to hold fire-sale clearance auction, the online auction subsidiary of Yahoo Australia and New Zealand, will host what the company claims will be the largest online auction of brand-name computer equipment in Australian history.

The Big Brand Sale auction, from May 27 to June 11, will act as a clearing house for distributors looking to dump cancelled orders, superseded, ex-demo and surplus stock prior to the end of the financial year, without hurting their regular channel, according to Mark Robberds, business development manager for Yahoo.

Yahoo claims IBM, Apple, HP, Sony, Lexmark, Canon, Toshiba, Philips, Compaq and Samsung will be represented. Robberds said a recent user survey showed that 53 per cent of online purchasers said brand was the most important thing when buying via the Net. This was followed by 35 per cent of users who nominated price.

Robberds said the auction will bring together both price and brand names as distributors will be offering up to hundreds of dollars off list prices. As such, a percentage of all distributors' stock will be put on auction at "$1 no reserve", which Robberds said generates a lot of excitement from users as the market decides what value the product is.

Yahoo said the type of equipment available includes millions of dollars worth of scanners, digital cameras, laptops, monitors, notebooks, photocopiers, software, mobile phones, PDAs and electrical items such as column heaters and desk fans. High-end servers will also be available.

The auction works by users registering with Yahoo for a password and login, and then bidding for particular items over the two-week period. Some items will be auctioned throughout the period, whereas others will close within a certain time frame. Users are e-mailed when they have been out-bid or if they have been successful in acquiring the product.

Yahoo has already confirmed that distributors Ingram Micro, Frank Vaughn Electricity, Computer Source, Computer Disposals, PC Auctions, Cost Plus Computers, Hanimex and Verbatim will participate in the auction.

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