Live Auctions versus eBay

I hadn’t really thought about the impact of internet auctions on live auctions, but this news story sheds some light on the current state of affairs:

Going once, going twice … SOLD!
By Susan Llewelyn Leach
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
August 17, 2005

“Live auctions, no longer reserved for only the well-to-do, cranked out record sales of $217 billion in the US last year. Credit eBay for much of the rise in consumer interest.

…This careful rummaging is the scene of a live auction preview. It offers the thrill of the hunt, two “hunters” acknowledge, and the serendipity of discovering what you never knew you were looking for.

It’s also what the roaring online auction world – eBay and its smaller competitors – can’t match: the chance to handle the merchandise. And paradoxically, rather than cannibalize the live auction market, online sites have actually fed it, by nudging people toward an idea that might formerly have seemed forbidding or only for the well-heeled.”

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