A simple idea, exceedingly easy to implement. Yet, it provides for fairer auctions. With this system, a last-second bidder (attempting to get a bargain basement price) would cause an extension of the auction for another 5 minutes, providing plenty of time for the prior high-bidder (or others!) to bid again.
It has no drawbacks to bidders other than the last-second bidder... who might no longer be able to get a "steal" (because someone else could now respond). It has no drawbacks to the sellers ... and would sometimes increase the selling price a bit.
What? The selling price is higher? Isn't that bad for the bidders? No...think about it! The only time the price is higher is if a bidder who would have lost otherwise responded to a last-second bid! That was the personal choice of the new bidder!
If you like the idea, please email to: email@example.com.
If you don't like the idea, please click and read: here.
NOTE: this idea partially solves the "bid shielding" problem (see: http://mars.superlink.net/jason/ebay/ for a description of this eBay problem), but a full solution would be to disallow retractions made within 5 minutes of original closing time!