We characterize the statistical properties of a large number of agents on two major online auction sites. The measurements indicate that the total number of bids placed in a single category and the number of distinct auctions frequented by a given agent follow power-law distributions, implying that a few agents are responsible for a significant fraction of the total bidding activity on the online market. We find that these agents exert an unproportional influence on the final price of the auctioned items. This domination of online auctions by an unusually active minority may be a generic feature of all online mercantile processes.
S. Y. Gerdes, M. D. Scholle, J. W. Campbell, G. Balazsi, E. Ravasz, M. D. Daugherty, A. L. Somera, N. C. Kyrpides, I. Anderson, M. S. Gelfand, A. Bhattacharya, V. Kapatral, M. D'Souza, M. V. Baev, Y. Grechkin, F. Mseeh, M. Y. Fonstein, R. Overbeek, A.-L. Barabási, Z. N. Oltvai, A. L. Osterman