A Gold iPhone Just Sold for $10,100 on eBay. What? No It Didn't.

Business Insider (among other media outlets that should know better) reports that a "rare gold iPhone 5S" just sold on eBay for $10,100. 

OMG, WHAT?!  GOLD iPHONES ARE TOTALLY WORTH $10,000 THESE DAYS?  No they aren't.  Unfortunately, because if they were I would TOTALLY GO PICK ONE UP (the Apple store at Oakridge mall is getting in a couple of gold iPhones every day now).  But an eBay sale doesn't really mean anything.

First, let's look at the auction history.  According to Business Insider and this screenshot, the bidding started pretty low and went up in increments of $10 or $20.  Then, suddenly...OMG -- the bids are going up in increments of $100 OR MORE!  Well, let me let you in on a little eBay hint, guys -- eBay has an automatic bidding system where you put in your maximum bid, and then the system automatically bids up for you.  So if an item is going for $100, and you think, I would pay at least $400 for that, you put in your bid of $400.  But you don't have to pay $400 unless someone else wants to pay relatively close to that.  So say the person who's currently going to pay $100 has a max bid of $150.  The price jumps to $160 -- their $150 plus $10 to keep you as the highest bidder.  And it keeps going up in small increments, unless someone comes along and wants to pay more than $400 for it (in which case it jumps to $400 + an increment).

As the price of an item gets higher, the increments get bigger.  If an auction starts at $0.99, the increments are only like $0.50 (or something, I'm not exactly sure and I don't care to check).  But if the auction is currently at $1500, the increments will be $50.  And so forth.

So all that the "increment jump" tells us is that eBay's automatic bidding system is working.  Yay for you, eBay!

This also makes BI's next point -- that the $10,000 bidder was outbid at the last minute -- moot, since that extra $100 was most likely an automatic bid by the system.  Not quite as exciting, I know.

Anyway, BI then goes on to say that the winning bidder has a 98% satisfaction rating on eBay.  What?!  98%?!  That's awesome!!! 

No, not really.  Most eBay sellers (buyers can't receive negative feedback, so we know this guy is a seller) make an effort to maintain a 100% positive rating or higher.  There is no higher, but you get what I mean.  In fact, the only sellers I've seen with 98% positive feedback have been ridiculously high-volume sellers who are also quite business-savvy.  Business-savvy people don't really pay $10,000 for a $650 phone.

TL;DR, this eBay auction tells us nothing.  "Sold" on eBay doesn't say anything, since the buyer can retract his/her bid, or just...not pay.  Sure, they get a strike against their eBay record, which means absolutely nothing except that they might eventually get locked out of their eBay account (in which case they can another one).  But this is a step up from publications reporting on eBay auctions, such as "the Nintendo 3DS is listed on eBay for $50,000," which tell us even less.

That said, it looks like a lot of gold iPhone 5S's are selling on eBay for the slightly more reasonable price of $1500 - $ it might still be worth picking one up, if you can get your hands on one.