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2015 IEEE 56th Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS) (2015)
Berkeley, CA, USA
Oct. 17, 2015 to Oct. 20, 2015
ISSN: 0272-5428
ISBN: 978-1-4673-8191-8
pp: 1446-1463
ABSTRACT
For selling a single item to agents with independent but non-identically distributed values, the revenue optimal auction is complex. With respect to it, Hartline and Rough garden showed that the approximation factor of the second-price auction with an anonymous reserve is between two and four. We consider the more demanding problem of approximating the revenue of the ex ante relaxation of the auction problem by posting an anonymous price (while supplies last) and prove that their worst-case ratio is e. As a corollary, the upper-bound of anonymous pricing or anonymous reserves versus the optimal auction improves from four to e. We conclude that, up to an e factor, discrimination and simultaneity are unimportant for driving revenue in single-item auctions.
INDEX TERMS
Pricing, Approximation methods, Upper bound, Standards, Computer science, Electronic mail, Optimization
CITATION

S. Alaei, J. Hartline, R. Niazadeh, E. Pountourakis and Y. Yuan, "Optimal Auctions vs. Anonymous Pricing," 2015 IEEE 56th Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS), Berkeley, CA, USA, 2015, pp. 1446-1463.
doi:10.1109/FOCS.2015.92
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