We’ve received some search traffic from users searching for the phrase Auction Listing Specialist. As involved as we are with the National Auctioneers Association (NAA) and not ever hearing of such a course or designation, we decided to search it out as any responsible skeptic would.
It seems that Auction Listing Specialist is a course offered by a Delaware company called Auction Work at Home. It looks to be an instructional course for eBay users, not auctioneers. From what we can tell, the concept is that the service farms out to its members the labor for creating eBay listings and processing the sales and rebates on merchandise sold.
Skimming through the extremely long information page that describes the service, you can find an asking price of $197. You’ll also see warnings at the end of the page about how the price will soon go up substantially, how there are very limited time benefits available for those who sign up immediately and how today is probably the final day before they reach their limit. It seems there are only so many people who can take the course, though the material advertises elsewhere how over 1,000 people have already taken the course. Smart money says that the page hasn’t changed in some time and won’t for some time.
You’ll see the claim that “this is the only certified program in the world for auction listing…”. We think that the program isn’t so much for auction listings but rather for eBay listings. While eBay uses competitive bidding for some of the listings there and can technically be described as an auction marketplace, auctions are rapidly becoming a minority of selling methods on eBay, and calling an eBay training service an Auction Listing Specialist course seems like it might open the door for some people to mistakenly assume that the course is for auctioneers instead of eBay users.
We couldn’t find in the offer materials the name of the person or agency who certified the program and didn’t certify any other programs. While it’s the first and only eBay listing program we’ve seen, we haven’t look very hard for any others. We know for a fact that the Auction Technology Specialist (ATS) course offered by the National Auctioneers Association is a course certified by the NAA Educational Institute and that it does a good job instructing auctioneers how to do a good job listing items for real auctions. It is the only technology and auction listing course offered by the National Auctioneers Association.
The business model description includes references to a fixed profit of something like $13 per listing. This information suggests that each listing would have a fixed price or a minimum, which means that the listings wouldn’t really be auctions anyway. If the listings are truly auctions, the business model would have to ensure that at least $13 profit was made on each item, but capping the payments to the person listing the items means that any additional profit, based on the sales price less the cost of goods sold and less eBay’s commissions, wouldn’t go to that person.
The materials also reference processing rebates. We’ve purchased items from eBay that have had the bar codes cut off and now wonder if such products might have originated from services such as this one.
All in all, this program makes many claims and statements that deserve a skeptical investigation. It may be a viable and profitable enterprise, but we’ve studied it enough to know two things. If we wanted to be more educated about listing items on eBay, we’d visit the eBay Learning Center. If we wanted to learn how to be better at listing items for auctions, we’d take the Auction Technology Specialist course offered by the NAA.