What is an Adoptable Auction?
An Adoptable Auction it's like a normal auction, with an adoptable on the plate and the highest point/money offer wins. These are not 'first come, first serve' adoptables.
Is it the same thing as a Name-Your-Price Adoptable?
Both can cause a bidding war, but no, they're not the same thing. Auctions are more organized and have more terms to them that the NYP Adopts. NYP Adopts usually have a price range and not a starting bid, they don't have an autobuy, nor a minimum bid raise and end when the Adoptable Creator feels like it.
Bid = Money/Point Offer
Starting Bid/Base Bid (SB) = The first and lowest bid you can make for the adoptable (usually decided by the Adoptable Creator)
Minimum Raise = The minimum amount of money/points that you need to add to a previous bid to beat it (usually decided by the Adoptable Creator)
Autobuy/Buyout (AB) = The price that you need to pay to be sure to get the adoptable (usually decided by the Adoptable Creator)
Reserve Price = The price under which the Adoptable Creator won't sell the adoptable despite the start of the auction (higher than the Starting Bid but lower than the Autobuy, it's not very common to find one on dA)
Bid Comment = A comment made by the Adoptables Creator where you reply with your bids
How do I make an auction?
Create an adoptable
You can't make an auction without having something to sell. Usually Auction Adoptables have a peculiarity that sets them apart from usual pre-sets, be it an extra chibi, or the fact that they're an original species, or a special edit made just for them. (Or you do auctions to get the maximum income possible for every design you make.)
Decide the outline of the Auction
The Adoptable Creator is the one who decides the terms of the auction, and this info needs to be written down in the description. Some info is mandatory, some isn't.
Currency = It may seem stupid, but it's actually not. Maybe you accept only points, or only cash, or you accept both, but you need to *tell* people. Because there'll always be the intelligent guy who offers you cash when you don't have a paypal, or points when you ask for cash. At least you can tell them 'read the description' instead of 'I'm very sorry, but I accept only this kind of payment'.
Starting Bid = Doesn't matter if it's as low as 1, you need to set a starting bid. Because you can't say 'bid what you want' and when someone offers you 18, you tell them that it's a stinky offer because your pre-set adoptables are worth at least 180.
End Date = Tell your bidders when the auction ends. This tells them if they need to stay attached to the PC to bid or if they can go take a pee-stop and it's also a way to give them the assurance that the bidding is fair for everyone.
Imagine this situation: There's a bid war between two bidders. Bidder A has 500 max to give away in the auction but is called away from the PC to have dinner. The Auction Creator sees the last offer from Bidder B at 350 and thinks that Bidder A folded, or feels like the auction was long enough to satisfy him and closes the auction.
The Auction Creator might have earned more if he had waited, and Bidder B will be disappointed for having lost the auction and probably will be a little reluctant to bid again with that Auction Creator.
Minimum Raise = You can set this if you are auctioning for high prices and don't want the bid to go up point by point. Many bidders know how annoying that is and limit themselves to numbers ending with a 0 or a 5, but some will use every single number available from 0 to 9 if you let them.
Autobuy/Buyout = You can set this as low or as high as you want, in comparison to the starting bid, depending on what you want to tell your bidders. A low one says 'Come on, it's low enough to autobuy, give me the little extra needed to reach it', a medium one says 'I know it's high but if the auction progresses it won't be that unreasonable, and you could be sure to get it' and a high one says 'you know, just in case'.
Reserve Price = I personally don't like this, because if you have a reserve price, what's stopping you from putting *that* as a starting bid? But if you have a price under which you won't sell, you need to tell your bidders and not sprung it on them after the auction has already started.
Bid Comment = You may want one of these to keep tidy the comment board, but face it, it's not going to happen. Unless you have the 'Oldest Comments First' option checked, your Bid Comment will be pushed under the new comments. People will ignore it anyway and bid where they feel like it. And you'll have to play shepherd because, even if you say 'bids not on the bid comment won't be considered', you'll still go tell people because bids are yummy and you don't want to lose them.
So you have set all the terms, have posted the Auction and are ready for the bids. I like to keep a 'Highest Bid' line in my auctions, so people can check up there who's leading the auction without browsing all the comments.
Always remember to tell a bidder if they've been outbid, until they tell you that they fold. Remember that people have a life outside the internet (Orly? Yarly!) and just because they don't reply to your oubid comment, it doesn't mean that they won't reply to the second one when they see them.
So the auction is over. Write the winner's name in the Adoptable Description and ask for the payment.
When does an auction end?
Time Ending 1 = The auction ends within [X Hours, decided by the Adoptable Creator] from the first bid
Time Ending 2 = The auction ends within [X Hours, decided by the Adoptable Creator] from the moment the Auction Adoptable has been posted
Bid Ending = The auction ends when the highest bid has remained the same for [X Hours/Days, decided by the Adoptable Creator]
Random Ending = The auction ends when the Adoptable Creator feels like it
Snipeguard = When, in a Time Ending 2 Auction, somebody bids a couple of minutes before the closing time (that's called Sniping), the auction end gets pushed forward a couple of hours.
What if the winner doesn't pay me?
Give them a time limit (one day or two, usually), and after that give the adoptable to the second highest bidder.
No one bid on my auction.
Well, perhaps something went wrong. Try to check these things about your auction:
Auctions are harder to sell than normal pre-set adoptables (don't ask me why), so submitting it to 4-5 groups is not going to cut it. Unless you're the Adoptable God, have 1 million pageviews and people scratch at your message board to ask you for adoptables.
Did you write down the Currency, Starting Bid and the End Date? Lack of information is something that discourages people from bidding, because it's up to *you* as seller to organize the auction, not them. And how can the bid correctly when they don't know the rules?
Time Ending 1
Time Ending 1 is a double edged blade. Because when it starts, people bid faster (and higher) to get it within the time limit, but if it doesn't start, you remain with an unsold adoptable. Try Time Ending 2 if you don't have the patience to do the Bid Ending.
I've written a Journal about pricing adoptables, but unfortunately Auctions rarely follow the usual pricing rules. They don't have a set price outside the Starting Bid and depend on how much the bidders like the design, so they're exclusively dependent on the design and art quality.
Hear the sound of truth, people can't see behind what's physically in front of them. It doesn't matter that you spent a month on that drawing or that you think that the quality has improved a lot from your gallery level. People don't care about your time, they don't care about your gallery, if they don't think the art is worth it, they won't bid.
You can try doing a NYP Adopt, and see how much people are willing to give you for a design similar to the one you offered for auction. Then, based on how much you earned and how much was bid, you can raise the stakes a little and do another auction, with a similar price range to what you got in the NYP Adopt.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.
Adoptables Journals Series:
Adoptables, Basics for Adopters
Adoptables, Basics for Adoptables Artists
Adoptables, Writing an Artist's Description
Adoptables, Design Tutorial
Adoptables, Buying Adoptables
Original Species Tutorial
The Purchase Button and P2U Deviations
Adoptables, Original Species Confusion
Adoptables, I sold one, now what?