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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

Auctioneers: The source matters

We are bombarded with information every second of every day. It comes via the Internet, television, radio, and newspapers available to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via our computer, and even more “conveniently” via portable electronic devices — smartphones and the like.

Plus there are countless blogs, podcasts, webinars, and videos posted every second of every day. All these are (as well) available to us no matter where we are or what hour of the day it is, consumable, again, 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

As an auctioneer, what should you believe? Only what you want to believe? Only what agrees with your prior beliefs? As we wrote about in September 2019: Are you looking for information or affirmation?

All information has a source. We would hold possibly the most important thing about any information is: Where it came from? Who wrote it? Who recorded it? Who said it? Once you know that, is this same information shared otherwise word-for-word, and what platform/source is that? Incidentally, if certain information is shared word-for-word (with no changes,) that doesn’t count as a secondary source nor affirmation that now that content is necessarily true.

After the source is identified, it is usually a good idea to investigate (given sufficient time) the motivation of that source to publish or share that information. For instance, if an auctioneer continually complains about a certain issue, why is he or she doing that? What possible gain is made by such complaining? What is he or she hoping will happen as a result? These are the important questions.

What’s your source for the information you write about, share, and comment concerning? What is that source’s reason for publishing? What do they gain by you consuming, quoting, and/or sharing? Sometimes the motivation or reason is obvious, and sometimes it’s not so. Is it money? Probably. Otherwise is it fame? Respect? Do you even know who wrote, recorded, or produced it? It takes careful analysis.

We regularly disseminate information on auction law, customary practice, commercially reasonableness, and industry standards. Like any source, we endeavor to publish accurate information and you’re welcome to question me (which some have openly and some more subtly) as a source — in fact, I’ve written about that as well: Or, if you prefer, I can put you in touch with over 78 attorneys who have hired or worked with us for a testimonial.

We recently suggested your perspective may be such because of your personal experience. Think of all the causes or other ventures you support — are they a result of your personal experience concerning yourself or nearby family or close friends? Probably.

This issue is likely to become more complex and difficult to manage — we’re going to have to be much more careful what we share, what we quote as true, what we write, speak … because of how we have been reacting, there is no incentive to produce any less media (true or false) for us to consume. Unfortunately, you can expect much more fake news than real news in the coming months and years — and we only accurately label any news as correct or “fake” about 40% of the time.

And lastly, what about an article, meme, or the like without an author noted? No source published nor available? Ask yourself: “Why would someone write an article or create a meme with no attribution?” Almost assuredly false (fake) news. I would (again) suggest it pays to be appropriately skeptical: as what might appear to be facts might — in fact — not be.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.

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