Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Quibids Strategy - 1: The Volunteer's Dilemma

Quibids strategy is nothing straightforward or simple because the strategy is also dependent on the actions of other people. In other words, there cannot be the 'best' Quibids strategy because the best will depend on the other people. Therefore there is no golden bullet that will ensure you get your Quibids Macbook for $50!

However, there are certain instances and patterns that you can catch, and these will give you a good head start. The main point to note is, the Quibids strategies that I discuss here are probabilistic, which means you are NOT guaranteed to win. However, I will try to demonstrate my strategies with examples.

I plan to make a series of different Quibids strategies to help my readers, depending on the response. I hope something will be useful to you as well.

Understanding the Volunteers dilemma as relevant to Quibids strategy

So the first strategy I discuss is to do with the famous Volunteer's Dilemma of Game Theory. Let me first present the explanation of this as relevant to Quibids. If you want to know more about these concepts, please follow the above links to Wikipedia.

In Quibids strategy, a volunteer's dilemma occurs when two or more competing players are bidding for an auction and then there is another person who steps in. Seems simple enough? Well not really. Read on!

Let us consider a simple case first - say players A and B are competing for the prized Quibids macbook. Both their strategies are simple - bid at the last moment before the timer runs out. Each one follows this strategy, so that when the timer is about to go 0:0:0, they hit the bid button so they are the current winners. This is a fairly obvious Quibids strategy but not of great interest here but may be I'll discuss this in more detail some other time.

Now suppose a third person C comes in and bids. What should you do? Who among you, A and B, is supposed to bid? Let us see the thought process. A says, "If I bid now, B will anyway bid again after me, so I don't want to waste my bid. Let B bid and then I'll bid after him." Seems logical right? Well the problem is, B is thinking the exact same thing! This creates huge problems for both because each one wants to save their bid and in the result, neither of them bids and C becomes the winner!!

Does it sound too far fetched? No, it is not! Volunteer's Dilemma is a common occurrence on Quibids and if you want to know about Quibids strategy, this is a very strong one. One immediate advantage to you, as C, is that with only a few bids you can win a great deal. Therefore if you are lucky, you can get your Quibids macbook too, as is demonstrated in my real example below.

Example

Ok, so let me convince you this great Quibids strategy that I discussed actually works. Here is a real example from Quibids on an auction that I was following but not participating in. Here is a screen-shot of the example. Remember it is taken from a real Quibids auction.

Quibids Strategy

See the screenshot? A Quibids Macbook for $30! Seems too good to be true, right? Well, even the winner would not have known that his Quibids strategy for this win was actually the volunteer's dilemma that I discussed here. Let us understand in more detail.

The main players in this auction here - rhazdra, Ithackery, and billcristina. The others were secondary players. Now they were battling out the auction among themselves when all of a sudden some new player Lalig comes along. What do they do? Each one thinks about saving a bid and assuming some other person from the remaining 2 will bid, and neither does. The new player walks away with a brand new Quibids macbook for $30!

I hope my example has shown you how powerful my volunteers dilemma Quibids strategy is.


The Quibids strategy: Step by Step

Here is a step by step guide to help you maximize your earnings on Quibids. I am sure it will be of great help if you are looking to win Quibids auctions or a steal.

  • Choosing the auction: This current Quibids strategy that I discussed works best for smaller auctions, so reserve the other strategies for your Quibids macbook. Instead, try these out for smaller items like cameras or earphones or anything within $150 ideally.
  • Following the auction: The volunteer's dilemma Quibids strategy should not be applied immediately as the auction begins. Instead, it works best when an auction is in progress and you should wait for the right moment. Sometimes it never comes, but don't worry - you have to move on to another auction. This is better than losing a lot of money, right.
  • Understand the auction: As you follow the auction, look for a situation wherein two or more players are battling it out by staying till the last minute. This is important to note because otherwise the players will know that they are locked in the volunteers dilemma and therefore bid accordingly. The trick is they should both be confused - should I or should I not bid.
  • Repeat if needed: The volunteer's dilemma Quibids strategy that I discussed is no foolproof method and you might have to wait and repeat. However, if you are looking for the really cheap goods you can get through Quibids, then you wouldn't mind waiting would you?

Let me know your success with this Quibids strategy and leave your comments.