Internet CEO says new-tech investment during recession spurred dramatic increase in first-quarter business
April 16, 2010
NEW YORK – LiveAuctioneers.com is a Manhattan-based Internet company that provides an online live-bidding platform and related support services to more than 900 brick-and-mortar auction houses worldwide. The company once benefited from a strong marketing relationship with eBay, whose Live Auctions component helped direct a steady flow of traffic to LiveAuctioneers’ client catalogs online. That relationship ceased to exist on Dec. 31, 2008, when eBay closed down its Live Auctions division and shifted its focus to other revenue-generating targets, including the Asian market.
“The departure of eBay Live Auctions created an environment of confusion for bidders who had grown accustomed to bidding in our clients’ auctions through eBay’s bidding platform. It left us in an unenviable position of having to invest heavily into new technology at a time when the economy was imploding,” said LiveAuctioneers’ CEO, Julian R. Ellison. “We had two choices – find another way to market our know-how and experience, or put all of our chips on the table and push through in hopes of finding a light at the end of the tunnel.”
It now appears that Ellison’s gamble has paid off. His company has concluded the first quarter of 2010 with an average of 2,600 new-bidder signups per week and a 47 percent increase in site visits compared to Q1 of 2009.
“Ours is a story of survival,” Ellison said. “After an absolutely awful 2009, we’ve emerged with first-quarter revenues that are triple that of last year’s Q1 comparables. Our substantial investment in new technology and the loyalty of our hard-working staff have paid off.”
Auction houses – and their customers who purchase fine art, antiques and vintage collectibles online through LiveAuctioneers – gave their stamp of approval to LiveAuctioneers’ innovative bidding platform, which can translate nine major languages and automatically convert bids into any of 14 currencies.
“Since the beginning of 2010 we’ve signed dozens of new auction-house clients and have seen the return of many old friends, as well,” said Ellison. “I believe it’s attributable to both the continual upgrades in technology that put us ahead of our competitors, and the uncompromising customer service that is the foundation of our business.”
During the first quarter of 2010, LiveAuctioneers expanded its line of apps enabling online bidding through smart phones to include a special version created for Google’s Android phone. “We are the only company in the world with real-time bidding apps for both Android and iPhone. Additionally, we have an app for BlackBerry devices. All of our apps are very popular with busy dealers, collectors and appraisers, who are often on the move,” said Ellison.
In the first quarter of this year, LiveAuctioneers also introduced its White Label platform service, which allows an auction house to customize the online bidding experience for those who participate in their sales. The benefits include being able to brand the LiveAuctioneers bidding platform with the auction house’s name, linking the platform directly to the auction house’s Web site, and allowing bidders to register directly with auction house staff.
“We’ve had an overwhelming vote of confidence from our three and a half million member bidders worldwide in response to the innovations and new services we implemented over the past year,” said Ellison. “I firmly believe that these new features are behind the huge increase in traffic we’ve experienced, and it gets us excited to think that it’s also helping so many auction houses to generate revenue, as well. It’s quite possible that the recovery of our sector will provide the stimulus for other sectors to pull out of the recession.’
Ellison continued: “We believe in new technology. It has been the cornerstone of our success since day one, and we will continue to make it a top priority going forward. There’s no resting on your laurels in today’s competitive marketplace. It’s step up or step aside.”
Visit LiveAuctioneers online at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.