As a Buyer, What Day of The Week and Time Do You Like?

December 5, 2011

Several times a year we have a debate in the office as to which day of the week is best to have auction.

For many years we believed that Saturday was the ONLY day to hold the auction, regardless of what we were selling. Saturday seems to be a day filled with a lot of competition for our time, from soccer games, honey do lists, other auctions, mowing the lawn, etc.

Once we decided to let tradition take a back seat to our desire to free up our own Saturdays, we started to evaluate the remaining days of the week.

There are several Auctioneers that conduct auctions on Sunday, and while the competition for our time might be less, we decided against this day as a desire to spend this time with our family.

With that in mind, on average, what day of the week gives you the best opportunity to participate in an auction?

The next logical question is what time of day? If the bidding is taking place live vs online only, does this have an impact on your ability to participate on your chosen day or time of day?

If you are auctioneer who is responding to this post, please try to do so thinking of yourself as a buyer.


What Is Bid Sniping, and is eBay a Real Auction?

November 28, 2011

So what is bid sniping you might ask? For those who buy regularly on online websites such as eBay, you are probably familiar with this term. For those who are not, I will explain.

When the bidding for an item is scheduled to end at a specific time, many bidders will wait until the last few seconds before the time expires, and place their high bid in an attempt to be the winning bidder. This leaves the previous high bidder little or no time to increase their bid before the clock expires. The result is the new high bidder winning the item with less opportunity for competition. There are even programs available to facilitate this bidding strategy for the sniper.

Some would call this a race to see who can win the item for the least amount at the last second. In most cases we would argue that the seller has lost opportunity for true market value to be achieved as the clock determined the end of the transaction, and not true competitive bidding.

So to answer the question, does it work? I would say it works well for savvy buyers. I am not sure the sellers would agree that it works for them. It also doesn’t work well for buyers who are unfamiliar with the process and lose out on an item they would have been willing to pay more for, but were caught off guard due to this practice.

This is one reason you could argue that eBay is not a true auction. In contrast, online auctions conducted by professional auction companies will utilize an extended bidding feature that minimizes this bidding strategy.

Extended bidding works by allowing the auction company to set a predetermined time the bidding will extend on an item if someone places a bid in the last minutes or seconds of that item closing. The increment will vary from company to company, but it is not uncommon to see anywhere from 5 to 15 minute bidding extensions.

How it works: If the extended bidding feature is set at 5 minutes, then when a bidder places a bid anytime in the last 5 minutes of the item ending, the bidding will be extended another 5 minutes. This allows time for the bidder who was outbid, to then place another bid if they choose. If they do place a bid, then that item will now extend 5 minutes from that bid as well. This can go on indefinitely, as long as two or more bidders continue to bid.

When extended bidding is used, bidders are not able to take advantage of the bid sniping strategy. In addition, competitive bidding is utilized in a manner that better serves the seller, as well as buyers who want to know that they had every opportunity to bid and purchase the item at their price.

Do you buy items via online auctions that allow extended bidding? Does this affect your bidding strategy or have any impact on when you place your bid? Please share your thoughts on this topic.

My First Auction and What I Learned

November 14, 2011

The other day I was reminiscing about what I learned from the first live auction I had ever conducted just over 10 years ago.

Having graduated from World Wide College of Auctioneering two months prior to the event, I had put together a very modest consignment auction from about 5 or 6 sellers.

My inventory was impressive for a variety of reasons and included 2 large electric organs, a piano, a water bed, some pots and pans, older tools, glassware and a variety of items of which were less than memorable.

The inventory was impressive because most of it had little value and I was impressed for a lifetime on what an auctioneer should work hard to avoid selling.

In addition to learning the value of two consigned electric organs weighing over 200 pounds, and moved 3 times with an end result of a no sale, I also learned of the value of kindness and generosity.

The first act of kindness came from Mr. Dunn, who owns Dunn’s Cider Mill near my home. I had been keeping a few bee hives on his property, and he was generous to offer the use of his parking lot for our maiden voyage in the auction industry. I will forever hold a place in mt heart for the Dunn family and the memories that were created there that day.

The next lesson came from an effort to save money on buying tables. I had constructed the saw horse variety using sheets of quarter-inch plywood to display our merchandise. Fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time my wife Aileen noticed an item that needed to be tagged with a seller/lot number. When she placed the items back on the make shift table, the quarter-inch plywood broke in half and like dominoes, all of the tables came crashing to the ground. Did I mention it was 15 minutes before the auction was scheduled to start.

The second act of kindness came from a bidder who I had never met who looked at me and looked at the mess, and simply stated, “well, lets pick it all up.” With that directive, our team and all of the bidders pitched in to set the auction back up. As the Scottish proverb states, Many Hands make light Work. Because it is but little to every one, and because of those many hands we were actually able to start the auction on time.

There were numerous other life lessons  learned that day, including another act of kindness from my good friend Dick Ellis who came to the auction to support me. I know for a fact that he bought a lamp that never made it home, but allowed me to say sold.

It would be an understatement to say that we have come a long way in 10 years.

Life is good, and I am grateful for the acts of kindness and generosity of friends and family, as well as the blessings from My Father in Heaven who guided me to the auction profession.

Facebook Auction Technology Group

November 7, 2011

Last week after reading several posts on a popular Auctioneer Facebook group, I realized that every time the issue of online bidding entered a conversation, there was a virtual Hatfield and McCoy type standoff regarding the validity of online bidding vs live auction.

In an effort to give auctioneers and auction professionals who utilize such technology in their business a safe place to discuss best practices without having to debate the issue of which is better, I created an Auction Technology Facebook group.

If you are an auctioneer or auction professional who would like to join the conversation, check it out at:

Please remember though, to leave your opinion of live vs online at the door. I guess we will see how long that lasts.


Auctioneers – How May I Serve You?

October 9, 2011

This week in Overland Park Kansas The National Auctioneers Association will have it’s fall board of directors meeting. As an elected member of the board, I will be meeting with other elected leaders from the industry where we will be working on the business of the association as well as discussing the future of the auction industry.

Sometimes it is easy to forget to do the simple task of asking those who elected us to serve, how we can best serve you.

So with that in mind, I ask. If you are an auctioneer or work in the auction industry, how can The National Auctioneers Association serve you? What would you like to see us do as we look to the future, and make decisions that have an influence on you as an auction professional?

Please feel free to comment here or send me an email at

I can assure you that we appreciate your input and ask again, how may I serve you?

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