Welcome to Sportlots Sellers User Guide - Auctions

Sportlots Auctions

Adding Auctions
Updating Listings
Unpaid Auctions
Sold Auctions
Auction Fees


Sportlots auctions have a unique format in that unlike other popular auction formats, the end of the auction is not determined based on a pre-defined date, but instead based on the amount of time the auction goes without a bid. Unlike traditional auctions, Sportlots auctions are based on a 1, 2, 3, SOLD format. Basically, if an auction goes 3 days without being out bid, the auction is then sold. If there is a bid that causes an out bid of the original bidder, the status is reset to 1.

This format helps both buyers and sellers because, for buyers, it gives everyone a fair opportunity to get their final bid in. For sellers, it insures that they will get the top price for their auctions.

This format also prevents "snipe" bidding (the process of waiting until the last second to put a bid in), which is used in other formats to prevent competition in the bidding process.

Sportlots believes that in general, all auctions should start at $0.00 and let the market determine the price. However, we also understand for more valuable items, sellers need to be able to protect their investment. Therefore, Sportlots only allows minimum starting bids on featured items. These featured items are then displayed on Sportlots Auctions main screen and insure that only more valuable items appear on this main screen.

Bidding is done in 25 cent increments up to $5.00 and 50 cent increments between $5.00 and up to $25.00 and $1.00 increments $25.00 and over. If a maximum bid is placed which is not in these increments, the next lowest price is used.

Adding Auctions

Sellers can add auctions by clicking on the "Add Auction" link under the "Sell" tab on the Sortlots menu bard found at the top of any Sportlots screen. Adding auctions is fast and simple from this screen. Select the category that best represents the item that is being auctioned, Enter a title and description.

The seller then must enter the postage amounts. Sportlots provides postage costs for both a primary and multiple items. The postage amounts for each must be entered for both USA and Canadian bidders. When auctions are complete and the winning bidder creates the Sportlots order, the system will calculate the postage by using the most expensive shipping item as the primary postage amount and all other items will use the multiple items postage amount.

Next, the seller can add a picture. To do this, the seller can click on the browse button and select the picture from their computer. Note that due to size restrictions, the picture must be under 100K (100,000 bytes) and in *.jpg format. If the seller is having difficulties getting the picture under 100K, they will need to rescan the picture under a lower resolution. All scanners have the ability to scan in different resolutions. This is usually referred to as dpi (dots per inch). Using a 150 dpi will result in a good quality image well under the 100K limit when taking a picture of 1 or even 2 cards. More cards in a picture may require the seller to reduce the size of the image.

If the seller uses a camera for pictures, there may not be an option to reduce the resolution and as a result, lower the size of the picture. When this is the case, the seller can use one of many online sites to optimize the size of the picture. The one that Sportlots has used before is: http://www.imageoptimizer.net/Pages/Home.aspx. While we don't endorse this site, it has worked very well for Sportlots in the past.

Sellers also have the opportunity to select optional features. Highlight will highlight the auction making it stand out among the other items listed. Featured item gives the auction front-page exposure and also allows the seller to specify a minimum bid price instead of the auction starting at $0.00 and letting the market determine the value. There are two types of featured options:

  • Site Level Featured Auctions: Provides the seller with the ability to select higher minimum prices to protect their investment on very high priced items. These auctions also get the highest exposure because they are shown on Sportlots home page, as well as at the top of any search results or category specific auction pages.

  • Category Level Featured Auctions: Provides the seller with the ability to select a minimum price for their auction in order to provide some protection of their investment for more expensive cards. Category level featured auctions also show at the top of the results on search results or when the buyer is viewing category specific auction pages.

    Once an auction is added, it is loaded into a "Pending Status". Due to the "1, 2, 3, Sold" format, all auctions added during the day will all start together first thing the following morning. During this time while the auction is in pending status, the seller can review and update the auction. Once the auction is active, changes are no longer permitted.

    Updating Listings

    While auctions are in a "Pending Status" the seller can review and update the auction details. To do this, the seller can click on the "List Auctions" link provided under the "Sell" tab on the Sportlots menu bar located at the top of every Sportlots page. This will bring the seller to a screen that lists all of their auctions and breaks them down into three categories:

  • Pending: Auctions that have been listed today that are still not active. The seller can click on the auction and make changes while in this status. The seller can also delete the auction while in Pending Status.

  • Active: These are auctions that are currently running. Auctions in this status can no longer be updated because updates at this point could have an impact on bidders that have already placed bids.

  • Completed: These are auctions that have gone to a SOLD status, but have yet to be added to a Sportlots Order. Buyers have 5 days from the SOLD date to create a Sportlots order. Sportlots gives buyers this time to try to combine orders to reduce postage costs. However, if an order is not created within 5 days, Sportlots will automatically create the Sportlots order for the buyer and notify them that payment is due. Auctions that have gone 3 days and did not receive any bids will also stay in Completed status for a period of time. Periodically, Sportlots will clear these auctions off the list.

    Unpaid Auctions

    Sportlots allows buyers 17 days (21 days if payment is coming from Canada) from the creation of an order to get payment to Sportlots.

    After 17 days, if the order has not yet been paid for, Sportlots will remove the auction order and send the seller an email informing them that their auction will be re-listed. There will be no additional fees for the auction being re-listed. Sellers have about 24 hours to remove the auction before it is automatically re-listed on their behalf.

    When a buyer fails to pay for an order, this is tracked in the system. The seller's "Auto Block" criteria (See "Setting Auto Block" in this guide) may then prevent this seller from viewing or bidding on future auctions.

    This seller may also be able to manually block this particular buyer to prevent them from bidding on their auctions in the future.

    SOLD Auctions

    Once auctions are SOLD, sellers can see these in their list of auctions under the SOLD section. Auctions will stay in this listing until an order is either created by the customer or automatically created for the customer after a maximum of 5 days.

    Once the order has been created, the auction will be removed from the SOLD auction listings and instead will show up in the Account Summary screen in the form of a Sportlots order. Please see the "Account Summary" section in this guide for more information.

    Auction Fees

    Auction fees are quite simple and straightforward. Sportlots doesn't believe that a seller should be charged based on the final value of the auction. Instead, Sportlots will just charge the seller a straight 15 cents per auction listing. The only other Sportlots fees that could apply are the following optional fees:

  • Highlighting: Hightlights the auction so it stands out above other auctions. The fee for this option is 10 cents.

  • Site Level Featured: Provides homepage exposure for the auction. Also allows the seller to designate a higher minimum price up to $2,000 for the auction. The fee for this option is $2.50. This fee helps to insure that only very high valued items are listed on the home page and that the auction has enough value to warrant a minimum price for the auction to help protect the sellers investment. These auctions also show up at the top of any auction search results that match the search criteria.

    Auctions with over 60 bids placed automatically are listed as Site Level Featured items regardless if the seller has paid for this service. This is to promote highly popular auction items regarless if the seller has paid for the service.

  • Category Level Featured: Provides homepage exposure for the auction. Also allows the seller to designate a higher minimum price up to $25 for the auction. The fee for this option is $1.00. This fee helps to insure that only higher valued items are listed on the category page and that the auction has enough value to warrant a minimum price for the auction to help protect the sellers investment. These auctions also show up at the top of any auction search results that match the search criteria.

    All Sportlots listing and optional fees above are charged during the listing of the auction and remain in tact regardless if the auction received any bids, was paid for by the buyer or was adjusted by the seller or through an issue received from the buyer.

    Sellers are also required to pay any PayPal transaction fees that are incurred when buyers pay with PayPal.

  • PayPal's 30 cent flat fee is spread out between each of the sellers involved in the transaction. So for example if three sellers sold cards within one order, the 30 cents is split up between each of the sellers.

  • PayPal also charges a percentage of the total purchase price including postage costs. This amount for US buyers is 2.9% and PayPal charges 3.9% for any international payments.

    All Paypal fees are not reversed if the buyer is refunded for any reason. Refunds to the buyer are not refunded back to the buyers PayPal account, instead the refund is given back to the buyer in the form of a credit that can be reused back on the site for additional purchases. Therefore, PayPal fees are not recovered.

    One important point to note is that, because Paypal charges this 30 cent flat fee, it is possible in rare situations that the Paypal fees could be a significant portion of the sale, especially when a buyer is purchasing just a single, low bid auction from a single seller. There is no good solution to this situation for the seller when this occurs. Here's why:

  • It is against Paypal policy (and against the law in many states) to add a surcharge to credit card payments. So adding a fee to Paypal payments to cover the Paypal costs is not an option. The only way around this is to add a processing fee on to EVERY order. This is not a good option.

  • Not allowing Paypal payments on small orders. This is not a good option because many of our best buyers on Sportlots started out with small orders until they have gained confidence in Sportlots and our sellers. By not allowing Paypal payments on smaller orders may discourage these potential customers from ever using Sportlots from the start.

    Our solution is to allow Paypal payments on all orders, but if buyers continue to use Paypal for consistently small orders over time, the Paypal option will be removed for them until their average sales increase. Then the Paypal option will be restored for them.

    We know that giving Paypal all of the sales for a small order is a tough pill to swallow. What we ask is that sellers look at the Paypal transactions fees as a monthly cost of doing business instead of looking at these fees on an order by order basis. In most cases, these fees will then look less significant and more acceptable with the knowledge that about 80% of our sales come through Paypal.