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IMG_2918As I write this, it’s March 13, 2015. I just received notice that a property near us is selling [likely not] in an online-only auction.

“Great,” I replied. I’ll take a look at it online and get registered.

As I searched online, I found the auction, only to note that bidding begins 10 days, 15 hours and 6 minutes.

Really, I can’t place a bid now? Apparently not.

I suppose this is reasonable … at most live auctions, generally speaking, one can register prior — and in fact should register prior — but the auction doesn’t start for maybe a few hours.

But this is an online auction. While I understand having the auction advertised online 10 days, 15 hours and 6 minutes (and likely more,) why can’t I place a bid? Why would any online auction be online lacking the ability to place a bid?

Maybe the reason is: “We don’t want them to bid yet because …?”

Aaron Traffas wrote an excellent analysis of this phenomenon and I couldn’t agree more. Why would any auctioneer — or anyone — list property of any kind at online auction without allowing bidding?

Read Aaron’s essay on this topic here: http://www.auctioneertech.com/2014/folly-artificial-bidding-window/

And let’s consider a live auction again … starting in 10 days, 15 hours and 6 minutes — and someone wants to bid; there’s probably not an auctioneer anywhere who wouldn’t facilitate that bid in some fashion. In fact, not assisting with that bid would almost certainly be a breach of fiduciary duty.

Auctioneers are charged with finding bidders — that’s what we do. Is this online auction above looking for bidders? Not really — if they can’t bid; worse for this online auction and any like it: If I can’t bid now, I start looking for other opportunities to bid elsewhere.

Further, the more people use the Internet to purchase things, the less excited they are about waiting. The Internet is all about instant — instant results, instant answers, instant action. An online auction with bidding starting 10 days, 15 hours and 6 minutes from now is all about waiting.

We wrote about Ashley (https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/should-she-buy-at-auction/,) and whether or not an online auction was even a good fit. We wondered if for her, “Maybe the prospect of a deal isn’t as motivating as the prospect of saving time?”

Not many stores put an open sign up in the window, but leave the door locked, or disallow purchases. An online auction that’s viewable should have the door wide open.

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. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.