When you get beyond the limited form factor of mobile, it really turns out to be a better platform for creating, managing and bidding on used goods, says Dan Zheng, a cofounder of EggDropApp, a new mobile-based auction service. Mobile is fast, geolocation oriented, fun and can be programmed for automatic notifications when items are added or sold.
“Selling stuff online is really hard,” says Zheng, who previously served an 8-year stint at Google. But that’s no excuse for leading solutions like Craigslist or eBay to basically stand still in the midst of the mobile revolution. “You can’t even provide feedback” on Craigslist, he notes. Buyers also can’t tell if items are active. Or make a counteroffer. “Buyers always want to make a counteroffer,” he says.
EggDrop, which is now operating in the U.S. and U.K., has been set up as a falling price auction. Items are put up for a set price, and shown to users within an 80-mile radius so they can be personally picked up, rather than shipped. If an item doesn’t sell, the price automatically drops at a certain point. And then again, and again, until it does sell (hence “EggDrop”). Buyers can see who is interested in an item, and can play chicken until someone actually pays the price.
“There is definitely a games mechanism here,” says Zheng, who notes that he envisions the service appealing to both “busy pros” and “garage sale” frequenters. “People are interrupt-driven,” he says.
The four-person company has some venture funding and isn’t currently seeking partnerships. Instead, it is focusing on building itself up as a destination site, initially for Android and iOS. While the service is free, it expects to eventually go to premium models for larger merchants, such as furniture merchants and car dealers.