike Mead December 6, 2006 at 10:26 pm

I sent the winning bidder a message, asking them very politely why they would do such a thing. Hopefully I haven’t embarrassed them too much and we soon will have a definitive answer.

9 Andrew December 7, 2006 at 2:06 am

I think it’s pretty obvious. Paying a little more than $20 is still cheaper than driving to whereever old navy is through the crowds waiting in line, etc.

10 AZ December 7, 2006 at 9:16 am

As for the Old Navy gift certificate selling for more than face value, as patrick (first commentor) noted, there is no $20 gift certificate available on Old Navy’s website. Also, Old Navy apparently charges tax. That $25 gift certificcate will now cost $27 (if tax is 8%). Also, it said that the gift card could be shipped free (or you could have it rushed for $15). I don’t understand how it could be “joy of winning” – the last bid was placed 10 hours before the close of the auction, and this person KNEW what the next bid had to be – if you place a bid on Ebay, and the new high bid (not yours) falls within the minimum increment range for the current price level, then you KNOW what the other person has bid. In the auction, jason2273 bid $22 and the current high bid by wesome was $22, so jason2273 KNEW (or could have known) that simply placing a marginal bid equal to $22+increment (50 cents at that price level?) would be a winning bid. If someone is “win happy”, isn’t it really worth 50 cents to be the winner?

As for the paper on overbidding mentioned by Commenterlein, I would feel a lot better about the results if one additional factor was looked at (I skimmed the paper so maybe it was mentioned). That factor is payment type accepted. I spent a decent amount of time on Ebay, and for a while I was using Paypal. Then someone hacked my account and started buying mini-cameras and having them sent to the Ukraine. I got my money back through my bank (but had to change my checking account number), but Paypal kept asking me to give them my checking account number in order to reactivate my account. I refused, and anyone that said they were a “Paypal only seller” never received any of my business afterwards. If the fixed-price sellers were only Paypal (or only check/money order sellers, or worse, only money order sellers) then that could be a cause of why people bid more than the buy it now price.

11 Dick King December 7, 2006 at 1:40 pm
claims that there’s no shipping or sales tax on the gift cards. If this is true, he could have delivered $25 of value to his giftee for a penny more than he spent for which he will deliver $20.

I proceeded enough into the checkout process to know that their computer does not in fact intend to add anything to my bill other than the $25 if I go ahead.


12 Aaron Fix December 7, 2006 at 3:43 pm

Perhaps the guy feels that Old Navy gift cards will outperform the dollar

13 The Tsunami December 7, 2006 at 10:25 pm

how can a gift card be taxed? that seems a little ridiculous, since that would mean the gift card itself, independent of its currency value in Old Navy stores, is being taxed. furthermore, anything purchased at the store would also be taxed at the time of purchase, so these goods would be double-taxed.

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