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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another Year of Auctions?

Yes, you heard that right. While Dominic and Colin have confirmed there are AT LEAST 6 months of auctions left, the more likely scenario seems to be there is another year of auctions.

Whatever happened to the big February Finale? Well if you remember, that email was sent at a time when everyone was bitching about the lousy customer service. Well, it is obvious now that was just what we said it was at the time,
a veiled threat that if you didn't play nice, they wouldn't invite you to the big finale. There is no way they could have realistically thought they would be done in February.

Now, IAW recently reduced their staff, which according to one insider was a good thing, as they got rid of some less than productive employees. This has resulted in them listing less each week, usually in the 60-70 item range. This is manageable by their staff and we haven't been seeing the huge delays we have seen in the past. Items are usually shipped in 1-3 weeks after payment is made. Issues have been reduced greatly.

Now, only doing 60 auctions a week, it is easy to see them taking a year. They still have a warehouse full of stuff. Maybe a smaller warehouse than they had before the move, but they have said that they have a ton of stuff left.

Well, what does that mean for us?

1) Prices continue to drop. Week 57 saw seriously cheap props and costumes. I couldn't believe the deals that were had. I bought a beautiful "Takret" alien costume from Enterprise, WITH a sidearm and holster, for $ 317. A beautiful Bajoran costume, that was complete, went for $ 515. Props were all going in the $ 400 range for most.

2) The market is flooded
After 13 months of auctions, we all have a LOT of stuff and there aren't that many new bidders to make up for our full plate. Plus IAW doesn't market the auctions (I am the biggest marketing they have) and so they don't get new bidders coming in at a rate they need to soak up the supply.

3) Buyers are becoming choosey. I see this with not only myself, but with my best buddies who I talk to all the time. We aren't as excited about every little prop as we used to be. We all have big collections now and it better be pretty cool to get into our collections. We know how much stuff there is and we know that there will be MORE cool stuff next week.

4) Problems mostly resolved The pure hatred for IAW due to their lack of organization and awful customer support has mostly dissipated. The IAW issues thread on the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Forum has slowed down a huge amount, which is good. A few weeks off in December and doing less auctions has helped IAW catch up. Doing less auctions each week has helped them maintain a level of service that is adequate. Resolution of new issues takes more time, and you have to be both patient (don't email them every day, they will get to it) and persistent (don't let them tell you no when you have a legitimate issue). I remain a big fan of Colin's and wish Dom would give him the authority to resolve issues himself, as Colin is pretty consistent in following up. It may take him a week or so, but he is thorough.


There is still a ton of stuff to come and you have to be patient and manage your budget. But we are finally at the point where there are great deals every week. I think the number of auctions and the price levels are about right finally.

Alec

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