Sunday, October 30, 2011

BidWhammy Rock The House Nearing

BidWhammy is a new entertainment auction site that is growing in popularity each day. It follows a bidding model which is quite different from traditional penny auctions. Here, a predefined fixed bid number wins the auction, so the person placing, say, the 300th bid wins the item. You can also read my interview with Greg of BidWhammy.

BidWhammy is having a great promotion called Rock The House next week on November 4, 5 and 6. In these, the house is guaranteed to lose money!

There are these bundles of electronic products that are usually on every penny auction. The total worth of these bundles is $1500. 3 such bundles will be auctioned off. In all of them, it is the 400th bid that wins. Buying 400 bids at BidWhammy costs just $236. If you are the lucky winner, you are guaranteed to make over $1250 for every bundle in pure profits.

This is a great promotional event and definitely worth trying out if you are looking for new penny auctions/entertainment auctions and looking to have some fun. Also, these are easier to win than similar electronic items at traditional penny auctions.

At penny auctions like Quibids, these popular electronics go for several hours, sometimes a day or more and the price can be very high in terms of number of bids placed. Here at BidWhammy you know the number of bids that will be placed in advance - 400. I think the auctions will hardly last for 10-15 minutes because they should be quite popular among bidders. Check out Rock The House.

If you do happen to win one of these bundles, I would love to hear from you!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Special At OrangeBidz

Not surprisingly, OrangeBidz is at it again, celebrating Halloween this time. There is a great promotion that should interest everyone. Most penny auctions are gearing up for this Halloween, but OrangeBidz has taken the initiative to have some amazing promotions. Here are the deals you get:

Every auction you don't win this Saturday and Sunday - you get a complete bid refund!
Buy 2 bid packs and get a 3rd one free (on any bid pack)

These are great offers for penny auction bidders and hopefully people will make use of this special. Buying your bids during such offers reduces your overall price per bid and thus makes your penny auction bidding more profitable.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Penny Auction Mistakes - 1: Bidding Too Early

This is my penny auction mistakes series and the first post is devoted to bidding too early. This is a classic beginner mistake, especially with the ones who think that penny auctions are akin to traditional auctions (they are not). Just avoiding this simple mistake should help you save some bids in the long run.

The important part to remember is that this is a classic penny auction mistake only at some penny auctions. At others, this might actually be a great strategy! You need to recognize if the bidding is a mistake or not through the tips and strategies that I provide here.

Take a look at the auction below from Quibids.

Can you see the problem with it? The auction has over 16 hours left, and already over 500 bid are placed! This is a very typical mistake at Quibids and other established penny auctions. There is absolutely no way in the entire world that these bids could be the winning ones. This is a high-ticket Quibids product that is in a lot of demand. Very likely, the product will end up gathering over 25,000 bids.

Remember that penny auctions like Quibids are not like traditional auctions. Here, the last bidder wins and you don't determine the bid value, which means all bids are the same except separated through time (same value). Thus you would not want to squander away your bids early on. You are highly unlikely to win with several hours remaining for an auction to end. If you are serious about this item, bid when there are a few seconds left on the clock. The auction extends and goes on for hours together even from this stage.

However, there are certain cases, special cases, where this strategy might actually work. This is true for small penny auctions and new penny auctions that are just building up and lack a very active user base. A lot of auctions, especially in the afternoons, might be won just by one bid. In such cases, it is a good idea to place a bid at night if you are not able to place a bid in the afternoon. It might just pay off.

So how do you know if you are making this penny auction mistake? Here is a small checklist for you to go through.

  • If the penny auction is popular, like Quibids, never bid when there are several hours left on the clock. The 1 cent wins you see displayed on Quibids are extremely rare. 
  • If the item is a big-ticket item, like a Macbook or photography kit or HD-TV, chances are that it is highly competitive and a lot of people will be bidding on it. In this case, it would be a mistake to bid very early. 
  • If the auction end time is towards the evening and weekend, chances are that people will log in and check the auctions. In this case, as far as possible, avoid very early bids. 
  • If the penny auction is very new and only a few bidders are active on the site, you might want to take your chances sometimes by bidding too early. 
This is a classic penny auction mistake that you should avoid. Sometimes beginners see that there is no competition now, and get tempted to be the highest bidder. This is meaningless because competition will start when the auction is about to end, not when there are several hours left on the clock. Avoid this penny auction mistake and save a few bids.

Also, don't forget to check out my Penny Auction Strategy Guide.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Interview with Caleb of BidTavern

    This is an interview with Caleb of BidTavern. BidTavern is a new penny auction that has a whole bunch of exciting new features. The first thing that you will immediately notice is that the site is very professionally designed and there is a whole social network out there through which you can talk to the owners and fellow bidders.

    I had a chance to interview Caleb, the co-founder of BidTavern. Here is what he has to say.

    Sid: You have almost a whole social network built around your site BidTavern. Why's that? How do you think it would it benefit the bidders?
    Caleb: We were looking for a way to create more transparency for our users within the BidTavern site. We give them the opportunity to speak with us directly, bring issues or successes, as questions of give feedback in a public forum for everyone to view. This allows us to not only connect better with our users, but also gives them the opportunity feel heard in a public forum.

    Sid: How did you decide to enter the penny auction industry? What attracts you the most about the industry?
    Caleb: The other co-founder, Brad, actually turned me on to the idea. He had used them before but was never truly satisfied with one thing or another. After doing a lot of research we realized that we really liked the concept but felt that we could improve upon the idea dramatically by creating our own site. We are both come from an e-commerce background, and we love the spin that the penny auction provides to the e-commerce market.

    Sid: You seem to want to bring in a whole new level of transparency in penny auctions. However, communication between bidders hasn't ended up very well for other penny auctions (as they can collude). Any comments?
    Caleb: This will require us to monitor and be very involved in the community, which is the goal to begin with. We are not too concerned about these aspects, and if they do arise we will deal with them accordingly.

    Sid: What's the biggest advantage BidTavern offers to penny auction bidders. Why should an average penny auction bidder choose BidTavern over the hundreds of others.
    Caleb: I could probably go on for hours on this, but I will limit it to three differentiators. 1. We are the only, truly, mobile optimized penny auction site. You can bid from anywhere at anytime on any device. 2. Our product offering will set us apart as we prepare to start offering some very unique items. You will be able to find things on BidTavern that will not be available on any other penny auction sites. 3. We are accessible all the time, and will up the anty in regards to customer service. Many penny auction sites get a bad rap for customer service, and we plan to really provide an incredible service offering. Sidenote, we are offering free shipping on all items through the end of 2011.

    Sid: Can you tell us about the founders of BidTavern and their background. Do you have any previous entrepreneurial experience?
    Caleb: We have worked together on a few other sites, but nothing to this extent. We both graduated college together in 2007 from the University of Arizona, but we have actually been friends since we were 5 years old and played tee-ball together. We have each had our own projects that we have worked on and done well with, but we are more axcited about the potential of BidTavern than anything we have done in the past.

    Sid: Do you see a good future for penny auctions even after a lot of scams and scandals that have given a bad name to the entire industry? Do you find the penny auction industry to be very competitive?
    Caleb: At some point there will be stricter regulations imposed that will stop allowing these sites to pop-up, scam the consumer, and then dissappear. There has to be. We try not to worry about that stuff too much and just run our business as honestly and efficiently as possible. The penny auction industry is definitely a competitive one, if it weren't you would see a lot more success with all the sites that enter the arena. We are confident by differentiating ourselves in some unique ways and by not biting off more than we can chew, we can build a solid foundation and thrive within the segment.

    Sid: Are you happy with the initial response to BidTavern before the launch? What are your goals in terms of number of bidders/number of auctions?
    Caleb: We are more than satisfied with the launch. We had our highest traffic day yet, and we auctioned off three great items. The response was incredible and are working very hard to keep that momentum going.

    Sid: You seem to have a 'Sell' option that is not very common in penny auctions. Do you plan to implement this soon? How would this work?
    Caleb: We are hoping to implement this by years end. We are calling it the sellers portal, and to summarize, it will be a platform built to allow users ofthe website to actually run their own penny auction. We would handle all the items, technology, fulfillment and every other aspect of quality. The detailed strategy is still being worked out, but when we launch it we hope that it will be a game-changer in the penny auction world.

    Sid: Do you plan to offer Buy Now in the future?
    Caleb: We are actually offering the Buy Now option on select items currently. It is not across the board, but we do see a lot of value in giving the users the ability to not completely lose out in the even they do not win their auction.

    Hope you liked the interview. Visit BidTavern today to find out more.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Genuine Penny Auctions: How to Spot Good Penny Auctions

    Finding genuine penny auctions can be a challenge. Penny auctions are dime a dozen today and there is way too much choice. The bad news is that this is not good news for the consumer! The reason is that a lot of penny auctions wind up their business very soon and a few others are just outright scams. The other dilemma is an obvious one - if you bid on established sites, you face steeper competition but are assured that they won't disappear overnight (the best example is Quibids). On the other hand, the new penny auctions give you better deals.

    So how do you find the genuine penny auctions? I have always maintained that most reviews of penny auctions on established sites reflects little truth - I have seen the 'top' sites disappear all too often. The reason is easy - they are highly biased! The penny auctions give out gifts in exchange for a good review, which destroys the whole purpose of a review.

    So here is a good way to find out the genuine penny auctions: Look at the free market. That's right, let the bidders decide which sites they trust. I go to PennyAuctionCoupon and look at the deals. How many people have bought deals from a given penny auction? The more the number of deals bought, the more highly voted it is. This is fairly unbiased as people are actually putting their money into the penny auction they like.

    You can find a list of all previous deals at PennyAuctionCoupon and this should give you a fair idea of the average. Then you can see if your favorite penny auction was ever featured and how it compares to the rest. Also, this is a good way to find new penny auctions.

    However, do be careful because sometimes the new penny auctions might give a very good deal that is hard to resist and result in more people purchasing it which may not reflect its popularity. This however is a good tool to use in finding and judging penny auctions.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    HappyBidDay Starter Auctions are a Steal

    So HappyBidDay is having these special starter auctions for new members. I am not eligible for them because I am a veteran bidder there, but if you are not yet a member, you should certainly check this out. These auctions are ending at a ridiculously low price and competition. The last 2 I checked ended with just 1 bid! (Here auctions start at $1.00 and not 0.00).

    As you can see, both the above auctions ended with just 1 bid being placed. This is a great opportunity for people who are yet to join HappyBidDay.

    For those who don't know, HappyBidDay is an excellent site for a number of products, but most notably, their Amazon gift cards with free bids are easiest to win. They are also run by very honest owners so you can be assured they are not a scam. They are not as popular as Quibids (yet) so the competition is low.
    If you are new, you can use the coupon code HAPPY20 to get 20% off your first bid pack purchase. Also take note of their special 'insurance' for bid packs - if you don't win, you will be recredited the bids.

    Ghost Auctions on Quibids

    Quibids just announced new ghost auctions on Quibids! These are very similar to the mystery auctions that a lot of other websites have. However, they still do it the Quibids style!

    So here, you are guaranteed a product that is worth more than $50. To make matters more interesting, Quibids has promised to tantalize the bidders with hints but not what the actual product is.
    So for example, the name of the auction is The Ghost of Frozen Desserts. Now you know something about the auction but not a lot.

    I think this is a good step by Quibids. I have always maintained that Quibids is the largest and most trusted penny auction but they are a little behind on coming up with exciting auctions and variations. Well, that should change now. Last week I wrote about the newly introduced Quibids games, which is a great addition and innovation from Quibids.

    With this Halloween special, Quibids has entered the realm of mystery auctions, which is a double edged sword. If people don't bid crazy on them, they can be a great bargain, but if someone spends hundreds of bids only to find that the product isn't what he wanted or expected, that can be a little disappointing. Also, I am not fully sure how Buy Now would work here but it probably is still the same.

    I hope Quibids is faster with innovations to roll out more exciting features. Being the industry leader, Quibids can surely make or break the reputation of the industry, so all eyes on you, Quibids!

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Quibids Games

    Quibids games have been introduced! Quibids is the largest penny auction in US. It is good to know that Quibids has taken the initiative to launch something new and exciting. It is high time after all - nothing seems to be happening at Quibids! Now there is good news - Quibids games.

    This is a great addition to penny auctions and will definitely increase the time that users spend on the site, thus increasing the average number of auctions a user bids. It is a smart move in my opinion - it will provide something extra for bidders.

    So what is Quibids games? How does Quibids games work?

    Well, it is simple. Just look for the game logo on top of auctions, like 1xGP. After you win a game play (GP), you are free to select any game to play. Depending on the game, you can win free bids. It is an exciting feature to have and quite appropriate for a penny auction. There is currently just one game but I hope Quibids will have plenty more in the future.

    I think the Quibids games is going to be a hit and other penny auctions might soon copy the model.

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Unusual Items at Penny Auctions

    Penny auctions can have some unusual items that are not traditionally associated with them. When regular penny auction bidders think of penny auctions, they tend to think of electronic items and gift cards. True, these still dominate the scene, but many penny auctions have moved beyond.

    There have also been plenty of penny auctions that specialize in a given niche, from designer clothing to gold and silver auctions.

    Some of the more unusual items sell for very little and at a greater discount than the traditional items. This is a smart move for bidders because they know they can win a bargain with reduced risk - not everyone wants the items. It is a good penny auction strategy, therefore, to go and bid on these unusual items at penny auctions.

    One site I like to hunt for these items is HappyBidDay. I usually find that these items sell for a really low price. Remember that bidding here starts from $1.00 and not $0.00, so all these items are really really cheap in terms of number of bids placed.

    That's right, the last item sold for a mere 1 bid!

    If you are hunting for bargains, you might want to consider looking for non-traditional and unusual items at penny auctions as well.

    Penny Auctions in News

    Penny Auctions have been regularly in the news, on and off though. However, most of the press around them has been negative. Sure, there are dishonest penny auctions but there are a lot of genuine and honest penny auctions around as well. The media should provide a more holistic view of the industry.

    Penny auctions do not guarantee a win. The price to be able to win a Macbook at $50 is that you might not win anything at all, and end up spending money on the bids. Yes, this is a possibility but you know the rules of the game before you get started don't you?

    The advertising around penny auctions is something that I have regularly written about and would like to see improved by leaps and bounds. If penny auctions are to go mainstream, they need to stop all kinds of misleading information and advertising, promising too good to be true deals. This is done implicitly or explicitly by probably every penny auction. However, this isn't the right way to go about it.

    The best way for the penny auction industry in general would be to lay out all the rules and possibilities in front of the customer. Let the customer then decide if she wants to spend money trying to win a product real cheap or if she is happy to go to a "risk-free" bidding site like eBay.

    Quibids for example states that odds are not available for penny auctions, which is certainly true - after all it is a multi-player game where the outcome depends on the actions of different bidders with different strategies. However, they can certainly give the statistics if they really wished to.

    There are some elements in the positive direction but these seem inadequate as of now. The news around penny auctions has been grim to say the least, which is a pity considering how much potential they do have, especially with the holiday season fast approaching.

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Jumping on Penny Auctions

    Is jumping on penny auctions ethical? Is jumping on penny auctions a good strategy?
    These are two very different questions that need to be answered by every penny auction bidder.

    What is jumping on penny auctions?
    Jumping is a term used to describe the phenomenon where bidders enter an auction after someone else has placed a considerable number of bids.

    Why Jumping?
    The reasoning from the jumper's point of view is simple - he is trying to look for "overpriced" items. He figures that since this product usually sells for say $5, and currently it is at $5.20, it is likely to end soon. However, what he failed to realize is that there is probably someone who has invested heavily in the auction.

    The effects of jumping become much more evident when you are trying to bid on higher end items like iPads that can go on for hours together and have tens of thousands of bids in all.

    Is Jumping Ethical? 
    Any question relating to whether something is ethical a tough question to answer. You certainly know that it can happen. It affects power bidders disproportionately. Before you place a single bid on a penny auction, you should know that jumping is certainly a possibility that might occur. Instead of looking at it from the perspective of right and wrong, I would like to look at it from the point of its utility, i.e. is the jumper in a better position to win a penny auction.

    I know a lot of penny auction bidders are very touchy about this topic and have strong feelings on this subject. I would like to resist this temptation and look at whether it is a good strategy or not. After all, my blog is about telling you when something would work and when it wouldn't. 

    Penny Auction Strategy - Jumping? 
    So is jumping a penny auction strategy?
    Here are some points to consider:

    Let us try to look at this from the point of view of the jumper. The jumper usually expects that the auction will end soon enough or sooner than its average. This is because it is closer to the "average price" of the item and it seems already overpriced.

    However, anyone who has bid on penny auctions knows that prices of items can vary tremendously. It is not uncommon to see a product sell for $5 now and $50 an hour from now. It is therefore very hard to know if a given auction will be closer to its "average". Therefore, the jumper might end up in an overheated battle.

    From the psychology of a power bidder, if he sees a jumper, chances are he will continue to bid. The process might go on for a long time. In addition, if there are bidders who dislike jumpers, they might make every effort to put in that extra bid just to make sure that you don't win. This is a real possibility that you should be aware of.

    Apart from this, if you jump at penny auctions, chances are that the other people, especially the power bidder for that particular auction will remember you. You might then expect a lot more jumpers on auctions that you are participating in. If you want to have a long term stay in a penny auction, hostility towards a bunch of power bidders will not exactly work in your favor.

    Know the risks before you think of jumping as a penny auction strategy. Remember it is certainly allowed, so you can jump if you want to - that' the bottom line.

    Stock Up on OrangeBidz Bids!

    OrangeBidz has a nice promotion going on now - they will double your bids for this weekend only. Unfortunately, that means you need to act fast. Here are the full details of this new promotion from OrangeBidz.

    OrangeBidz has proved to be a very reliable penny auction over the months. I remember having covered this new penny auction when it started off, and it feels nice to see it doing so well. They have a ton of new and innovative promotions quite often which keeps the bidders happy and looking for more. Check out OrangeBidz here.