Navigating Your Way Through an Online Auction

Millions of people participate in online auctions everyday, but do they really know the ins and outs of bidding online successfully? There are certain things that one needs to be aware of when bidding online without breaking the bank or ripping out your hair.

One of the first things that bidders should do is invest time learning all of the different auction terminology there. It is important for you to know what the auctioneer is talking about while the action is happening, especially when you are bidding online rather than being there in person. It will be so much easier for you to follow along with an auction when you know what they are talking about.

Once you are well versed in auction terms, you should next familiarize yourself with the upcoming auctions and peruse their catalogs. By looking through and researching what is available for auction ahead of time, you are able to make decisions on what you what to bid on in a calmer atmosphere rather than in the heat of the moment during the auction. With online catalogs, you can see descriptions and pictures and are able to ask questions to the auction house before the auction so that you can make informed decisions rather than ones based on emotion.

Another important thing to do before the auction starts is to remember to register as a bidder for that auction. Many auction houses will want to approve you as a valid bidder before the auction starts and you will find it much easier to be an approved bidder before the auction starts rather than during the auction. By doing this well ahead of time, you eliminate the possibility of missing the lots that you are interested in bidding on while waiting to be approved.

While the auction is happening you will notice that it can be fast paced and sometimes you might struggle with keeping up. This is why taking advantage of maximum bidding ahead of the auction can be beneficial. If you can go through the online catalog and place maximum bids on items you are interested in, you lessen the risk of not getting the item you want considerably as well as minimize the risk of overpaying for the lots you are bidding on.

When the auction is finished and you have items that you have won from that auction, most auction houses will send you an email confirming the items you have bid on and won. This process can take a bit of time for the auction house to complete as they need to confirm each lot number. Remember to be patient. Many auction houses wait until the completion of the full auction to send out these emails rather than the completion of the lot number in the catalog. Bidders can easily get frustrated by not knowing that the process can take time to get their confirmation emails, but once you are aware that this can take time, you can rest easy while you wait.

By being aware and knowing these few tips to help you navigate through your next live bid online auction, you will reduce the anxiety around bidding online and ensure a fun and easy process the next time around. Happy Bidding!

How to Find Live Bid Online Auctions That Specialize in Your Area of Interest

If you’ve never heard of a live bid online auction, then you need to take a moment to read this introductory paragraph. Otherwise, feel free to skip ahead to the good stuff where we’ll tell you all about how to make such auctions work for you and for your personal interests. Now, if you’re still with us, we’ll assume you’ve never heard of a live online auction. Fair enough.

Similar to a traditional auction, live auctions held online are designed to sell off various objects that someone else no longer wants but hope you do want. They also work in exactly the same way that a traditional auction works by using an auctioneer who calls the bids as they come in and are held in “real time,” meaning that you get to bid in such auctions as they are happening, not like eBay auctions where you bid any time. Okay, now that we have that introduction out of the way, here’s the good stuff.

Making Online Auctions Work for You

We’ll assume here that you know all about going to a live bid online auction and that you simply want to know how to make them work for your needs. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, see the paragraph above. Live online auctions aren’t just a more convenient way to do your auction purchasing. Yes, you can get great deals at such auctions the same as you can at traditional auctions and you don’t have the fuss of getting in the car and driving to an auction house.

However, the best thing about an online auction is that you can easily purchase from auction houses that are thousands of miles away since everything is done online. This is a boon for collectors who have specific items they look for. The trouble is, with all the online auctions out there, how do you find the ones that specialize in the antique fish lures that you love collecting? Simple – just use Google Alerts and RSS.

What is Google Alerts and What is RSS?

These are two separate technologies that actually work together to make things easier than ever for those who enjoy bidding at a live bid online auction. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a fairly old technology (in Internet terms that is – it was created for Netscape Navigator and the My Netscape web portal back in 1999 – an eternity in Internet years) that allows you to grab content from different web sites and to see it all in your e-mail or in an RSS reader. The system is most often used for collecting articles from news websites and blogs.

Google Alerts is another system that will tell you when a new webpage is added to the Google index which contains specific keywords. Therefore, you could, for example, have it do an alert every time a page is added which mentions “antique fish lures.” However, that will simply bring you a ton of pages and doesn’t really differentiate between what is out there and what you’re looking for.

Using Google Alerts

What if you only want to find any live bid online auction that happens to feature antique fish lures? You have two choices: Either you can put both of those into your search by putting them in quotation marks (i.e. “live bid online auction ” ” antique fish lures”) or, if you know of specific online auction sites that sometimes have them, you can tell Google Alerts to let you know only when those sites add in something of interest using the “site:” command (i.e. site:myfavoriteauction.com “antique fish lures”). Try that with a traditional auction and you’ll just get blank stares! Oh, and the best part? Google Alerts will even send you an RSS feed when it finds the auctions you’re interested in.

Online Auctions

Online auctions have become an increasingly accessible way of shopping via the internet. They offer a huge variety of products which are available at consumers’ fingertips, and in the comfort of their own homes. Sellers can sell unwanted items that might otherwise be thrown away.

This type of consumer buying continues to evolve, and is extremely popular and successful in today’s competitive marketplace.

There are two main attractions to online auctions. Firstly, the consumer is often able to secure an item at a lower price than it would be made available for in high street chains. Secondly, online auction sites offer an exciting and stimulating way of shopping. ‘Bidders’ enjoy the competition for products; a ‘win’ can be exhilarating, as well as being conveniently carried out without having to drive to an external location. In today’s society, competitive online shopping is becoming ever popular.

The most successful internet auctions are those that are easily accessible, are open to as many bidders as possible, and are straightforward to follow. An online auction is often active for a number of hours, during which bidders ‘bid’ for the product they want. They are usually allowed to withdraw from the proceedings at any time if they desire. Bidders who are more experienced can place bids at several sites at once, and will use software that tracks their status at each online auction.

There are basically two main types of auction process: Forward and Reverse.

Forward Auctions

In forward auctions, bidders who offer the highest bid win the item. The seller will put up the items available to buy and bidders will begin competing for these, thus driving the price up. Sellers might fix a reserve price so that sales do not fall below this. These types of online auctions are well known for selling and buying collectibles but also may sell business to business.

Auction sites have their own rules, such as whether sellers need a certain business accreditation to take part and whether to set a registration fee before use. Another consideration will be how payment is made; either between the parties involved or through the site itself. Seller profiles are established and rewarded by the more they sell and the more reliable they prove themselves in terms of delivery and quality.

Reverse auctions (Dutch Auctions)

In this type of auction, bidders who offer the lowest bid wins the item (the ‘item’ in reverse auctions is usually a contract for business). The event itself will last for a matter of just a few hours. Reverse auctions are important for supply chains (particularly electronic) and are viewed as a money saving exercise. These reverse auctions are becoming an increasingly popular way to do business through the internet.

Auction Sites

There are numerous auction sites currently operating online.

Many of these sites are not geared towards a particular specialised area; they can be visited and used to buy and sell almost any general item imaginable. Products are stored within categories, alphabetically, or consumers have the option of using the search tool to locate an exact match. Once the product is found, information, as well as numbers in stock, will be displayed.

Some auction sites will conduct the bidding on a buyer’s behalf if instructed to. They may also include a ‘Buy Now’ feature that allows the buyer to opt out of the auction and purchase the product immediately at the displayed price.

Dedicated sites will offer a more specialised service for direct-niche items, for example if buyers are looking for products such as artwork, guns, coins, jewellery or vintage clothing etc, these can be easily located through the internet’s search engines. Again, consumers are able to search through categories or enter keywords to find a niche product quickly, which they are then able to bid on. Many direct-niche sites also offer the option to purchase items without bidding.

Penny Auctions

Also known as ‘bidding fee’ auctions, these sites offer an exciting way of buying and selling online, providing the consumer with a retail incentive as well as entertainment value. Penny auctions enable consumers to often get products that are very popular at low prices.

Bidders pay a non-refundable fee and receive a pack of bids before the auction begins, at a set price (a fixed step to ensure fairness). They then place their individual bids and hope to be the player with the last wager before time runs out. With each bid placed on an auction, the timer increases. When the clock stops, the last person to place their bid wins the product and pays the final price for it, which is often very low.

Many consumers enjoy penny auctions because of the competition involved in the bidding process, as well as the sealed end product, approved by a company.

Products that can be bid on in these auctions range from laptops, phones and home appliances to gift vouchers and more. Savings of 70%, and sometimes more, can be made on items.

The success of the penny auction lies within its clear competitive shopping element, and the time it takes to place a bid. Bidders may send short numbers by text message to place their bid (effectively reducing the time it takes) or they may visit the penny auction site and place their bid this way. Many of the sites offer automatic bidding systems to save further time.

By visiting different sites and watching auctions in action, as well as reading reviews on specific sites, consumers will gain a good understanding of which penny auctions are the best to take part in.

Pay-Per-Bid Auctions

These offer bidders the chance of paying for an individual bid before the auction commences, then to add additional bids if they wish, to increase their chance of winning the product. A display will let bidders know their progress within the auction and further bids can be entered. With each bid placed, the value of the product increases as well as the countdown.