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Auctioneers have been using — and discussing — online auction platforms for years … and we have wondered if the bidders and/or buyers are from the auctioneer’s own website or the online auction platform. MarkNet Alliance attempted to answer that question in a recently published report.

In that publication, the same lots with the same terms at the same time (2018 and 2019) were uploaded to an auctioneer’s own site (within the MarkNet Alliance system) in addition to AuctionTime and Proxibid.

Averaging those eight auctions showed that 84% of buyers accessed the auction on the auctioneer’s website with only 16% finding it on the online auction platform.

The range of these figures was 32% for the auctioneer’s website (from 64% to 96%.) In other words, in all cases, the auctioneer’s own “brand” outperformed the online auction platforms’ prowess.

The entire [brief] report can be viewed here: marknetstudy.pdf in which MarkNet Alliance described this result this way:

Third-party portal platforms did not deliver the results that the auction company’s own branded platform produced. Consumers were most loyal to the auction company’s brand and chose it overwhelmingly.

If bidders/buyers are drawn to the auctioneer’s brand over the online auction platform’s brand, I assume the auctioneers’ had a brand? For a newer auctioneer without an established presence, it might be that the online auction platforms would have performed better?

Nevertheless, I believe this report is generally good news for auctioneers who have almost always endeavored to operate independently. Online auction platforms, on the other hand, have been endeavoring to capture that same market and be the destination for auctioneers wishing to sell online.

The other significant issue with online auction platform use is cost. If an auctioneer can build and maintain a market with his/her own website and avoid third-party online auction platform use, not only would that auctioneer save [some] money and build equity for future sales and company value.

Here in 2020 and thereon, it will be interesting to see if more auctioneers build their own marketplace versus utilize third-party online auction platforms and share that marketplace.

Lastly, it is worth noting that MarkNet Alliance is a type of auction platform (aggregator) (they say: MarkNet Alliance is a national, membership-based network of auction companies …) so it too has a cost to its members and a form of marketplace sharing.

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.