AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Tue Sept 4 2012 10:56:29

eBay D and D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

By: Julia Wilkinson

Sponsored Link

eBay is exploring more ways to engage users, and one of them is "gamifying" auctions and other forms of buying on the site (and maybe even selling). According to a piece in VentureBeat, eBay is working with a team of University of California Santa Cruz students to envision ways to push the envelope on future interfaces for transactions on the site.

It's also exploring "playful new dimensions in buyer reputation as well as seller reputation," according to eBay executive Matt MacLaurin, who’s heading up the program, according to VentureBeat. “We already have point systems and reputation,” MacLaurin said. “But we’re exploring. And we’re experimenting around how to put prettier faces on it.”

One of those ways would be to use face recognition technology instead of passwords for users to login to the site on a big public kiosk in say, a big store.

But one of the more interesting ideas that was kicked around is apparently a "Dungeons & Dragons"-style game where users hunt for treasure...and the treasure is actually items on the site which can be purchased.

Games such as Farmville by Zynga are making the company big money (1,266,296 people playing now, according to its home page)...could gaming help online sellers make more money by incorporating it into the selling site's interface? This brought back a memory to me which is one of those "did I really see it?" things. It was at a presentation at an eBay Live conference some years ago, and an eBay exec was showing slides of an experimental interface where bidders were represented by little avatars/faces, and their bidding progress with little bars. That initiative evidently got scrapped for some reason.

In terms of point systems around reputation, Bonanza is already doing things in this space such as tokens and badges in its rewards program.

What do you think? Could gaming become as popular on eBay as it is on Facebook? Would it help sales, even a little? And as a buyer, would you want to engage in a game such as online role-playing or treasure hunts to help you shop? Post a comment here!




Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 4 11:26:24 2012

Haven't bought on Fleabay in months.

And future buying doesn't look good either.

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 4 12:28:35 2012

NO! They need to fix what they have before messing it up more.

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 4 12:31:57 2012

right .... all that we need is buyers with "gamer" mentality.... game over

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

by: SleepyTime This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 4 12:39:20 2012

Clearly, Ebay is now officially  off the deep end.  This is beyond stupid.  

Why didn't they just remain the good old-fashioned place where you could sell practically anything and trust your buying partner to follow through?

I've been gone from buying and selling on Ebay for over 4 years now.  I just got an invitation to list a freebie item.  Sorry Ebay...you have so destroyed your site that I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.  

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Sep 4 14:05:21 2012

Sales are made by creating a sense of urgency. Auctions did that with time ending soonest. However, eBay with their vast wisdom and steel trap minds, wants to do away with ''time ending soonest'' and have the everything goes random mess of Best Match.

Since eBay's employment consists of all ''kids'', making eBay into a game just goes with the territory. It will make working at eBay even more fun since fixing all the glitches would mean actual work and who wants to do that?

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

by: mamie14425 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 4 14:43:10 2012

What are they thinking....you want gaming go to a gaming site!...you want to be social go to facebbook and twitter.....you want a Mickey Mouse company go to eBay....if eBay had just stayed with their original business plan of being a unique venue for buying and selling they wouldn't be  promoting these crazy ideas.....

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 4 14:46:25 2012

''...and the treasure is actually items on the site which can be purchased.''

Isn't it hard enough to get buyers to find my listings already?  That sounds really stupid.  I want my buyers to find my items and buy as quickly as possible.  eBay SHOULD want that also.

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Sep 4 14:52:34 2012

Unbelievable
Who thinks of these stupid ideas.
It seems that just about every quarter ebay comes up with big changes.
To me this shows pressure from Wall Street.
That's why I like ebid.net they hardly make any changes.

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Sep 4 15:39:56 2012

You have to wonder what these clowns in the eBay executive suite are thinking. “Thinking”, what an absurd concept to expect from a gaggle of headless turkeys.

My recollection is that such birds are only capable of running around in circles, bumping into each other, for a short while, although I recall a story of someone supposedly keeping one alive by tube feeding it; I don’t know whether that was true or not; but, if so, maybe they have a tube-feeding setup at San Jose …

Sadly, it has come to desperate times at eBay, and another new—and undoubtedly pointless—search for improvements in revenue is underway to replace the stagnation of the past five years. And for those who think otherwise, check the history of the stock prices of Amazon and eBay over that time.

In reality, the eBay mechanism is broken and bits are falling of the machine to the point that the whole thing must surely soon disintegrate, just like that old joke about the “kafula” bird, that little African hummingbird that, for some unknown reason starts flying in ever decreasing circles, at ever increasing speed, until it finally disappears up its own …

RIP eBay …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Tue Sep 4 18:01:37 2012

"Let me say this about that!"

The pathetic sociopaths at top management might want to bifurcate, trifurcate or n-furcate their gaming strategy.

If I'm looking for a 1985 Chevy 4-barrel carburetor return spring, I'm not interested in playing "DOOM" whilst trying to find the part!

Looking for the latest Zippo lighter - maybe, but since I can't see through the smokey haze, maybe the game should be simple.

Looking for the latest sexy phone cover - yeah - let's do The Sims & see which building you can find it in.

Then again - perhaps classic "Adventure" pre-internet (DARPA NET folks) programmed originally in FORTRAN will be the vehicle "twisty turny passages all looking the same" for finding your treasure.

For the original hackers - you know how you got the last 2 points!

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Tue Sep 4 18:08:04 2012

Perhaps bidding on an auction, every one can have an avatar and a couple of responses to being over bid, under bid, folding etc.

That way, you encourage slamming the avatar of let's say Dr Doom with Homer Simpson's "DUH!" when Homer outbids the good Doctor.....

Yup, lotsa fun. Maybe the fantastic programmers can put it on your mobile phone so you can bid while you drive too!

Sorry, those long 3-day weekends just keep my juices pent-up & needing release!

They're coming to take me away, ha ha. (Napoleon the XIV).

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Sep 4 19:39:05 2012

This will surely alienate adults and drive conversion rates to their all time lows.

We are a business, not a player of some kind of game. Relegating buying and selling to some kind of game is not professional and is not conducive to a business transaction in any way shape or form.

If eBay thinks this feature will be so popular, they should create a new platform as a sandbox that is entirely separate from eBay to measure how engaged sellers and buyers will be without tearing down the existing format.

If eBay ever brings this immature approach to buying and selling to the main marketplace, we are one seller who will pull our listings and leave eBay in the dust.

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

by: Ebay_roadkill This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 4 21:55:13 2012

I want my old eBay back.  

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Sep 4 21:58:14 2012

"... where users hunt for treasure...and the treasure is actually items on the site which can be purchased."

And how much will the sellers have to pay to make one of their items the "treasure"? You know it's all about fees for eBay. And if buyers are busy playing games, won't that take away from the time that they would otherwise be searching for things to purchase?

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

by: KathleenJohnson This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Sep 4 22:09:29 2012

1. Who said games are ''popular'' to all users of Facebook under the Bell Curve of varying age groups.

2. Yardsellr is a prime example of a fixed price selling site marketing with ''frat house mentality'' playing games left right and center. And not all the users ''love it'' at all. They have lost a lot of the sellers who have matured beyond high school antics and got fed up with the games and the ''mentality'' of the users it attracted. Selling is not a ''game''.

3. [Quote]eBay is exploring more ways to engage users, and one of them is ''gamifying'' auctions and other forms of buying on the site (and maybe even selling). According to a piece in VentureBeat, eBay is working with a team of University of California Santa Cruz students to envision ways to push the envelope on future interfaces for transactions on the site[/Quote].

So, what a the demographics of the ''user'' they are hoping to attract. ''College'' kids coming up with a gaming solution does not look to me like it is a mutually inclusive solution for all age groups.

5. If ''games'' is the only solution eBay can come up with marketing their platform - then I have to ask if desperate times is calling for desperate measures.

6. Technology seems to have focussed all the solutions on the tech saavy users. What of the others - older and wiser who are only interested in buying and selling and not the least bit interested in Farmville. In fact - how many on Facebook have those games ''blocked'' along with the Apps that spam their way across the Newsfeeds to the point of annoyance promoting those ''games'' designed to develop interest in the App.



eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

by: trickstunt This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 5 00:25:46 2012

hmm... kinda like Feds 'n' Heads. lol

Forget it ebay. You're not fun any more. You never will again. You're already running a carnival freakshow. Why try harder?

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Wed Sep 5 08:30:50 2012

They had an AWESOME treasure hunting game, in which a slow-moving river of unique and compelling items would parade on by, and you had to throw some skin in the game if you wanted to grab some booty.

It was called Category Browse, as shown via Time Ending Soonest.

Idiots.

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Wed Sep 5 13:36:39 2012

They've lost their marbles! They're not playing with a full deck! Their pilot light is out! They've got cobwebs in the windmills of their minds! They're nuttier than a Claxton Fruitcake!

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

by: zvicki This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 5 15:16:41 2012

@Annie - Don't forget "a few bricks short of a load" and "not the sharpest tack in the drawer" lol

eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?   eBay D&D? Would Gamifying Auctions Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu Sep 6 04:02:50 2012

I've said for several years that ebay will never recapture its former success in any way, shape, or form until it hires responsible adults with experience in retail sales and customer service.

What we've had during The Ho Era are inexperienced, sociopathic 20 something MBAs who make their mark by changing things, have no long term investment in the success of ebay, and will move on in a couple of years to the next Silicon Valley corporation stupid enough to hire such visionless and immature managers.

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.