Kenya: Easy FM Pioneers Reverse Auction On Radio

Technology & Convergence

Easy FM has partnered with a mobile phone service provider to offer its listeners a chance to participate in the first ever reverse bidding auction on phone.

The service will allow mobile phone subscribers who listen to the radio station to bid for various products and buy them for just a few shillings.

"We have switched on this concept, it's now the person who has the lowest unique bid who wins," says Symon Ndirangu, the chief executive officer of Information Convergence Technologies, the partnering firm.

While traditional auctions aim for the highest bid, a reverse auction is the very opposite.

The intention of the bidder is to keep the offered amount as low as possible in order to win. At the same time, they must submit a unique offer unmatched by any other bidder.

Ndirangu says if there are several participants with the same offer, the bid would fail despite its low worth, since it is not unique.

In the first session, the winner with the lowest bid of Sh2.90 walked away with an item worth Sh76,000.

"A business has to be innovative if it wants to stand the test of time ... we need to add value to services which are already available," said Ndirangu. At Sh15, one can text the lowest bid to a dedicated number 5557. The auction runs everyday.

Business Daily (Nairobi) 6 May 2008