Introducing new auction options

1. Buyer nicknames are now anonymous until the auction ends.

All bidders are now displayed as anonymous BuyerX to prevent all kinds of signaling to other buyers.

2. Reserve and “Buy Now” prices for premium Spotlight auctions can now be set to hidden and secret:

A) Hidden Reserve: Reserve price is revealed at the end of the auction. Auction winner is a top bidder whose bid exceeds or is equal to the reserve price. A cryptographic hash is shown during the auction to ensure price integrity at all times (‘reserve’ amount can’t be modified after it’s been set initially).

B) Secret "Buy Now": “Buy now” price is not shown during the auction. A bid (incl. proxy bid) exceeding or reaching the “buy now” price wins and ends the auction early. Auction final price is capped at the “Buy now” amount. A hash signature is shown during the auction to ensure price integrity at all times (‘buy now’ amount can’t be modified after it’s been set initially).

How price integrity is preserved?

“Hidden Reserve” or “Secret BuyNow” can be set by the seller at the start of the auction. At the same time, a SHA256 cryptographic hash encoding reserve and/or buynow price is generated taken from the values string in the following format:

domainname.co.uk,RESERVE:0,BIN:5000,"random text" (for example, "Today_is_14_november")

In this values string reserve price is defined as zero and BIN price as £5000.

Generated hash of this string is:
1e3f95913485af2da01f8d345eb6152f96d26fcc7460a11b78e1d203e5e0a382

This hash is displayed on the auction page for the duration of the auction and after it’s end.

After the auction ends, the values string, including ‘random text’ part is revealed, so anyone can take it and compare to the hash displayed to ensure that prices were not altered after auction start and for it’s duration.

SHA256 is a tamper-proof hashing algorithm which is not vulnerable to collisions and reversing in order to substitute, for instance, a reserve price of £3000 in the value string and find any new random text to generate identical hash to the one generated initially.

I believe these new auction settings will add exciting twist to the auctions while also benefiting price discovery process.

To celebrate the launch of those new features premium domains accepted to the Spotlight section and started with ‘hidden reserve’ option will have their Reserve price fees waived* until further notice (*very high non-sensible reserves will be rejected).

SHA256 Hash calculator

PS: A bit more on how proxy bidding works with ‘hidden reserve’ or ‘secret buynow’ prices.

In a normal auction a reserve price amount is unknown until it is met with the equal (or exceeding) bid amount. A sufficient proxy bid will enter the auction to meet the reserve amount.

In a ‘Hidden Reserve’ auction, reserve price remains hidden until the end of the auction, therefore all proxy bids simply disregard the existence of the reserve price and do not attempt to ‘reach it’. The auction price will not increase if you place higher proxy bids, even though your bid might still remain below the reserve. However, if there is a ‘secret buynow’ price and you enter a high enough proxy bid to meet that amount, the auction will end immediatelly with your bid becoming a winning bid and the final price to pay will be equal to the “Buy now” price, even if your proxy bid was higher.

If you have any questions or feedback please post in the comments.