12/09/2013 (press release: abradley) // Las Vegas, NV, USA // Aaron Bradley
When you want to compete against eBay as Auction Fire is attempting to do, thinking outside the box is essential. Hence the holiday promotion that is running at the free online auction website: Save Christmas from the Elf Rebellion. It seems the Elves have gone rogue. They’re under-appreciated, overworked, underpaid, mad as heck and they ain’t gonna take it anymore! With randomly generated names like Merry Shiny-buckle, funny elf animations will be hiding in auctions through the remainder of the holiday season. When a registered user discovers and clicks on one of the wayward toy tinkers they are awarded a raffle ticket for a chance to win a prize. The drawing will be held sometime after the New Year.
“I have had no shortage of sellers that have tried our auction site over the years,” explains owner Aaron Bradley who runs Auction Fire singlehandedly from North Las Vegas. “Attracting more bidders has been the real challenge for me. I feel this promotion is a step in the right direction, as I am expecting more page views and potential sales when people play the [Elf Rebellion] game.”
At the top of every page on Auction Fire, a flashing ‘Santa Alert’ provides a clue as to where a Elf fugitive has last been seen. “It’s a pretty simple seek and click game, but the animations and elf names are pretty hilarious and I figure if it entertains me while I am working on it that’s a pretty good indication it should be fun to play.”
There will be more games to follow after the holiday season. Bradley envisions an Easter Egg hunt, a Halloween Haunting game, and a Summertime Scavenger Hunt contest in the New Year and beyond. “I am programming this game with flexibility in mind, so that we can run similar promotions in the future. I will add more sophistication with each new contest.”
Since it publicly launched in 2003, Auction Fire has had some past success in the free auction niche, boasting around 23,000 verified registered members and over 26 million page views in that time. Bradley feels he is on the cusp to becoming a serious competitor as a free eBay alternative. “I get tons of emails from disgruntled sellers who are fed up with eBay’s aggressive pricing and increasingly strict policies. Apparently there has been some kind of major purge over there in recent months. They encourage me to keep doing what I am doing, to keep making improvements, that they will help spread the word. There is definite appeal to those sellers who are tired of paying fees and having their profits marginalized and diluted in a very crowded [eBay] marketplace.”
Aside from the game and raffle offering, Auction Fire boasts some other innovative concepts. Users can set up keyword want lists that sellers can search to see if there is demand for their offerings. Automatic re-list allows a seller to keep his/her auction going past its expiration time, saving him/her the time and hassle of having to type a new ad. Sellers can customize their own auction booth with a description, shipping policy and auction template for a more professional appearance. They can also import their feedback ratings from other sites upon registration for a small fee.
The only thing noticeably missing are a multitude of active bidders. And Santa’s Elves.