Back to the Past has been conducting live auctions since 2011 and in that time, we’ve heard the same thing over and over: “Oh, like on eBay?” And the answer is…not exactly. We were an early adopter on eBay, getting our listings up before the rest of the world even had broadband back in the 90s! Heck, we auction off items on eBay all the time. And that’s why we know eBay is different from a true live auction in some key ways. How? Let us explain!
An Auctioneer Controls The Live Auction
The #1 difference between an eBay auction and a genuine live auction is the auctioneer. eBay’s system is simple and hasn’t changed much since they launched it. In fact, a major part of eBay’s culture is built around it: bid sniping! Logging on for the final seconds of an auction to get a high bid in before competitors can react. There are plenty of apps, bots, and other programs that can handle that for you. eBay users would revolt if that went away.
True live auctions don’t work that way. Each lot always gets a “Going once! Going twice! SOLD!” Any bid that pops up at the last second simply starts the count over again, giving the party outbid a chance to respond. Think Rocky Balboa getting to his feet before the count is finished, not Indiana Jones sliding just under the closing door.
This is true even when a “live” auction is timed, with no in-person event. Most of Back to the Past’s auctions are set up this way and, at first glance, it looks a little like eBay. The difference is that the timer is set to behave as if a real live auctioneer were closing the lot. When a last second bid comes in, time is added to the clock and the lot doesn’t close until active bidding has ceased. Everybody gets a chance!
Live Auctions Accommodate Big Collections Better
Live auctions are event-based; eBay is item-based. That distinction means nothing to the consumer’s ear, but their eyes see the difference. Simply put, eBay treats each item as its own discrete sale. Each item needs to be interacted with separately to bid on. A seller page shows you all their wares, but doesn’t let you bid.
Live auctions are different in that items are grouped into events. Our ProxiBid auctions, for example, feature 300-400 different lots each week. Even in timed auctions, you can get the full picture of what’s offered and bid without taking your eyes off the rest of the auction. The chances of missing out on a lot because you’re in the wrong tab are very low.
Sellers love it because everything is gone in the course of one night! Pile of stuff to a paycheck, just like that.
Why Not Both?
What’s important to remember is that both eBay and live auctions play important roles in the collectibles marketplace. Back to the Past makes extensive use of both ProxiBid and eBay, finding each suited to different types and sizes of collectibles. The fact that we’re well-established in both marketplaces means we can make sure items find the right audience to realize their best value. That’s why we strongly encourage that folks looking to sell their collection drop us a line.
Speaking of dropping us a line, we’re always interested in hearing the B2P Collective’s thoughts! You can comment below, or reach out on socials @b2Pcollect.