Help arrives for auction 'power sellers'

Andale Inc. hopes it has found something that is quickly becoming extinct in the Internet industry -- an untapped market.

Andale Inc. hopes it has found something that is quickly becoming extinct in the Internet industry -- an untapped market.

In early November, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company will roll out an online auction business management system designed to help sellers on sites like eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) and Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN) keep track of their transactions.

According to Andale's research, about 4 percent of eBay's sellers are responsible for 80 percent of sales. Many of these "power sellers" are running hundreds of auctions at once. With that many auctions, managing post-sale coordination and record keeping can quickly become a full time job.

Help for the 'power seller'
Former "power seller" and newly-hired Andale employee Heidi LeVell said she was spending 10-15 hours a day and working six to seven days a week managing her auctions.


'I was pulling in $10,000 to $15,000 per month pure profit. The problem was at a certain level I peaked out and I realized I would probably have to hire someone to help me.'
-- Heidi LeVell, former 'power seller'

"I was pulling in $10,000 to $15,000 per month pure profit," Levell explained. "The problem was at a certain level I peaked out and I realized I would probably have to hire someone to help me. I really wasn't comfortable doing that."

Andale plans to help automate the auction selling process by enabling sellers to list auctions across multiple sites, creating mailing lists of customers, and providing tools to keep track of inventory and financial records.

"We believe these guys need a single console to handle the back-end management of the auction," said Andale CEO Munjal Shah. "We want to be the one stop shop for all of these sellers."

Andale will begin beta testing its services with a pre-selected group of 50 sellers on Oct. 5. When the site officially launches in November, sellers will pay a per-transaction fee to use the services.

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