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oBaz: An Online Bazaar

Thursday, August 11, 2011 by cyberacoustics

We’re always looking for a discount or a way to haggle to get the best price. This works best if you’re dealing with your local merchants, of course. But what if you want the new GoPro camera? You can’t walk into Best Buy and ask for a discount, nor can try and barter on Amazon. But what if you could hook up with other people who want the same thing? This is where oBaz comes into play.  

“oBaz” is short for "online bazaar," and is a site that combines game theory and crowdsourcing to help members get great deals on the things that they want. All you need to do is tell oBaz the product that you’re interested in purchasing and find a group of people that want to buy the same thing (whether it’s your friends in real life or other oBaz community members). Then, oBaz negotiators can take advantage of the number of people wanting to buy the same product to get the best deal possible from merchants. The best part is you aren’t under any obligation to buy if you change your mind!

Just use oBaz’s search tool to find a specific product, like a GoPro camera, and then you can create your own group or join an existing one. After that, you can easily invite people to join using a variety of social tools. Your product group has seven days to recruit more folks via Facebook, Twitter or email and reach a critical mass. Then, the oBaz negotiators contact the seller and try to get the best deal that they can. Once they get it, the group members will have 24 hours to buy it, and oBaz charges only a small fee for the convenience.

The only drawbacks are that you can’t always get a great deal on the precise things you want (Apple is probably a nonstarter). But what the heck? You can’t win if you don’t play, and oBaz is definitely worth a try. 

-Steve Murphy, CA CFO


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