We start the new year with an obituary for eBay Live Auctions, not to be confused with eBay Live!, the eBay convention for buyers and sellers held regularly in cities around the country. As of the first of the year, the website ebayliveauctions.com now redirects to www.ebay.com.
eBay Live Auctions was the division of eBay that allowed live auctions to take some advantage of eBay’s enormous bidder pool. Through the use of authorized providers such as iCollector and Live Auctioneers, auctioneers could post inventories and accept real-time Internet bidding like many other providers, but with the help of eBay’s bidding community which is still very large.
The downsides to eBay Live Auctions were many. eBay treated it like an unwanted stepchild by not allowing the items to be found by searches using the default search bar on eBay’s home page. The link to get to the live auctions always seemed buried and hard to access. The providers charged a percentage of each item sold to an Internet buyer in addition to a hefty setup fee per event.
Still, other Internet bidding providers charge a percentage of each item sold and eBay’s huge community still provided thousands of eyes on the live auction listings. The biggest problem was that eBay’s buyers are not auction buyers. While they may be much more familiar with Internet transactions than Joe Allbox, they balk at terms such as as is and buyer’s premium and simply don’t understand that there should be bigger punishments to not completing transactions than negative feedback. Unfortunately, eBay’s unwillingness to disclose personal information, to say nothing of credit card information, to the auctioneers it was attempting to serve made it very difficult to ensure buyer performance for transactions with eBay’s customers.
All in all, the death of eBay Live Auctions will be good for the auction industry and eBay. eBay has been good for auctions, but eBay Live Auctions has blurred the lines between eBay’s style of auctions and the methods of Internet auctions practiced by auctioneers, causing bidders to not understand how real auctions work. As eBay rearranges its deck chairs after hitting the iceberg, eBay Live Auctions is one of many logical cost-cutting culls.
As for those companies who had business models built around eBay Live Auctions, it seems that they will continue to operate by attempting to build their own buyer base, a task that is not hard as their auctioneer-clients will advertise their portals while advertising their events.
Did you use eBay Live Auctions or one of the providers associated with the service? What are your plans? Will you continue with the provider or switch to a different solution?