The auction unit seemed to inspire a burst of interactivity on your part. I got a number of comments about penny auctions and slot auctions. Here are some highlights:
Leigh Fiske writes:
Quibids (http://www.quibids.com/) is a new "penny auction" site in the model of swoopo.com. Each bid costs $0.60 to make, and in the last few minutes of the auction, each new bid extends the remaining time by a certain amount. It's pretty interesting. They must think that their business model has a higher likelihood of success than their predecessors'!
Rosie Wang notes the demise of Swoopo and finds the effective markups on penny auctions rather yucky:
Thought you'd be interested to note that Swoopo has recently filed for bankruptcy. (http://technologizer.com/2011/03/25/swoopo-quietly-files-for-bankruptcy/) I was originally going to write you and let you know about another site called "oohilove" that had a very similar penny auction but for luxury handbags and accessories, only to find the site shuttered and that it's owned by the same company as Swoopo. I once did a calculation on oohilove though to see how much money they were making (since each bid is also $1 and bids go up in $0.02 increments), and was a bit disgusted by the multiple they were getting on the actual value of the product.
Gwyn Jones notes the burgeoning academic literature on position auctions. Here is a piece by Google's Chief Economist (and Berkeley Professor) Hal Varian title "Position Auctions" Here is a broad survey on Google style auctions from the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia.
Finally, a piece about waiting in line to see Star Wars.