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AuctionCode.com started many years ago with a modest goal — to list live auctions in their database so that those looking for live auctions could find them via one centralized source.

For years, AuctionCode.com succeeded in helping the live auctioneer and auction buyers and sellers in the United States and elsewhere.

AuctionCode.com continues to provide this service.

However, AuctionCode.com was recently taken over by a online auction company and ever since, AuctionCode’s emphasis has been on encouraging auctioneers to sell via their online system, and encouraging buyers to use its online-only platform.

For instance, as the “day after Thanksgiving,” (Black Friday) loomed, AuctionCode.com published this directive:

    “We’ve said it before… and we’re going to say it again! No need to deal with the crowds during Black Friday! — check into any of AuctionCode.com’s online auctions and stay at home … and find deals, steals, and fabulous finds!”

For November 25, 2011, AuctionCode.com listed over 500 live auctions in their database, and only about 70 online-only auctions extending over this Black Friday date.

It would appear from this published statement, AuctionCode.com wants buyers to stay home and not attend any of these more than 500 live auctions in the United States and elsewhere — and rather — focus on the 70 or so online-only auctions they offer.

It isn’t hard to figure this out. AuctionCode.com lists live auctions for free, and makes money only on outside advertising and upgrade auction marketing plans. For the online auctions, they charge the auctioneer (and thus the seller in many cases) a 5% fee on all items sold online.

Therefore, AuctionCode.com hopes you survey their online items on Black Friday (and every day) so they have the potential to make more money on their 5% fee — rather than attend a live auction where their portion of the gross proceeds is -0-.

Yet, if the public takes AuctionCode’s advice, and only looks at their online auctions, it would seem fewer and fewer auctioneers would be apt to use their auction database, therefore lessening the value of that database, and the value of advertising there — therefore decreasing overall advertising revenue.

Further, I’m not convinced AuctionCode’s announcement to the public that they should check out their online auctions for “deals” and “steals,” is prudent for their online auction model. If buyers can steal things from their online auctions, then maybe auctioneers should reconsider using their system — as auctioneers are hardly looking to give things away …

Of course, auctioneers have for centuries teased the public that they might get a deal if they attend an auction. We briefly noted this practice in two blogs:

We should say AuctionCode.com is free to practice their business however they desire. We just find it interesting that they host auctions which they discourage the public to attend.

* The above account including company names, events, etc. are purely fictional. This scenario has been created solely for educational purposes.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.