(If you would like to see a replay of this event,click here)

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NEW YORK CITY-Auctions have come back into vogue as a popularformat for selling off distressed assets, as they were two decadesago. However, in the view of Keith Yang, there's a misconceptionthat auctions—whether online or oral outcry—are "a measure of lastresort." He predicts that they'll soon come to be seen as a firstresort, due to their efficiency.

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Founder and president of AuctionPoint, Yang was one of a panelof experts convened for Thursday's GlobeSt.com Webinar, "Reapingthe Benefits of Auctions." CEO John Cuticelli of Racebrook CapitalAdvisors/Sheldon Good summed up those benefits in his openingremarks: "Auctions are a beneficial tool when you're in a marketwhere values are not immediately apparent."

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We're in such a market now, as we were in the days of theResolution Trust Corp. A key differentiator between then and now isthe increasing prominence of technology: Yang noted that theInternet was not mature enough to be a viable medium in the RTCera, while Kev Rivkin, EVP and managing director of REDCCommercial, observed that more of his firm's auctions lately arebeing conducted on the Web.

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Another then-and-now difference, panelists agreed, was thewidespread use of brokers with local market expertise to conducttoday's auctions. Yang called broker-run auctions "the new model,"while Cuticelli said the industry should be concerned about salesrun by marketing event planners rather than brokers.

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Russ Miller, resolutions and closings manager for the OREdepartment of the FDIC, division of resolution and receiverships,walked the online audience through the FDIC's auction process."It's our primary goal to achieve the highest market value at thelowest possible costs to our insurance fund," said Miller.

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Danielle Douglas, managing editor of Real Estate Forumand editor of the monthly Distressed Assets Investor onlinenewsletter, moderated the hour-long discussion. Replays of the May20 event are available on demand until August 19.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.