By Kirsten Hawkins
A multiple-item (‘Dutch’) auction is an auction where more
one of the same item is being sold at once. There are two
of Dutch auctions.
The most common Dutch auctions are actually a combination of
two auction types: they’re multiple-item fixed price auctions
(Dutch Buy it Now auctions to you and me). This just means
you can offer more than one of an item at a time for a fixed
This is very powerful if you’re selling something small in
large quantities. You can just say how many of the item you
have, and the Buy it Now auction will stay there until its
duration is up or all the items have been sold.
Buyers aren’t limited to only buying one item at a time,
either: they can enter how many they want and then just click
Buy it Now to get them. If you’re selling small things loose,
then this can be really great – instead of selling them in
packs of 50, you can sell 24 to one person and 95 to the next.
It lets buyers save money by buying exactly what they need,
it lets you offer them the flexibility to have as many or few
an item as they want.
Dutch auctions can also be done by bidding, but the process is
rather complicated. Buyers bid a price and say how many items
they want, and then everyone pays the lowest price that was
by one of the winning bidders. Let’s say there are 10 of an
for sale. Anne bids $5 each for 4, while Bob bids $4 for 6.
will get her 4 and Bob will get his 6, but they will both only
Here’s another example. If there are 5 items for sale and
Bob, Carol and Dean want to buy 2 each, then obviously someone
is going to lose out. Whoever bid the lowest will only get one
of the item. If Anne bid $5 each, Bob bid $4 each, Carol bid
each, and Dean bid $2 each, then Anne will get 2, Bob will get
2, Carol will get 1 and poor Dean gets nothing. So then: how
much they pay for the items?
Starting to sound like a particularly evil math problem, isn’t
it? The answer is that everyone will pay $3, as Carol’s bid
the lowest one that won anything. If you have trouble getting
your head around that, then don’t worry – everyone else does
too! That’s why Dutch auctions with bidding are so rare.
In fact, even eBay's normal one-item auction format has all
sorts of problems, not least of which is auction sniping.
Snipers are buyers who come along at the last minute to bid a
few cents more than the highest bidder and win the item. Your
buyers will find this infuriating – and you’re the only one
with any power to help them out by stopping it. The next email
will show you what you can do.
About The Author: Kirsten Hawkins is an Ebay and internet
auction enthusiast from Nashville, TN. Visit
www.auctionseller411.com/ for more great tips on how to
make the most from Ebay and other online auctions.