Game theory, for money
June 20, 2007 3:53 AM   Subscribe

Humraz is an auction site with a twist. Pay to bid, then once enough fees have been received, the lowest unmatched bid wins. Shall we play for £500? Or a house?
posted by imperium (21 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For what it's worth, this model isn't listed in Wikipedia's auction categories. Also, given the info in the status messages, I wonder how happens when groups of people share bid information?
posted by imperium at 3:55 AM on June 20, 2007

"There has been a problem loading the default page for this site."

posted by metaxa at 4:18 AM on June 20, 2007

Without actually looking at the link, I gotta say this sounds an awful lot like those awful SMS competitions on daytime TV.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 5:00 AM on June 20, 2007

Sounds like limbo.
posted by yoga at 5:04 AM on June 20, 2007

It just screams *SCAM*. I'm not convinced we should be giving it the oxygen of publicity, frankly.
posted by triv at 5:23 AM on June 20, 2007

It's like gambling without any odds transparency. Wheeeeee.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:35 AM on June 20, 2007

So, stupidity tax, but for smart people.
posted by pompomtom at 5:41 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Can I bid using real numbers or am I limited to 2 measly decimals?
posted by DU at 5:45 AM on June 20, 2007

That's pretty hysterical. I was wondering why there would be any sellers if "the bids start low, and they stay low", but apparently they are the only seller, and they charge $5 for each bid. So that explains that.
posted by smackfu at 5:51 AM on June 20, 2007

Seems like a slightly cooler, slightly more legitimized gambling operation, but hey, I'd spend $6 to have a chance at buying a house for under $1,000. And there's a modicum of skill here, especially if you game the system by sharing information.

I hesitate only because I can't see the profit mechanism for anyone else involved in the process--in order to sell something for 3% of its market value, you have to convince enough people to pay $6 a bid to make up the difference. Something tells me that there won't be enough people using this service to make up hundreds of thousands of dollars that way.
posted by Mayor West at 5:52 AM on June 20, 2007

Boy they sure like their bold and BOLD ALL-CAPS type.

Anyway, yeah, none of what they're doing makes any sense, other then a way to gamble.
posted by delmoi at 6:14 AM on June 20, 2007

I suppose people will get sucked in by the psychology of it. The phrase "Person X bought this $100k house for $2!!!!" sounds better to people than "Person X was the lottery winner." even though its the same thing.
posted by vacapinta at 6:19 AM on June 20, 2007

I'm with Triv on this one... a scam for stupid people, not worth a FPP.
posted by HuronBob at 6:25 AM on June 20, 2007

A scam would be a dishonest scheme. This seems perfectly honest about what it does. However, that doesn't mean you'd not be a sucker to play the game.
posted by edd at 6:29 AM on June 20, 2007

It seems like basically a raffle, but with a tiny bit of skill added in.

Around here, raffles are normally banned except for charity. I assume there's some reason for that?
posted by smackfu at 6:31 AM on June 20, 2007

flagged as other:scamish
posted by jeffburdges at 6:42 AM on June 20, 2007

Yeah, they do this all the time on daytime TV in the UK. It's basically a raffle. Nothing novel about it.
posted by cillit bang at 6:46 AM on June 20, 2007

Our auctions offer an affordable route to acquiring assets such as PROPERTY, GOLD and CASH.

Well wow! It looks like John Hodgman WROTE their COPY! Coolio!
posted by miss lynnster at 7:46 AM on June 20, 2007

Ha! There's a TV show here (Bid It) with that exact concept. I was running autocue for one of its episodes. Never got to watch the show, but after Bid It launched, the idea caught on like fire all over Asia.
posted by divabat at 8:05 AM on June 20, 2007

I'm sure this type of auction was deemed an illegal lottery and banned from UK TV last year.
posted by fire&wings at 9:09 AM on June 20, 2007

It's a type of lottery, isn't it? I ask the Humrazzers. They wince. They don't think that's accurate. Because when a person bids, they are informed whether the current winning bid is higher or lower than their own. "So I think it's far more skill-based than a lottery. You can work out how to position yourself."

So it's more like poker? "Well..." Asmat cringes again. "I suppose some of the skills are poker-based." For a bidder to position themselves with any degree of accuracy they'd probably have to bid a few times at £3 a go. I envisage one of my home-hungry friends bidding £12 a week to stay in the game – £12 a week that might be better saved towards a deposit. This is, after all, a form of gambling.

From the Independent, The £180,000 flat that is for sale to the lowest bidder.
posted by liquidindian at 3:14 PM on June 20, 2007

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