eBay to end Live Auctions – What’s $100M, anyway?

I know I’m a bit late in sounding off on this, by at least 24 hours, but I wanted to wait and see if there was going to be any sort of uproar from the online antiques community over eBay’s decision to end its Live Auction business.

I reckon not, though. It may be that the online auction sites are more than ready to jump in and take over – many were never affiliated with eBay’s live auctions in the first place. The big boys, like LiveAuctioneers and Proxibid will probably have a bit of a hiccup in auction during the initial period of change at the end of the year, if only for a second as users have to type in a new URL. I imagine that they will be more than ready to pick up where eBay leaves off, however.

By some estimates, eBay’s Live Auctions generate about $100M a year. I have no hard data to back this up, just the word of a colleague in the business, but even so, if it’s a fraction of that, that’s some serious do-re-mi we’re talkng about. I guess not to eBay, though. Besides, it’s obvioulsy written off several segments of its business with all the changes since Whitman resigned and droids have been installed as overseers.

Here is a link to the message from Jim Ambach at eBay, to compliment the link to the Yahoo story above.

I’ve exchanged a few emails with John Werry, the proprietor of the Rare Victorian Furniture Blog, and he’s equally miffed at the ongoing attitude of the online auction giant. He’s a good guy and hopefully won’t mind if I quote his comments. Check out his recently madeover blog above, too. It’s a good read.

“I think it’s a mistake for Ebay to not pursue domination of the electronic link to the live auction world since live auctions will never go away.  Maybe their strategy is to not continue to fund the foundation of that link and to instead wait for someone else to build it up, and then acquire them later, if needed.

I can just see their strategy discussion now, ‘hmm… let’s see.   we’ll focus on funding the servers, bandwidth, and storage for selling millions of $0.25 items that may not sell and generate a commission and abandon the guaranteed-to-sell $198,000 Charles Rohlfs chair.  Sounds like a plan.'”

See, it’s funny because it’s true…