Why Online Auction?


The 52-year-old insurance executive from Collingswood, N.J., loves to spend weekends at live auctions, where she bids on everything from farm tools to furniture. And as her overflowing storage space can attest, “Very rarely do I not buy anything,” she says.

She’s hardly alone. Auctions are designed to excite prospective buyers and turn spectators into bidders, experts say.

There’s even academic scholarship focused on “competitive arousal,” the idea that the heat of competition can stoke an impulse to win at any cost. Cheryl Wakslak, assistant professor of management and organization at USC Marshall School of Business, agrees. “There’s something that makes you think, ‘I’m winning’ if you leave with something,” she says. Indeed, competitive arousal might have been at work last November, when a three-panel portrait by Francis Bacon fetched a record $142 million after a session of aggressive bidding at Christie’s in New York.

While a live brick and mortar auction might generate the most excitement, online auctions can also raise the heart rate, Wakslak says. These days, the lines are blurred among different auction formats: not everyone has the luxury of attending a curated auction near them, nor is it convenient for them to register and pay upfront weeks in advance for the privilege to attend a live auction. People sitting at their computers or mobile devices find it easier to register and instantly find themselves on the bidding floor. Online bidders often compete with bidders on the ground at live auctions and those dialing in via phone.

Many people visit live auctions hoping for a bargain. Maybe it’s the atmosphere of the workaday auction, the warehouse-like spaces and the sawdust on the floor, that raise expectations of finding an underappreciated gem. Many times than not, people often find themselves winning at auction, items they would have paid several times more for in the outside world. The online auction works much the same without having to physically be there. Check out for the treasure hunt experience all while in your pajamas, bear skin slippers, and with a mug of coffee.

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