There is a REALLY cool site out there doing something very interesting. I read about it on page 38 of the October issue of Business 2.0.
Limbo is a novel auction site that auctions off merchandise donated by companies - primarily interested in the promotional value. For each auction, the winner is the person with the LOWEST and UNIQUE bid. So, if you bid $1.58 for that 42 inch plasma HDTV then you will win it, if nobody else bids the same amount and all bids lower than yours are not unique (multiple bidders bid that value). Check it out! I'm planning to try it this week - they just started up a new auction for a 42 inch plasma TV. Be warned, some auctions are free to bid and others cost you 99 cents per bid. Be sure to click on the "How To Play" link at the top of the page. It explains some interesting features - such as: after you bid, they give you some feedback about your bid in relation to others and ask if you want to bid again. Clever. The Business 2.0 article said that when you're charged 99 cents to bid, that money is split 3-ways: between Limbo, your wireless carrier, and the donating company.
Some people I've mentioned this to began to consider if this might relate to some game theories or other mathematical models. Based on the info in the "How To Play" page, it might be to a bidder's advantage to bid later - closer to the end of the auction. Also ... read the rules for any of the auctions so you can see some of the fine print. For example, most (if not all) have the rule that the prize cannot be re-sold or transferred for one year. That is a good way to prevent some clever folks from operating a business to bid many many times to ensure winning an item and then merely sell it on eBay for much more than they bid.