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Wednesday, February 10, 1999 Published at 02:42 GMT


Sci/Tech

Net bids for homes



By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall


The Net is changing the way we buy and sell houses
The world's first live online property auction takes place on Wednesday at a London hotel linked to the Internet.

More than 200 houses will be sold by the auctioneers Allsop and Company with The Auction Channel Website relaying bids from the Net to compete with those from the room.

Those that have registered on the site for the sale will use software which allows them to see an image of the lot, monitor the progress of bids, add their own and see the prices rising in various currencies.

Interested onlookers can enter a "grandstand" area of the site.

From Ferraris to famous faces

The Auction Channel launched its NetBidLive software for a classic car sale in Switzerland in December. Noone bought any of the Ferraris on offer over the Net but a number of bids were registered.

The site plans link-ups with television and further development of multimedia in the coming months.

It will be the Net host for a "famous faces" watch auction for charity in New York on February 24. Personalities such as Madonna, George Clooney, Michael Schumacher and Bob Hope have donated watches to be auctioned for causes such as child welfare and the environment.

The Auction Channel has a technological edge but it will not have the top end of the online market to itself for long. The world's oldest international auction house, Sotheby's, announced last month it was investing more than $25m in the initial development phase of Sothebys.com.



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