WordPress Auction Plugin

I awoke this morning with the idea of featuring auctions on my site. No – not eBay which never did work very well for me – but auctions that were hosted in WordPress and that I could do without paying eBay fees. And so I did a search for wordpress and auctions and came across an auction Plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites that are running Linux (i.e. it’s not going to work if your site is hosted on wordpress.com like this blog is).

There’s a lot of work that goes into making a widget like this and I gladly paid $30 for it, although I wasn’t sure if it would work or not on my server. I can feel that the guys that have been working on it have done a good job, and know what they’re doing – but it is still missing some features – but nothing that I would call a show stopper. I also don’t have a good way to test it, other than buying something. So as an introduction to the auction widget (available at http://www.wpauctions.com/ ) I put up two of the most popular prints in 8 x 10 size where the first bid is about half price; I’m hoping that’s enough of an incentive to get someone to give the thing a try and see how it works.

If there’s a particular print you’d like to get for 1/2 price (assuming you’re the only one that bids on it) – let me know. It could be in the blog, or from the store. Of course, I should really put up the Skating Rink since that’s become popular after winning the contest. Maybe I will – but I’d rather put up some prints that I like a lot, that have never sold. Maybe I’ll do that tonight.

If you do install the plugin, expect some issues – but I got very fast responses from the developers at this address: error issues.

As an aside, what I didn’t like about eBay was that it was costly to attract attention to your photographs, and you were competing against many poster manufacturers who were selling posters for very little. Although you can put an eBay widget to your eBay store (if you have one) – I still didn’t like the idea of moving the customer away from your site.

Another feature that I like with this sidebar widget is that it will be very easy for me to attract attention to specific prints that sometimes get buried among all the prints on my own site. The one feature which I’m waiting for, and which is in the pipeline, is that you really want people to login before doing any bidding. Otherwise, it is quite easy for jokers to spoil the bidding. As I say – it is a complex program to implement. (They allow you to link to your eBay feedback, but I’ve decided not to do that for now).

So – happy bidding – and please let me know if there is a specific image / size you’d like to bid for at a substantial discount.

* * *

Follow up a few days later.

Unfortunately, there are too many features missing from the auction widget; and still some bugs.  The winner of my first auction didn’t receive an email notification.  The emails that you do get are very sparse.  You can’t add a large image.  I could go on – but this is still very much in the 1.0 stage, so I’ll remove it, and if I do any auctions, I’ll have to use eBay with a widget on my site.  Oh well.  Great idea.  But I don’t think it’s ready for prime time yet.  (That being said, it is a tremendous undertaking, and I hope that the programmers can iron out the bugs and feature set and do well with it.)


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

2 thoughts on “WordPress Auction Plugin”

  1. If lots of customers start buying your prints at half price, it won’t be long till you realize that this wasn’t a great idea.
    Especially since your work is priced to sell in the first place…

  2. Matt, the half price thing is just to see how this auction widget works and to get a couple of people to try it.

    After that, you can set your minimum price, just like with eBay, or a buy it now price.

    It’s basically just a way of putting a few special items up for bidding since people like to bid on stuff, without my having to pay eBay fees.

    I’m also going to use it to sell of some photo equipment and maybe a few books etc. I also have stacks of old darkroom prints that people might be interested in, that I can put up for auction one or two at a time.

    I think it’s a great idea – which according to my marketing sense means that you are probably right and it’s a terrible idea 🙂

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