Distinguishing the Differences Between Auctions
It seems like new information is discovered about something every day. And the topic of auctions is no exception. Keep reading to get the most current auction information available.
Learn about the differences between various types of auctions, on and offline.
English auction: This is what most people think of as an auction. Participants bid openly against one another, with each bid being higher than the previous bid. The auction ends when no participant is willing to bid further, or when a pre-determined “buy-out” price is reached, at which point the highest bidder pays the price. The seller may set a ‘reserve’ price and if the auctioneer fails to raise a bid higher than this reserve the sale may not go ahead.
Dutch auction: In the traditional Dutch auction the auctioneer begins with a high asking price which is lowered until some participant is willing to accept the auctioneer’s price, or a predetermined minimum price is reached. That participant pays the last announced price. This type of auction is convenient when it is important to auction goods quickly, since a sale never requires more than one bid.
The Dutch auction is named for its best known example, the Dutch tulip auctions; in the Netherlands this type of auction is actually known as a “Chinese auction”. “Dutch auction” is also sometimes used to describe online auctions where several identical goods are sold simultaneously to an equal number of high bidders. Economists call the latter auction a multi-unit English ascending auction.
Sealed High-Bid Auction: In this type of auction all bidders simultaneously submit bids so that no bidder knows the bid of any other participant. The highest bidder pays the price they submitted.
Vickrey auction: Also known as the sealed second-price auction. This is identical to the sealed high-bid auction, except the winning bidder pays the second highest bid rather than their own.
Silent auction: This is a sealed variant often used in charity events, but involving the simultaneous sale of multiple items. Participants submit bids normally on paper, near the item. They may or may not know how many other people are bidding or what their bids are. The highest bidder pays the price they submitted.
Procurement auction: This kind of auction reverses the roles of seller and buyer. The buyer puts out an RFQ for a given commodity and providers offer progressively lower prices in hopes of getting the business. At the end of the auction, the lowest bid wins.
Digital art auction: In this indefinitely long auction, designed for unreleased works that are trivially reproducible at zero cost (recordings, software, drug formulae), bidders openly submit their maximum bids. The seller may review the bids and close with a price of their choosing at any time. The successful bidders that pay this price are those whose bid meets or exceeds it.
Open outcry auction: This type of auction can refer to any auction where the auction is conducted orally for people to hear typically used in stock exchanges and commodity exchanges, where trading occurs on a trading floor and traders may enter verbal bids and offers simultaneously. This type of auction is being replaced by electronic trading platforms.
Unique bid auction: In this type of auction users post blind bids and are given a range of prices they can place a bid in, often a capped limit. The highest, or lowest, unique bid wins. For instance an auction is given a maximum bid of 10. If the top five bids are 10, 10, 9, 8, 8 then 9 would be the winner being the highest unique bid. This is a popular online type of auction.
Buy-out auction: This auction has a predetermined buy-out price in which the bidder can end the auction by accepting the buy-out price. The buy-out price is set by the seller. The bidder can choose to bid or use the buy-out option. If no bidder chooses to utilize the buy-out option, the auction ends with the highest bidder winning the auction. You can often find this type of auction on eBay.
Be sure you understand the type of auction you are participating in before it starts. Sometimes mistakes made at an auction can smart and be costly if you don’t know what you are doing.
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