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.

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