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More and more I find some auctioneer has shared or posted some conspiracy theory (stated as fact) almost every day. It could be about the “deep state,” “secret recordings,” “hidden software,” “Venezuela,” “a stolen election” or even a pizza restaurant in Washington D.C. … nothing like a good conspiracy.

Do you auctioneers know that IPhan from the planet Zordland is an auctioneer (pictured above) who travels at night securing real and personal property that he transports back to his planet to sell? You haven’t heard about IPhan from Zordland? I probably will as you’ll probably share it.

What concrete evidence do I have that IPhan is visiting earth taking away business from other auctioneers? How dare you ask me that. Of course, he is, and I’m going to show my accumulated evidence of his activities very soon … maybe in two weeks or so. Maybe I’ll have my attorneys discuss it at an upcoming press conference.

Jesse Walker (2013) identified five kinds of conspiracy theories:

  • The “Enemy Outside” refers to theories based on figures alleged to be scheming against a community from without.
  • The “Enemy Within” finds the conspirators lurking inside the nation, indistinguishable from ordinary citizens.
  • The “Enemy Above” involves powerful people manipulating events for their own gain.
  • The “Enemy Below” features the lower classes working to overturn the social order.
  • The “Benevolent Conspiracies” are angelic forces that work behind the scenes to improve the world and help people.

As Jesse suggests, there are different types of conspiracy theories and it seems auctioneers and others use any of the five on any given day. Those reading articles and watching videos and sharing them regularly typically note that somebody’s scheming, lurking, manipulating …

We’ve long suggested that it would be prudent for auctioneers and others to be skeptical and today we’re amplifying our plea. In fact, it was only a short time ago we wrote about being more skeptical at all. https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/10/17/auctioneers-and-selective-skepticism/.

Kari Kivinen, director of Helsinki French-Finnish School and former secretary-general of the European Schools was recently quoted regarding this issue, “What we want our students to do is … before they like or share in the social media they think twice – who has written this? Where has it been published? Can I find the same information [other than just an exact copy] from another source?”

I’m not suggesting that you lack an opinion and I’m not telling anyone to share the exact counter-argument to any and all conspiracy theories — in fact, since IPhan is stealing auction business from auctioneers, maybe you should share that? Not really.

Rather, here’s my suggestion to improve your reputation and brand: It may be a better strategy to just not share anything about the subject of any conspiracies, despite how much you want them to be true. Any pictures of your kids or grandchildren? Upcoming auction? New truck? Maybe tonight’s medium-rare ribeye? Count me in.

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, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.