Online Pre-Bidding Versus Online Bidding Only

The idea behind Online Pre-Bidding is your guests will start bidding for items before an in-person event and finish bidding on those items at the in-person event. You would use either paper Bid Sheets or have an "auctioneer" lead activity. These approaches would use either the Silent type item or the Live type item.

For an Online Bidding Only event, all bidding would be handled using the Online type for your items. All bidding would take place through the Auction Website, Text Messages, or the Mobile App for Auctria bidders.

You would manage both approaches above by setting appropriate Online Bidding Times for the event and your items specifically as needed. Setting specific Override Online Start and End times is often used with the Online Pre-Bidding approaches.


You can use Online Pre-bidding and Online Bidding Only approaches in your auction. However, there are no reasonable means to apply these approaches to the same item.

Which Should I Use?

The decision to use Online Pre-bidding or Online Bidding Only can be straight forward. Ask yourself:

Do I want the final part of the bidding process to happen during the in-person event?

  • If yes, you would be looking at Online Pre-Bidding.
  • If no, you would be looking at Online Bidding Only.

A Note About "Live" In-Person Auctions

Online Pre-bidding is primarily used with Silent type items. We do not recommend it for Live type item auctions. The Participate in online bidding option is disabled by default for all new Live type items for this reason.


See Live Item Details - Online Bidding for reference.

With Live auctions, the "auctioneer" will often want to manage the bidding. Items will start at a "high" starting bid, and the Online Pre-bidding process could interfere with this. In these cases, for Live type items, ensure the Participate in online bidding option is disabled.

Differences Between Pre-Bidding And Online Bidding

The following table highlights some of the differences between the Online Pre-bidding and Online Bidding Only approaches.

QuestionOnline Pre-biddingOnline Bidding Only
What items are included?Any Silent or Live type item with the Participate in online bidding option enabled.Online type items.
Are there Bid Sheets?Yes, Bid Sheets can be generated.No.
How is the item won?Bidding is closed manually by recording a "Final Bid" for the item.Bidding closes automatically at the effective Online Bidding end time.
Is Maximum Bidding allowed?No, Maximum Bidding (or proxy bidding) is only available with Online type items.Yes.
When is Online Bidding allowed?Between the Online bidding/sales start and **end times.Between the online bidding/sales start and end times.
Is the winner notified automatically?No. A final bid must be recorded for the item, first.Yes, see System Email Notifications for more details.
Is a Buy-It-Now price supported?Yes, although the bid sheet is still generated.Yes.
Is "multiple winners" supported?Yes, although not recommended unless using a "fixed price" allowing a more functional bid sheet to be generated for the specific item.Yes.
Do I have to manually close bidding?Yes. A "final bid" must be recorded to close bidding.No.
Is Kiosk Mode Bidding supported?Yes � during the online bidding period only.Yes.
Is Text Bidding supported?Yes � during the online bidding period only.Yes.

Maximum Bidding And Online Pre-Bidding

The primary issue with Maximum Bidding and Online Pre-Bidding is if we move the bid as shown then the winning paper bid could be lower than the proxy bid amount. However, if we move the full maximum bid amount onto the bid sheet then it is no longer a "proxy bid" since the full amount was used even though nobody bid against the original bidder.

Switching From Online Bidding To Pre-Bidding

If you set up an event with Online items when you intended the bidding be finished at the event on a Bid Sheet you can change the items from Online Items to Silent Items to convert them to a "pre-bidding" approach. This can be done in bulk from the item list page, see How To Make Mass Changes for more details.


The one area this may cause a problem with is items with proxy bids. If proxy bidding was enabled for the event (the default online bidding option) and a bidder placed a proxy bid then you won't know the high bid on the item.

If you attempt to record a silent bid at the end of the event and it is below the proxy bid amount, the silent bid you tried to enter will be discarded and the proxy bid will be bumped up to the level of the silent bid.

In order to remove the Maximum Bid you would need to delete the bid on the item's activity tab so you can then record the winning silent bid (see Remove A Maximum Bid for more details). However, this may cause some confusion for the online bidder that placed the maximum bid since they had bid at least that amount previously.

Last reviewed: June 2023
Online Pre-Bidding Versus Online Bidding Only