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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:27 pm 
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Location: NW PA
James Ford wrote:
Do you have a website with info or perhaps screen shots and/or demo?

I don't make a habit of just loading software on my computer unless I have a good idea of what I might expect.


George Graffius wrote:
This is not a plug because its free....

Working with an auction house in VA, I wrote a set of software to manage your auction. (I also wrote a set of software to handle retail sales).

its all open source. I give it away. The catch? It runs on a LAMP or WAMP system (which is also open source and for the most part free, but you have to know some things)

I tried contacting the owner of the zip to inquire about how I could put up an advertisement so people who are still using the paper slip method (which does not come close to meeting current state revenue or IRS requirements for record keeping) can take a look. I got no response. Im not going to pay for an advertisement for something I give away - duh...

What do I mean I give it away?

This is a tech replacement for the paper slips. I am not in competition with what is out there.


yes, I have a brochure, what is a good email address to mail to?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:12 pm 
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Location: NW PA
Thomas Trice wrote:
Nothing against George here at all, but i would stay away software that is free, you get no support and when it comes to an auction house and no support that is a very bad combo, even worse on auction day.

I hope the man leaves forever but what happens to your software if something to George and you built your company around a software instead of a company?

Free is good, but customer support is better.


Well you have to understand what open source software is....the software and all licenses are yours - forever. You may modify it at any time. All open source suppliers (me included) offer support contracts. if you know how to do web pages, and a little java script, and have a nephew that can hook up a L/WAMP system - not one dollar will change hands. Ever. Well, at least not between us.

If you are far away and wanted me to customize something for you, any agreement would include phone/online support. If you are any of the houses up the I81 corridor I visit, its more personal (plus if I am hired to install/set it up, it also includes me clerking a few, free training, free support and a run book. You will never get a run book from flex or sold.)

It boils down to, if you do not intimately know the machines, and the software you run and don't have an IT department to know it for you - then don't use software - that applies to ANY business. But the very fact that you replied to my post, means you have mastered the skills to use the software - remember what I said in the first post, its long held that everyone knows how to use a browser. And a mouse.

What is a W/LAMP system? It means Windows or Linux based, running Apache for a webserver, using MySQL for a database and using PHP for a scripting language.

Preferably Linux, (if you are using windows, chances are, you are already compromised.) Apache is an open source web server that works as well over the intranet as well as the internet. MySQL is a wonderful relational database that allows data definitions on the fly. For example, if flex ever changes the structure, which they do from release to release, you have to completely destroy the old, and populate the new and use a migration tool. that is perfectly fine - if you are in the 90's. PHP is a C-like scripting language. I was not being facetious when I said you can hire HS kids to modify it for you.

And here is a nice kicker: disaster recovery. If you suffer a hardware crash with a DOS or windows based machine, you are done. You MIGHT get back to where you were as of the last full system backup. Who here does backups? ;-)

But this system, if you enter one export command to a pen drive each night, in the event of a disaster you can restore it to ANY machine or architecture that supports SQL commands. Anything from a an I-phone to an IBM mainframe. Or, another laptop from walmart.

Is this kind of software scary and new? This BBS runs on it. So does much of anything you do online.

So send me an email. Ill send out what I can. The manual... some screen shots some test pages. ITs your software dollar. If you are on flex - stay there. If you are on paper slips and don't have the yearly vig or the hardware purchase dollars - here ya go. Remember I am not in competition with them nor trying to take clients. In fact, I prefer to have few active clients. OWN YOUR OWN BUSINESS. All this software does, is put stuff into a database. When you are done - you have a database. Of everything you sold. THAT, is your business. Today, the new sexy is building a database and mining it. Corporations spend BILLIONS each year data mining, every second of the day. 300 items a week to 30000 items a week - this is what you do. ITs hard to see facial expressions on BBS', but the people who use the auction and the companion selling software, when I explain it and they 'get it', you should see the smile.

In fact, if the owner of this BBS will give me/us a download folder, I can deposit a generic non-personalized version of the code as well as the manual.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:55 pm 
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Location: Houston TX
No offense George, but whenever someone is trying to "sell" me on a web based type of software and don't even have a website, it makes me wonder a bit... after all, a website is simple and cheap (not to mention many free ones). So, why wouldn't techie guru with a software program not have a website to show off their work?

Jim

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Texas-National Auctioneers
Professional Auction Services for Houston & the Great State of Texas
Personal Estate - Business Liquidation - Real Estate - Charity Fundraisers

http://www.t-na.com
281-479-7848


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:54 pm 
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Location: NW PA
James Ford wrote:
No offense George, but whenever someone is trying to "sell" me on a web based type of software and don't even have a website, it makes me wonder a bit... after all, a website is simple and cheap (not to mention many free ones). So, why wouldn't techie guru with a software program not have a website to show off their work?

Jim


no offense taken but with all due respect, I am not trying to 'sell' anything. I am offering to give something away, but I have not received an email to email what needs to be emailed. I do not commercially advertise the program because......I give it away. Word of mouth in the local area works pretty good.

And I do have a website, for our antiques biz. But we do not rely upon it much because we have found....drum roll.....most of the buyers do not use a website to buy antiques, other than craigslist postings. understood the market better. :? Our customers survey that 10% saw us on the web or facebook. I generate over 1500 unique page views per month on specific items, without paying google a dime. (referrals) After 4 years we are one of the top 5 dealers in the tri county area based on actual sales volume. 40% of our sales are to other dealers (gross dollar amount) I attribute almost none of this to web activity. Moral: retail antiques buyers do not use the web. Something about this hands on crap....

So long story short, rather than a website which can show any image any designer wants it to be, Ill just email the product. Mebbe I'd do better if I charged for it? ;-)

Ps: TINSTAAFL (there is no such thing as a free lunch.) There is no such thing as a free website. Might someone give you a spot of space and some generated code? yep. But it will be 100% blocked from any bing or google search until you pay up, around 300-1000 a month based on click thru. Oh yeah, you get a $100 google credit for signing up. Welcome to the WWW. At any rate, I will await any emails. I will keep installing. someone somewhere will eventually repackage it for a price. Wont that suck.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:19 am 
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Location: Owosso, Mi
Hi George,

Jim does not beat around the bush, I do not blame him for wanting some information and asking questions in this day and age of Internet Scams and viruses. As far as antique buyers not buying off a web site, your missing a large part of the market. What about all of those On Line Auctions, Millions / Billions of dollars each year sold On Line (Antiques). You stated you get 1500 views a month on your site. We get an average 54,000 views a month. Custom Web Site ($600.00) and $50.00 Dollars a year to host with optimization on all the big search engines - no pay per word. We do not build web sites, we know a great person that has a business, that builds web sites. People buy Antiques on the internet, do not fool yourself. You must have good photos, accurate descriptions and they will come.

Bob


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:33 am 
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Bob Roberts wrote:
Hi George,

Jim does not beat around the bush, I do not blame him for wanting some information and asking questions in this day and age of Internet Scams and viruses. As far as antique buyers not buying off a web site, your missing a large part of the market. What about all of those On Line Auctions, Millions / Billions of dollars each year sold On Line (Antiques). You stated you get 1500 views a month on your site. We get an average 54,000 views a month. Custom Web Site ($600.00) and $50.00 Dollars a year to host with optimization on all the big search engines - no pay per word. We do not build web sites, we know a great person that has a business, that builds web sites. People buy Antiques on the internet, do not fool yourself. You must have good photos, accurate descriptions and they will come.

Bob


Maybe in some places but not here. And online auctions are way different than a store obviously as people hope to get something below retail, rather than retail. Same for live auctions. Most people buy at auctions to take to their booth or ebay. The pricing, costing, and methodology are opposed. But seriously I expect non-ebay online auctions to be a flash in the pan due to the lack of buyer protection. Ebay had to buy the payment method to attempt to guarantee the authenticity of the item. Online auctions at most have 1 picture and at most have 5-10 words - if they bother. Ever fill out an ebay listing? I attend a number of games each week in 4 states and I see about half of the callers misrepresenting the provenance of the item - either willfully or via feigned ignorance so you can imagine its only worse online. (call them on it and they bluster profusely - cell phone video is so wonderful...) I personally stopped using a local online auction because as he got 'bigger' he started changing the terms of the sale, after the sale. Dont kid yourself, there really is no governing authority for online transactions. Of any type. Even ebay is not governed by any strict state law so that is why they have the ability to seize funds in your settlement account. the amount of the transaction to interest the FBI or postal inspector exceeds the gross annual revenue of just about any auction house. I have noticed that a live caller can burn a person (either willfully or feigned ignorance) and the person will gripe but STILL come back week after week. Online business - you get generally a one and done. I therefore expect the business to eat itself. Right now it is in the 'new and interesting' phase but you know yourself, you get what, 1/3 of what you would in a live setting. Half if you are lucky? Is that a sustainable business model?

Sidebar: I developed the software in conjunction with a VA auction house, zero cost because I selected them as being the most honest people I have ever dealt with. In any genre.

Back to the topic....I find that craigslist is a good teaser - good photos, descriptions and they do come. This area averages 2/3 to 3/4 'campers', meaning that many of the houses are simply hunting camps or get aways for Pittsburgh people. they hit the pitt antiques section, see something and next trip up buy my furniture. Furniture does not sell on the internet. WE all know that. (unless the online auction house is 4 miles away of course) Buyers want to see it, touch it, smell it and lick it. Internet content has not come that far.

We are also in the sunday drive section for NW PA. Ebay we use for the collectible stuff that we need a large audience for. Since ebay has 'built in' delivery method and a set of protections, it works. Mostly we use it for trains, and toys - like batman stuff. Glass ware? people do not want to have it shipped, we do not want to ship it. Of all the postal breakage we have ever had - it was glass ware. The ratio of glass ware listed on ebay vs glassware sold, is the worst..which tells us....drum roll...glass ware is not a good candidate on ebay.

But recall what I said, only 10% of our customers saw us on the web or facebook. And at 1500 hits that translates into almost nothing. A click thru means little if it does not correlate to a sale. Yet you pay for a click thru. People might find a website and then see where it is at and go 'oh fer chrissakes that is in Mississippi' and drop it. I have not tried to put together the statistic of how many of our page views are from people who looked at us AFTER they visited the store, just to see what is up or new. The facebook presence generates a few hundred thousand views, but lets face it, the reality is ANYTHING on facebook does and a 'like' is as empty as a 'have a nice day'. In the first thread I posted to when I joined here, I coined a new term 'finger food' - antiques buyers like to browse and pick up finger food and buy it. its where it starts. Anyone with a brick/mortar will tell you the same. I even have statistical data that tells me how many smalls begat a 'medium' and how many smalls begat a 'large'

(is it starting to sound like I analyze the business?)

At any rate, 'Jim' I suspect is not in the market for any software from anyone at this time. So was his post REALLY an honest inquiry? An email with a scannable .odt file is far less 'internet risk' than a website clicky.

Like I said, I made the offer, once, and require only an email to start the process. I noticed the number of page views this site gets on the forums, I notice the number of unique posters. I suspect the small auction houses that use paper slips are not on these forums. I also suspect that the small auction houses who use slips will benefit more from me meeting them and offering it in person as they are more concerned with coming up with the $$ to get a better auction house, than buying equipment. I also note that auction houses are afraid of technology as a lot of the callers are suspicious of computers in general. I have seen in person small auction houses in PA, MD, WV and VA wince at the hardware startup cost of $300 for a laptop from walmart. that, I suspect, is the true state of the market...I will continue to assist those people as they tend to be the most honest.

Flex for example claims 3500 customers. That is what, a tiny fraction of the callers in any single state? Its a potential market for sure but one that the customers are not sure they want into. Which is why I have installed the selling program for retail sales 30:1 (I give that away too - and I suspect that when 'dealers' find out how much they are really making they get depressed an quit...)

PS: where are you getting hosting for $50 a year? My first year with ipage - which I selected based on metrics most wont consider (uptime, availability, security etc) was more than that and my post honeymoon renewal was WAY more than that and neither pricing includes google/bing visibility. let me further restrict: US based hosting. if you are hosting offshore you are a) compromised and b) begging to be hijacked. plus I selected Ipage for the sql and cgi hosting - I am working on moving my database to the cloud with my backups done down on 'earth' so we can access and enter real time via smart phone or tablet.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:21 pm 
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Location: Houston TX
George
You are right. I am not necessarily in the market for software. I use AuctionFlex. However, I have reviewed and/or used most of the auction software on the market. By the same token, if you are all fired up about YOUR software, one would typically have a website to show what it does. If you don't have a demo, you could at least have screenshots and descriptions. Otherwise, you're not likely to get many people interested in what you have to begin with.

I have several websites. One is on an old shared server that has been online for around 20-years and ranks #1 on Google for my primary keywords. The others are on another server that costs me about $110/yr.

As far as the "free" websites I mentioned, there are Wix and Weebly. No, you don't get to use your own URL and you can't just move it to another server - unless you pay their hosting fees. But they are free and it would provide a simple platform to show off your work.

I also do my research and track my statistics, from my websites to emails to Facebook, etc. My website is still my main draw for keeping my customers informed of my upcoming sales. It also generates new email signups that allow them to be notified when information and photos of my upcoming auctions are posted. I agree that those who "like" your page on FB do not necessarily translate into a customer. However, I am getting new customers (most of which have not clicked the "like" button) coming to my live auctions that found us on FB. On the other hand, craigslist is way down the scale for attracting new customers to our auctions.

You seem to have a lot of misconceptions, regardless of your claim of research and technical ability.
By the same token, it appears to carry over to your distrust of auctioneers.

_________________
Texas-National Auctioneers
Professional Auction Services for Houston & the Great State of Texas
Personal Estate - Business Liquidation - Real Estate - Charity Fundraisers

http://www.t-na.com
281-479-7848


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:40 am 
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Location: Owosso, Mi
Online Auctions are not a fad, they are here to stay, whether you like them or not. The new bidders and clients like it and expect it. More & More Auction Companies are moving to online for one reason, bigger market and higher prices. Antique stores are struggling and more dealers are getting out, they are living in the past with high prices and items no one wants. The only person making real money in an Antique Mall is the owner of the facility with rent fees and commissions. Dealers tell you they make money, but if they add the hours up, fuel used to drive around buying the items, in reality they break even at best. Most dealers tell me they make no money and they do it to keep busy. We do live Auctions and online. Several Auction companies here have gone online and state they will not go back to live auctions. Regulation is coming. Ebay has suffered because they cater to the buyer, not the seller, it should be the other way around. The buyers that complain in most cases , did not read the Terms and or description and if they did, they ignored it and then complained any how. The next generation of Auction Goers are Tech Savvy and want to do business online (busy life style and way of life). If you do not have your business online, you more and likely will fail in the near future.

Bob


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:57 am 
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Bob Roberts wrote:
Online Auctions are not a fad, they are here to stay, whether you like them or not. The new bidders and clients like it and expect it. More & More Auction Companies are moving to online for one reason, bigger market and higher prices. Antique stores are struggling and more dealers are getting out, they are living in the past with high prices and items no one wants. The only person making real money in an Antique Mall is the owner of the facility with rent fees and commissions. Dealers tell you they make money, but if they add the hours up, fuel used to drive around buying the items, in reality they break even at best. Most dealers tell me they make no money and they do it to keep busy. We do live Auctions and online. Several Auction companies here have gone online and state they will not go back to live auctions. Regulation is coming. Ebay has suffered because they cater to the buyer, not the seller, it should be the other way around. The buyers that complain in most cases , did not read the Terms and or description and if they did, they ignored it and then complained any how. The next generation of Auction Goers are Tech Savvy and want to do business online (busy life style and way of life). If you do not have your business online, you more and likely will fail in the near future.

Bob

Online vs. Live auctions... Online brings more higher prices? Hogwash!
The next generation wants to do business online? More Hogwash!
If you do not have your business online, you more and likely will fail in the near future? PURE BUNK!

So, you think that in the future, everyone will sit on their butt and have everything delivered to them and communicate through a computer or smartphone and live in the Matrix... pure fantasy.

_________________
Texas-National Auctioneers
Professional Auction Services for Houston & the Great State of Texas
Personal Estate - Business Liquidation - Real Estate - Charity Fundraisers

http://www.t-na.com
281-479-7848


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:41 pm 
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Location: Owosso, Mi
Time will tell. Its the future whether you believe it or not. Every auction house owner I have spoken to here in Michigan have seen prices go up 40% to 60% with online auctions, that's why they are switching. Why is Ebay successful, Why is the internet growing, Why is buying on line growing every year, Why is Amazon growing, Why is home delivery of groceries growing? Its all about convenience and time. The next generation is tech savvy and that's what they do and want. We older guys and gals may not like it or believe it, buts its happening.

Bob


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