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Punters shun online auctions after losing e-bid virginity

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Online auctions may get shedloads of hits, but visitors aren't returning to the sites after losing their e-auction virginity.

The number of newcomers to these sites is rising, but nineteen per cent of them in Q2 said they wouldn't go back to an auction site, up from nine percent in Q1.

In the first quarter of this year eight per cent of site visitors were newcomers, compared with 26 per cent in Q2, a survey out today claims. While half of those who said they wouldn't return blamed rubbish service, the number of unhappy punters was lower than the first quarter's 70 per cent.

They only wanted to see what auction sites were like, but had no real interest in them, the cPulse survey claimed.

"Normally in high repeat visit industries we see very strong positive correlation between a respondent's satisfaction with a web site's experience and that respondent's likelihood to return to that web business at some point in the future," said cPulse analyst Michael Hochster.

"Usually, as customer satisfaction goes up so does their likelihood of coming back. Our
research shows exactly the opposite happening here."

The two biggest gripes from new auction users were high minimum bids and low product selection. However, hard-core e-auction goers thought they were getting better value for money than in the early days, and said they trusted the sites a lot more.

Meanwhile, rumourmeisters reckon online auction house eBay and e-tailer Amazon are about to merge. The two would be a good match, say analysts, and are pursuing similar strategies.

And in a spot of dotcom silliness from the boys in blue, Surrey police are in trouble for trying to flog a samurai sword online. Apparently they put the weapon up for sale on the Aucland site with a £1 reserve price in a bid to clear their lost property office.

The item drew 16 bids and a price of £51, but was swiftly withdrawn by the Surrey plod following complaints, PA reported. ®

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