In some parts of the country, its a way of liquidating the belongings of a business, home, or family estate. These are usually much more than garage or yard sales. They are used when someone is in need of a way to sell items due to downsizing, moving, divorce, bankruptcy, closing of business, or new inventory or death.
The public is invited to bid online on the business or home liquidating items via online auction. At times there are items that are not for sale because the family or business owners has decided to keep them or new owners have made them part of a contract to buy the business or house. Auctions are where everything is auctioned off online instead of being marked with a selling price.