How to find out the real value of electronic items online is increasingly difficult.
But a new online calculator aims to help.
The new electronic item counters at eBay and Amazon have a very different view of what electronic items are worth, according to researchers from the University of Tennessee.
The electronic item prices for both sites were compiled by a team of economists, who then looked at the price data to determine how much of an item was worth.
“In the past, the price would be calculated based on the number of copies or copies of an electronic item, and the number, in a particular case, of a digital item,” Dr John McKeon said.
“This was usually calculated using the total number of digital copies of a product.”
The researchers then used that data to calculate the actual value of the items online.
The result was that the price at Amazon and eBay was more accurate than any other source.
“The average price on both sites is less than 1/3 of what it was before,” Dr McKean said.
The value of digital content, which can include music, movies and books, was also more accurate at Amazon than at eBay.
“As digital content is more accessible and more widely available online, its value is generally higher,” Dr McKee said.
But digital items can be bought for a fraction of what they cost on eBay.
Dr McKein said the value of online items was determined by the amount of time people spent searching for them.
“For instance, a lot of people will look for a digital copy of a song on eBay but they’ll search the web for an hour and a half and then they’ll probably search again a few hours later, and they’re going to end up with the same amount of digital copy,” he said.
This can result in a lot more digital copies than digital copies are worth.
Dr McKee is currently conducting a project to find the value for digital items on eBay, but he said that the study was still ongoing.
“We’ll be looking at a lot less of the actual digital item purchases and much more of the price estimates, which is a good sign,” he added.
Dr Michael McGowan from the Centre for Digital Economy at the University at Adelaide said the findings were exciting.
“It’s great to see that, in the case of eBay, digital items are not just a number,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“They’re an actual piece of information that you can access and use.”
The Centre for digital Economy has previously developed a tool that can help determine the value on eBay of digital goods, including digital audio cassettes, CDs, DVDs and more.
Topics:economics-and-finance,technology,digital-trade,ebooks,arts-and -culture,ebook-ebooks-and/or-software,australiaContact Tracey HigginsonMore stories from Victoria