I'm amazed that online auctions haven't taken off in Australia like they have in the US. There are literally thousands over there, selling everything from autographs to 50-foot long mobile homes. In particular, selling PCs and peripherals by online auction is a large industry in the US.
Some of the big US mail order companies like Egghead have found it an excellent way to clear remaindered and soon-to-be-obsolete stock. Unfortunately, the scam merchants have moved in as well, resulting in an unprecedented number of complaints to both consumer protection agencies and credit card providers, as money is taken without the goods ever appearing.
So why aren't there Australian companies selling PCs on the Net? It isn't a lack of people online, it isn't a lack of spending dollars, it can't be because low margins won't allow it and it isn't a lack of products to sell. Surely it couldn't be because Australian companies are too honest to conduct business that way?
What does seem to be on the rise is Web banner ads. Both fixed and keyword-sensitive, we're still learning how effective these ads are. I must admit that when I use my favourite search engine HotBot, sometimes the banner ad that magically pops up on the results page takes my attention, and I find myself clicking on it rather than pursuing my original search.
Local Internet search and services company Matilda (www.aaa.matilda.com.au) claims to be an expert in Australian banner ads. Matilda's James Lilburne told me he's interested in talking to resellers and vendors who are either thinking of Web advertising, or even reselling ads that Matilda will place on its various sites and search engines. He quotes a basic price of $50 per thousand hits on a single keyword. If you aren't already familiar with it, Matilda operates a number of search engines including a Postcode search.
Another interesting local service is provided by Marc Philips of APT Strategies in conjunction with Australian Internet services company Net Registry. It's a series of free online tutorials on Internet marketing for SMEs (small to medium enterprises). The August lecture is "Promoting your Web site". Philips is the author of Successful E-Commerce. Visit (www.netregistry.au.com/lectures/) to take a look.
It would be remiss of me not to remind you that IDG sells banner ads on its Australian Web pages including ARN, ComputerWorld and PC World.
Contact Glen Myles on (02) 9902 2769 for more details.
If you have an interesting story about selling computers via the Web, please let us know.