Auction Houses Team Up in Latest Bid for Online Buyers



As established and start-up companies alike jump in the race to serve online auction bidders, several regional auction houses have announced a new platform. Bidsquare was developed by six houses—Brunk Auctions, Cowan’s Auctions, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Pook & Pook, Rago, and Skinner—with the aim of bringing together “like-minded audiences as well as exceptional property.” The new platform will provide access to a wide variety of property, from fine art and estate jewelry, to design, and historical artifacts. Lots will be available on an “intuitive, easy-to-use website” that will allow buyers and the auctioneers to conduct business directly in an online forum, according to a Bidsquare press release.

Further, the site has a free, searchable database of more than 600,000 auction results. Auction houses that join Bidsquare gain new prospective clients from the customer database while paying fees said to be lower than those “of competing sites.” The platform is the only one to provide all auctioneers free and fair access to their own data on bidders and underbidders, as well as a shared databank of non-paying bidders. Auction houses have several different choices of how they use the platform to promote and manage their business, including listings, a flat-rate and percentage-of-sale fee for timed or live auctions, banner ads, and e-blasts.

“We came together to fill a void, to provide a trusted platform,” said David Rago, founding partner of Rago auctions. “The founding members of Bidsquare saw a real opportunity to create a site friendly to both buyers and auction houses.”

Skinner CEO Karen Keane called the new platform “a game changer,” adding: “We are also offering auction houses the opportunity to join an esteemed consortium on a platform that was designed for both quality and transparency. It’s a win/win proposition for the marketplace as a whole.”

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