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Stamp Auction Network Will No Longer Be Free For Bidding- Subscription Based Only

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Pillar Of The Community
Canada
1332 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   4:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add No1philatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Pay to bid? I just want to bid at some auctions, not own a share in a company. Almost sounds like a utility, you pay for every expense and some and they make guaranteed profits. I guess I will be going back to asking for catalogues, faxed bids on last day again, unless in person or online if the auction house has its own online auction platform. Gee, I wondered why a Canadian firm- Eastern auctions had developed their own online auction form, while having static listings on SAN network. Must be getting expensive, cumbersome or difficult for some companies using the live SAN auction platform.

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Edited by No1philatelist - 02/02/2022 4:28 pm
Valued Member
United States
19 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   5:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tldroege to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This from Tom Droege at StampAuctionNetwork. First there seems to be sense that we are rolling in revenue from the Auction Companies. We do not get a percent of anything. All our sales are posted at a fixed fee. We do well enough, but it is no gold mine.

You can read the full explanation of the price increase here:

https://mailchi.mp/droegecomputing....e=632d76d47b

Also, there was no significant hit from Siegel dropping off last year. We serve 200 auction houses, and we had other work take the place of that lost account.

I want to offer the following perspective. Up until recently (5 years ago), StampAuctionNetwork was a 100% auction house supported site. While we served as the middle person and arbitrator on many occasion, you could make the assumption that we only represented the auction firms interests. That began to change when we started to offer services that the auction companies were not going to pay for. These are collector oriented features that we have been promoting for years now, and are part of extended features.

This is an extension of that understanding. Do you really want a service that is totally beholden to the auction companies? We do not think you do, we do not think it is in your best interests, and it is not where we want to be.

We go the extra mile to support our customers. You can call us anytime 919-403-9459, you can send me an email at tldroege@mindspring.com.

I spent 40 minutes with a kind man who must have had short term memory loss, because I had to show him every 5 minutes where the [Submit Bids on this Page] button was. I ended up putting his bids in for him. That is the kind of support we offer.

No one is getting rich over here, but we are mobilizing technology to find the next generation of buyers that are going to buy your stamps.

Lastly, we clearly announced that there are free 1 year subscriptions for anyone that does not feel the value is there. Infrequent bidders can sign up for $19.95 / year, and the basic membership is $49.95 and includes BASIC Extended features. No one is going to get shut out of participating at StampAuctionNetwork.

Ironically, the auction houses have been charging the buyer and seller since inception. This is the same model, but balanced toward the buyer. For in the auction world, the commission structure favors the consignor. StampAuctionNetwork members under this structure will still contribute far less than the auction companies.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
578 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   5:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add srailkb to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think Tom just announced his retirement. Of course, the handwriting was on the wall when Siegel left. No prices realized/census database is worth anything without Siegel's data. I'd be amazed if anyone pays the subscription price. No major house will stay there, because NONE of their bidders will be willing to pay to bid in a sale. If you're a premium member (or whatever Tom calls it), I'd be canceling today. SAN will be gone within a year IMO.

Best of luck in your retirement, Tom. It was a good run while it lasted.
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Edited by srailkb - 02/02/2022 5:32 pm
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Posted 02/02/2022   5:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In the age of so-called "equity" this is a dose of hard capitalism and is regressive in nature. The more you spend the less significant the fee becomes. If you spend $500 per year this becomes a 10% tax, $1000 a 5% tax and so on. We all have our own situations.

Did SAN analyze the average spending of a typical user and decide this would not be punitive? Who knows?

I hate it on principal. Why should I pay a membership fee for the privilege of spending my own cash?

Most of the auction houses receive a total of 40% commission between the front and back ends. Obviously, SAN was not able to squeeze them sufficiently.

I buy some lots and pay my bid plus say 20% commission, plus a CC fee, plus in my case sales tax. All of these costs affect my base bid price and another fee, no matter what the size, will at the very least have a psychological impact when bidding.

What do I get for my $50/annum? I get to see a bunch of auctions in one place. That's it. I am paying for advertising. Strikes me wrong.

If SAN was a much better platform, I might consider it but searching for data on SAN is a hot mess for me compared to for instance the Siegel and Cherrystone databases.

Some possibilities as to why this took place:

1) SAN will be sold and needs to pump up revenue.
2) SAN is growing and does not have adequate cash flow to sustain operations.
3) Greed Is Good?
4) SAN put a lot of resources into their other subscription programs on speculation and screwed up.
5) SAN tried to pump the auction houses and was rebuffed.
6) All, some or none of the above.

This is a golden opportunity for other platforms such as Old Bid to swoop in. Old Bid blows away SAN in functionality and user friendliness and it is free. When I bid on Old Bid it is like driving a Mercedes S600 on the highway and when I am on SAN, I am back in the 15-year-old Yugo. Yes, the controls are simple, and the radio gets one AM station, but it is comfortable like that old pair of jeans. Not worth a membership fee though. I also utilize Cherrystone's, Siegel's and Rasdale's own platforms and like them. They are free. I have begun registering directly with other firms many of which are foreign and finding that the current bid info on SAN is not synced well at all with up-to-date information.

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Valued Member
United States
19 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   5:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tldroege to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ha Ha. Just found out that at age 64, I am in the most productive years of my life (According to the New England Medical Journal). And my next most productive years are ahead of me, my 70's. So nope, no plans for retirement here. We have big plans.
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Valued Member
United States
19 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   5:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tldroege to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Tom Droege here again. You know we wrote the Siegel Search site right? It is a simple matter to write a search engine when all the data is from one source. Try doing it for data from 200 different auction houses.
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607 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   5:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jleb1979 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I tend to agree with Rismoney. SAN's real customers are the auction houses who, by using the SAN platform, don't have to develop their own platform and can significantly extend their reach to many potential bidders.

SAN clearly has failed to develop an auxillary revenue stream through their provenance feature. Here I think Siegel has killed them. So SAN is looking to double-dip by charging at the front end, and I suspect it will bite them back. How painful that bite will be I don't know. One would hope they would have done some level of market research (a focus group or two) before rolling this out.

My initial - emotional - reaction is irritation. Makes me think I'll use February and March to suss out how to work directly with two houses with I have enjoyed some successes. Do I become a phone bidder? How retro....
The smaller houses I occasionally found had interesting lots might just be out of luck if it is too difficult.

On the other hand, when I take a deep breath after that initial reaction, I start to calculate that if I place an average of 25 bids a year, that $49 "membership" becomes a surtax of $2 per lot which is small beer (when looking at the average per lot at say Cherrystone or Kelleher), even if I only win 1/2 my lots. Is this the line of reasoning what SAN is literally banking on?

But that level of annual membership - or even the $19.99 per year -- is a deterrent to new entrants into the lists (Mrita would appear a case in point). And I do not believe that is good for the marketplace and hobby.

Pardon my scribbles, clearing I'm thinking aloud during happy hour with my stamp collecting friends.

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
650 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   5:52 pm  Show Profile Check kcaramat's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add kcaramat to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I haven't heard of such a good idea since 1985 when Coca Cola decided to mess with their formula and made "new Coke"
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8295 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   5:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
That began to change when we started to offer services that the auction companies were not going to pay for. These are collector oriented features that we have been promoting for years now, and are part of extended features.

This is an extension of that understanding. Do you really want a service that is totally beholden to the auction companies? We do not think you do, we do not think it is in your best interests, and it is not where we want to be.


With all due respect Tom what you think we want or is in our best interest is not that relevant. That you do not want to be there (beholden to the auction companies) is of course your prerogative.

Maybe a lot of bidders do not want the features and the associated costs?

Perhaps SAN is beholden to the auction companies but from a bidder's perspective it matters little. The bidding is between the client and the House. SAN is the optional conduit to access their individual catalogs and bid if desired. SAN is not involved in disputes, payment issues, expertizing or anything else. No?

Thankfully we are not all beholden to SAN and there are options such as direct interaction with the auction firms which is likely the way I will go. (Actually, have been doing so anyway).

I loved SAN and am sorry it came to this. I have used SAN for around 25 years.
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United States
927 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   5:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mrita75 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting- I've learned some about auctions, SAN and auction houses with this thread. Oh, Cheers and Salud! Jleb :) Happy Hour with fellow stamp collectors sounds fun.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
877 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   6:20 pm  Show Profile Check docgfd's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add docgfd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I wonder how all the auction houses who don't have their own platforms will deal with 500 phone bidders per auction? LOL
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607 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   6:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jleb1979 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Re collectors' happy hour, Nora, that would be fun, wouldn't it, as long as none of us sloshed imbibables onto any philatelics we happened to be packing.

Kcaramat just made me laugh so much I spilled some of my G & T, so I think I'd best settle down, stumble out of the bar, and see to dinner!

- Jonathan
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51 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   6:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add nick777vvv to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I completely get Tom's desire to monetize the site more effectively. But I think this move will alienate occaisonal users and be a complete barrier to those that are new to philately and have yet to place their first bid. Heavy users will pay up without a quibble but after that, I predict growth will stall.

Although the functionality is fantastic, the site is very old fashioned in look and feel and in desperate need of a complete redesign.

SAN now has critcal mass as far as auction companies are concerned and many will see it as a major source of income (Seigel aside). I'd be looking to the houses to share a tiny proportion of their premiums, rather than trying to pass the cost on to collectors.

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United States
19 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   7:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tldroege to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Are you all missing the point that there are free memberships for anyone that wants them?

I will offer this and go away. As a investor and a entrepreneur I can offer the following. HipStamp and Auction Mobility are both venture backed and have yet to show profitability much less return to their investors. The worldwide auction market is 400 million offered 250 million sold. Siegel does 45 M last year, but the US market may be twice that but no more. That market is not a market that technology companies want to enter. We came into this by accident, not on purpose, but have built a sustainable business model since the 90's. Hipstamp is in my back yard, Jeremy Paradise came down from Boston to meet with me 8 years before Siegel went to their system. Jeremy (with Auction Mobility) was straight up with me about their intentions for the auction business in stamps, and it was not favorable. It remains to be seen whether things work out for anyone going with their platform, and I know others who use his system and are wary for the same reasons. I personally know the principals behind Auction Rover and BidStart (before they became Hipstamp). We have a sustainable business model with specialized skill sets for the stamp collecting community. We wrote the PF System and are upgrading it now. What you can count on in StampAuctionNetwork is a company that is dedicated to serving the interests of both the bidders and the auction houses, and who will be around for the long term.
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Valued Member
United States
234 Posts
Posted 02/02/2022   7:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Rich60 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Stopped buying from Kelleher when they made the jump to SAN. Was reconsidering lately but this seals the deal. Its a no from me.
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