I have just come across Auctionair – a sealed bid auction site which seems to deal in charity auctions and luxury products.
Auction air use two types of auctions:
- High bid auctions. This is sealed bid auction where the highest bidder wins. The sealed bid nature of the auction means that the individual bidders do not know what other bids have been made
- Low bid auctions. In this case the lowest unique bid wins. Gambling basically.
According to the site the company originated from inflight auctions on British airways and they run auction though the website and also a catalogue. In this way the site is more like a traditional auction house than eBay i.e. low volume, high value items and specialist auctions. I noticed that over the weekend they were running a promotion with the FT.
It seems that this site plays on the perception of eBay as a low value marketplace. Brands that would not like to be associated with eBay can use Auction Air to sell their products, as they feel that it will not affect their brand.
I think that this is all a bit daft. I would suspect (but I have no evidence for this) that sealed bids result in lower sale prices. Perhaps sealed bid originated because of the British reluctance to talk about anything as vulgar as money. My view is that luxury brands and charities should swallow their pride and sell on eBay. The will almost certainly get more exposure and more money.
Like all of eBay competitors the volumes are tiny and strangely seller are by invitation only despite the fact that they are selling some pretty run of the mill products such as TVs. Not much for eBay to worry about here.