Michael Bugeja

Online Coin Auctions

Michael Bugeja

Michael Bugeja, a coin collector since childhood, is a professor at Iowa State University and also a former member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. He is a nationally known author, journalist and educator.

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Smartphone glitz causes glitches

Increasing use of smartphones is beginning to undermine numismatic bidding platforms too slow to adapt to the vagaries of mobile technology. The issue is digitally complex. New phones incorporate the latest apps with an array of functions. All that glitz causes glitches, frustrating online bidders.

In the past, Internet bidding was done via desktops in the home. That no longer is the case. Many hobbyists are advancing in years, but more are also using mobile phones for pleasure and business.

In fact, one study shows three-fourths of people over age 50 use smartphones and more than half over age 65.

Those demographics include coin hobbyists, too. According to data related to U.S. Mint products, younger customers are fewer in number than in the past, while the core consumer group is age 65 and older.

Proxibid has told me it is working on improving its mobile technology. It had best move quickly, as other platforms, such as HiBid.com, have easier smartphone functions. I still prefer Proxibid for its security and customer service, but soon those advantages may cease to retain customers using smartphones for much of their online business.

The issue with Proxibid concerns its program. It asks users whether they want the desktop or mobile view when bidding on coins. The mobile view has fewer glitches, but fewer options, such as monitoring past pre- and winning bids.

Any company that asks ”desktop or mobile view?” hasn’t kept up with technical progress.

The photo above shows what can happen when trying to bid on a lot using a smartphone in “desktop view.” The technology still should have worked. I tried to use the vertical and horizontal functions on my Samsung Galaxy 4 to increase my bid, but when I hit the bidding tab, Proxibid thought I wanted an enlarged view of the lot.

So then I had to log out, go to my email alert that informed me that I was outbid, hit the link again, log in again, switch to mobile view, etc.

To be honest, my reaction was: Enough of this; I’ll bid again when I return to my desktop at home.

The issue that fewer folks will be using or buying desktops, while more will be relying on smartphones as their main computer. We’re also seeing this in consumer purchases, with more last year being made via smartphone than computer.

The newest smartphones also are doubling as home computers. 

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