“Yeah, my Air Jordans and my brother’s old video games close tonight, and the rest of mostly dad’s stuff closes in about a week …” While I have held that being a live auctioneer is [clearly] not really that difficult … being an “online auctioneer” is without question even easier.
Let’s see … open the app, take a picture (or several) with my phone, type a little description, check a few boxes, and press upload? Yes, it’s that easy. It all started with AuctionWeb (eBay) in 1995 and since then millions and millions of people have sold property without the help of anyone else in an online auction format.
We explored this same question about five years ago (https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/can-anyone-auction-their-own-property/) and in light of some here in 2019 claiming online auctions are as difficult or more to conduct than a live auction, we revisit this topic today.
What is also important to note here is that it is extremely difficult to be a really good live auctioneer and it’s also extremely difficult to be a really good online auctioneer. In fact, being really good at anything is difficult for most people. This is why there are very few really good auctioneers — live or online.
Further however, it is without any doubt more work (and requires more expertise) to conduct an exceptional online-only auction than it is to conduct an exceptional live auction. This stems largely from the number and detail of photos/video and descriptions which are not necessary required in a live auction in addition to bidder vetting, payment processing, storage and shipping.
I remember playing little league baseball as a kid thinking, “I’m so good I’ll likely be playing in the major leagues in no time.” After I got out of Fairhaven, Ohio and started to explore the world a bit, I soon realized I wasn’t that good at baseball after all.
Self-assessment is always a tricky thing, as people who grade their own proficiency tend to “round up.” Once others in the same industry consistently compliment or remark as to proficiency, that’s always a much better indicator, but even then not necessarily a guarantee.
More to our theme today … “Can ‘anyone’ play baseball?” Almost anyone can, but how many can play really well? In the major leagues? Takes a lot more work and expertise to play professionally while virtually anyone “can play.”
The coming years of the auction industry are going to possibly be the most interesting of all time. As software and apps become even more intuitive (and increasingly open up to sellers directly,) will the public feel even more empowered to sell their own property online in an auction or buy-it-now environment?
If you are not familiar with the concept of, “disintermediation” it may be a good time to click on it above (rather than look it up in your paperback dictionary which has been disintermediated) and read more about how no industry — including the auction industry — is immune to it.
Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.