Peggy Sanders: Convenience, new options available with online auctions | TheFencePost.com

Peggy Sanders: Convenience, new options available with online auctions

A relatively new, yet popular, method of attending auctions is the option of online bidding.

Kevin McPherson and Todd McPherson of Rapid City, S.D., filled me in on the details. Their family has been in the auction business since 1949. Three years ago, the McPhersons took up the challenge of online auctions and the public has been most appreciative, so much so that nearly all of their auctions are online.

The most important factor is the ease and convenience for the seller, buyer and auctioneers. With these types of sales there is no more hauling the merchandise to another location. Buyers have the opportunity to inspect items at the times and location indicated by the auctioneer's advertising and announcements, or they can bid by the photo or description. For the most part, gone are the days when an individual who wanted to potentially purchase something had to attend an all day auction to get one thing.

"You can bid from anywhere in the world as long as you have a connection to the internet, bid while on vacation in Europe or moving cows in the Sandhills or watching a game in San Diego," Todd McPherson said.

“You can bid from anywhere in the world as long as you have a connection to the internet, bid while on vacation in Europe or moving cows in the Sandhills or watching a game in San Diego.”Todd McPherson

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Each item on the auction is for sale at the same time. The bids are shown on the computer screen as they change, however online buyers can place a "maximum bid," which is competitive to the other bids. This bid is known only by the computer and is not shown to the public. The computer bids for this maximum bidder. If the bidding stops before the maximum threshold is reached, the buyer wins by the incremental amount even if the final price is below the maximum bid. Be bold If you really want something.

The computer also steps in when bidding is going back and forth and the stated end of auction time is reached. The method is called "auto-extend," and it means the computer has detected the competition is ongoing and the computer can continue the auction until there is a winner. This protects all parties from last minute buyers swooping in and winning a bid, by the clock. This action is called "sniping," which was a word coined by Ebay.

McPherson cautioned buyers who are in the closing minutes of a sale to keep hitting the refresh button in order to keep apprised of the latest bids. If the browser is not refreshed, it could appear on your computer that you are winning when in fact, other bids have overcome. If you don't continually refresh in the losing minutes, you may lose out. Refreshing also keeps you from being sniped.

To participate with this company go to mcphersononlineauctions.com and register. Once you select a password, a bidder number will be issued to you. This password and number are good for the current and all future auctions with McPherson for which you will receive email notifications and will have access to print advertising.

Once a bid is placed, the next screen will ask you to verify your bid, as a safeguard to be sure you hit the correct keys.

In four steps to online bidding know these things:

1. Register

2. Bid

3. Refresh

4. Pay upon pickup ❖