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Vern Miller and his wife Nancy had just got home from an all-day auction for the Estate of Charlie Robinson.

Vern and his two sons sold over 11 hours in three rings to fully liquidate Charlie’s extensive farm equipment, tool and gun collections.

Bidding was fast and furious with over 900 live bidders in attendance. Highlights included a near mint John Deere 4020 which demanded $41,500 and a Winchester Model 62 which brought $2,800.

Vern sat down and turned on the news while Nancy poured them both a cold glass of beer. “That’s just what I needed,” said Vern, and Nancy nodded in agreement.

Just then, reporter Heather Winn for Channel 8 Lighting News began to report on all things, an auction story …

    “This is Heather Winn at Youragentbid headquarters near downtown reporting on a significant gathering of auctioneers protesting Youragentbid’s plans to compete with them in the auction business.”

Vern looked over at Nancy as Nancy stared at Vern. “We just used Youragentbid last month for our gun auction and they’re now going to compete against us? This is sure interesting …”

From Heather’s story, it was clear that Youragentbid (Youragentbid.com) who has been providing auctioneers an online platform is now entering the auction business themselves. Heather referenced a prior investigation by the FBI and transcripts which were made available about this plan developed back in 2003.

We wrote about that transcript here, detailing a conversation between Youragentbid’s CEO Devin Jones (Jones) and Chief Technology Officer Nick Gilly (Gilly): https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/the-online-auction-company-plan/

Devin Jones told Heather in her report, that his company has begun to focus on locating large pools of assets currently not being sold at auction, and find ways to bring them into their auction marketplace. Devin continued that, “With our extensive database of qualified buyers, we can connect these sellers to our buyers more directly.”

Heather pressed Jones with some of the sentiment the auctioneers were expressing at the protest; here is a transcript of her interview:

    HEATHER: So, these new assets and sellers — you would direct those projects to auctioneers rather than internalize them within Youragentbid?

    JONES: Youragentbid does not have any specific plans to minimize the auction professionals who have worked so hard to build our business. In fact, we hope that if we secure such large pools of assets, we can help bring this content and opportunity to those already selling within our marketplace today.

    HEATHER: You say you have no specific plans? In other words, your plan is to direct these assets to auctioneers?

    JONES: As I said, I mean … we don’t intend … rather we plan, or hope to direct …

    HEATHER: And, the auctioneers here today cited your quote that you “hope you can help bring these opportunities to them,” Why use the word, “hope?” You may not be able to?

    JONES: Uh, we’re still exploring what will be possible. Our team is poised, uh, we, rather, some of this plan is still being developed, but that’s our hope.

    HEATHER: You said earlier today that you hope to “create a larger auction marketplace?” Would you manage that marketplace then; in other words, take over the auction marketplace of all auctioneers?

    JONES: We have no specific plans to overtake the entire auction marketplace, but I suppose if that opportunity … I mean, I don’t think that’s likely …

    HEATHER: Over 300 auctioneers were outside your offices today. What message do you hope they take away in place of their concern that you intend to compete against them after they — as a group — built your buyer database?

    JONES: Any auctioneer is invited to call our offices for a more close-up view of our plans.

    HEATHER: You’d rather all 300 call you? Why not tell them all now what your plans are? There are 1,000’s of auctioneers in the United States … you would prefer all of them call you too?

    JONES: Again, we have no specific plans to compete with them, and hope we can direct these assets to them.

    HEATHER: So nothing more comforting for these concerned auctioneers beyond “no specific plans,” and “we hope we can direct?”

    JONES: I have nothing further to say, Heather. Thanks.

Vern sat back in his chair and sat his beer down. “Nancy, when I hear doublespeak I know it. When someone ‘is hoping to do this,’ and ‘has no specific plans to do that,’ and won’t say much more, I think we know what’s going on.”

“Vern, I think you’re right.” said Nancy. “We need to be very careful who we partner with from here on. We need to be asking a lot more questions, and getting much more clear answers.”

* 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 is adjunct faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.