signs its first Mainland China client: Shanghai Auction

NEW YORK (ACNI) – Manhattan-based, providers of Internet live-bidding services and software to 744 auction houses worldwide, has signed its first client from Mainland China: Shanghai Auction.

Shanghai Auction is located in China’s largest city. With a population of more than 14 million people, Shanghai is also the world’s sixth-largest city, and according to AsiaInfo Services, it is also the auction capital of Mainland China.

“We look forward to providing our services to Shanghai Auctions, beginning with a November sale,” said LiveAuctioneers’ CEO Julian R. Ellison. “Asia is an immense consumer marketplace, by far the world’s largest. We already serve auction houses in several Asian nations – Hong Kong, Singapore, India and Thailand. The move into Mainland China represented by this new association with Shanghai Auction is a major step forward in the ongoing globalization of the live-auction sector.”

Auction Central News first in line to run Kovels column as it goes digital

NEW YORK – In an ongoing effort to deliver top-quality news and information to its readers, Auction Central News will introduce the digitally syndicated version of Kovels: Antiques & Collecting sometime within the next few weeks. ACN is the first antiques-related online newspaper to receive approval from Hearst/King Features Syndicate and Kovels to carry the popular newspaper column in digital format.

Kovels: Antiques & Collecting was a trailblazer when launched in 1954 by Terry Kovel and her late husband and business partner Ralph Kovel. Written in Q & A format, the authoritative monthly feature covers a broad range of topics, with carefully researched prices and images.

“The Kovels column is a classic that has always garnered utmost respect within the antiques trade,” said Auction Central News’ editor-in-chief, Catherine Saunders-Watson. “The fact that it still runs in more than 150 print newspapers and has remained so vibrant and informative after more than half a century makes it completely unique within its space. We’re thrilled that it will be running as a regular feature on Auction Central News.”

ACN’s readers will be invited to submit questions to Terry Kovel through the column.

Smithsonian Institute to digitize its collection

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Smithsonian Institution will work to digitize its collections to make science, history and cultural artifacts accessible online and dramatically expand its outreach to schools, the museum complex’s new chief said Monday.

“I worry about museums becoming less relevant to society,” said Secretary G. Wayne Clough in his first interviews since taking the Smithsonian’s helm in July.

Clough, 66, who was president of the Georgia Institute of Technology for 14 years, says he’s working to bring in video gaming experts and Web gurus to collaborate with curators on creative ways to present artifacts online and make them appealing to kids.

“I think we need to take a major step,” Clough said in an earlier interview. “Can we work with outside entities to create a place, for example, where we might demonstrate cutting-edge technologies to use to reach out to school systems all over the country? I think we can do that.”

Continue reading

Sweeping changes ahead as eBay pushes fixed-price selling

SAN JOSE, Calif. (ACNI) – For some time, now, rumors have been circulating quietly within the auction community that eBay was planning to make a gradual shift from – if not completely eliminate – its traditional timed-auction format in favor of a fixed-price platform. While the online giant’s top brass insist that there are no plans to abandon timed auctions, an Aug. 20 statement from Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay Marketplace, confirms that a decided move toward the Buy It Now™ method is firmly on the company’s radar.

In the aforementioned statement, Norrington announces “some bold changes” designed to lower up-front costs and help eBayers to sell more efficiently. If successful, those changes – to be implemented on Sept. 16 – may spirit defectors back to eBay, which has been losing market share to Internet shopping sites. Increasingly, buyers preferring instant gratification, i.e., not having to wait up to 10 days for an eBay auction to end and a selling price to be established, have been turning to other mega-retailers, such as eBay nemesis

Norrington said the plan to be rolled out includes reducing the up-front cost to list an item on eBay, with the bulk of fees shifting to the auction’s close. That way, Norrington said, fees “align with (the seller’s) success.” From Sept. 16, the listing fee for all items entered on eBay via the fixed-price format will be reduced to 35 cents, with even lower fees applying to books, video games and other articles that fall under the Media category. The final value fee is where eBay will make its money.

In addition to the price change, Buy It Now™ listings will now appear on the eBay site for up to 30 days, an increase from the previous seven days. According to Norrington, the combination of lowered up-front fees and longer exposure time on eBay equates to a 70 percent reduction in listing fees on fixed-price items. There will be no changes, however, to auction-style listings. “We believe this format is already a good deal, especially when you list with a low start price,” Norrington said. She also offered the assurance that “auctions will always have a place on eBay – they are a proven way for sellers to get the best value for their unique items, and they continue to receive significant exposure…”

Other features to be introduced this fall include free shipping incentives in all categories, free subtitle listings and a faster, more reliable electronic checkout process that will put an end to payment by check or money order. Those two forms of payment will no longer be accepted on eBay because, Norrington said, history has shown that these methods are “80 percent more likely to result in an item not [being] received” than if paid for with a credit card of PayPal. An exception will be made, at the seller’s discretion, for items that are picked up locally by the purchaser.

As of Nov. 1, sellers will also have to meet a new minimum DSR [Detailed Seller Rating], another protocol intended to reduce the possibility of fraudulent activity in eBay transactions. “Today, only a small fraction of sellers fall below the threshold that will be required of sellers under the new rule, said Norrington, “yet they are responsible for a high percentage of customer complaints…”

EBay hosted a series of Webinars on Aug. 20 and 21 to explain the fine points of upcoming changes. A final Webinar, which is open to the public through eBay’s Web site, will be held on Thursday, Aug. 26 at 1 p.m. Pacific Time, 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

Click here to read additional information at the Community News section of

# # #