Online auction sites Sold.com.au and ebay.com.au are both holding a brand-name IT auction at the same time, and are accusing each other of copying the idea.
The start of this week (May 27) sees both e-tailers spring into action, promoting an opportunity for vendors, distributors and resellers to clear their unwanted stock at well below recommended retail prices.
Sold.com.au, which announced its auction last week (ARN, May 22, p10), said it had been planning the auction for many months and communicating with its sellers for several weeks before finding out about eBay's plans for a similar event. "Even their branding is the same," said Sold.com.au's Mark Robberds. "I'm quite flattered -- they obviously like our idea."
Conversely, eBay category manager Sally-Anne Newson said such a brand sale is one of many online initiatives that eBay has initiated in the past that have been "subsequently copycatted by Sold".
"Within weeks of eBay contacting their sellers to inform them of a big brand sale concept, Sold announced their own big brand sale," she said.
Regardless of who came up with the idea, both auctions will go ahead as planned. The two dotcoms have advertised their sales on online sites owned or in partnership with the respective eBay and Yahoo networks. Both will also be creating mini-sites to segregate regular auctions with those involved in the sale.
Neither party was willing to disclose the volume of sales they expect from the event. Robberds said it was both commercial in confidence and "hard to predict". eBay managing director Simon Smith said that during any 10-day period, eBay would see a "seven-figure" amount of IT goods sold.eBay has signed fewer distributors and resellers than Sold, but a third-party listing agent, called Auctionbrokers, will be selling on behalf of a number of large vendors and distributors that wish to remain anonymous due to potential channel conflict, eBay said.