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   Atomic Auctions

Atomic Mall is pleased to announce the addition of exciting online auction bidding to our marketplace, accompanied by a catchy new domain name: AtomicAuction

We believe AM's thousands of great merchants will appreciate the flexibility offered by a third listing option, and shoppers will enjoy using a unique bidding system which is resistant to common auction hassles like shill bidding and last minute sniping. At AtomicAuction, online auctions are Safe, Fun and Different!

What makes Atomic Auctions different?

There are three main features which set Atomic Auctions apart from conventional auction formats:

  • Atomic Auctions don't end at a preset date or time. Instead, they end after a specific number of bids have been placed, as determined by each seller. We offer auctions that end after 2 bids, 5 bids or 10 bids, with both Reserve and No-Reserve options available.
  • Our unique auction format is a form of sealed bid auction. Under this system the bidders, high bid, and bidding history remain a secret until the auction ends. You enter the maximum amount you are willing to pay for an item, and if your bid is highest at auction close, you win! Bid amounts are visible only to their respective bidders until the auction closes, at which point all bids are revealed.
  • At auction close, the winning bidder is notified first, and given a link to complete the sale at the winning bid price. Our format is fast-paced, so if the winner does not complete the transaction within 24 hours, each successive lower bidder is then notified at 8-hour intervals with a link to make the purchase at the same price. This process continues until one of the bidders completes the purchase, with only the winning bidder being obligated to do so. Winners must pay quickly or risk losing to an underbidder!

With the lack of a fixed auction end time, annoying last minute snipers are a distant memory at AtomicAuction. During our informal surveys, shoppers were asked what characteristics of online auctions they disliked the most. The runaway #1 response was sniping - a strategy in which bidders watch an auction closely and time their bid so that it is entered seconds before the auction ends. Using this method, snipers are able to ensure that their bid is the last one entered, freezing out any possible future bidders. This gives snipers a higher win percentage, and puts ordinary bidders at a big disadvantage. At AtomicAuction the playing field is level, since the only determining factor is bid price.

Shill bidding is a practice in which a seller bids on his own item, hoping to artificially inflate the final price. It is unethical and can cause buyers to pay more than fair market value for their items. Atomic Auction's bidding system was designed to sniff out shill bidders and stop them cold. Even if a shill is able to circumvent our security measures and bid on their own item, there is no point to it, since no one can see the fake bid, and we have no "proxy" system to automatically increase bid amounts! Without these indicators, real bidders will simply bid fair valuations as usual. If a seller is concerned about an item selling too cheaply, it's much smarter to add a reserve price than to risk their account by engaging in shilling.

Frequently Asked Questions

• Can I list the same item in both Auction and Fixed-Price formats?
• Yes. All listings on AtomicAuction can exist in both buying formats, giving shoppers the choice to place a bid and wait for the auction to end, or to buy the item instantly. These are called "Hybrid" listings. Offers can also be enabled for these listings, providing a third purchase option.

• What if I want my item to be an auction only, with no Buy Now feature?
• Not a problem. Simply check the "Auction" option when you create or edit a listing to remove all fixed-price purchase options. The catch? These listings cannot be fed to most shopping search engines.

• Can I place a reserve price on my listings?
• Absolutely. With a reserve in place, your item will not sell for less than this amount, and it is never revealed to bidders. Use only when necessary however, since reserve auctions typically draw less interest than no-reserve auctions.

• Is there a "proxy" bidding system in place to increase my bid amount automatically?
• No. In true sealed bid tradition, the bid you place is the price you'll pay if you win. With no proxy system in place, the cumulative average bid price for each successfully auctioned item is more likely to represent its true auction market value. Strategy is a big part of sealed bid auctions, and makes them challenging!

• If I bid on an item, can I increase my bid later?
• Yes. A single bidder can place several bids on an item, as long as each new bid is higher than their previous bid amount. Multiple bids from one buyer still count as a single bid however, and will not affect the bid count.

• If I am outbid on an auction, can I still purchase the item?
• It depends. If the item is a Hybrid with multiple units available, you can always purchase it instantly using the Buy Now feature. If it's an Auction, you *may* still be able to purchase it if the winning bidder does not pay within their 24 hour time window. After this deadline expires, each underbidder is notified at 8-hour intervals with a purchase link. If you finished 3rd for example, you could expect to be notified 32 hours after auction close with a purchase offer, assuming the two bidders above you didn't pay. Of course you'd be under no obligation to buy - the option is yours.

• Can a listing be converted from Hybrid to Auction, and vice-versa?
• Easily. Just edit the item as you normally would, and change the listing format. You can also use the Batch Editor to convert several listings at once.

• When I import auctions from other sites, can I specify that they be listed as auctions here too?
• Absolutely. When you initiate an auction transport, you will have the option to activate auctions for all items, or just original auction items. By choosing the latter, only those listings which were originally listed as auctions will have the auction feature turned on here.

• After my auction ends, how do I relist it?
• By clicking the "Relist" button from your Inventory page or the Auction History section of your Account page. This will create an exact copy of your listing, and bidding can start again.

• Why can't I set my auction to end after _x_ days?
• That's where the "different" part kicks in. :-) All Atomic Auctions end after a specified number of *bids* have been received. By using the bid count instead of time as the clincher, it's possible for an auction to end in a matter of minutes or even seconds if there is significant interest in an item! It also eliminates snipers, and can generate extra interest in an item when it moves to the "One Bid Left" list. At AtomicAuction, we like to keep things interesting.

• Does AtomicAuction really have enough of a "critical mass" of buyers to make auctions viable for sellers?
• By using a sealed bid auction format in which bidders have no knowledge of previous bids or the high bid amount, the strategy of bidding for accurate valuation comes into play, resulting in final prices which more accurately represent an item's true market value. Atomic Auctions eliminate many of the pitfalls of regular bidding within a smaller buyer base, typically represented by a no-reserve item going into the final minutes of an auction with no bids or a lowballed high bid. While it's still possible for an item to sell for pennies with sealed bid auctions, they are more likely to generate realistic gavel prices, since each bidder will be trying to "outsmart" the previous bidder by beating an *estimated* bid instead of a known bid. With bidders entering the maximum dollar amount they are willing to pay, sellers have the benefit of a genuine buyer base earnestly competing for their items with fair bid amounts. On the other hand if a seller is feeling adventurous, they might set their item to 2 bids with no reserve, and hope for the best! Bargains can and WILL be found!

• Is there any listing fee to create an auction?
• As with all listings on Atomic Mall, AtomicAuction listings are completely free to create, unless you decide to decorate them with listing upgrades or add a fifth or sixth image. We only charge a reasonable final sale fee when an auction is successfully closed AND paid. Relist as much as you want! All free of charge.

• Sounds like fun! How do I get started?
• Glad you asked! Check out our complete Auction tutorial to get your feet wet.

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