Thursday, September 22, 2011

Interview with Greg Smith of BidWhammy

I had the opportunity to interview Greg Smith, the co-founder of BidWhammy. BidWhammy is an interesting variation of auction, and falls in the category of entertainment auctions. However, it is quite different from traditional penny auctions. Read the interview to find out more about this new and exciting auction site.

Sid: BidWhammy isn't a typical penny auction. How does it differ from other traditional penny auctions like Quibids
Greg: Hi Sid, first we would like to thank you for taking the time to explore BidWhammy and give us this great opportunity to talk directly to the readers of your blog.

BidWhammy came about because of the problems we saw with typical penny auctions. Ben and I have both been huge fans of penny auctions for a long time and we did quite a lot of bidding for a few years. We, like a lot of customers, have felt the frustration of the extending timer. To us, it felt like too much randomness and wasted time, like we really had no control. I would sit there clicking and basically punching my keyboard every time someone would bid after me. That’s when we started talking and thought there had to be a better way. That’s why at BidWhammy you will never find an extending timer, we really hate them with a passion. The other problem we saw was the huge profits these companies were making off their customers. Don’t get me wrong, profits are not a bad thing, however, the penny auction industry markets itself as a way to save big money, but it’s really hard to tell people you’re saving them big money when you’re making 450% profits on a Kindle. That’s why on BidWhammy we pre-set the number of bids to end an auction. The biggest thing we love about BidWhammy is the control we give to the bidders. We tell you the position of your last bid and you have the chance to win IggyVision’s that you can use strategically to see the bid count for free. Everything we did on BidWhammy is focused around giving people the best chance at winning products without spending hundreds of dollars in the process.

Sid: Do you think other penny auctions would like to follow a model similar to yours?
Greg: I doubt it, first they would have to agree to give up huge profits. There was a lot of time spent on our bid process as well. We put a ton of work into making sure the process works smoothly, it’s actually a lot more difficult of a process to develop than the one used at traditional penny auctions.

Sid: Are you going to stick to this model or do you plan to have different models on your site in the near future?
Greg: We love our process and we think once many users figure out just how consumer friendly it is, they will love it too. At this time we have no plans to deviate from our process at all. But, who knows what the creative minds at BidWhammy will come up with in the future. No matter what it is, you can bet it will be consumer friendly.

Sid: What advice would you give people looking to win on BidWhammy?
Greg: I would say the most important piece of advice is to be strategic. We stress the fact that BidWhammy is better because we allow you to strategize. Use the IggyVision’s you win to see the bid count for free at the right times. Also, look into the Seated Auctions because the limited seats will give you better odds to win.

Sid: What are the biggest advantages offered to bidders of BidWhammy compared to traditional penny auctions?
Greg: I would say the biggest advantages are the fact you can win at BidWhammy without spending a lot of money or wasting hours in front of an auction. You’ll know when an auction is going to end. With BidWhammy, the more users there are the quicker products sell, that’s the opposite of a traditional penny auction. Without extending timers you’ll never get sucked into a 3-4 hour auction. We give you all the information you need to be successful. One of the other advantages is the products we can bring to the public. Let’s face it, traditional penny auctions are limited on the products they can sell if they want to be in business for long. With BidWhammy, we have the luxury of putting up whatever we want and never have to worry about losing our shirt, yet we have combined that with a great system that greatly benefits the consumer.

Sid: You seem to be very open about who the company founders are and their background, which is almost non-existent in the industry. Any comments?
Greg: We value transparency in a non-transparent industry. At BidWhammy, we have nothing to hide, we think being very upfront and honest with the public is the pathway to consumer trust. Many companies in other industries display this information and we think of BidWhammy the same as any other company out there.

Sid: Do you think now is a good time to enter the industry or do you think it is quite saturated already?
Greg: I think the industry is quite saturated for the traditional model. New sites are up and down every week. We saw a hole that needed to be filled. We developed BidWhammy with the consumer in mind, this was very easy because we were the consumer.

Sid: What's the biggest challenge in opening a new entertainment auction company?
Greg: I think the biggest challenge is consumer trust. So many websites pop up every day, the consumer is quite skeptical. I think that’s why you see so many people sticking with the big penny auction sites, even though they should be able to figure out their chances of winning are greatly reduced with the large amount of users. The great thing about BidWhammy is that your chances of winning don’t diminish with increased bidders, the odds will always stay the same.

Sid: Where do you see the future of penny auctions? Do you think they will become more mainstream in the future?
Greg: I think the future is bright for penny auctions. People like the excitement of entertainment shopping. It feels really good to win something for 95% less than the retail value. I also think it is up to the community as a whole to help gain the consumer trust I spoke about. We as a community need to help weed out the bad egg’s only looking to drop a quick scam on consumers.

Sid: Do you plan to operate in countries other than the US in the future? Canada?
Greg: We actually already operate in Canada. There is a shipping charge to Canada because obviously it can get very expensive, but we saw no reason to exclude our friends to the north from participating in the BidWhammy experience. We also offer gift card exchanges to Canadian customers since a lot of the gift cards can only be used in the United States. We allow them to specify if they want their win exchanged for something like an Amazon.ca code.

Sid: Do you have any additional features you are planning for the future that you might want to share?
Greg: We do have many features we are planning in future releases of BidWhammy. In fact we have an exciting feature in development right now that online gamers and competitive people will love. I can’t give all the details but I guarantee many people will like it and it will garner a degree of competitiveness among BW customers.

Sid: What's the idea behind the unique concept of BW Girls?
Greg: I’m glad you asked about the girls. They were a team we originally put together simply for promotional events. It’s always nice to see great looking girls promoting something. I mean Ben and I are awesome looking guys, but let’s face it, hot women are much more affective in grabbing some attention. Then we decided to give them a dedicated space on the site where the public could meet them.

Sid: How big is the whole team at BidWhammy?
Greg: Actually the team is only 3 officially at this point. Myself (co-Founder), Ben (co-Founder) and Erin our PR Director. We have contracted work out at times because with our normal lives and jobs, it would have been impossible to put all this together without some help. The BW girls work to own shares of the company. They do a great job promoting.

Sid: Can you share some of your previous entrepreneural experience?
Greg: Ben and I agree, we are blessed by the chances we are all given in this country. We have made many attempts at businesses and have more times than not failed, but we gained valuable knowledge in the process. Mostly our failures were due to the fact we lost interest in what we were doing and it just didn’t make sense to us anymore. Some things always seem like a great idea until you really start getting into it and figuring out you really don’t have that much interest in the concept anymore. With BidWhammy it was different. We actually came up with the idea about 4 years ago. At that time we decided to sit on it and work on some of the stuff we were doing at the time. We always kept coming back to this idea because it just seemed like we both had passion for it. A lot of planning was key and in late December last year, we said let’s do it.

Check out BidWhammy.

6 comments:

  1. Hi thank you for givin me a chance to post on your amazing blog I love it well I have quibids and I won two items a walmart gift card for 3 pennies and my 60 cent bid I also got a 14 k heart kneckles for one penni and 60 bid I was so happy I said its easy guess what ? Nop I got on thrusday night not many bidders I bid on a few things I felt that timmer was controled becouse I whould bid on 2 seconds and it tells me ur out of time I was really mad I sais ok next auction ia for me I came accross a stubbern bidder I though I had the bid only me and him biding I got so mad he dint stop I kept my bid till I ran out he got item and I lost bid I came to hate the bidding but its life im lookin for auctions that last bidder gets it....thank you for ur bloggers comment it teach me more

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