Split Second Auctions - the New Hybrid in Live Auction Platforms

By: Mike Hall

Every so often we stumble upon a website which grabs our attention. One such site is Split Second Auctions. This site (at first glance) appears to be just a venue for Live Auctions, however, once I began reviewing their Knowledge Base it quickly became clear that this company is poised to become a major contender within the Live Auction arena. Web address

Split Second Auctions is something of a hybrid, in that while it acts as a venue to drive traffic into its client based catalogs, it also offers Live Auction seller's tools and technology to enhance the overall Live Auction experience. It would also appear as though this company is offering Live Auction sellers more 'autonomy' over their event, as opposed to other competitive third party providers.

In reviewing other Live Auction platforms, we found distinct differences between the Split Second Auctions platform and other providers. On the user side, the Bidder Console is a breeze to download and install. In fact, once the console is downloaded and installed (within a few seconds) an icon, with the Split Second Auction logo (and co-branded auction seller) appears on the users desktop. One click on the desktop icon opens the Bidder Console. Once the user logs in with their username and password, they enter the auction within a split second (hence the name of the site).

The enhancements go beyond other 'run of the mill' Live Auction platforms in that the Split Second Auction platform 'forces' Internet bids to be accepted. In other words, an Internet user's bids are given priority. We found that on other Live Auction platforms, Internet bids are not 'forced' and many bidders find themselves clicking on their mouse (repeatedly), however, their bids are not accepted in the order in which they are received.

In some cases, we found that bids placed through other Live Auction platforms may not register at all. In other cases, it would appear that the user is clicking dozens of times to place their bids, only to find that their accepted winning bid was much higher than they had wished to bid. The 'forced' acceptance of Internet bids ensures that the bids are accepted and recorded in 'real time'.

A distinct advantage of the Split Second Auction platform is the option to view and hear the auction in progress. In comparing other Live Auction providers, we found that those providers can charge upwards to $1,000.00 per event for sub-second streaming audio/video feeds. We have been informed by Split Second Auctions that they do not impose additional fees (per event) for audio/video feeds. In fact, we learned that the auction seller does not even require expensive audio/video equipment - an inexpensive webcam will suffice.

Auction houses, which seek to take advantage of the global market-place, have the option to upload 2,500 lots 'on the fly' and operate their auction using an extended auction window of twenty-four hours. Those houses opting for the twenty-four window may run their auction for eight hours (or as determined by the house), announce a floor intermission and then continue their auction. No doubt, auction sellers will find the extended auction window beneficial as they can cross international time zones and maximize their exposure and revenues.

The founders of Split Second Auctions have utilized various Live Auction platforms (as I came to learn in my interview with Paul Fischer - CFO of The Windsor Group). I was told that Windsor has elected to open its venue for all Live Auction sellers who seek to take advantage of the extended auction window, co-branded Bidder Console and free sub-second audio/video streaming technology. 'We will aggressively market to all Live Auction sellers who operate both traditional and virtual auctions' stated Mr. Fischer.

Indeed, those operating virtual Live Auctions will have the option to participate, as long they adhere to specific rules imposed by Split Second Auctions. The site owners will require that virtual Live Auction sellers be completely transparent in the operation of their auction events and in their dealings with online users. As Fischer stated 'there are many virtual auction houses, which seek an outlet in which to offer their goods to a global audience. The advantage of Split Second Auctions to such sellers is the option to broadcast through sub-second audio/video feeds coupled with real time bidding. Virtual houses will be broadcasting their feeds, accepting bids from a worldwide audience and basically operating something akin to that of a Broadcast Television Auction event.'

The idea of 'if you build it, will they come' has been answered by the dozens of Live Auction sellers who are presently in negotiations with Split Second Auctions to brand their own Bidder Consoles. I spoke with seven such auction sellers in preparing this article and their consensus of the site, as a venue, in conjunction with the tools and advanced technology, could give the current leaders in Live Auction industry - a run for their money!

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