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The Score: Online Auctions

comScore Media Metrix
The Score: Online Auctions comScore Media Metrix

Since the dawn of ecommerce, eBay has ruled the roost for online auctions. While ecommerce has evolved in so many ways over the past several years, as consumers become more and more comfortable purchasing online, the auction marketplace is still dominated by eBay. While eBay still has a firm stranglehold on the category, strong growth over the past year among similar sites suggests that perhaps the market may become more competitive over time.

  • In February 2006, 68.4 million people visited auction sites. eBay alone drew 66.6 million of those visitors, accounting for 97 percent of all visitors to the category during February.

  • eBay’s top competitors, Bidz.com and uBid.com, have both achieved significant traffic gains over the past year. Bidz.com grew 102 percent to 2.2 million visitors, while uBid.com grew 100 percent to 1.5 million visitors. Might this signal the emergence of some other players in this highly coveted retail space?

  • People between the ages of 25 and 34 are 12 percent more likely than average to visit Auction sites, exhibiting the highest relative incidence of any age demographic. Those between the ages of 35 and 44 are 11 percent more likely than the norm to visit the category.

  • People in households with incomes of $100,000 or more are eight percent more likely than average to visit Auction sites, consistent with the fact that those with more money engage in more ecommerce.

Top 10 Auction Sites by Unique Visitor
February 2006 vs. February 2005
Total U.S. - Home, Work and University Locations

  Unique Visitors (000)
  Feb-05 Feb-06 % Change
Total Internet : Total Audience 160,287 166,966 4
Auctions 63,832 68,436 7
eBay 62,021 66,613 7
BIDZ.COM 1,090 2,202 102
UBID.COM 766 1,532 100
ANDALE.COM 992 636 -36
Yahoo! Auctions 615 549 -11
MercadoLibre 282 408 44
IOFFER.COM 648 406 -37
SELL.COM 234 375 61
Source: comScore Media Metrix

Demographic Profile
Visitors to Auction Sites Category
February 2006
Total U.S. - Home, Work, and University Locations

  % Composition of Unique Visitors Composition Index
Persons: 12-17 8.5 88
Persons: 18-24 12.4 101
Persons: 25-34 16.3 112
Persons: 35-44 20.9 111
Persons: 45-54 21.2 107
Persons: 55+ 15.7 92
HH Income (USD)    
HHI USD: Under 25K 9.2 94
HHI USD: 25,000 - 39,999 10.7 95
HHI USD: 40,000 - 59,999 26.1 99
HHI USD: 60,000 - 74,999 14.9 102
HHI USD: 75,000 - 99,999 16.3 96
HHI USD: 100,000 or more 22.7 108
Source: comScore Media Metrix

About comScore Networks
comScore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior and attitudes. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than two million consumers who have given comScore explicit permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. comScore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions. Through its patent-pending technology, comScore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes. comScore consultants apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. comScore services are used by global leaders such as AOL, Yahoo!, Verizon, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Tribune Interactive, ESPN, Nestlé, Bank of America, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, GlaxoSmithKline and Orbitz. To be in touch directly, email comScore.


Visit the Pepsi website and you'll find plenty of retro content just waiting to surface on Throwback Thursday. Back in 2013, the brand even did a few then-and-now posts (here and here).

But what's really cool about Pepsi's take on Throwback Thursday is that the brand isn't afraid to go retro with its products. Last year, in a move to address dropping soda sales, Pepsi decided to return to a simpler time, when sodas were made with real sugar and high fructose corn syrup was just a project in some food lab. For a time, the product was even known as Pepsi Throwback. Now, it's simply known as "Pepsi Made With Real Sugar."


While Throwback Thursday is superficially about capturing a retro vibe, the true core of the trend is really about the individual. After all, most of the posts could also be described as really old selfies. That's something Expedia and the brand's agency, 180LA, took to heart when they created the #ThrowMeBack campaign.

Using Instagram and Twitter, Expedia invited people to post and share their favorite vacation photos for a chance to win a travel voucher back to the very spot where the photo was taken all those years ago.

"We all have great memories of summer vacations," Dave Horton, creative director at 180LA told AdWeek. "So to promote the nostalgia of summer travel, we wanted to tap into the most nostalgic trend out there, #tbt."

McDonalds v. Taco Bell

Who says Throwback Thursday can't be competitive? Or is it collaborative?

First, a little context. As rival fast food chains, McDonalds and Taco Bell are natural competitors. But that competition isn't just about slinging burgers and wrapping burritos. In recent years, the two chains have gotten into a rather public and increasingly ugly marketing war, often calling out the opposing brand by name or reference in their ads.

Last April, one battle in that war was waged on the Throwback Thursday front. On its Facebook page, McDonalds posted a picture of an Egg McMuffin with Bootsy Collins sunglasses. The caption read: "Groovin' since '72. You dig? #TBT #EggMcMuffin."

Groovin' since ‘72. You dig? #TBT #EggMcMuffin

Posted by McDonald's on Thursday, April 3, 2014

A few days later, Taco Bell came out with a new TV ad for its waffle breakfast taco. The ad's creative played up the idea that Taco Bell represented the future, while McDonald's was living in the past. The tagline was: Move on from your old McDonald breakfast with Taco Bell's exciting new breakfast menu.

The ad certainly felt like a response to the McDonald's Throwback Thursday post, but the timing made at least one ad watcher suspicious.

"If Taco Bell and McDonald's aren't both in on this contrived 'Breakfast Wars' together, then it's one hell of a coincidence," Saya Weissman wrote in Digiday.


Visit the Levi's website and you'll find a channel dedicated to Throwback Thursday. Part history lesson, part retro advertising display, the clothing brand's continued participation in Throwback Thursday proves that mature brands always have something worth sharing.

But it's not just old pictures of Levi's iconic advertising campaigns. What's great about the brand's Throwback Thursday initiative is that fans can actually learn a thing or two about one of America's longest-running clothing makers. In fact, nearly every throwback post comes with a short story.

The posts run the gamut from a brief story about how Levi's supported the Union war effort during the Civil War to a post about a jockey, his jeans, and the Kentucky Derby. There's even a classic customer complaint from a miner who, in 1917, returned his Levi's because they hadn't held up as well as his previous pair. As it turned out, the miner was wrong -- the pants were still very much in tact, but the padding he had sewn on had fallen apart.


If you haven't yet feasted your eyes on this dazzling Internet treat, then you really do need to take the next four minutes and 42 second to watch the greatest (by which we mean "worst") Sizzler commercial ever.

Did you get all that? Pretty spectacular, right? Like train wreck spectacular.

But was the 1991 video released for Throwback Thursday? Was it even marketing? It's hard to say. Several news outlets tried to find out. But here's what Kristina Van Bruggen, VP of marketing for Sizzler USA, had to say:

"We're very humbled by the thousands of wonderful posts from our customers. Sizzler is and has always been a special place for American families. We are thrilled this video is touching so many people and stirring such positive feelings about our country. Sizzle on, America, sizzle on!"

Not exactly an admission, but those Sizzler people sure are glad to be back on the map, if only for a hot viral minute.

Michael Estrin is a freelance writer.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet.

"Hashtag TBT throwback Thursday" image via Shutterstock. 


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