Auction Software FAQ: Run Your Own Auctions
By Andy Geldman
In this column, I will answer some common questions about software for online auction users. Some of these questions are ones I have been frequently asked, while others address areas that are not well understood, or have myths to dispel. If you have a question you would like to see answered here please contact me at the email address below.
Today's question is "How can I run my own auction site?"
Anyone can start up an auction site, with suitable software and a web-hosting service. If you are technically-minded and can spare the time, you can create a functional auction site with free software such as Auction Weaver Lite or EveryAuction - but don't expect it to look like eBay!
For less than a thousand dollars you have a choice of commercial packages, from companies like Rainworx and Phpauction, with a good level of features and technical support from the vendor. If you are really serious about your auction business, Truition builds fully outsourced and customized solutions, or a good web design company could develop your auction site from scratch.
You get what you pay for with auction software, so list out your requirements and decide how much you can afford before searching for a supplier. Bear in mind that the standard price may not include site customization, and you could need the services of a web designer to give it your own look and feel.
Web hosting is a huge area, with thousands of suppliers, so I'll mention just a few key points. Your auction software will need a specific scripting language and database, and may specify particular versions and add-on modules. To be sure of compatibility, check that your host allows the software you intend to use, or ask the supplier for recommendations.
Web hosts vary widely in server speed, traffic allowances, pricing, support, features and more. Ask how many other sites will be hosted on your server (if you don't get a dedicated one) and check that the excess traffic fees are reasonable. Some aspects of the service won't become apparent until you have signed up, so look for a host who offers a trial or money-back period.
Setting up an auction site doesn't have to be hard, but running one involves a lot of effort. Have you thought about data security, customer service, and legal issues? How much time can you spare on an ongoing basis? Are you able to develop the site and maintain the database?
There's a lot more to running an auction site than software and hosting, so make sure you know what you are getting yourself into before diving in. With careful research, hard work, and a little flair, could your site be the next eBay?
Directory of web hosts
Auction Weaver Lite
About the author:
Andy Geldman is a freelance ecommerce and IT consultant, and webmaster of Web Retailer, a guide to eBay software and services Andy lives in London, England and can be emailed at andy.geldman @ salubritas.com
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