In a recent SlapStart feature, some brilliant, wise (and pretty-good looking) sage, said:
…I suspect many developers are … merging the simplicity and ease of the WordPress platform with a targeted, service-oriented business model…
Very scintillating, no? That prescience reverberated in my head upon checking out today’s feature, AuctionPress. AuctionPress is a platform for WordPress and it enables anyone – programmer or not – to quickly and effortlessly create their own auction site.
AuctionPress harnesses the power of WordPress to create ‘ready-to-go’ SEO-friendly auction websites that can be set up in minutes with little or no programming knowledge required. Every purchase includes the following list of tantalizing features: unlimited installations, instant theme downloads, lifetime free updates and support, easy on/off customization options, member profiles and messaging, public and private auctions, advanced admin tools, and lots more.
These guys/gals aren’t messing around.
Signing up gives you access to many auction themes. A quick glimpse shows just how aesthetically pleasing they are (unlike other auction names that shall-remain-unnamed.) Each theme is WordPress 3.0-, widget-, Adsense- and Google-Maps-ready. But only an actual screenshot can really do AuctionPress justice. You’ll see how dynamic the theme really is, with helpful call-outs, plus room for advertising.
The administrative area dashboard, of course, looks just like WordPress; click on “Add New Auction,” for example, and it’s the same exact process by which you’d add, say, a new blog post. Quick and easy. There’s also a host of plug-ins, analytics, and helpful tools that Wordrpess users have become accustomed to. Even better, there’s a section on the left-hand sidebar that provides additional, Auction Press-specific plug-ins. It includes items like Quick Help, Members, Payments, Order Manager, and Email Manager.
The more time I spent with the theme, the more I realized what AuctionPress has accomplished. WordPress, as a standalone platform, is pretty simple. You blog, you post your blogs, and that’s about it. Auction platforms are inherently not-so-simple. Think about it. You have to manage tons of content (the items themselves), customer account information, and intelligently organize items in categories. You have to manage payments. You have to stay in touch with members to make them feel loved. Furthermore, from the technical side, there’s the “remaining time” stuff. You know, “This auction will expire in 24 days, 2 hours, and 4 minutes.” I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to build that. Replicating that functionality – much less across dozens, if not hundreds of items – is no joke. AuctionPress does it all, and makes it look pretty effortless.
And as a nice side note, AuctionPress’s timing is impeccable. I try to keep politics out of my columns, but a cursory web search revealed that sellers aren’t too happy with eBay nowadays. Beyond the typical complaints of scamming, sellers also argue that fees are too high and that the platform isn’t small business-friendly.
Take that aforementioned tangent for what you will. AuctionPress stands alone as a powerful and user-friendly tool; it also just happens to be going live at a time where demand for other auction options is high. Happy little coincidence!
Politics aside, it’s just really cool how dissatisfied veterans of the online auction wars or budding entrepreneurs can now go out and create their own platform. It wasn’t always like that; you were always beholden to the big players, for the aforementioned reasons (e.g. absolutely insane technical complexity.) Well, no longer. AuctionPress is a monopoly-crusher. A trust-buster! The Teddy Roosevelt of the Web development world! Speak softly and carry a big…page of code!
All of this heralds a new Web development age that is both democratic and egalitarian. The stars have aligned to take the engineering power out of the few and into the many. WordPress, as repeatedly noted, is shockingly simple (and fun), and now we have AuctionPress, which can make any intrepid entrepreneur the next Meg Whitman (that’d be the ex-CEO of eBay.)
Heck, next thing you know, you’ll be spending $180 million – that’s $43 per voter – of your own money on a failed gubernatorial bid!
Everyone can dream, can’t they?