The rise of the internet has taken many activities that once required a physical presence into the realm of the digital. It has also opened up activities that were once the province of a knowledgeable and well-placed few, by removing barriers of access and distance. Auction sales are one of these activities, and as a result they’ve become a popular way to shop online, with a plethora of sites devoted to just about any kind of consumer goods you can think of. Bidding on items, rather than simply purchasing them at retail prices, can give you the opportunity to score big savings. Online auctions come in different forms, however, and it’s helpful to know what to expect when you start looking around.
Timed auctions: This is the form of online auction that we’re all most familiar with. Exemplified by sites like eBay, the timed auction runs for a specified period of time, most often a week. This doesn’t mean that prospective buyers are actively bidding during that entire time period. On the contrary, timed auctions tend to attract bidders who either bid high early, attempting to scare off other bidders, or those who wait until the final moments of the sale, hoping to land the item at the lowest possible price. These tend to be fully automated, with no human interaction between the bidding site and the bidders.
90-second auctions: This format adds a twist to the concept of the timed auction, by making the bidding window lightning-quick. Such auction sites tend to move a large quantity of goods at low prices—each high bid extends the bidding window for a few seconds, but once the time ticks down, the highest bid wins. Fans of these quick auctions tend to like them as much for the entertainment value as for the shopping experience, because you get instant gratification. Some sites that offer such auctions are what’s known as “penny auctions,” because they charge bidders a small fee for each bid they place, while others offer unlimited free bidding.
Online live auctions: In a traditional live auction, bidding lasts as long as people are actively placing bids on the item in question. Once the auctioneer has determined the highest possible bid has been reached, the lot is closed. This is also true in a live online auction, which combines the format of a live auction with the accessibility of an online auction. While lots tend to be listed online ahead of the auction for bidders to view, ask questions about, or place proxy bids on in advance, active bidding takes place at a set time, with a skilled auctioneer monitoring the action. This format combines the best features of live and online auctions—you get the thrill of bidding in real time, without having to wait around for days to find out if you have the winning bid, but you have the convenience of bidding from your own home.
Understanding the format of the auction you’re participating in will help you know how long you can expect to wait to find out if you have a winning bid. If you crave the excitement of a genuine live auction, AuctionKing.com is dedicated to providing the most authentic live-auction experience available online. Our site is built on the knowledge of three generations of auctioneers, combining scrupulously authenticated goods, the most up-to-date technology, and a secure bidding process. Register for a free online account today to experience the Auction King difference.