eBay launch Live Auctions (again)

eBay has announced that it has launched its Live Auction service in association with a number of traditional auction houses. The service is being positioned as a way to bring eBay customers to high end collectables and antiques that might not otherwise be available to online bidders.

You can check out the site here and view a tutorial on how it all works here.

In the announcement eBay commented: “Through the launch of live auctions, eBay is reimagining the time-honored auction house experience,” said Gene Cook, general manager of emerging verticals for eBay Marketplaces. “We know that people want new ways to peruse and purchase fine art and collectibles, and eBay’s live auctions are a best-in-class, inspiring shopping experience that delivers on this at a variety of price points.”

I wonder if this is the case. Every since its earliest days, eBay has had a bit of a chip on its shoulder about not being a proper old-fashioned auction house and that has always perplexed me. It was this chip on the shoulder that led to the purchase of auction house Butterfield’s way back when (IMHO). Butterfield was sold when the match proved unsuccessful.

For me it feels like a distraction to just doing what matters right in the first place and that’s improving the eBay Marketplace into a lean and flawless selling machine for merchants. So, I hope they don’t waste too much time on this niche.