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We recently wrote about “boiling frogs” and the auction industry here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/what-auctions-have-always-been-boiling-frogs/.

Our story was in response to the insightful story written by James Fuller-Thompson & David Brindley here: https://medium.com/@j.fuller.thompson/the-boiling-frog-phenomenon-17212f719681.

In this regard, we wondered what Ronald Reagan might say? On August 12, 1986, President Ronald Reagan said in a speech:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.

For auctioneers, I’m suggesting maybe this panic-stricken phrase could be rewritten, “I’m from (any auction software/platform company) and I’m here to help … auctioneers?”

As James and David and I, all noted, if it’s an auction software, platform, calendar, or the like, it’s solely beholden to its owners, shareholders, and venture capital investors, and necessarily not auctioneers.

Frighteningly, there’s likely no sort of commitment, contractual arrangement nor proclamation that would stand in the way of profits. All auctioneers have observed this behavior time and time again and have no assurance whatsoever it won’t continue.

We offered prior that it might not be “too late” to do something about it, but it is indeed very late. It appears to us the only solution might be a nationwide “association” system (essentially a cooperative) where members own stock (membership dues) and the platform is open to all auctioneers.

Further, a “white label” type system would likely work best, with members’ events listed first and/or bolded with discounted listing fees on the aggregate site. Such a system rewards and incentivizes membership but keeps in mind buyers are largely looking for property and not a certain auctioneer.

This type of moderate philosophical change in how a nationwide association might further refocus falls in line with our thoughts in 2013 discussing the difference between a professional association and a trade association: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/should-naa-become-a-trade-association/.

In fact, as I’ve suggested, this change from a professional association to more like a trade association appears to already be happening. Possibly these propositions here are already being implemented? Recently, it appears so.

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.