Online auction sites have been offering ways to buy and sell physical goods since the late 1990s when the internet first saw non-academic users logging on. As the market has expanded, niche operators continue to offer something different from the largest competitors to differentiate their offering.
Here are twenty of the top auction sites online.
eBay is the granddaddy of online auction sites. Spanning the globe, the company continues to grow and covers just about every product category you can think of. They used to own the PayPal payment system, but have since spun it off as a separate company. PayPal is still used today as a common method of payment, but Escrow services where monies are held until the transaction is completed and the buyer is in possession of the physical goods are commonly used, too.
eBid is based in the UK but runs an auction platform that covers a total of 23 countries in all, including the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. There are people buying on their platform from more than 100 countries in total. They have their own PPPay payment system (as eBay used to do with PayPal) but they also accept both Skrill and PayPal as payment methods for completed auctions.
Over one million unique visitors use the eBid platform every month. There are free accounts (a bank card is required for verification) and a membership program for active sellers that offer some value for people who use the service more often.
3. Auction King
Auction King is an online auction site that has a greater focus on the luxurious end of the market. Chanel handbags, designer watches, sporting memorabilia, and other specialist products are available here. Collections of handbags and other items often go up for auction at specific times with the site highlighting high-profile auctions on their home page for interested parties to return at the appropriate time.
Bonanza is a simpler auction site that makes it popular with users who don’t want an overly complicated process. It is easier to set up a new auction with this platform because there are many listing options and a clear process to set up a live auction quickly.
Customization is also strong with your own store as one option and an easy way to upload many photos in a single mouse click. The live customer support is also a step above most other auction sites, many of which are completely automated.
Webstore is an older auction site. It has been operating since 1996. The site takes a different approach to running each auction. Instead of charging listing fees and fees to the sellers, it offers advertisers a way to sponsor product categories and runs ads in other areas to support the site. This way, the site is free for users. Their only payment method is PayPal.
6. Online Auction
Onlineauction.com operates a slightly different business model to most online auction sites, opting to charge users a monthly membership fee rather than charging listing fees or taking a cut of the final sale. The site is still relatively small in terms of membership numbers but is less restrictive than the larger auction sites. The site offers a multi-tiered membership system that offers four different membership types depending on whether the user is a buyer or a seller.
7. Atomic Mall
Atomic Mall is one of the rising stars of the world of online auctioning. The site has received particular attention for its comprehensive feedback system which produces reliable scores of users’ reliability. Buying on the site requires a free account but selling requires a registration fee and, for more advanced accounts, a monthly fee. The site also charges a fee based on the final sale value of the item.
eCRATER is rapidly rising in popularity and already boasts an impressive user base. The lack of fees is a big plus for eCRATER. Not only are there no monthly or verification fees, but sellers can sell through the site without paying a final sale fee either. If you want to avoid all the fees, you will have to forego the advantages of eCRATER making your listing more prominent, something they will only do for sales they can take a cut of.
GoodWill is a well-established charity that raises money for people with disabilities. Their funding is largely driven by sales of donated goods in their retail stores, which operate across the United States. Their online auction site is perhaps a little more basic than some of its larger commercial competitors. All the stock on the site has been donated to goodwill, as with its brick and mortar stores, and the proceeds go to funding its continued operations.
Listia is one of the more quirky auction sites, which operates according to a unique model. Rather than bidding with real money, users buy credits which they use to bid. The items on the site are technically free but you will mostly have to buy credits. Referring friends and family to the site will earn you some free credits, as will selling through the site.
One of the big benefits of Listia is that you can give away unwanted items and earn credits that way, meaning you can clear out some of the clutter around your home and keep the credits handy for later use.
uBid sources its stock from inventory oversells and from taking inventory that is left over and no longer needed by other organizations. This means that, while a lot of the stock isn’t top-of-the-line anymore, it is often discounted, sometimes considerably.
The United States government often finds itself with things to sell, for a variety of reasons. Consider, for example, that whenever a government department upgrades its computer systems, it has a whole bunch of computers that it no longer needs, and even the White House only has so many places for hiding such things.
From land to cars, the government’s official online auction site is a great place to pick up some deals you didn’t know you wanted.
13. IRS Auctions
This site is similar toGovDeals, but run by the IRS. The Internal Revenue Service seizes items for the non-payment of taxes and then auctions them off. The items that appear are unpredictable, as are the winning bids, but you will sometimes find unique items on there that you wouldn’t normally find.
14. Property Room
Property Room is another auction site in the same vein as IRS Auctions and GovDeals; this one, however, is a platform for police forces around the country to auction off their seized goods.
15. Auction Zip
Auction Zip places its emphasis on live bidding, allowing users to see bids in real time to create a virtual auction floor. The site boasts a growing international audience and offers a diverse range of categories. It is one of the many auction sites that is now dealing in property; much of Auction Zip’s stock is geared towards professional and enthusiast markets.
Municibid is another government run auction site, this one however doesn’t sell any seized items, only ones that are no longer needed. It receives most of its stock from various local government agencies, schools, and utilities, so that is where the proceeds will be reinvested.
Estate Sales deals in liquidated assets, selling the belongings of a family or estate when their household or business faces liquidation. It also auctions off the items left behind by dead people that have no inheritor. Traditionally, such auctions have been carried out by visiting the home or place of business and bidding on it or anything within it. Estate Sales takes this concept and adapts it for the virtual world.
18. Deal Dash
As the name implies, Deal Dash is about the thrill of bidding, displaying winners in real time on its front page. The website has built a good reputation and a diverse userbase.
On the surface, Well Bid seem to be just another run of the mill online auction site, behind the scenes however is one of the co-creators of online shopping. Beyond that, the site operates on a simple highest bidder wins policy and doesn’t try to replicate the ‘buy it now’ option some online auction houses have adopted.
Bid Go Live sells automobiles for the automobile insurance market. They are one of the most popular specialized auction sites on the web and can sometimes be the source of some unbelievable bargains.
Not every auction site runs an eBay-like service. They each have developed on their own and come with a different set of services and quirks. It is often better to find an online auction platform that offers the service and type of products that you want, rather than just look for the largest operator. I hope this story will help you to do just that.