Online .auctions ha.3. teco.me a major p.lae.r in
the world's economy in recent years, with
members logging on to eBay, Amazon.com, and Featured Schotar:
Yahoo! Auctions to buy and sell thousands of Brian Lorenzetti
goods-from clothing and collectables to
vehicles and even real estate. University
Scholar Brian Lorenzetti recently completed a 2003 - 2004 University Scholar
study of the current state of online auctions Mentor: Zuo-Jun "Max" Shen
and analyzed factors contributing to the
longevity of successful sites. College of Engineering
"As the security and popularity of online
auctions have increased, there has been an
increase in the number of high profile items
being sold, such as cars, land and even
airplanes," says Brian, a senior majoring in
industrial and systems engineering, with a
minor in business. "Simply put, anything and
everything can be sold in today's online auction
For his University Scholars Program project,
Brian analyzed 142 websites, all of which had
running online auctions in the fall of 1998, and
evaluated their current status. Websites that no
longer contain online auctions were evaluated
for their current content, while information
about the setup and inventory was collected
from sites still containing auctions. Next, Brian
examined the current state of online auctions as a whole, including the variety and quantity of goods being auctioned, as well
as gathering information regarding the struggles of new auction sites attempting to enter the market.
Through his research, Brian found that of the 142 sites examined, only 35 are still in business, equaling about 25 percent.
Of the 35 online auctions that have remained, approximately 43 percent are listing websites, which offer items that have
been listed by other users; 31 percent are merchant websites, which offer items from their own inventory; and 26 percent are
a mix of the two. Upon further evaluation, Brian found that the online auctions that have remained in business specialize in
a specific genre, such as stamp and art collecting.
Though only a quarter of the sites Brian examined survived, he still feels the market is healthy and will continue to grow at
a high pace. "The greatest success from new companies entering the marketplace has come from those that target
specific areas, or offer new services or gimmicks that appeal to a different breed of online shoppers," he says. "As
more consumers begin to understand how online auctions work and as shopping on the Internet continues to become safer
and more secure, I expect that many more products and services will be auctioned off online."
Brian is slated for graduation in May 2005. He is currently completing a co-op with the Walt Disney World Industrial
Engineering Department in Orlando, supporting the Disney Cruise Line with projects related to shore excursion
development, guest flow logistics, and wait time metrics.
He has served as treasurer and service chair of the Alpha Mu Industrial Engineering Honor Society and treasurer,
membership director, and director of chapter development of the Institute of Industrial Engineering. Brian also is
heavily involved with Friends for Life of America, serving in several leadership roles for the non-profit organization.
After UF, Brian plans to go straight to work in the industrial engineering field. Eventually, he would like to earn a master's
in business administration and move into company management. "The USP has given me a chance to investigate the world
of research on a project that truly interests me," Brian says. "As I progress through my career, the experiences I have
learned from this program will continue to help me analyze problems and search for a solution."
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