Feeds

Amazon takes $45 million stake in Sotheby's

Buys in name auction house for respectability - but how respectable is Sotheby's?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Updated Amazon.com has spent $45 million on a 1.7 per cent stake in auction house Sotheby's to secure its help in beating online auctioneer eBay at its own game and add a little bit of respectability to its own service.

What respectability, we ask? According to Peter Watson's 1997 book Sotheby's: The Inside Story, the prestigious auction house was responsible for the evasion of customs and national laws to move art treasures covertly around the globe in pursuit of the best price. But don't take our word for it, Amazon management -- you can look up yourself through your own e-bookstore, which sells copies of Watson's work.

Should they find stocking such an item way too embarrassing, interested readers can look here here. In any case, eBay's ongoing technical problems may benefit Amazon more than a flashy, high-profile deal like this.

Central to the deal is the formation of a joint online auction project, though both companies will continue with their existing online auction services. The agreement isn't without precedent -- eBay bought a San Francisco-based auction house earlier this year -- and marks another stage in the online auctioneering business' attempt to be seen as a serious operation and not some glorified classified ads business.

Part of that desire for respectability centres on the need to be seen to be protecting potential bidders by authenticating items offered for auction. Sotheby's will provide Amazon with the expertise to do that. It should also help allay the fears of potential bidders that they're not going to get conned out of $1000 on something worth merely a fraction of that. Then again in a world where beanie babies are considered collectors items, you have to wonder...

Of course, the real benefit is that alongside better authentication comes better valuation, so reserve prices are likely to increase, and thus any commission the online auctioneer may choose to charge. The deal also gives Amazon a well-known auction house brand name to work with, and since the online auctioneering business is as much about building user bases to better tempt online advertisers, this is no bad thing for the e-store. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.