LONDON, ENGLAND.- This spring, Sothebys will launch mySothebys, a powerful new Web experience on sothebys.com delivering dramatically enhanced online services to Sothebys clients. New features include those that are not currently available anywhere else in the auction world: secure 24/7 access to buying and selling history and open balances with real-time account updates, pre-registration for bidding paddles, instant magnification of lot images, personalized lists of upcoming lots, saved searches, robust communications tools and paperless options for invoices and statements.
mySothebys will be a transformative experience for our clients said Bill Ruprecht, President and Chief Executive Officer. It far exceeds online auction features currently available and will provide our clients with the best auction experience anywhere a combination of rich content, valuable and timely information and useful services that we know our clients want.
Throughout our 263-year history, Sothebys has led the auction world in innovation and has continually demonstrated the flexibility to adapt our services to suit our clients needs. Sophisticated art buyers lead global 24/7 lives and want that same ability to interact and to transact with Sothebys on a global 24/7 basis. mySothebys continues our pioneering role in online technology for the auction world. At any time, from any place, anywhere in the world, our clients can access state-of-the art search capabilities, enjoy outstanding imaging and zooming features which bring art and objects alive and view their own personal and confidential client account information in a safe and secure way.
Following our successful introduction of video gallery tours and our popular podcast features, we also plan to introduce streaming videos of our evening sales, starting this May in New York. mySothebys with its many innovations, represents an historic step forward for the auction world in the information age.
The new features grant Sothebys clients access to the entire transactional path on the Web, from saving a search for a specific item, to tracking a lot as it approaches sale, to obtaining condition reports automatically via e-mail, placing a bid online or pre-registering and printing out a paper version of the saleroom bidding paddle. Immediately after a sale, clients may receive results, invoices, or other post-sale notices, and can see their accounts updated in real time. Archives of account activity buying and selling and auction results for every sold lot will substantially improve clients whether collectors, dealers or institutions later research and recordkeeping. A smoothly functioning instant zoom feature will bring every lot on the site into extreme close up for pre-sale viewing. Many lots will be posted with multiple images. Condition reports will be published as auctions approach; clients can request them in advance and will be notified automatically when a report is complete. Lot searches will become even more precise, and the highly customizable WISHLIST feature will deliver saved search matches on a clients schedule.
24/7 Account Information
One of the most dramatic enhancements of the online auction experience will come through the complete, instant access clients will have to their account information. mySothebys TRANSACTIONS features give clients an ability to look at their own transactions by sale location, to see their own balances, to pull up individual invoices for transactions by account number and selling location. TRANSACTIONS will also include instant access to payment history, consignment and bid histories, with excellent security features in line with the most exacting industry-accepted standards.
WISHLIST continuously searches Sothebys worldwide inventory and automatically informs clients when their requested object becomes available. Clients may save, edit and name their searches, then follow through on positive matches with features that provide the instant gratification of placing a bid. On WISHLIST, an enhanced search or browse function will permit clients to seek lots using ten different search parameters. After saving a search, they will then be notified about matches via email (at a frequency they choose). Wishes last for a specific duration and clients will be continue to be alerted to new matches during that time. When WISHLIST returns a match, a client will have multiple options for using the information from storing the lot on a tracked lots list to placing a bid.
TRACKED LOTS allows clients the ability to follow a specific object through the auction process -- whether they wish to bid or not. By building a custom list of upcoming lots across unlimited categories, locations and sales essentially creating a personalized catalogue the client controls email delivery of condition reports, exhibition announcements, sale reminders and final results. The TRACKED LOTS list is permanent and each lot can be given a specific identity so clients can build a post-sale archive of price performance in areas of the art market in which they collect or have an interest particularly useful for the most active collectors and dealers.
The LOT DETAIL PAGE provides high-resolution images of auction property with great clarity and detail. This includes view and zoom enlargement capability, as well as multiple images -- up to three per each lot for the top 20% of the works in Sothebys catalogues. The LOT DETAIL PAGE will display published condition reports, provide a link to request a report and will feature links to bid on, track and/or register for a paddle for the lot in question.
A PADDLE PRE-REGISTRATION function will be particularly helpful for clients who wish to bypass paddle registration in Sothebys salesrooms. From any computer, clients can print a paper version of their Sothebys bidding paddle, which they can bring with them to the auction and can also review or edit any previous paddle registrations. The auction equivalent of electronic airline check-in, this very useful feature saves time for all auction bidders and will be ideal for dealers who may be bidding on behalf of multiple clients in a particular sale.
ABSENTEE BIDDING gives clients the ability to place advance bids or amend existing bids on their computer up to one hour prior to the sale. As the client will already be logged into their mySothebys account, they will only need to fill in the maximum amount they wish to bid on a certain lot and the information will be entered instantaneously by Sothebys system. Additionally, clients will have the ability to submit a request to bid by telephone up to 24 hours before the sale.
The pre-sale features will also continue to include SOTHEBYS PRIVATE VIEW, streaming videos of specialists talking about collecting and auction related topics which were introduced in 2006. These video podcasts are also available as downloads from iTunes for use on video iPods.
DURING THE AUCTION
Using the LOT TICKER, clients can monitor lots as they are sold in real time. LOT TICKER permits clients to follow sales in real time when they cannot be present in the auction room.
mySothebys will continue to enable clients to register for LIVE, REMOTE BIDDING for selected auctions, which will display lots and bids in real time and notify clients if they are the high bidder. In 2002 Sothebys became the first international auction house to introduce this feature and we expect to further enhance this capability in the near future.
The post-sale features of mySothebys put a wealth of information about Sothebys past sales at the clients fingertips. A SOLD LOT ARCHIVE allows clients the comprehensive ability to search for past lots and view catal