March 28, 2002, 12:00 AM

As eBay goes, so go auction management services

Two years ago, Auctionworks served small retailers and individuals who sold regularly on eBay exclusively. Now, corporate sellers are 35% of its business and growing.


As eBay has set its sights on retailers in the past 12 months as a way to keep its revenues growing, so have online auction management providers. Inc. CEO and founder Alec Peters tells that 35% of his Atlanta-based company’s business in the first quarter was from retailers and corporate sellers. Auctionworks launched in 1999 as a service for small businesses and individuals who sell regularly at eBay.

“We eventually see an even larger percentage being corporate market and most of our sales efforts are against that segment," Peters says. “EBay was always the site for collectibles, but now two-thirds of everything sold on eBay is what’s termed practicals–-computers, electronics, books, CD’s. The image has changed and most retailers understand that. The question for retailers now is no longer whether eBay is a good market, but what is their strategy for accessing it.”

Hand in hand with retailers’ growing interest in using online auctions is their increasing preference to outsource more of the process. Some individual sellers and some corporate sellers use Auctionwork`s technology as an ASP to manage their own programs in-house, but Peters says that more of the retailers are outsourcing more auction-related functions, such as launching, marketing and tracking, to auction service providers. “More retailers launching online auctions are telling us, ‘You do everything – just tell us what to pick, pack and ship,’” he says.


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