All About Online Auctions

By: Mikel Beck

Introduction

The success of eBay has been attracting millions of people looking for things to buy or sell online, and its growing popularity helped set off a flurry of similar online auction and shopping businesses. But online auctions were among those who were badly hit by the dotcom bubble burst, and many of those websites that appeared like mushrooms in 2000 were as quick to disappear online.

Luckily, such was not the case with other online auction and shopping companies that have managed to survive and continue its business. Among those companies, aside from eBay, are Yahoo! Auctions, Amazon Auctions, uBid.com, and bid stuff finder such as BidFind.

Three Types of Online Auctions

If you are looking to buy or sell a specific item online, the wide plethora of auction and shopping sites with hundreds of products or services offered is enough to get you lost, sidetracked to other items, or even turn you off and just drop the whole idea. There are millions of items being traded online and it would be a good idea to have a basic idea on the types of online auctions sites.

Person-To-Person Auctions

This type of online auctions, while not necessarily the most secure, most certainly allows a large window of trust and credibility as it involves actual negotiations with individuals. As such, it allows greater leeway for haggling of the price, quantity, or other terms of the sale or purchase, and wider choices in goods. But be cautious of some companies' practice of plunking their products in auctions at stock prices that are actually equal to or more than their usual retail price.

Company Commercial Auctions

This type of auctions involves big companies that use auction sites to sell their surplus stock, reconditioned items or withdrawn products. Other companies go into commercial auctions as a complementary method of selling items.

Real-time/Live Auctions

Some auctions go a notch higher by doing live auctions via Internet broadcast. Bidders participate in the bidding at real-time either within a specific auction site, or from through the Internet. This type of online auctions usually requires pre-registration to be able to participate in the actual bidding.

Some Auction Terms To Live By

Participating in an online or offline auction does not involve ordinary terms of buying and selling. Knowing the proper auction terminologies is a must for anyone who plans to take part in an auction. "As is, where is" is the term that refers to an item on sale as it is found or in its present form. This usually connotes non-return of sold items. Bid Cancellation refers to the unilateral cancellation by the seller of a bid item. Bid Retraction refers to the unilateral cancellation by a bidder of hi/her bid during an auction. Deadbeats refer to winning high bidders who fail to pay for the item won. Escrow refers to the money held in trust by a party other than the seller and buyer, and paid to the seller after delivery is made to the buyer. Minimum Bid refers to the smallest amount set by the seller for which the item is auctioned. On the other hand, Maximum Bid refers to the highest bid amount that a bidder will pay for the auctioned item.

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