Online Auction Tools

Everything You Need To Know About

Online Auction Tools


Online Auction Tools:

If you are new to online auctions one of the first thing you need to know is that there is an wide choice of tools to use to conduct online auctions. I created a spreadsheet to compare these tools. I had a lot of help on this, it is a public document and at times I have seen as many as 12 people working on it at the same time.

It is open for any provider of on-line bidding to add their information to or modify the information. The great thing about this is that if the folks at On-line platform A make a claim about their product, the folks at On-line platform B can put a note on it questioning the claims. I have embeded the spreadsheet below so you can look at it but to really see it well you should use the link above.


Take a look at the Service Only portion of the spreadsheet and you will notice that there are 3 major types of Online Bidding Tools; Portal-Only Isolated Private Label, and Hybrid (Portal/Private-Label (portal + private label branding).

Here is a brief explanation of the above:

Advantage – Your auctions get additional exposure to new bidders you would have never gotten otherwise.
Disadvantage – You are sending your bidders to another website where they may end up bidding on other auctions.
Disadvantage – You don’t “own the data”, but you do typically have permanent access to your registered bidders’ info.

Isolated Private-Label:

Advantage – You are not sending your bidders to another website.
Advantage – You “own the data”. Your bidders are only your bidders.
Disadvantage – You don’t get the additional exposure that a portal offers; you have to “bring your own bidders”.

Hybrid Portal/Private-Label:

Advantage – Your auctions get additional exposure to new bidders you would have never gotten otherwise.
Advantage – You are not sending your bidders to another website when utilizing the private-label capability.
Disadvantage – You don’t “own the data”, but you do typically have permanent access to your registered bidders’ info.

So, you can have a site that lets you use their bidding platform, and lets you share your bidders with them but also shares their bidders with you. That can seem like a big advantage, and if you don’t know how to find your own bidders it may be an advantage for a short while. I suggest you stay with me and let me teach you how to generate your own crowd, and drive them to your own site and build your own brand in the process.

Internet Absentee Bidding:

At it’s simplest level an online platform allows you to take pre-bids which ca be used like absentee bids. You would take with you to your live auction and use them there. Most auctioneers would simply start the  bidding one bid increment above your highest pre-bid for an item.

Online-Only (timed) Auctions:

An Online-Only auction is the type of auction that you set up, turn on, and turn loose. Back in my Army days they used to talk about “Fire and Forget” weapons. These are the auction equivalent of those. You may have to help a bidder who is having trouble registering or one who bid to much on something but other than that these are auctions that mostly take care  of themselves.

Staggered close:

When your online auction starts to close you will not want all the lots to close all at once. A staggered close will allow you do just that. You can set the time interval so that a lot will close, then the next lot will close so many seconds later.

Soft Close (extends bidding):

When you tell someone you conduct online auctions they will automatically equate that with eBay. On eBay people can do something called sniping. Sniping is what waiting till the very last second to bid is called.  When you snipe you run out the clock on the other bidder giving him or her no chance to respond with another bid, time’s up, game over.

Soft close is what sets you apart from what happens over at eBay. Many online bidding tools offer you the ability to extend bidding when someone bids in the last few minutes. With soft close if someone bids in the last few minute (say 5 minutes), the bidding is automatically extended for another 5 minutes. I personally love soft close, it is your friend. I love watching my online only auctions close and watching the eBay bidders wait for the last second to bid only to find out that they just extended the bidding by another 5 minutes for the lot they want.

Linked Soft Close
(extends bidding on multiple lots simultaneously):

What happens when you have a small group of things (say 3 tractors) and a bidder that would like tractor C the best but if he could not afford it would take tractor B, and if he had to would hold his nose and buy tractor A but you sell A, and he waits for C, then you sell B, and he gets outbid on C? He does not bid on A or B and leaves with his money in his pocket and not yours, that is what happens.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could extend all 3 tractors if someone bid on any of the 3 tractors? That way if your bidder got out bid on tractor A, he could still bid on B, then if he got out bid on B he could hold his nose and bid on C. That is what a linked soft close does for you. It allows you to extend bidding on the entire small group if someone bids on any item in the group.

Outbid email notification:

It would be nice if all your bidders would just stop what they were doing and watch your auction end and just bid like they were at a regular auction, but that is not going to happen. Email outbid notifications give you a chance to reach back out to the bidder who placed a bid, went off and has completely forgotten about your auction. With this feature you have a chance of drawing them back into the auction.

Outbid text notification:

This is the same thing as the previous feature but taken to a higher level. Many people respond quicker to a text message than they do to an email. This is just one more way to get them back into your auction.

Automatic Bidding:

Most platforms will automatically bid for you. You can put in your max bid and walk away to go watch a movie while the software package does your bidding, literally.

Live Simulcast Auctions:

A live simulcast auction allows you to combine live in person bidding with live online bidding. They would seem to offer the best of both worlds. In my mind what they really offer is the worst of both worlds. In a live simulcast auction you get the worst of both worlds. You get the headaches of an in person auction (sound issues, video issues, setup) coupled with the issues of an online auction (non paying bidders, registration issues, cost).

We have had great success with blended/simulcast auction, and set a lot of world records conducting them, but the juice has to be worth the squeeze for us to do them. It needs to be at least a $100,000 auction for us to even consider them.

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