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LeWeb: Sokoz turns real-time auctions into web entertainment

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[FRANCE] Sokoz is a quick-fire real-time, reverse auction platform in beta that makes bidding for online goods dangerously fun for the shopping-addicted. The site is available in French and English.

Watch the Sokoz pitch at 00:10:55

Each auction starts with a top price which begins to fall until either the reserve price is reached or all units of the product are passed. Like a shopping channel TV show, live sales begin at a scheduled time — you snooze, you lose.

The schedules within each sales category are made visible 48 hours in advance and each sale runs for a maximum of 10 minutes. Buyers never have to register a payment method with the site, as Sokoz offers 1-click payment via transaction partner Ogone.

Sokoz vets all participating companies to make sure they provide a certain level of quality and after-sales service standards. There 135 professional sellers on the platform, including event-driven sellers in the travel and leisure sector.

Sokoz was founded in 2007 by CEO Tanguy Lesselin, and launched its patent-pending live sales platform in May 2009. The company says its model gives sellers a few new alternatives to traditional sales methods, in that they can spin specific sales promotions out of more traditional strategies, or even facilitate a fire sale without prejudice to their brand.

It makes for a good spectator sport, apparently: the company’s survey of the first few users reveal that 97% of participants want to return to purchase and those who do not intend to buy still enjoyed the performance. Interestingly, like honesty boxes, the products sell for slightly higher than the best market price.

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