Local Man Launches New Auction Site

    GRAND RAPIDS — Nearly three years after forming his own Web design company, Kurt Kaptein is back in the auction business.

    Kaptein, president of Spectrum Net Design Inc., last month launched www.biddersauction.com, a local Internet auction site to bring together sellers and buyers online.

    “The same concepts still apply,” said Kaptein (pronounced “captain”), who served as marketing director for Miedema Auctioneering Inc. prior to forming Spectrum. He defines Spectrum Net Design as a full-service Web design and hosting company.

    He said his vision for biddersauction.com LLC is to run an Internet auction site that’s fair and credible to both sellers and buyers.

    “It’s fun to put people together and the sellers are happy and the buyers are happy and they go on their way,” he said.

    “What we wanted to do is have people look at this as a place to move any item.”

    He said the site, featuring merchandise in 85 product categories, is just getting off the ground and right now simply represents “something on the side.”

    Kaptein started www.biddersauction.com after becoming convinced that a local online auction site could work.

    He said his goal was to develop an auction site devoid of what he sees as the negative aspects of Internet marketplace and auction giants such as eBay.com.

    Biddersauction.com, for instance, does not charge a listing fee, instead allowing sellers to list an item for free for up to 10 days.

    He explained that the site generates its revenue through commissions charged when an item sells. Commissions range from 5 percent on items sold for up to $25, to 2.5 percent for sales of $25 to $1,000, and 1.5 percent for items that sell for more than $1,000.

    He said browsers may also access the site for free.

    The setup is designed to generate traffic to the site by both sellers and buyers, Kaptein added.

    “It is important that the listings are substantial and diverse as this only serves to attract more buyers to the auction and increase the selling price of the items of the sellers,” he said. “It comes down to service.”

    Kaptein has built into the site a function that avoids the ability of someone to “steal” an item by placing a bid at the last minute that barely beats all others and leaves no time for somebody to place a higher bid.

    This practice, he said, is a major annoyance for buyers who sell via Internet auction sites.

    In the e-version of “Going once! Going twice! Going three times! Sold,” Auctionbidders.com automatically requires at least five minutes of inactivity before any auction sale closes.

    The process, Kaptein said, is to assure fairness to sellers because it guarantees the best price for an item and eliminates a buyer from having his or her bid undercut at the last second, often by people using software programs designed to enter late bids on undervalued items.

    “That’s fair to the sellers and to the buyers.”

    Kaptein said he’s keenly aware of the challenges of establishing the credibility of any new online auction Web site.

    He told the Business Journal that before designing the new site, he reviewed other active auction sites and mulled over the negative feedback they receive.

    He said he wanted a broad product and price range because such an arrangement attracts more buyers to the auction, and the greater the number of bidders, the greater the prices sellers are likely to receive.

    He said the Web site offers a studio feature which allows the navigator to speedily review all the items available without scrolling through page after page.

    Spectrum Net Design’s offices are at 2465 Burlingame SW.

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