Founded in 1996, LiveBid.com was an early pioneer in the live, event-based online auction business. The company was based in Seattle and allowed auctioneers and auction houses to hold auctions over the internet using its real-time software.
In 1999, the three-year-old company was acquired by Amazon which was aiming to grow its own auction business. Amazon hoped to add a new dimension to its business and get the necessary edge over its main competitor eBay. The e-commerce giant hoped to use its 8 million users and LiveBid’s proprietary software to connect auction houses with the large auction community on the internet.
Amazon bought LiveBid within a month of launching its own auction service called Amazon Auctions. Unfortunately, Amazon Auctions never gained much traction and was lagging behind its competitors. By 2001, Amazon had laid off 15% of the Auctions staff and cut back on customer support. This also affected the operations of LiveBid which would shut down soon after.
When LiveBid.com was acquired by Amazon back in 1999, the company seemed optimistic about the future. They revealed that the acquisition connected them to a large potential audience and they started capturing the attention of many regional and international auctions. They believed that Amazon was the right customer-centric company to take its auction business forward.
Unfortunately, LiveBid’s trust in Amazon didn’t amount to much as the e-commerce giant stopped pursuing its auction business for other more profitable ventures. This was followed by major layoffs in its online auction department and the closure of LiveBid.com.