Going Once...Going Twice...

Not a chance. Online auctions are here to stay.

Chuck Rozanski has a costly addiction, and he's not ashamed to admit it. In fact, the Denver entrepreneur will proudly tell you he spends roughly $1,000 per week to feed his habit, thanks to his discovery of online auctions.

His passion: collecting Indian pottery, which he purchases at Web auction sites and prominently showcases in his office. But while Rozanski may spend $50,000 a year on his pottery hobby, he earns about 10 times that amount in auction sales for his business, milehighcomics.com.

Rozanski, 44, who currently auctions his comics on Amazon.com and his own Web site, was using auctions in his business long before anyone had heard of the online version. Since 1985, he's conducted live auctions in his six retail stores in Colorado and California.

"We did them as a thank-you to our regular customers," Rozanski says. "We never expected to make much money."

Nor does Rozanski expect big profits from his Web-based auction, launched in 1997, or from other auction sites where his comics are listed. Thus far, sales from the online auctions have translated to about 10 percent of the company's overall annual sales of $5.5 million. In fact, Rozanski sees far greater value in the new customers brought to milehighcomics.com by the company's presence on high-traffic sites like Amazon.com and eBay.

"When you're using an outside auction, even though you may not get an optimal price on what you're trying to sell, it will definitely drag people to your own site," Rozanski says. "Auctions right now are the cheapest and easiest portals to attract traffic."

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This article was originally published in the February 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Going Once...Going Twice....

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