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December 12, 2013 - While writing the blog on webcast auctions I started to think about how popular online auctions have become.  Back in the early 1990’s, the idea of online only “computer bid auctions” flew around CAI classes at Bloomington like Buck Rodgers stories.  “Some Day, you’ll all be replaced” claimed Steve Martin (one of the founders of the CAI program).

Well, Steve and the other fortune tellers were partly right. Indeed, some traditional auction companies have migrated to an online only model. Interestingly though, some online auctioneers have come full circle, as some online auction platforms are not really auctions anymore.  The Huffington Post reports that eBay is not much of an auction site anymore.  The National Bureau of Economic Research revealed that less than 15% of all eBay listings are auction-only.  The majority of the sales are now being made on eBay through the “Buy It Now” option.  Ten years ago, 100% of sales made were through the auctions where there was competitive bidding.  Bidding on items at auction is what gives the winning bidder the thrill of victory, and adds to the auction experience.

Researchers from Stanford and eBay hypothesize that the time and effort it takes to win an auction on their platform (normally many days) encourages would-be buyers to directly buy goods instead.  It appears that some buyers simply prefer the convenience of “Buy it Now” over the thrill of bidding.

When a buyer comes to an onsite (old fashioned) auction or participates via webcast they have the ability to view the items live in advance instead of strictly through photos.  Often, photos provided for online only or eBay “auctions” are of poor quality and quantity.  Additionally, at a live sale a bidder is able to research machinery and equipment and ask questions of the auctioneer while allowing time to decide what a fair price would be before bidding begins.

At Blackbird Asset Services (headquartered in Buffalo, NY) we do not advocate one auction method over the other ( online auction vs onsite auction ).  We analyze the asset class to determine the target market prior to developing a custom marketing program for every auction sale.  Balance this all together with the sellers needs and expectations and you will find another successful Blackbird auction.