While not quite as bad as diamonds, a lot of what goes into wine pricing seems to be largely bullshit as well:
Numerous experiments have shown that people will enjoy a table wine and a fine wine equally if they believe that they are both fine wine. Knowing that a wine is supposed to be good does literally make it taste better. The drinkers could be lying about enjoying the “bad” wine due to social pressure. However, an experiment involving a Stanford wine tasting group, a group of identical wines presented under fake price tags from $5 to $90, and a fMRI machine measuring activity in areas of the brain correlated with pleasure suggests otherwise. Drinking the same wine with a higher price tag did increase pleasure.
Also, this is a great quote:
As of 2003, Bronco processed 300,000 tons of grapes to make 20 million cases of wine, of which a quarter are Charles Shaw wines. Asked how he sells wine for the same price as a bottle of water, Franzia responded, ““They’re overcharging for the water. Don’t you get it?”
Alex Mayyasi on the Priceonomics blog:
In short, Moleskine is not selling a notebook, it’s selling customers on the identity of being the type of person who uses a moleskine - someone whose cultured globetrotting is reminiscent of Hemingway.
Rohin Dhar on the Priceonomics blog:
Diamonds are not actually scarce, make a terrible investment, and are purely valuable as a status symbol.
The entire thing is pure… gold?
Priceonomics intern Daniel investigates. In a word, yes! If the product you want to buy is available refurbished, you should buy it. If not, you can save on average 17% buying it used, but that is a lot more work.
Read the full report: The Apple (Used) Premium?
To buy used, or not to buy used — that is the question. The answer, with Apple products, is yes.
Disclosure: CrunchFund is an investor in Priceonomics because they do kick-ass reports like this one.
A few vertical marketplaces have their own pricing guides. In cars, Kelly Blue Book has been the industry standard for years, and nearly all car purchases use KBB as a starting reference point. Cars are a high ticket item, a considered purchase, and a fairly liquid market, so it’s not surprising…
I’ll echo everything Andrew Parker of Spark Capital wrote about Priceonomics, which CrunchFund has also invested in. I’m a total sucker for this type of data and their simple execution of the “Blue Book for everything” idea is brilliant.
TechCrunch has a bit more about the company — and the Priceonomics blog is also pretty awesome.