I had a difficult time coming up with a title for this post, but this is meant to say that sometimes people do things that I do not understand. Case in point, my most recent venture into selling unwanted items on ebay. I bought two new hard drives a few months back with the goal of finally completing my networked storage project, only to figure out last week that they weren’t compatible with the formatting I want to use. Since I bought them so long ago, these drives were past the return date for the online merchant, so I turned to ebay to recoup my money. I listed the two drives separately and here is what my auctions looked like last night:
Let’s take a closer look to figure out why I’m both interested and baffled by these results. As you can see, the listing titles are exactly the same. I have two identical drives for sale, and the advertisements are copies. I listed the drives within one minute of each other. As you move along the image, in black are the number of people watching the auction, blue are the number of bidders, and green is obviously the current price. What I don’t understand is how these three numerical values are different. The items are as similar as I can make them, yet twelve more people were interested in the first listing, and for some reason the second listing is worth more than the first. I can’t explain it. Nor can I explain why someone would tack on 23 pence to their bid. Maybe it is a lucky number?
There is something satisfying about watching an item you are selling steadily increase in price during the auction, especially if it gets up to a value you are happy with. In this case I was very happy, these drives sold for double what I paid for them back in the summer. And the buyers actually got them for 1/3 less than the current market price, so it is the rare win-win. Why are these drives so expensive now? Flooding in Thailand.
This picture is outside of one of the factories that manufactures hard drives for Western Digital sometime in the spring. Unfortunately, many plants like this one are still either underwater or trying to repair the damage to get up and running again. This setback produces a classic supply and demand problem, hence the rising prices in hard drives. But what I wonder is that by the time these companies get their products out and saturate the market again to the point where the prices of spinning disc drives finally comes back down, will there still be a market for them? I would estimate that this will take the better part of a year, and with the advances in storage technology I might argue that solid state drives will approach their spinning disc cousins in capacity and price. I’m sure most of you aren’t interested in this topic, but I find it interesting, and worth following up.