According to the present invention, a buyer may submit a listing containing a description of an item desired to be purchased, such as an airline ticket, to an operator of an automated selling system. The automated selling system may be a server or series of servers accessible via a computer network, such as the Internet. The listing may contain a maximum price at which the buyer is willing to purchase the item. In the case of an airline ticket, the description accompanying the listing may contain a point of departure, a destination, desired flight times, number of travelers, and/or a specification of acceptable airlines. A plurality of sellers designate listings for which they submit bids to the operator. In the case where the sellers are airlines, the sellers may designate originating and destination city-pairs, a listing of available flights, a floor price for a city-pair, and a range of acceptable prices for one or more bidding rounds. The floor price applicable to a given listing determined from the highest floor price submitted by the eligible sellers for that listing. If only one seller submits a bid, and the bid is less than or equal to the price submitted by the buyer, that seller is selected to make the sale and provide the item. If there are multiple eligible sellers, the sale is awarded to a seller after a predetermined number of rounds of bidding, applying predefined system rules.
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