The auction of bulk goods dates to the Babylonian Empire (about 500 B.C.), continuing through the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Auctions diminished considerably during the Middle Ages but began to reappear in the 17th century and have been present ever since.
Traditional auctions start with a minimum bid and continue as long as the bid escalates. Bidding continues until no one is willing to bid any higher, and the highest bidder is awarded the item.
However, as civilizations have become more advanced, so have auctions. Traditional auctions allow buyers to congregate to establish the highest price a seller could receive for his goods. A variation of this process, called a reverse auction, now permits sellers of materials and services to bid the lowest price buyers will pay for materials and services.
Online reverse auctions