Title

The Effects of Shilling on Final Bid Prices in Online Auctions

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2005

Abstract

An increasing number of reports of online auction fraud are of growing concern to auction operators and participants. In this research, we discuss reserve price shilling, where a bidder shills in order to avoid paying auction house fees, rather than to drive up the price of the final bid. We examine the effect that premium bids have upon the final selling price, since they are linked with reserve price shill bids. We use 10,260 eBay auctions during April 2001, and identify 919 auctions involving 322 sellers and 1583 bidders involved in concurrent auctions for the exact same item. We find that premium bidding occurs 23% of the time, in 263 of the 919 auctions. Using a theoretical perspective involving valuation signals, we show that other bidders may view high bids as signals that an item is worth more. Thus, they may be willing to pay more for the items than others that do not receive premium bids. The implications are disturbing in that sellers may be more motivated to enter a shill bid in order to drive up the final price in an online auction. We also examine and report on alternative hypotheses involving winner’s curse and the possibility of reserve price shill bids. Our results are developed in the context of a weighted least squares regression model that predicts an item selling price-to-average selling price ratio.

Keywords

Auctions, Econometric analysis, Economics, E-markets, Internet auctions, Internet fraud, Premium bidding, Reserve price shilling, Weighted least squares, Winner’s curse

Discipline

Computer Sciences | E-Commerce

Research Areas

Information Systems and Management

Publication

Electronic Commerce Research and Applications

Volume

4

Issue

1

First Page

21

Last Page

34

ISSN

1567-4223

Identifier

10.1016/j.elerap.2004.10.009

Publisher

Elsevier

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.elerap.2004.10.009