• No sales commission – flat monthly fee
• Five different auction formats
• Real time bidding and extended auctions
• Listings can include personal website info
• Basic design
• Less secure payments
OnlineAuction is a site tailored to people who already have experience in online auctions and want to either set up a profitable store online or find bargains from members’ stores. This is a smaller operation than eBay and eBid but it’s a more personal experience, where, as OnlineAuction says “a little courtesy goes a long way.”
You can sign up for free at OnlineAuction and bid up to a maximum of $1,000 per day but the experience is limited with a free account and you don’t have secure buying privileges. Upgrades are available. You can pay to be a Verified Buyer, where you can bid with no limitations and have a private email account on the site. The Seller Member fee is charged per month (around $8) and you don’t have to pay listing or sales commission fees once you’ve made your payment. Or, you can pay more to be a Founding Member and take advantage of an enhanced auction experience and many promotional tools to try to increase your profits by selling on the site. When you’re a Founding Member you have your own "Olahouse", effectively an online store. These stores feed into the auction system but they also stand alone in being a showcase for your products.
The search box at the top of the website is your gateway to the site. Enter keywords or go for an advanced search to pin down your desired products. As you are searching and don’t find what you are looking for, you can make a Wish List and be reminded of your wish when that item becomes available on the site – a good option for regular shoppers.
Buyers can track auctions they are interested in with a Bookmark feature, keep a list of favorite sellers, and ask questions of the sellers if they are interested in an item. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, place a Proxy Bid by entering the maximum you are prepared to pay. OnlineAuction keeps your maximum bid secret while placing bids on your behalf that increase in increments. If you’re interested in winning at all costs, extended bidding automatically extends the auction if a bid is placed in the final 90 seconds, for another 90 seconds. The winner is the one who carries on bidding, as in a real life auction house.
Use one of the templates on the site for creating your own auction listing. The templates are particularly useful when you are listing items and repeating the same information. As a seller you can post your own personal details such as a website or blog, to draw trade to your site. Payment options include Google Checkout and PayPal but you are also encouraged to create invoices for payment for your goods.
OnlineAuction sets up not one or two types but a large range of auctions for you to take part in. The Classic Auction is what you’d expect, an auction where the highest bid above the reserve price wins. The Absolute Auction means your goods will sell without a minimum bid or reserve price. In the Sealed Bid Auction bidders submit sealed bids and the winner is the person with the highest bid that meets or exceeds the reserve price. The Fixed Price Auction has a set price where bidders effectively buy the item at the advertised price and the Dutch Auction is where the seller lists more than two identical items and bidders win the amount of items they choose by being the highest bidder. You can also schedule auctions to take place at a future date. Once you’re up and selling, there are many ways to view and arrange your auction results so you can see which auctions are ongoing, who has bought what, and which auctions are scheduled for later. If you’re not going forward with a sale, you can cancel the auction. You can pay extra for a Featured Auction that puts your product centre stage, on rotation on the OnlineAuction homepage.
The payments are not so well-regulated as on other sites, and are mainly transactions that take place personally between seller and buyer’s email inboxes. The use of personal checks and money transfers increases the risk of deals going wrong. Founding Members get help from OnlineAuction with non-paying buyers but there’s no dispute resolution center. Users are encouraged to check the feedback of buyers and sellers before entering into a transaction.
Ease of use
The design of the OnlineAuction site looks more basic and less professional than the top two online auction websites. Initially, the site looks and feels more difficult to understand than other sites. The Auction Manager section of the site helps you find your billing information, your feedback and your personal details including your membership details. Your Buyer Hub or your Seller Hub within the Auction Manager section is the place where you manage your auction experience. If you are a registered user, buyer or seller, you have a secure email address attached to the site where you can receive your OnlineAuction mails in one place. Access this in your Hub. Handy features like Auto-Positive Feedback help make it easy to manage large amounts of sales.
Help & support
Get help with technical questions, issues with the site or with your auction experience by emailing one of a number of email addresses within OnlineAuction. You can also contact OnlineAuction by mail or by phone. There’s no forum but there is an FAQ section – help and support tends to be more personal here than on the larger sites.
OnlineAuction is tailored towards people with a lot to sell and is a good option for the potential online retailer. OnlineAuction is all about being fair and equal, and suits people who want control over their online sales business without having to pay out large commissions to the auction site owners.
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