When people speak about computer auctions, they usually are referring to auctions that take place over the Internet. These auctions take place to sell products and services usually listed by private sellers. Computer auctions can be facilitated by auction software that has been implemented on a website dedicated to online auctioning.
Computer auctions can have different formats. Two of the most popular are the English and Dutch formats. In an English format auction, one item is put up for auction at a starting price, and potential buyers increase bids as the auction progresses. Dutch auctions are characterized by having several items that are identical put up for auction, with potential buyers bidding on items at the same time. Winners are determined by successful bids at the end of the auction, and the winners all pay the same price.
Some websites might also offer reserve auctions or auctions that can be ended if the purchaser buys the item immediately. In reserve auctions, bidding can take place, but items have a minimum price for which they can be sold. Similarly, auctions that can be ended with an immediate purchase often have a fixed price at which the item will be sold immediately.
There are many benefits to selling items through computer auctions. Sellers are able to reach a large demographic and can better reach their target market if they list items online. The number of potential buyers of an item increases dramatically when the item is listed online, because anyone who has access to the Internet can bid on the item. Sellers can have more control over their auctions, choosing when they list items and for how long. They also can save money by listing their items on computer auctions if the company maintaining the website doesn't require that the seller send items to a location that handles shipping.
Buyers of items also can enjoy the advantages of computer auctions. Internet auctions remain open once they are listed, so buyers can bid on their desired items any time of the day or night. Buyers are free to bid on items that are located anywhere in the country or world, if they agree to pay the shipping costs. This is beneficial to buyers who are looking for items that are rare or specific to a particular region to which they don't have regular access. Buyers might also appreciate the number of sellers on an Internet auction website; if these sellers are all selling the same item, it can bolster competition and drive down the final auction prices.