A Step Beyond eBay
Since eBay is the Wal-Mart of the online auction universe, you'd think they'd own the direction of the industry. But, as this post points out, eBay appears to be behind the 8-ball in rolling out newer technologies such as RSS and automatic notifications that consumers not only want, but need. Plus, competitors such as Craigslist and Yahoo! are taking online auctions to the local level. This, the post asserts, is the next crucial step in the evolution of online auctions. Why buy a big-ticket item from someone halfway across the country when you can get the same thing from someone in your town... and save a bundle on shipping?
Going forward, online auctions could leverage all kinds of new technologies, from GPS to text messaging. Imagine being a collector of something obscure or rare, and making the rounds of your community's yard sales one Saturday morning. An alert on your cell phone would tell you that a yard sale approximately 1.2 miles away has exactly what you're looking for. You'd negotiate the price via texting, and when you arrived at the sale (after the system gave you turn-by-turn directions), the item would be there waiting for you. If the seller accepted electronic payments, it would already be paid for, too.
Kinda takes the fun out of yard-sale-hunting, but if you care about the prize more than the race, this is definitely appealing.