TopHatter is a live, online auction for handmade crafts, jewelry, accessories, home decor, supplies, vintage and kids' stuff. Listing is free and automatic (not juried by TopHatter admin) so you can upload product listings and schedule them for auction easily.
Scheduling is pretty simple: you choose available dates and times from a drop down menu. You build seller reputation when you successfully sell items on TopHatter, and the higher your reputation, the higher your priority when choosing auction dates.
As a seller, TopHatter takes a 10% commission on sold items and the highest bidder pays you directly to your Paypal account.
When putting up a listing, they suggest a starting bid price of 50% – 75% off your retail price, which makes sense for encouraging bidders. This auction I'm in right now has over 70 participants, and I would expect the number to increase when they do bigger marketing pushes and people become more aware of their service.
Bidding as a buyer is a very quick process, just like at real auction houses (minus the hefty price points). Of course, no one in their right mind would bid at a price above your listed retail price, so as a seller, besides the 10% commission, be prepared to eat up more costs when trying TopHatter out. People are buying your items at a discount, essentially.
Overall, it sounds like a pretty great marketing idea for getting your website and products noticed by a large crowd in little time, plus you get to cash in on sales quickly. I can see this working really well for OOAK items (one of a kind). I have my first product going up for bidding in February, so I'll write a review on my experience. Some auction lots don't sell though, so you're not guaranteed a sale but at least you can plug your website to a live audience!