October 20, 2011
If you’re tired of sifting and searching through stores on and offline for your next prized possession, post an ad on reverse classified site Pikaba (no, it’s not a Pokémon). Pikaba, demoing at Tech Cocktail’s inaugural Seattle event is a marketplace where consumers create requests to buy products or services. Think of it as a place that heavily favors the ISO (in search of), or “wanted” classified newspaper section.
The founders, serial entrepreneurs and ex-Microsofties Dmitry Balin and Irena Balin created Pikaba to give more power to consumers and capture their desires and intentions to buy. Pikaba says that leads generated through the site will be high quality, as it is crystal clear exactly what consumers are looking for, thus making it easy for a merchant to make a sale.
This is true. Although anyone who has suffered through basic microeconomics will remember consumer and producer surplus. With Pikaba’s buyer auction model, consumers will demand most, if not all, of the surplus (i.e. low-ball pricing) and it may not be worth it for merchants to sell for lower than they can elsewhere. Also, as we have learned from Amazon’s recommendation engine, merchants want opportunities to sell consumers things they will buy on impulse because of similarity.
With that said, Pikaba is a great way to normalize prices of some goods that creep up too high: maybe you think it’s unreasonable to pay $300 for an Xbox 360, or that the BlackBerry Bold’s price is just plain crazy? Throw out a price you think is reasonable and see if you get any bites from those hungry, slimy merchant fish.
Competitors for Pikaba are–you guessed it–the many wanted pages that tag along with craigslist, a classified juggernaut no one can seem to knock off. Pikaba maintains that they are a complete solution, bringing together wish lists, lead generation (for merchants), group buying and recommendations. Similar companies along these lines are ebay’s Want It Now, Priceline and Wishpot. All employ name-your-price and what-you-want models. For more information and to find out what’s new with Pikaba, come chat up the founders in Bell Town, Seattle tonight!
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