EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2747 - February 24, 2012     1 of 5

Auctionata to Launch Live Auctions with Internet-Only Bidding

By Julia Wilkinson

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Auctionata is slated to launch on June 15th in what it says is the world's first live auction site that combines a physical location and live auctioneer, but with bidding taking place only via online and telephone. The auction would be streamed to the Internet from a TV studio with the auctioneer. Anyone with a PC or mobile device can take part in the bidding.

Starting in April, the site will also offer a shopping gallery of items selected by Auctionata's network of curators and experts. And up and running already is an area where people can get up to five free valuations of their items by the experts on the Free Valuation page.

"The idea we had is to make a combination of an online shop and live auctions," said CEO Alexander Zacke, who co-founded the site with his wife, Susanne Zacke, head of marketing and sales, and Georg Untersalmberger, manager of HR and product development.

A few years ago, the idea of a live auction with online and phone-only bidders but with no actual human bidders in the room wouldn't have made sense, according to Zacke. But buyers have become more comfortable with online bidding, and putting the whole thing on the Internet eliminates the expensive overhead of traditional auction houses, Zacke says, so you can give bidders a better auction starting price, lower fees, and "at the end of the day, a much better deal."

Free Valuations
Each customer can get up to five free online valuations per year by members of Auctionata's expert network, and this comes with a 25-year 100% authenticity guarantee. This free service has proved immensely popular so far: "It's a great deal," said Zacke, saying they launched it one week ago, and "we've had over 1000 valuations…it's just crazy cooking right now."

Many of the valuation customers want to consign their items with the service, which Zacke says is what they were hoping for when they launched the site.

Auctionata's fees for consignment and other services can be found from the "Overview of Fees" link at the bottom of every page on the site on the Overview of Fees page.

Large Network of Experts
Zacke says the most important aspect of Auctionata is its large expert network, with over 200 experts in all kinds of areas, including antiques, many of them having experience at top auction houses such as Sotheby's and Christie's.

"We wanted to have large pictures of our experts on the site," he said, "with information about their competence and where they get their expertise." You can find the photos of the experts along with their areas of expertise at the gallery of experts page.

A video on Auctionata's home page explains how its services work; click the "Video: Auctionata in 90 sec" button. (The video is in German, but has subtitles in English). Other videos on the site explain more about how Auctionata's auctions will work.

Zacke was an early online seller and served as an external consultant to its Board of Directors at one time, before he got the idea to start his own auction business. The company is based both in Vienna, Austria and Berlin, Germany, and its network of experts is throughout the world.

Update: Article updated for clarification on February 27, 2012.

About the author:

Julia Wilkinson is the author of "The eBay Price Guide" (No Starch Press, 2006) and "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks" (Wiley, 2004-6). Her free "Yard Salers" newsletter is at available at where you will also find her latest ebook, Flip It Again.

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