ahead -- scratch your nose!
Online auctions take the intimidation out of attending a live auction. There is no checking the auction date, driving to the site, parking, lining up to register, and going through the stress of live bidding against others, where prices change in response to customers' whims and actions. Much more than an online store, online auctions recreate, in electronic "real time" form, the fun and thrill of bidding while sitting comfortably at home.
A growing number of consumers are browsing online auctions to find antiques, collectibles, art, rare coins, stamps -- even computers, jewelry, video & audio equipment, Oriental rugs, wine, travel bargains and real estate. Just about anything can be found at auctions on the Web. And there are now over 250 major auction sites out there, compared to none just three years ago.
Why the popularity of online auctions? The Web provides an ideal vehicle for them. You have interested buyers, motivated sellers, and the convenience of an interactive medium where you can shop world-wide from home. The thrill of cyberbidding and the search for bargains brings folks back time and again.
So, how do they work? There are hundreds of auctions sites on the Web and, therefore, just as many different options and rules. When visiting an online auction, search out the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and get briefed on their individual policies. Study the auction format and what your rights are.
The most popular person-to-person online auction style is the traditional auction. An item is listed with a minimum bid, a description is posted, a duration is established (usually 3-7 days), often a photograph of the item is electronically attached, and the bidding begins.
After registration at the site (usually free), a buyer comes along and bids an amount above the minimum. Depending on the sophistication of the auction's software, an e-mail is normally sent to the buyer's mailbox immediately, verifying the bid. If the buyer is outbid at some point, another e-mail is sent notifying them. They can then return to the auction site and up the bid, if they desire. All of the bids are kept current on the site and can be viewed almost immediately after bidding has occurred.
After an item is sold, the buyer and seller make contact, usually via email, to determine shipping costs and exchange addresses. When individuals are selling, online auction sites assume no responsibility for the sale nor for the stated condition of items sold. The "auctioneer" won't settle any disputes between buyer and seller. Caveat Emptor!
Ron McCoy, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org is the owner of CollectorsWeb at http://collectorsweb.com, an informational site for persons interested in antiques and collectibles. Subscribe to his e-zine, Antiques & Collecting Newsletter, at: http://collectorsweb.com/newslett.htm