The Secret to a Busy Online Auction House

The Secret to a Busy Online Auction House

Running a successful online auction house isn't just as simple as uploading your lots right before the auction and hoping for the best. Those who have been in the game for a while know that running a profitable, busy online auction business can be just as involved as running the live version. Luckily, there are a few simple tips you can follow today to provide an immediate boost to any online auction business by encouraging visitor engagement and boosting your site's SEO.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to the ways that your site is interpreted and ranked by search engines. The higher your ranking, the easier it will be for visitors to find your site. This ranking is done by complex algorithms that organically determine what the most relevant sites are for a given search (meaning no paid boosting). Luckily, the secrets of these algorithms are not hidden from us, and there are tried and true methods of increasing your standing with them.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, the following tips are sure-fire ways of keeping bidders coming back and business booming.

1.) Keep content up.

If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be this. A vital part of creating a busy, thriving online auction house is maintaining a sense of activity. There should never be a time when bidders come to your site and don't see either a live or upcoming auction. An empty auction house can create two negative effects for your business - a psychological one and a technical one. The first stems from the fact that an empty site makes your business look dead, or inactive. In reality, you might just be briefly in between auctions, but the bidder has no way of knowing that. For all they know you haven't had business in months, and they may mentally cross you off of their list. The technical harm comes from the fact that an emptier site is severely undervalued by SEO algorithms.

Keeping some form of content on your site, even if it's in the form of simple "previews" of possible upcoming auctions, will maintain a sense of activity that will keep bidders interested and coming back. In addition, the more content that you have available, the higher your SEO will be.

Even if you don't have specific dates or items to list for upcoming auctions, any kind of details you can post (along with a picture or two) will let people feel that there is always something coming down the pipeline. You can create previews weeks in advance for either online or on-site only events. This can be a fine tactic even if you have no actual items to display yet. Just make sure to include a few key descriptors in the catalog to help paint the picture.
The more content you have available to look at at any given moment, the longer visitors will stay on your site. Duration of visitors is a key element to SEO ranking, and this fact alone should provide a powerful incentive to keep content available.

2.) Boost with multimedia.

In the past we've covered the various ways in which multimedia can benefit your auction house, but it bears repeating. In addition to the boost that the "interactive" elements of videos and pictures provide for your site's SEO, studies have shown that pictures and videos drive user engagement and interest. This is true even in cases where a picture is purely cosmetic (such as on this blog), but especially so in instances (such as online auctions) where picture and video serve an actual, valuable function as buyer information.

The mere presence of multimedia makes your site 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of results from Google, according to That alone should be reason enough to start putting up pictures of everything right away, but when you also take into account how much more attractive and lively your site will appear to visitors, it really becomes a no-brainer.
3.) Be descriptive.

You should pack your listings and catalogs with as many relevant keywords as possible. The more descriptions you have, the more opportunities search engines will have to direct various queries to your site. Keep your meta keywords up to date, and be sure that your categories are diversified and highly descriptive. In addition to strong descriptions in your catalogs and listings, be sure to include all relevant search terms in the meta descriptions on your actual site.

The more content you have (as referenced in our first point), the more opportunities you have to include full descriptions and boost your SEO. Every bit helps. Anticipate what your potential bidders might be looking for, how they might phrase that query to a search engine, and reflect that language in your descriptions. The bots deployed by engines to determine your SEO fitness will reward you for it.
Content is key to keeping your online auction house in top form. Whether it's previews for your upcoming online or on-site auctions, informative, attractive multimedia, or thorough indicator keywords, a constant stream of relevant content will keep you at the front of bidders' minds and at the top of SEO rankings.

Don't have an online auction house yet, but want to give it a shot? Sign up for a free trial with us today!
The History of Auctions

The History of Auctions

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500 B.C.
The first record historians have of auctions date back over 2,500 years ago. Ancient Greek scribes documented the sale of women who were auctioned off as wives. It was considered illegal by Greek council for a man’s daughter to be sold outside the auction method.
A descending method was used for these auctions, starting with a high price and decreasing it until someone bid. The first person to bid was the purchaser, as long as the minimum price by the seller was met.
30 A.D.
During the time of the Roman Empire, auctions became a popular method for selling family estates and war plunder.
The auctioneer would close the auction by driving a spear into the ground.
7th Century
During the 7th century, the belongings of deceased monks were auctioned off. The monk who served as the auctioneer was supposed to know the value of an item and announce whether the item was new, used, or worn-out. If the bidding went high, he reminded the bidder, “Be thoughtful. You might regret it later.”
13th Century
In the 13th century, King Henry the VII created the first formally licensed auctioneers.
The first American auctions date back to the pilgrims. Popular auction items included crops, livestock, tools, tobacco, and furs.
Auctioneers are often referred to as colonels. This nickname originated during the time of the civil war when colonels auctioned off the ‘spoils of war’.
In 1905, the Missouri Auction school opened its doors. Today, there are over 30 auction schools worldwide and over 80,000 licensed auctioneers, according to
Ebay launched in 1995 and rocked the retail industry. The revolutionary online platform allows users to auction everything from their cars to their most prized J-Crew jacket.
A Lesson in the Importance of Branding

A Lesson in the Importance of Branding

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Branding is the car that continues to drive businesses into the future. Brands outlive products.
It has profound implications on the fortune and failure of a business. In fact, branding is veritably quantifiable.
Accountants- take a leer at the balance sheet. Companies list the value of their brand on the left side.
Why? Well you don’t have to look very far to understand. When bourbon giant Jim Beam purchased Skinnygirl, a line of low calorie cocktails created by celebpreneur Bethenny Frankel, in March of 2011, what did they buy? Factories? Raw materials? Employees?
No. The reported $8.1 million sale was just the the amount Jim Beam paid for the Skinnygirl brand rights—not the physical assets.
The list doesn’t stop there.
In July of 2008, InBev acquired Anheuser Busch, the largest Brewing Company in the United States, to add to their still of brands that includes Becks and Labatt, and most recently SAB-Miller.
When Kraft purchased the golden egg of the candy industry-Cadbury for $19.5 billion in January of 2010, what did they buy? Cream eggs? Chocolatiers? Recipes? No- they bought the brand.
The brand is worth more than all the other ingredients combined.
Branding is the foundation upon which businesses ordain their omnipotence.
A more elementary example is the dollar. In its simplest form, it is a piece of paper, but branding has created its value. On the front you will find the owner of the brand- the Federal Reserve, as well as a testimonial from the first president of the United States-George Washington. Then, there is the user's guide- “This note is a legal tender for debts public and private.” If you are still not convinced, take a moment to appreciate the emotional message- “In God We Trust.” The dollar is a universal brand and its value translates globally. Branding has defined its worth.
Brands are more important today than they were 100 years ago. Why?
Today, mammoth marketing agencies and a bevy of businesses have patented and trademarked almost every name you can think of- they’ve trademarked name that aren’t even names!
This makes well-established, existing brands, more powerful than ever before. It also means that curating, vibrantly transcendent brands is more abstract and laborious than it was just 10 years ago. It requires much more serpentine and sophisticated strategies.

It’s not just a product or a name- it's a brand.
Bidding for Business: How Online Auctions are Revolutionizing the Real Estate Industry

Bidding for Business: How Online Auctions are Revolutionizing the Real Estate Industry

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The real estate industry is expanding with great virility, as a result of the evolution of online auctions.
“Real estate auctions aren’t just for ugly foreclosures that banks are desperate to get off their books,” said founder and CEO of Sharp Auction Engine, Keith Sharp.
Often times, online auctions allow homes to be sold more quickly than a traditional listing and many times at a higher price, making auctions an attractive option for sellers.Online auctions are not just a benefit from the seller's standpoint. Buyers are reaping the fruits of the auction industry as well, finding a flood of bidding opportunities and dense deals.
The numbers echo the anecdotal evidence., an e-commerce website focused exclusively in real estate, proved the power of online auctions in non-distressed home sales with the sale of a 93-year old man’s seven-bedroom, nine-bathroom, beachfront estate in Corona del Mar, California. The home sold for $5.3 million-$1.8 million higher than the opening bid of $3.5 million.’s prolific success inspired a slew of similar sites such as Hubzu, Xome, Sharp Auction Engine, and RealtyBid.
Many of these online auction sites are experiencing equally-comparable triumphs. Sharp Auction Engine, an online auction platform launched in 2014, reported record-worthy numbers with over $100 million in real estate transactions exchanged on its e-commerce site.
While some contend that buyers are uncomfortable bidding on and buying a house they have never seen in person, people are becoming more and more comfortable with this capricious shift in industry practice.
In fact, Millennials (adults ages 18-34), which make up 68 percent of first time home-buyers, prefer high-tech transactions. According to a recent article by USA Today, the age group makes 54 percent of its purchases online, up from 51 percent last year and 5 points ahead of the 49 percent of online purchases made by non-Millennials. Real estate in no exception.
This growing trend has much to do with society’s taste for instant gratification.
“The immediacy of auctions is a draw for both buyers and sellers,” said Sharp.
The process is much faster than cursory listing techniques. Because most online auctions require buyers to be pre-approved, the transaction process is significantly streamlined.
It typically takes 65 days for a home to sell when listed by a professional agent, according to an article by The online auction process is considerably faster than the conventional “list and wait” procedure, taking an average of one week to complete the transaction.
These deeply accelerated timelines are allowing agents to sell properties with increasing frequency, generating more money in a shorter period of time.
Because of the prosperity online auctions have provided, real estate agents have become some of the online auction industry’s most prominent stalwarts.
“Many agents are under the false impression that auctions are trying to replace realtors. Agents are not being ‘cut out’. Agents typically receive 50 percent of the 10 percent commission the auctioneer takes from a sale. In my experience, both as an agent and auctioneer, the auction business has always acted as a powerful tool on either side of the equation,” said Alabama auctioneer and real estate agent Beau Cole.
Online auctions will never touch the cerebral capacity that established agents provide; however, they will serve as a defining catalyst and resource for realtors in an internet savvy society.
This phenomenon is transforming transactions across the country and dramatically changing the real estate landscape.

“The buyers and sellers of tomorrow are looking to online auctions,” said Sharp.
Auctions 101:  Know your Auctions Types

Auctions 101: Know your Auctions Types

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English Auction
This the most common form of auction in use today. Participants bid openly against each other by calling out their bid amounts or submitting the bids electronically. The auction ends when no one is willing to bid higher, at which point the highest pays their bid amount and gets the item. A distinguishing feature of an English auction is that all bidders know other bidders’ bid amounts. English auctions are often used for selling antiques, artwork, collectables and real estate. There must be at least two bidders at an English auction.

Dutch Auction
In a traditional Dutch auction the auctioneer begins with a high asking price and then lowers it until someone accepts the auctioneer’s price. The winning participant pays the last announced prices. Holland is famous for its tulip auctions, which follow this format. Dutch auctions are also sometimes used for perishable commodities such as fish and tobacco.
Sealed first-price auction
In this type of auction all bidders submit sealed bids and the highest named price wins. Each bidder submits only one bid. Sealed first-price auctions are used in tendering for contracts or mining leases.
Vickrey Auction
The procedure is similar to the sealed first-price auction, but the winning bidder pays the second highest bid price rather than their own. This is similar to the proxy bidding system on eBay. Vickrey auctions are quite rare.
Almost anything can be sold at auction. Some typical auction arenas include antique auctions, collectables (stamps, coins, fine art, etc.), wine auctions (rare wines and special vintages), real estate (farms, lots, land), equipment and machinery, commodities, livestock, wool, timber, generating rights, debt auctions and auto auctions.
In environmental auctions, companies bid for licenses or credits to avoid being required to decrease their carbon emissions or otherwise decrease their environmental impact.
Suggested Opening Bid
An auctioneer usually has a rough idea of what an object will fetch and may start the auction action by announcing a suggested opening bid (SOB) that is low enough to be immediately accepted by one of the bidders. Once there is an opening bid, other bids will be submitted. Paradoxically, it has been found that the lower the SOB, the higher the final winning bid will be.