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On a somewhat regular basis some [newer] auctioneer asks, “Which platform should I use to start doing online auctions?” Typically, Russ Hilk is kind enough to propose these follow-up questions:

  • What are you selling?
  • Are you bring your own bidders or do you need a marketplace?
  • With what frequency are you selling?
  • Do you care about sharing your data?
  • What do you want from a bidding software?
  • There isn’t a “right” answer. It’s different depending on your needs.

Russ is correct. Online bidding platforms do differ.

  1. One might be better for antiques, where another is better for yellow iron.
  2. Some platforms aggregate bidders which are then used by other auctioneer members — of course you have the benefit of other aggregated bidders from other auctioneers — thus a marketplace.
  3. Are you planning just one event or regularly scheduled auctions? See #2.
  4. See # 2.
  5. Do you want only online bidding? Soft or hard close? White label? Buy-it-now options? Payment acceptance/processing?

We’ve noted #2 is maybe the most important. We recently wrote about the ownership and sharing of data here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/07/16/auctioneers-whose-data-is-it/.

Online auctions aren’t easier nor more difficult than live auctions — only different. However, once it’s an online auction, there are choices to make. The right choice can make all the difference in your online auction’s success.

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 Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.