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The question is, for a 1,000 lot online auction, should the auctioneer wait to allow bidding (or even put the auction up live) until all 1,000 lots are there, or “turn it on” when say, 250 lots are up, and then keep adding lots thereafter?

It would appear to us that most bidders would expect all 1,000 lots to be there at the start unless the auctioneer has expressly and clearly noted: “more is coming.” Otherwise, some bidders might check this auction event, and see only 250 lots and not return to see the remaining 750 lots subsequent.

Every auctioneer needs to realize his or her online auction is not the only online auction up at any one moment, and bidders/buyers have choices that are merely a click away. If I need (and/or want) a certain item, and don’t see it on your auction, I’m likely to shop elsewhere … and assume I don’t have to check your auction yet again.

Most online auction bidders are at minimum experienced (or knowledgable) how live auctions work, and it would be highly unusual to have a 1,000 lot live auction begin with only 250 of the lots present for viewing. A partial inventory with more to be posted later would be counter to that custom.

There may be no right nor wrong way, with sufficient disclosure. Yet, almost every auctioneer tells me bidders don’t read anything, so actually or constructively lacking disclosure, wouldn’t the best solution be to have the entire catalog up before bidding begins?

Another question would be if there are indeed 1,000 lots, do the first 250 get more time — exposure — than the later lots? Or, does the auction event allow each lot the same time from start to close? For that matter, maybe the first 250 lots could be the first auction event, with the next 250 lots a few days later as the second auction event, and so forth?

My wife and I were recently at a retail “big box” store only to hear that “Not all of our…” is out yet. We left and purchased at the other nearby retail “big box” store. We could have gone home, checked back with the first store, but we didn’t, and we might never go back.

We should be making buying easier and easier, and requiring bidders to check and recheck your online platform for new additions isn’t easier, but more cumbersome. We’ve held before that the easier it is for bidders to participate, the more bidders you’ll have, benefiting you and your seller.

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.