LiveAuctioneers releases BlackBerry application

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image from liveauctioneers.com/blackberry

In July, Internet bidding provider LiveAuctioneers announced the release of an iPhone application that allows its users to view auction inventories as well as to participate in auctions by placing pre-auction Internet bids.

Yesterday, LiveAuctioneers announced the release of an application for BlackBerry devices that has similar functionality but, unlike the iPhone application, is free to download and use.

While some other auctioneers attempt to deliver their bidding pages  so that they render easily in mobile browsers, LiveAuctioneers is instead developing applications that run natively on the devices. This approach has the benefit of creating a more controlled user experience for the supported devices. Unfortunately, it only works for supported devices. We still haven’t seen any provider release an application for Windows Mobile or the Palm Pre, though we’re guessing someone’s working on it.

Here’s the BlackBerry release.

NEW YORK – Following closely on the heels of its revolutionary iPhone application (“app”) with auction-bidding capability, LiveAuctioneers App Technologies has announced the release of a similar product for Blackberry devices. The new Blackberry “app” has the capability to connect users with catalogs from any auction house utilizing LiveAuctioneers.com’s Internet-bidding services. Additionally, it is the first Blackberry app to enable absentee bidding through LiveAuctioneers. It also includes an auction archive search function for accessing prices achieved in past sales.

The app is compatible with all current Blackberry models – Bold, Storm, Curve, Pearl Tour and 8800 series – and supports all major Blackberry service providers.

“We fully expect that Blackberry users within the fine art and antiques community will embrace this innovative technology, which includes immediate access to any auction catalog listed on LiveAuctioneers and the ability to leave absentee bids through our Secure Bidder Network (SBN),” said LiveAuctioneers LLC’s CEO Julian R. Ellison “With SBN functionality, which is unique to LiveAuctioneers, your absentee bid is kept private and unknown to anyone until auction day, when it goes direct to the auction house.”

Ellison said he placed top-priority status on the development of the iPhone and Blackberry apps because he wanted both to be finalized and available for download in advance of the fall auction season.

“From conversations we’ve had with auctioneers who use our services, we believe the next quarter may be the busiest ever for LiveAuctioneers,” Ellison said. “Some very exciting sales are going to be announced, and now with the addition of our new apps, auction houses will see bids coming in from all directions. There’s no reason why anyone should miss out on bidding now that our app technology is so widely available.”

The LiveAuctioneers app for Blackberry devices is free of charge and can be downloaded by visiting http://www.liveauctioneers.com/Blackberry.

Have you tried either of the mobile bidding applications from LiveAuctioneers? Let us know it worked in the comments.

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Don’t penalize Internet buyers

Our friend John Schultz wrote a great blog post this morning about the importance of ensuring that registration requirements were similar for Internet bidders and live bidders. He describes the effect of restricting Internet bidders as follows.

John Schultz

Auction companies need to apply the same set of registration terms to both online and onsite bidders. In fact, approving an online bidder to participate in your auction that has a history of purchasing and paying for items is safer than handing bidding numbers out to anyone that produces a valid photo ID in person. By overly restricting online buyers, auctioneers are dampening the impact online buyers will have on the bottom line of an auction, and are not serving the seller’s best interest.

We completely agree. We’d like to take that thought a step further, however, and say that there should not be a difference in cost between bidding live and using Internet bidding.

Many auctioneers charge a higher buyer’s premium to Internet bidders, usually because there is a sell-through percentage charged to the auctioneer by some Internet bidding providers. The sell-through percentage is a fee charged by some bidding providers that is a percentage of each item sold to Internet buyers. Most auctioneers elect to pass that sell-through percentage on to the buyers.

Here’s the problem. A higher buyer’s premium charged to Internet bidders is absolutely a penalty for placing Internet bids as opposed to placing bids at the auction. The incentive is to not place Internet bids, and the bottom line of the auction suffers.

How, then, can an auctioneer pay for the sell-through percentage charged by the Internet bidding provider if he uses a provider with such a fee structure? Is it simply a cost of doing business like credit card fees? Should it be passed to the seller?

The majority of the costs of conducting an auction are incurred because of the live bidders. The live bidders require bathrooms. The live bidders require labor to clean the auction location. The live bidders require paying a ring staff, bid callers, cashiers – all sorts of expenses that are in addition to and greater than the after-auction labor involved with handling the Internet bidding. With this regard, it absolutely makes sense to increase the buyer’s premium for live customers at least to match that premium incurred by Internet bidders.

Auctioneers who figure out how to make not only buyer registration requirements the same but also make sure that there is no financial penalty for placing Internet bids will see more participation from Internet bidders and do a better job for their sellers.

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Proxibid announces redesigned homepage, timeline for embedded bidding

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Proxibid's new website, launch expected in mid-September

Following last month’s announcement of an upcoming embedded bidding solution, Proxibid today announces that auctioneers can begin reserving this solution in mid-September. Also announced today is the preview of the new layout of the Proxibid website which looks like it sports a much cleaner appearance. Gone are the borders and tables, the auction calendar has been moved off of the front page, and a prominant graphic greets the user advocating different types of auctions.

Also in the press release are example screenshots of the upcoming embedded bidding solution. The example given is on the Miedema Auctioneering and Appraisals website and it appears to be a very seamless integration. You can view the screenshots.

Here’s the release.

As you already know, in just a few short weeks, auctioneers will have access to the auction industry’s most powerful embedded solution. Proxibid’s embedded solution will allow bidders to create an account, register to bid, launch the online bidding application and place bids through the auction catalog without leaving the auctioneer’s Web site. Our embedded solution will fit seamlessly into the auctioneer’s Web site, ensuring bidders have access to a full-service online auction experience. Auctioneers can begin reserving their embedded solutions in mid-September.

Because we’re full of surprises, we have another special announcement. In addition to the launch of our embedded solution, Proxibid’s Web site is soon to have a new look and feel. Our new Web site design will feature enhanced navigation and a much cleaner, faster-loading homepage. Advertising will move off the homepage and will be located on category-specific landing pages, providing auctioneers the opportunity to market directly to a captive audience, and enabling bidders to go right to the content in which they are most interested! While the Web site will have a new look and feel, the core of the site will remain familiar to the user, ensuring a smooth transition for everyone. Watch for Proxibid’s new and improved Web site design to make its debut in mid-September.

To see examples of the embedded solution and the new homepage, please visit www.proxibid.com/asp/reskin.asp .

Follow us on Twitter for updates on both of these exciting projects, as well as advanced notice for launch dates, at www.twitter.com/proxibid.

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NAALive finally comes to an end

Long a thorn in the sides of other Internet bidding providers, the National Auctioneers Association‘s affinity relationship with Ableauctions.com is coming to an end. We’re excited about this development, as we feel it will foster a more open and competitive development of Internet bidding methods and techniques among all the vendors. Here’s the release.

Overland Park, Kan., August 31, 2009 – National Auctioneers Association (NAA) announced today the dissolution of its relationship with Ableauctions.com Inc. (NYSE Amex “AAC”) , a high-tech liquidator and online auction facilitator that operates the domains iCollector.com and NAALive.com. NAA Live is an online auction site utilized by members of the NAA to market auctions both live and online. The NAA has maintained an affinity relationship with Ableauctions.com Inc. for over 5 years. The NAA is the nation’s largest professional association dedicated to the auction profession and industry. Membership in the NAA ranges from real estate and art auctioneers, to heavy equipment and automobile auctioneers.

“It was determined by the NAA and Ableauctions.com Inc. leadership that the two organizations would terminate their affinity relationship effective August 31, 2009,” said Hannes Combest, NAA CEO. “Since the relationship was created, Ableauctions (NAA Live) has been a proud supporter of the association and its membership. NAA Live and other live online auction companies have led the way in the expansion of auction technology and thanks to their endeavors the auction method of marketing continues to grow and flourish both live and online in today’s marketplace.”

“While we have enjoyed our relationship with the NAA, this does not mark the end of our support for members of the association. Rather, we look forward to a new beginning with a cutting edge platform suitable for all types of auction and one which is fully adaptable to the needs of today’s auction marketplace. We will continue to support the NAA wherever possible and remain a proud advocate of the auctioneering profession.” says Thorsten Bonn, CEO of iCollector.com/NAALive.com.

Ableauctions.com Inc. will continue to operate the domain name naalive.com until April 30, 2010. Effective May 1, 2010, naalive.com will direct back to the National Auctioneers Association homepage auctioneers.org.

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Watch champion auctioneers on YouTube

We follow @naaauctioneers on Twitter and so should you. Recent tweets from NAA have alerted us of today’s posting of video of the winners of the IAC to YouTube. Here are our 2009 IAC champions Kevin Borger and Terri Walker.

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