Searching on-line auctions for what you want--and how much to pay--can be a time consuming process. One new website hopes to cut the clutter and help you find what you're looking for.
Jay Grossman was like the rest of us.
Spending a lot of time on-line, searching for vintage sports cards but wishing there was a better way to locate them and have some sense of what their actual market value might be.
While most of us might continue to just hope for a solution, Grossman thought he might be able to help himself. A self-described "tech geek/serial entrepreneur" who had already launched the highly successful autograph collecting site SportsCollectors.Net., he got to work.
In 2004, he created a desktop application and database that allowed him to track values of closing auctions for items that were of interest. "I found I was being more patient and getting better deals," he recalled.
"In the early fall of 2006, I decided that it would be cool to offer this kind of information to more folks. I figured the more people who regularly use it, the better information I would have to analyze and understand trends. So I got some help from a few friends, and AuctionCapture was live and ready for shoppers to use by November 2006."
Collectors benefit from the totally free site's ability to search eBay, Yahoo and Google sale listings for them all at once. Through the market value concept, they also get at least a sense of what the same or similar items are selling for. By supplying keywords and excluded words, a market value for the searched combination appears in a box in the upper right.
AuctionCapture also allows users to save their detailed searches all in one place. "For those of us who tend to search for the same kinds of items repeatedly, it is such a time saver," Grossman told SportsCollectorsDaily.com.
The site also has a "brain". Once several searches are done via the site, the application will analyze what you like - the items you view, bid on, watch, and win. It then takes that information and makes personalized suggestions. "We also look at other members with similar interests and show you items they were also interested in."
Grossman plans to grow the site through feedback from users, adding more features based on suggestions of members who sign up.
So far, Grossman's search samples and analysis have resulted in some trends, reported in his blog:
- Auctions that end from 6-11pm EST on Sundays have the highest closing prices. This is the time window that seems produce the lowest percentage of auctions that end without any bids.
- Auctions that end from 3-8am EST on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday have the lowest closing prices.
- Auctions posted in the wrong category generally close at 15-20% lower than similar items in more closely related categories.
- Auctions posted with misspellings of key words in the titles close at 25% lower than similar items with correct spellings.
- Auctions from sellers with low starting bids and very high feedback have higher ending prices than similar auctions from sellers with lower feedback/newer accounts. It would seem that when sellers get a good reputation, more people visit and bid on their auctions.
- There is more buyer loyalty than expected. "We saw a trend of repeat bidders and winners on auctions from sellers that they had previously won an auction from."