This interesting study analyzed 2802 items offered on the Internet
auction site eBay (www.ebay.com) in one day, using the Virtual Online
Data Kollecting Agent (VODKA). Data were gathered on 11 eBay item sub-
categories in three broad item categories, representing varied levels
of market activity. The author identified three key dimensions of
- market technostructure: a) auction configuration and b) market
- market navigation: a) basic navigation structure, b) add-
on navigation aids and c) location (default listing versus
- item display (visual cues): a) use of an image and b) boldface
The study examined the impact of the three navigation variables and
two item display variables on the number of hits per item and the
subsequent number of bids. Hits were highly correlated with bids,
leading the author to conclude that “the process of effectively
locating information...is key to user success.” Market
navigation features were found to be stronger predictors of both hits
and bids than item display variables were, suggesting that
incorporating fancy graphics or bold headlines is of marginal use.
Complete bidding histories were available for 113 of the 2802
auctions. For these, the timing of bids was examined. For all auction
durations (between three and ten days), the greatest number of bids
took place on the final day of bidding, and in most cases the second-
greatest number of bids took place on the first day of bidding.
This study is a good early step towards shedding light on the
impact of various design elements on auction user behavior.