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What is an Auction Website?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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An auction website is a website that offers goods and services for sale to buyers who submit their bids electronically. The items or services for sale may be offered by private parties or commercial companies. The auction website process is often made possible by sophisticated auction software that instantly records bids and notifies bidders when their bid has been matched or exceeded.

Prior to the popularity of the Internet and websites, auctions were only available at predetermined geographic locations. While telephones or faxed bids have been common practice for a number of years, they still connected directly with a physical location at which the auction was held. Art and antiques auction houses regularly auction off goods, often from estates or dealers. Auctions are also normally held for goods seized in foreclosures, abandoned goods left in storage facilities and confiscated or found goods gathered by law enforcement agencies. Private citizens sometimes hold auctions to liquidate large lots of furniture or household goods.

There are a couple of standard types of online auctions as well as several auction website formats available on the Internet. There are assorted popular auction website providers that have achieved good reputations through offering an extensive and eclectic range of items. Other important factors that make these sites highly regarded are the security of the bidding system, thorough investigations and prosecutions of fraudulent buyers and sellers and the protection of customers’ privacy.

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Most website auctions are conducted in the English auction format. This is a simple system in which a single item is put up for sale and the highest bidder by the auction deadline wins the purchase. Dutch auctions, popular with companies who are selling lots of identical goods, offer one-price for the items, which is the highest bid received. Everyone pays the same price, and the auction traditionally ends when the supply of items is exhausted.

There are three formats that are most popular for website auction sales. These include goods sold during real-time webcasts, a method that is closest to the traditional in-person auction procedure, and it is normally broadcast from a physical auction house. Participating in this type of auction normally requires pre-registration.

Another well-liked auction style is person-to-person sales. These typically involve regular people, not professional sellers, putting household items, clothes, books and even cars up for sale to the highest bidder. Many consumers find what are normally considered good deals in these auctions.

Commercial auctions are ordinarily conducted by wholesalers and retailers anxious to sell lots of goods or items that have been refurbished. Discontinued or surplus merchandise can often be purchased at considerable savings at these auctions. However, many times a purchaser is bound by the terms of the purchase to agree that all sales are final, regardless of their opinions of the goods received.

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