The Auction Wizard® Story

The original Auction Wizard was designed by Standing Wave Software, Inc. and WEST-WORD Services Corp. to efficiently track, upload and manage the eBay auction liquidation of the Jimmy Starr Collection and the Estate of Cherie Starr.

When WEST-WORD Services Corp. was tasked with the probate duty of liquidating these substantial collections of Hollywood memorabilia and keepsakes, eBay's online auction service provided the best means to obtain the true market value for the estate assets that our fiduciary duty required. But, it seemed that every day presented seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to sell the estate assets on eBay.

The need for a professional-class, relational database was immediately evident. An inventory of nearly 3,000 separate pieces of Hollywood memorabilia and cinema collectibles together with their pictures, descriptions, and physical locations (so we could find them) required a professional tool. Standing Wave Software, Inc. assisted us with database management software for the inventory, as well as tools to correlate it into individual lots by time period, movie, celebrity personality, and every detail imaginable.

As we prepared for the estate eBay auctions, we realized we needed another professional-class database to manage the myriad details of the auctions. Besides having some 5,000 pictures of the estate assets to store, the process of listing an average of 75 items a week on eBay by switching from program-to-program was a daunting task. Again, Standing Wave Software, Inc. rose to the occasion.

From the initial designs of these two programs, Auction Wizard was born. Adding the desire to create a website for Cherie and Jimmy Starr - a final marquee on the World Wide Web, a place for collectors and fans to read their glamorous Hollywood stories, and a display of the estate items for sale. A true homage to a bygone era, a museum, and an exclusive boutique for browsing items soon to be for sale were all made possible with the most advanced popular technology.

Over the six-month period of the estate eBay auctions, we used two different websites to promote them: one for “This Week” and one for “Next Week”. These websites gave our customers a place to go to closely examine and learn all about what we were and would be offering for sale from the estate. We found that providing a preview of what we’d be listing on eBay created interest and repeat business!

Auction Wizard evolved to automatically generate our websites, and eliminated the tedium of creating them by hand! The more items we listed, the more time we saved!

Once the estate eBay auctions began, we were faced with the time-consuming task of writing and responding to an average of 40 e-mail messages a day. We believed the estate auctions had to be handled in a friendly, dignified, and professional way. Keeping our customers informed of the status of their transactions was essential, because that conveyed respect and integrity, and inspired trust. Auction Wizard was given a fully integrated e-mail system (complete with mail-merge capability and database access from within e-mail messages). The inclusion of e-mail templates facilitated accurate and speedy communications. The time saved with Auction Wizard allowed us to give first-class service to our customers and make great friends along the way.

To see just how much difference communication can make for an eBay seller, take a look at our eBay Feedback Profile.

Before the development of Auction Wizard, closing out the estate auctions was a real juggling act. It left little time to savor the race track-like thrill of watching the last moments of each auction. But, after we automated the nasty bits (i.e. collecting all the important auction-end data), the thrill of Closing Night returned. We could actually enjoy basking in the glow of our CRT, hooting and hollering when bid prices escalated in the last few seconds of an auction!

Because of the fiduciary relationship, keeping complete and accurate records for each transaction was a must. The ability to record income and expenses on a single ledger was essential, as was the need to be able to create reports to thoroughly document the estate auction sales.

During the last half of the estate eBay auctions, we realized that the tools we’d developed to facilitate ourselves would be a boon to ANYONE who wanted to sell ANYTHING on eBay in an efficient and professional way, regardless of volume.

Scott Savage joined us the fourth quarter of 1999. An old friend with a colorful and varied background, Scott brings his talents as a graphic designer, promoter, and consultant to the Auction Wizard team.

The original version of Auction Wizard® made quite a splash with its commercial debut in June of 1999. Selling items on eBay became easier than ever. The amount of time to create an auction lot, list it online, support it with a great look and effortless HTML was reduced to mere minutes. Tracking, managing, and following up on auctions through automation gave users the confidence to approach online selling as a real business. Auction Wizard was recognized as a powerful tool.

The buzz hit the mainstream media in Marsha Collier's eBay Magazine article, the second edition of her book, eBay for Dummies, and in Bruce Frey's Online Auctions! edition of the "I Didn't Know You Could Do That..." series.

For all the attention and praise, we weren't comfortable resting on our laurels. Updates, enhancements, and tweaks followed. Many of them were the suggestions from users, telling us their experiences and requesting features that would help them in their day-to-day operations.

The list grew. Our ideas from watching the growth and changes in the online auction community were added. Technology changed. The need for an even more powerful seller's tool became clearly apparent.

From a list of requested features, innovative ideas, and the same good business fundamentals used in Auction Wizard, an outline was created for Auction Wizard 2000. Dutch auctions were a must-have feature. Support for multiple users on a network would help sellers whose office is staffed with employees who each specialize in a different aspect of the business. Expanding the capacity for multiple email accounts, multiple FTP servers, even multiple User ID's brought up the idea of expanding to multiple auction sites. Yahoo! Auctions and both have substantial auction communities. Adding more auction sites means that a seller has access to even greater markets.

Auction Wizard, for all its strengths, was not a sufficient base to simply add the planned features. The new solution represented a shift in the underlying paradigm, and a completely new program evolved. Over 110,000 lines of fresh code were written in just under twelve months. Rigorous testing, beginning internally with the email system, proved that the new program had more power than imagined. The old limitations were replaced with boundless potential.

The hard work paid off.

February 28, 2001 marked the release of Auction Wizard 2000 and it is still growing. As new features are developed they are released as updates to the program - free of charge.

The future holds more advancements, innovations, and enhancements for online auction sellers. Auction Wizard 2000 is your key to that future.