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Re: Proposal for an Electronic Commerce Testbed

Bob Smart <[email protected]>

> I've speculated above on the possibility of people supporting the
> testbed by providing some useful services while charging play
> money. We shouldn't depend on that. There is a class of applications
> which are fun but need (or at least are helped by) money to give the
> measure of success or failure. These are games, competitions and
> gambling. I believe that done right they can be sufficiently
> interesting with play money that people will want to take part: enough
> people to test the scalability of the various proposals.

> Some of the games that can be played between individuals on the
> Internet really need the ability to have a bet to make play really
> meaningful: poker and backgammon are examples. The question is: will
> betting with "play" money work or will people play frivolously because
> the money does not have real value? 

You should take a look at the Iowa Electronic Markets.  There have been a few  
thousand participants betting real money on these markets for two or three  
years.  They would be a natural testbed for Internet dollars.  To see what
it's like look at telnet://iem.biz.uiowa.edu.

[email protected]    Hal Varian
voice: 313-764-2364     Dept of Economics
fax:   313-764-2364     Univ of Michigan
                        Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220