Online auction services offer everything from Coca-Cola to Corvettes, right over your Web browser, and now an Australian company is set to add real estate to that list. Observers say it’s a sign that Web-based auctions have arrived — and consumers are buying. The Australian property auction, a collaboration between the Sydney Morning Herald and McGrath Partners, will put a Sydney terrace house on the block, and allow users from around the globe to enter the bidding via the Internet. Bidders will also be able to watch the proceedings using Web video and take a virtual walkthrough of the house using Apple’s QuickTime VR technology. The auction is set for March 7. The event is a novelty that will push the boundaries of what’s possible with electronic commerce. But observers say the online auction industry is already a phenomenon. “In 1997, auctions burst onto the scene as a potentially major force,” said analyst Vernon Keenan with Zona Research Inc. “Together, Onsale and eBay (the two largest online auction houses) both got close to a quarter of a billion dollars in goods transacted, and I’m looking for this to turn into a billion-dollar industry in 1998.” Online auction houses let users… Read full this story
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