Internet Auctions have become so popular because they are a lot of FUN. Additionally, they are a great way to earn a living as of May 22, 2008, Newsweek article explains. At that time it was estimated 1.3 million people, mostly in the U.S., earned their income this way. For many others, it's a wonderful way to supplement income and sure beats garage sales if you have a lot of somethings to sell.
There are (probably) thousands of several very cool auction sites on the Internet. I was going to try to get a realistic estimate but Berkshire Select's Anything Research report was going to cost $99-$199 so I decided to shoot from the hip on this. Let's start with two of the most well-known. Nearly everyone has heard of Sotheby's. This renowned auctioneer was founded in 1744 and focuses on fine art, diamonds, realty and wine. Their online auction presence is called Sotheby's. Another famous auction house is Christie's. Founded in 1766, they offer over 80 categories including fine arts, jewelry, collectibles and wine. They too have an online presence called Christie'sLIVE.
•Bid4Assets, founded in 1999 is a leading real estate auction house with an eye toward becoming the "go-to marketplace for buying and selling value-priced real estate- property valued at less than $100K."
•Webidz calls itself "The Other Auction Site" whose goal is being a major alternative to eBay making buying and selling fun and affordable again while they become "a highly regarded online auctions marketplace."
•bidStart is an online auction house with an exclusive focus on collectibles. By "understanding the collector, bidStart is able to offer collectors a home and sense of community which is lost on most other auction websites."
•eBid is a global auction marketplace with 3,238,879 auctions running in 10,782 categories at the time of this writing. With a virtual presence in over 15 countries, they are positioned to go head to head against eBay.
My husband and I were watching Antiques Roadshow last night on public television. The way this particular appraisal was going, I was starting to feel queasy on behalf of the guest who was about to get some bad news about three African Art objects she purchased for $4500 a decade ago. The appraiser told her they were probably worth $500-600 total. When asked if the Seller had provided any guarantees as to their authenticity, the lady said no. I'm sorry but my sympathy for this person began to wane.
There is only so much we can do to fight fraud on the Internet but we can certainly start by exercising common sense. I consider $4500 to be a nice chunk of change and it doesn't matter how fascinating they appear or how "lavish" the seller's descriptions, I want documentation!
If the Seller of these objects happens across my article let me tell you right now, I believe what goes around comes around. Someone, somewhere, somehow, sometimes...
This experience is not representative of the vast majority of internet auction experiences. If it was, they wouldn't be so outrageously popular. It can be enormously satisfying to win an auction. Even more so when you know you got one heck-of-a-deal on a high-quality object.
If you can't tell by now, I'm a fan of Internet auctions. Check the auction schedule and the Auction calendar on Auctiondaily