Saturday, December 29, 2012

Penny Auctions in France

The EU as a whole had a love/hate relationship with Penny Auctions. The whole concept and thus the industry originated in Europe and became popular in America later on. After all, it was Swoopoo which started the whole concept of penny auctions and took it mainstream. However, Swoopoo is bankrupt now and of course a lot of very unhappy customers.

There were a few other penny auctions in the EU area like BidYes is right now - based in France. However, that doesn't even come close to the scale of Swoopoo. Then there was BidRivals that was really big in the EU area but they too are closed now. BidRivals was kind of big in France too.

So what's next for France and EU? Looks like Quibids! Yes, Quibids, the site that perfected the penny auction model in the US (and always moving away from branding itself as one) is now expanding into the EU. They started off with France and Germany.

This is big for the French penny auction industry because Quibids has withered the whole storm very well and is going as strong as ever even when most well known penny auctions all over the world close down. If Quibids can convince the French bidders that they are different from BidRivals and Swoopoo, they can strike it big there. It's quite exciting for both Quibids and French penny auction bidders. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Matt Beckham, CEO of Quibids, Interviewed

This is kind of old news, but I just saw the video now and I am sure many of my readers would have missed it too. This is a short 25 minute interview of Matt Beckham, the founder and CEO of Quibids talking about his business. This is conducted by the State Chamber of Oklahoma. It is an interesting interview and a nice take on the whole business and auction model.
Here is the video.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quibids Store Review: Pricing and Utility

I am going to discuss Quibids store review, mainly with respect to its pricing and how it compares to other ecommerce websites. I'll do a small case study as well for this purpose.

Background

So it's official - the Quibids store is in full swing and has been operating smoothly. For those who have followed this blog or the penny auction industry in general, this would have come as no surprise at all. The penny auction industry took the world by storm after the great recession and recessed away equally fast. People seemed to have a limited appetite for this "revolutionary" way to "shop" online.

As penny auctions' fortunes waned, only one site remained strong - Quibids (some smaller ones survived and are going strong, which is impressive in their own right) and it is the leader and almost a monopolist in this area of penny auctions, at least in North America. The competition isn't even close. It is huge and it survived. It did many things right. However, it cannot rest on its laurels. It appears that users and visitors aren't that hooked on to auctions taking forever and waiting for several hours in front of their computers.

As users move away from the penny auction model, it is very natural that the leader diversify its fortunes. It was already in the ecommerce space, so it was only natural to have a fully functional ecommerce store. That has been official - called the Quibids store. You can see the official blog post on Quibids store.

Why Use Quibids Store? 

I don't care about their official policy, but the only reasons that interest me are price and rewards. Something has to be very attractive. Either Quibids has to give me the product really cheap or give me really good rewards. This is the only reason I would buy from Quibids instead of, say, Amazon.

Quibids actually makes it good on both these fronts. I was honestly surprised by this. I've always assumed, by default, that Amazon would be the cheapest option anyway. I think Quibids store, at least at this stage, is here to compete to provide for a great shopping experience, holiday season and beyond. I don't know if the prices are low now because it is new and then will increase in the future or not, but I think it is a legitimate option to consider.

Case Study - Cannon Lens

So I did a small study and found a few items on Quibids store and Amazon and found that Quibids store actually had the product at a lower price than Amazon. I am a photography enthusiast, so I picked up a camera lens (sorry Quibids, I am a Nikon person, not Cannon, so I won't buy the lens you're offering!) and compared the prices at three places - Amazon, Target and Quibids store. Here are the details -



As you can see above, it is the same lens, and it sells for $299 on Target, $255 on Amazon and only $239 on Quibids store. That's a significant saving. Even if you add the shipping costs, it is cheaper than Amazon. For this product, Quibids store offers the lens cheaper and provides voucher bids. That's both price and rewards packed into one.

Of course I would suggest you do your own research for the products that you want to buy, but Quibids store seems like a legitimate option his holiday season and with the inclusion of voucher bids, all the better for shoppers. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Quibids - Is it Possible to Use Voucher Bids First?

At Quibids, is it possible to use voucher bids first, before using your paid bids? Or the other way - use real bids first and not use voucher bids at all? Quite a few bidders have asked me this, and I wanted to write a post about that.

Some of the reasons you would like to change the default ordering of the bids that get used up are -

  • If you are just bidding for fun to test out your luck because you have quite a few voucher bids in your account, then you need to be careful not to use up your real bids. It is best to use real bids when you want to buy the item at full retail if you don't win. Voucher bids don't count towards your buy-now price. 
  • If you are bidding on a gift card and you are prepared to buy it at full retail and the auction is fairly competitive, then you may not want to use voucher bids at all because those could be wasted. Instead, you want to use only the real bids and if you lose, just buy the item at full retail. This is also the case with other high-end electronics. 
This can actually be a neat addition to your regular Quibids strategy.

Ok, so now coming back to the original question - can you order your bids in Quibids as to which ones should be used ahead of which ones? The simple answer is no. This is unfortunate - I would actually like to see them be more flexible here and give users the option to use whatever kind of bids they want to use. 

Currently, here is how the bids are used - in the order of expiration. The bids that expire soonest are going to be used up first. I would ideally like this to be the default behavior but give the user power to change it easily. From the Quibids Terms of Conditions
"When You place Bids, the first Bids used will be Bids from Bid Packs, starting with the Bids that are going to expire the soonest. After Bids from Bid Packs are exhausted, Free Bids will be used, starting with the Bids that are closest to expiring. After Free Bids are exhausted, Voucher Bids are used, starting with the Bids that are closest to expiring. At QuiBids sole discretion, You may be given an opportunity to select which type of bids to use on an auction."
 So there you have it. Unfortunately for bidders, there is no good way to order which bids you want to use. That being said, read the last line - At Quibids' discretion, this can be changed. If you have been bitten by a situation as this and you didn't realize and ended up wasting a ton of bids, real or voucher, it might help to contact their help team and try to ask them to change this. I am not sure if they will oblige.

Did you ever run into this situation where you wanted to order your bids differently, like using virtual bids first or using real bids first? 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Overview of Penny Auctions

This is a Guest Post by Adeel of LimitlessBids

Summary 
In this article, we will be comparing the difference between regular online auctions, and penny auctions. We will also find out whether or not it is always a good decision to use one service or the other and lastly, we’re going to figure out how we can earn a profit from using both penny auctions and traditional auctions.

I know that the majority of the people that will be reading this already understand how penny auctions work, let me start off with a little review in case we have some new users on the site. When bidding in a penny auction service, you are going to have to pay for the bids beforehand. The price per bid ranges from between.50 to $1.00 a bid.

Unlike traditional auctions, every single time a bid is placed, the timer is once again restarted to allow for another bidder to bid. Now, if you are not the last person to bid on an item, you in essence helped pay for someone else's merchandise, a problem that does not exist in traditional auction houses. However, there are some companies such as that allow all users the option of using the buy it now option for any product AND having their bids cost count towards that amount! Check and make sure that the buy it now price that is listed on the penny auction site you are using is comparable to other online retailers. Sometimes penny auction companies will try to overinflate their prices so they can turn an even larger profit when you “Buy it now.”

Another problem that has plagued the penny auction world is that there are groups of people, who combine their funds, and purchase very large amounts of bids and effectively bid you off of whatever item you are interested in winning, making it very difficult for you to win as a new user. Some websites however do have a winner tiered limit, for example, only 1 win for any user over $500 in a week, or month, etc. This will ensure that there is a fair playing field for everyone, and so that everyone may win products that really are for far less than retail.

Lastly, look for a penny auction website that is not interested in reaping huge profits, but instead look towards companies that will keep their profit margins low. How do you do this you ask? Just see how many free giveaways they have, free bids are good but free items are just amazing. For example, zBiddy.com offers you the chance the spin their wheel and win between 1-10 bids for FREE, this can be done daily. Another website LimitlessBids.com actually just gives away items, like the Samsung Galaxy S3 they have up for this month. There is a catch however, you must be a registered and paid member of both of these websites to reap the dividends. marketing done quickly, and as soon as possible.

Finally, another few tips that I have for users who are interested in learning more about Penny Auction services, or want to know about how to make it easier to win, these are the tips I have for you. Firstly, I think that you make sure that a site is reputable. It has SSL security when you attempt to make a purchase, and all of your questions are responded to immediately when you e-mail them. Next, the newer a site is, the less members there will be available on the site to bid and for this reason, you will be able to get a ton of products for very cheap, before everyone else finds out about the site.

Okay, so when you locate a site that is new and does not have many users, you are going to want to bid, and bid heavy on the items on the site. Make sure the site is Paypal verified, Verisign verified and has SSL on the purchase page. Once you go through that checklist, check which high price items you should be able to win, use the techniques we discussed in earlier articles about bidding later on in an auction and then finally, when you know you want the auction, MAKE SURE YOU WIN THE AUCTION. There’s no way you’ll pay anywhere near retail if you follow this to the T.

Next, all that is left to do is set up your account over at ebay.com, or amazon.com and resell the items that you just won. Since most penny auction websites offer items that are brand new, this will give you the chance to sell brand new items on ebay or amazon, for a fraction of the price that you paid. If you follow this advice, to the T, and make sure to be a shark, not a minnow when bidding, you will be able to make a fast amount of money using both Penny Auctions and Traditional Auctions.

I myself was able to rake in about $10,000 extra profit this year alone doing this. That is all I have for you in this installment hopefully I have been helpful in allowing you to gain more knowledge about penny auctions and how to be successful in winning auctions to get items you want, for 90+% off retail and then reselling them for a profit with ease! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

CharityTick Penny Auction Opens

It's official - a new penny auctions CharityTick has opened. It tries to combine the auction model of penny auctions with giving to charities. It's a neat concept and this blog wishes them luck with the site considering how many penny auctions have closed shop in the last couple of years.

For now, the site is quite new, so it might actually help to join early and try to win some products. You get to support your choice of charity, which is also quite cool. Here's a page about how it all works.

Good luck bidding! If you've tried the site, don't forget to tell everyone in the comments section about your experience. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HappyBidDay Turns 2 (and yes, it is a big deal)

HappyBidDay, an alternative to Quibids, turns 2 years old next month. In case you didn't already notice, these are highly turbulent times for the whole penny auction industry and it is quite an achievement that HappyBidDay has stuck it through and made it this far while several other large penny auctions have closed shop. Today, of all the legit penny auctions, HappyBidDay can truly stand as an alternative to Quibids.

In order to celebrate this event, HappyBidDay is giving away 25 free bids to all members for use in the regular penny auctions. That's right - just register and get 25 free bids deposited on November 7. There is no reason to miss this at all. 25 free bids is a lot of bids to use to try out a site.

If you are serious about penny auctions and winning on them though, you should buy a bid pack and reduce your average cost even further. This way, you can afford to outbid your competition and therefore win products. As a general tip, keep an eye out on beginner auctions and Amazon gift cards - they usually have less competition.

As an additional bonus, there is a special coupon code that you can use, which is for the readers of this blog: QBSPECIAL that expires in a couple of weeks from now, so combine your free bids with discounted bids and you cannot go wrong! Join the site today to make use of this great offer. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

500,000 Page Views!

That's right folks, it's been a great journey so far, writing this blog and sharing with everyone what I think about the world of penny auctions.
Although I haven't been very active with this blog for the past couple of months, I intend to change that. And, today I realized this blog has reached a really cool milestone already - 500,000 page views! That's a lot of information shared with a lot of people.

What do you think about this blog? What do you like to read in the future? 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Special Coupon Code for my Readers

There is a special coupon code especially for the readers of this blog. This is courtesy of HappyBidDay. This is a penny auction like Quibids, and has been around for a while, although not as old as Quibids. Even as so many of the penny auctions closed down, HappyBidDay is going strong because it still offers something to the bidders and the owners have a good sense of this business. I have previously written about winning on HappyBidDay but in a nutshell, look for gift cards and if you are new, always look for the beginner auctions.

Anyway, the coupon code is QBSPECIAL (Click to redeem) and will give you a 30% discount on your first bid pack. This is a significant discount from regular packs and I encourage you to use this to lower your average cost of bid, which will have a positive impact on your profits of wins. If you buy the biggest pack, then you'll get a 40% discount. Although I don't always recommend buying the biggest packs, in this case, a 40% discount is quite significant, so it is definitely worth considering.

Specials: Gift cards and Silver Coins
Competitive: Electronics (I suggest bidding on Amazon gift cards and using them to buy electronics)

Friday, July 6, 2012

PennyGrab Coupon Code

PennyGrab is having a great promotion to celebrate their 1 year in existence! Use the code PENNYDOZER to get 10% off your bid packs, and also participate in games. Yes, exciting games, and win bids in the process! (the site is trying to promote the game angle, so the bids are quite generous. I am not sure how long that is going to last). You should be able to find these under the Games tab. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Exciting Penny Auction Variations

If you are bored of traditional penny auctions with a timer that increases each time a bid is placed, you should check out other forms of penny auctions. The industry has a come a long way from the traditional model and some of you will find that more fun and better returns.

My favorite is PennyGrab simply because they have a Buy Now and gifts at regular intervals. This means most bidders actually win something, and it is not hard to formulate a good strategy for almost guaranteed wins. The site has grown into a very loyal bidder community who actually help each other out (no power bidding, for example). Another great feature is you can chat with your fellow bidders which is really cool.

Do you know of other exciting penny auctions with different models? 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nebids Interview with Larry NeJame

This is my nebids interview with the co-founder Larry. nebids is a promising new penny auction which aims to bring a complete marketplace to the penny auction industry - you can both buy and sell items based on the penny auction model. If implemented well, I think the idea has great potential for bidders. The site is yet to go into beta but the founders are excited and you can sign up now for bonus giveaways. Here is the interview:


Sid: nebids is centered around a penny auction marketplace. Tell us a little about how nebids is supposed to work.
Larry: The simple of it is nebids will provide a platform for anyone to buy and sell using the penny auction format; just as eBay allows people to buy and sell using a traditional online auction format. Virtually anyone will be able to shop and sell through nebids and they will be able to sell pretty much anything they want.

Sid: When is nebids going to be live?
Larry: We plan on going live with our Beta Launch around mid to late June. This is barring any unforeseen road blocks. The first version of the site will be launching very shortly after the Beta Launch.

Sid: Why do you think bidders will be attracted to nebids as compared to say bidding on Quibids?
Larry: One of the key things we are offering bidders is lower bid prices. Bid prices will be set at $.50 per bid which is the lowest we’ve ever seen. We also allow bidders to purchase any number of bids they want; we are doing away with bid packs. So if someone wants to buy 83 bids, they can. One last thing that we are going to try to bring to the table is a larger variety of items that shoppers can buy. We hope to provide as many different shopping categories as an eBay or Amazon.

Sid: Do you think you can get enough sellers especially in the initial stages, considering it would be risky for them?
Larry: That of course is one of the major challenges to the launch. We have been working tirelessly to get the word out there about nebids as best we can to create as much buzz as we can about the site. In the past few weeks we have been taking signups and getting feedback through our Facebook page and we have been getting a ton of positive responses and participation so far, so we think there is going to be no shortage of bidder/shopper participation.
It’s our goal to make sure everyone has a pleasant experience on nebids either shopping or selling. So especially in the early stages we are going to try to work very closely with the sellers and give them as many guarantees as possible, to make sure they are making money on their auctions.

Sid: How do you plan to prevent problems with sellers like not shipping items?
Larry: We will have a built in system that requires the sellers to fulfill an auction order once the auction is completed. If they seller does not fulfill the auction order they will be heavily penalized, either by being banned from the site or incurring negative feedback on their account, which will hinder them from selling effectively.
The system will also require the buyer to finalize the auction by paying the ending auction price and shipping. At that point the seller will be responsible for shipping the item/fulfilling the order. Nebids will be the facilitator for this transaction, similar to how Amazon works; it will not be a transaction directly between the buyer and seller. This will ensure that both parties are protected.
If a seller does not ship the item the money paid by the winning bidder will be refunded. Also all bids placed on the auction will be refunded to all participants in that auction.  The seller will of course not receive any distribution of money from that sale.

Sid: Will there be any restrictions on what items can be put up for auction?
Larry: For the most part anyone can sell anything. However there are some standard restrictions, such as, no pornographic material or paraphernalia, also things that you might not have the rights to sell.

Sid: Tell us a little about the people behind nebids
Larry: Nebids has 3 founders: Larry, Marcus and Scott. All three of us grew up in Florida and we have worked with each other for a number of years. Larry handles most of business operations of the company and Scott and Marcus handle the technology and development aspects of the company.  Each of us have extensive experience with other business ventures in different fields such as, telecommunications, ecommerce websites and software.

Sid: Do you think other penny auctions will copy this model? Are you aware of any other live penny auctions who have implemented such a marketplace?
Larry: It’s certainly possible for other penny auctions to copy this model. Our hope is that people looking to get into the penny auction business choose to sell through nebids as opposed to starting up a website themselves. We think it is a beneficial scenario all around, sellers will not have to worry about the overhead of starting a website and marketing it, they can simply list items and market to nebids built in customer base.
To our understanding there have been some attempts at an eBay –like penny auction before, however they seemed to charge outrageous commissions on the auctions making it virtually impossible for sellers to generate a profit. There are other marketplaces out there, however they do not use a standard penny auction format.

Sid: Is nebids open to international bidders or just US residents?
Larry: To start nebids will only be open to US residents only. The goal is to expand to other regions at a later date, if possible.

Sid: Do you think the penny auction industry in general should be regulated more closely?
Larry: That’s an interesting question. With some of the practices utilized by some penny auction sites that we’ve seen, like shill bidding and not shipping products, the quick reaction to that question is “YES”. However one of the primary goals with the nebids marketplace penny auction format is to eliminate those bad practices that are being demonstrated today, which the marketplace format inherently eliminates or at the very least dramatically reduces. We really think this format is going to be a game changer.

Sid: What kind of auction models do you plan to implement? Just the traditional timer auctions or something more?
Larry: The initial plan is to offer a traditional timer penny auction where a bid increases the auction price by $.01. We feel like this is the simplest and easiest to understand model for both shoppers and sellers. We will constantly be updating the site with new features and options, such as, a buy it now option. However the core model will be a traditional timer based penny auction.

Sid: What do you think is the main reason behind so many seemingly successful penny auctions closing down, like Swoopoo, BidRivals, etc.
Larry: Sometimes companies simply overextend themselves, which is a common reason why established companies go under. From what we’ve seen over the last couple of years there have been a lot of small penny auction startups that have come and gone in almost the blink of an eye. It seems most new penny auction site owners do not realize what it takes to get a successful website off the ground, let alone a penny auction. It requires a lot of work and a lot of capital and resources at the beginning to be successful, which is something most people do not account for.

Check out nebids today.

Friday, May 4, 2012

10% Off Bids: PennyGrab Coupon Code

PennyGrab has a great offer - save 10% off any bid pack you purchase with the code STARWARS. PennyGrab runs one of the most interesting campaigns and it is a pleasure to read the witty emails. So what was it today? May the 4th be With You! That of course is something all the sci-fi star war fans or any geek reading this would immediately appreciate, from the famous 'may the force be with you' statement. And what better time to talk of sci-fi and celebrate the inner geek than a day after the release of the Avengers! (Yes it is awesome and you should see it irrespective of whether you like "that kind" of movies or not)

Redeem STARWARS coupon and get 10% off your bid packs. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Largest Penny Auction Site

What is the largest penny auction site? A lot of bidders wonder about this. The answer is Quibids. It is actually by far the largest penny auction in the world. It has always been at the forefront of penny auctions, even though initially Quibids did not identify itself as a penny auction.

As an industry veteran, I am impressed by how Quibids survived and thrived as plenty of new penny auctions came and went bust. Even as other penny auctions were dying, Quibids was building a mark for itself. It has a nice, slow and steady progress growth.

What's also impressive is that the growth of new bidders has slowed at almost every site except Quibids. It still attracts a good amount of traffic every single day. You can look at the Alexa rank of Quibids and you will know just how impressive it has been all the while. No other single penny auction even comes close to being the industry heavyweight. I think Quibids does some things just right, e.g. Buy Now on all the auctions from a very long time, so it couldn't be criticized as gambling.

That being said, the obvious drawback is everyone knows about Quibids! This means increased competition because there are not enough products for everyone to bid on. This of course works against bidders. Worse, Quibids separates bidders as new, experienced, etc. and the more winnings you have, the harder your competition gets.

So which penny auctions do you bid on? 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

PennyGrab Gets A for Awesome!

PennyGrab has officially gotten the accreditation of A from BBB. It is one of the few penny auctions to ever achieve this. A rating is the highest rating given by BBB. It is a significant achievement from PennyGrab, congratulations to Al!

Visit PennyGrab

Thursday, April 26, 2012

BidRivals Closes: BidRivals Scam

BidRivals shut down today. They deleted their Facebook page and all the posts, the site is "temporarily unavailable" and they sent out an email to all the affiliates to "pause" their promotions. This means they are not coming back. They are large enough that I don't think they will come back with some new owners or some other penny auction bailing them out. Too sad.

Whether BidRivals turns scam is something we have to wait and see. Before the site was shut down, there were Facebook complaints from people who never received their winning items. Some additional details are provided here.

BidRivals was one of the largest penny auctions about a couple of years ago, almost rivaling Quibids. And they were definitely more global than Quibids then, covering the whole of Europe. I think they made a mistake too many. I hope the bidders get their winnings and get a refund for the bid packs they purchased from PayPal or their Credit Card. Take action fast if you are one of the affected.

Were you a member of BidRivals? Did you buy bids there? What do you think about this?

Updates: Thanks to Amanda for the link below. According to PennyAuctionWatch, BidRivals is in liquidation. Some bidders might be reminded of the terrible days when Swoopoo, the first penny auction, closed doors in a similar secretive fashion scamming and owing bidders money, won products and trust. 

Beware a Scam Text Campaign that is NOT from Quibids

Quibids is becoming so popular that scammers are beginning to get excited! I just came to know from the PR manager of Quibids, Jill, that there is a scam text campaign out there apparently offering some $1K in Best Buy gift cards. Obviously this isn't from Quibids. Bidders beware. 

It looks like the campaign used a website to confuse users - they use qulblds ... now if that looks similar to quibids, look closely - the i's are l's! So this scam site is quLbLds - not quibids. Be on the lookout. 

It is interesting to note that this is without any incentive from Quibids. I have seen some unethical sites that promote penny auctions as "guaranteed wins", "free gift cards" etc. but this is usually to scam people and make money promoting a site. I know BidRivals had a huge problem with this in the past. However, Quibids doesn't really give you money to promote them (well, yea, those 25 free bids aren't really incentive enough to scam). This new scam is just to try to divert users from Quibids and scam them and has nothing to do with Quibids. 

I suppose that't the price you pay for popularity. Being a niche like penny auctions doesn't help either I am sure, because consumers sure find a trust deficit, considering how many have turned out scams in the past. 

Remember the golden rule - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you ever want to know whether something is genuinely from Quibids, check the URL really well or just enter quibids in your browser window instead of clicking on links. These things can sometimes be hard to find. 

Did you get this message too? 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Quibids Daily Deals: A Step Forward

Quibids daily deals are here! Today, Quibids announced in a blog post that they are starting Quibids daily deals. This is definitely a step in the right direction. I am personally quite excited about this development and what it might mean for the business as a whole. Quibids has never really identified itself as a penny auction and even in a Quibids interview with Jill, she suggested how Quibids is much more than a penny auction.

I think the idea of daily deals is good for Quibids on several counts -

  • It helps attract a new class of consumers who don't care about penny auctions but like such daily deals that help them save money without any element of chance. May be, they will also give the penny auctions a try. 
  • It helps Quibids diversify away from the main penny auction model. The industry as a whole is on a decline and I can think of only Quibids which is actually growing currently (not considering the new penny auctions of course, there are several promising penny auctions today but it is hard to predict the future in this industry). By entering the daily deals market, it can keep revenues up. 
  • Quibids can leverage its power from penny auctions to get great bargains from companies. I don't know if this will become the next Woot - probably not, but if it can offer deals that even a site like Woot cannot, then we will have a real winner. Sites like woot can leverage their huge customer base but a site like Quibids can leverage its already existing auctions, which can be the same product being offered in the daily deals section. 
  • It brings something new to the site. I don't know of any other penny auction doing this, which isn't too surprising considering Quibids usually leads the way in sustainable innovation in this industry. It keeps the bidders hooked on the site longer. 
  • It provides something that bidders can share with friends. I think this is actually a very important point from the point of view of Quibids and I am not sure how much of importance they think this commands. The way I see it, there are almost no penny auctions that people would want to share with the entire world, on their Facebook with friends or on Twitter with their followers. The very simple reason for this is that people can lose money on Quibids especially if they are foolish and no one likes promoting a site where a friend can do that. However, the introduction of Daily Deals changes that completely. Now people can genuinely share a deal with friends and introduce them to the website. If the friend pokes around a bit more, they will discover the penny auctions and might join if they want to. 
Of course a big factor to remember is that Quibids is the largest penny auction out there it can take chances. I would hate for it to take foolish risks with its money and market share, but things that blend into the overall theme and premise of the site - entertainment shopping - are fine by me. We have to wait and see how successful this section can get. Introducing a more social element might be a good start. 

One good way to really take this off the ground is to offer unbelievable discounts that people cannot help but promote. You know, the ridiculously good deals (say a $100 Amazon card for $50, I don't know! But you get the idea). This section has the potential to stand on its own and is definitely promising if done right. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quibids Interview with Jill Farrand

This is my Quibids interview with Jill Farrand, the PR director at Quibids. It is really nice to hear these thoughts from someone inside this successful business. She has some interesting things to share and I hope you enjoy the read. For the rare few who don't already know, Quibids is the largest penny auction in the US and fast expanding into other countries.

Sid: I remember about 18-24 months ago, there were quite a few promising penny auctions, some almost rivaling Quibids. Today, Quibids seems to be head and shoulders above all other penny auctions. What's the secret?
Jill: Currently, QuiBids holds about 80% of the market share in our space. There’s really no secret but that we continue to look for ways to enhance the customer’s entertainment shopping experience. We do this by implementing new site features and updates, i.e. the implementation of Badges and Games last year. There’s much more to come in the following months/years as well!

Sid: Where do you see the future of penny auctions in general, considering consumers were bit by a scam too many in the last few years?
Jill: It’s unfortunate that some “bad apples” fell into the mix in this exciting industry. In early 2011, we positioned QuiBids as an entertainment retail auction site. Our base model derived from the penny auction model but we knew we were going to take it further by the start. In the beginning, we implemented the Buy Now on 100% of our auctions. This assures our customers that no one ever has to walk away empty handed. Further, with implementing gamification into the model, we started to mold our auctions into a hybrid of traditional auctions with those gaming elements. Additional site features like QLive, QBar, user avatars, etc. is what also adds to the entertainment aspect of the model. Mentioned earlier, Badges and Games are a big part of our model that we will also continue to develop. Besides consumers coming to our site to look for a particular deal on a product, we want them to come to our site just when they want to shop in general. And when they arrive at our site, we hope their shopping experience is that much more fun!

Sid: Do you think the FTC should impose any regulations on the penny auction industry?
Jill: No, I do not believe there is a need to since most of the “bad apples” have been shut down and filtered through.

Sid: Any comments on the class action lawsuit against Quibids alleging that it is akin to gambling?
Jill: We feel there is no merit to it and hope for a quick resolution.

Sid: Quibids follows the traditional timer model. I see a few sites in the Entertainment Auctions industry that do away with the timer (reserve price or hidden-bid model being the most popular where the person who uncovers a hidden bid value wins or the lowest unique bid auction model). Do you see any merit to these auction models? Do you think Quibids might introduce any of these in the future?
Jill: I think it’s great to offer different auction formats to keep things new, exciting and fresh. We definitely have some plans for new auction formats in the future. Stay tuned…

Sid: Do you have any statistics as to how many auctions are profitable for Quibids, considering you have a Buy It Now for all auctions?
Jill: We lose on over half of our auctions. Our model definitely keeps us busy and working hard to make it a great experience for our customers.

Sid: What's the average auction count on Quibids?
Jill: We have some 10,000+ auctions a day.

Sid: The bidder community at Quibids still seems rather niche. Do you think it can go really mainstream and become a legitimate shopping option for a majority of consumers?
Jill: We certainly hope so and plan for it to be!

Sid: What's a normal day like at Quibids for you?
Jill: For me (PR), it’s checking up on our daily/monthly promotions, communication with our customers, taking any/all media inquiries, organizing community efforts and sponsorships, solidifying business and community partnerships, working across multiple departments internally, writing editorial content for multiple platforms, reputation management, etc. However, ask another employee and they’ll tell you something completely different! Each day brings something different and makes it a very exciting company to work for!

Sid: How big is the team at Quibids?
Jill: Currently, we’re around 150 employees and going strong.

Sid: I see you recently launched global auctions. Which countries are you looking to expand into?
Jill: Yes, we launched those Tuesday, April 24! Global Auctions are currently available in the United States, Canadian and Australian markets. The United Kingdom should be next on the list to offer Global Auctions. Regarding additional countries we’ll enter later this year, more than likely it’ll be across Europe.

Sid: Any new and exciting features bidders can expect in the coming days after games, a new blog and global auctions?
Jill: Yes, QuiBids Deals! Those are launching (in Beta) this Thursday! We hope our customers will take advantage of these deals. There will be a limited quantity on a select number of items and there will definitely be some great deals to be had!

What are your thoughts on this?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Silver Coins at PennyGrab

Silver has dropped from its peak about a year ago, but silver still remains higher than the prices seen in the last decade. It is still about $32/oz. This is a good price not just for silver but also for collecting silver coins. Physical silver, after all, trades at a premium to paper silver which trades at spot price. Precious metals in general can be a good hedge against inflation and help diversify a portfolio of stocks and cash.

It is interesting to see PennyGrab having so many open silver auctions. To win, you just need to hit a price between $0 and $2.50 - that's all! This is the case for all silver coins at PennyGrab (at least the 1oz ones). This doesn't seem like a bad deal at all. In addition, every bid placed reduces the Buy Now price of the coin as well, so even if you don't end up bidding, it is worth checking out the silver coin auctions - you might be able to buy at a price below retail. (This is true for all auctions there).

All the auctions below are currently live.







Register here to get 5 free bids to start off. I like collecting enough bids, so you can be guaranteed a win when you bid on the item.




Saturday, April 21, 2012

Quibids Global Auctions: Blessing or Curse?

Quibids is finally going global! Today, Quibids announced in their blog post that from now on, you will have the option to compete with people from all over the world instead of just from within your country. And, the tone of the article suggests that you, as a bidder, should be excited and elated! Should you really?

Global penny auctions are not new and Quibids is certainly not the only one to enter that territory. The most notable global penny auction I can think of is BidRivals which is on a steady decline since its heyday. So now, Quibids is going global and asking us to be enthusiastic about it, but is it good?

The Pros

Yes, there are certain pros as Quibids points out and as I know from my own experience with penny auctions for over 2 years now.

  • Better auction selection: Yes, one culture influences the other and usually when penny auctions go global, they have a better selection of items that bidders can bid on. Variety of course is a good thing to have on penny auctions but you shouldn't let it overwhelm you. For example, it is usually a terrible idea to bid on jewelry on penny auctions because you end up overpaying in most cases. 
  • Good for bidders in non-US Countries: Quibids is primarily based in the US and it is not going to change for a while at least. This means bidders in Canada, UK and other countries see fewer auctions. For these bidders, global auctions are good because they now have a wider selection of products to choose from. 
  • More products throughout the day: This is another very important aspect of global penny auctions that there are a good selection of auctions to choose from. Right now, from a US time perspective, there are good and bad times to bid on Quibids. Now the equation is going to be more complicated because you have people from different time zones and when it is optimal time for them to bid, it is not the US consumers. This will mean more auctions throughout the day. Right now, at night in the US, Quibids drastically decreases the number of auctions and the night owls among us aren't too happy. hopefully this will change soon. 

The Cons

Well it is not all smooth sailing in global penny auctions. Here are some of the cons of this new development that Quibids bidders should be aware of - 
  • Increased Competition: Yes, this is one of the most fundamental problems with global penny auctions. At the peak hours, you will have to compete with people from across the globe. Also, even though Quibids has huge amounts of data about when bidders place, they are notorious for not scaling up the number of auctions when demand is high, like during weekends. Is this worse for US bidders? We'll have to wait and see. 
  • Harder to form a Strategy: When penny auctions go global, you can no longer rely on single time zone information to determine what the best time for bidding is. True, strategies like the Volunteer's Dilemma hold no matter what but timing can be everything too. 
These of course are major drawbacks for Quibids bidders. By the way, not all auctions are global for now. You will find a small globe symbol which tells you that the auction is for global audience. I am not too sure how wise it would be to bid on these auctions specifically unless you really like the product. 

What do you think about this latest Quibids development?
Update: Matt, the head Quibids blogger wrote to me saying that my article initially suggested that it would be mandatory for bidders to bid globally but that is not true. I was aware of this but probably didn't write it in the best way. Just to clarify, there will be a few auctions which are global and you can either bid on those or not. The rest are just regular auctions where you bid against people from your own country. If bidding globally excites you, you should bid on these. Otherwise, just stick with regular ones. Of course, you should identify these - look for a symbol of a globe beside the auction. I already mentioned this in the last paragraph. Thanks Matt! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

PennyGrab Leads Reserve Price Auctions

PennyGrab leads the reserve price auction market of penny auctions. For those who don't know about reserve price auctions, it is essentially a kind of penny auction (pay-per-bid auction) where every item has a price that is randomized to be between two limits. Bidders bid on the product and the one who uncovers this reserve or hidden price is the winner.

Many penny auction bidders find this to be a better model than traditional penny auctions mainly because they have more control over their winnings. Also, bidders don't have to worry about the timer and stay in front of their computer all day. This provides all the excitement of regular penny auctions as well.

PennyGrab has been different from the very beginning from other penny auctions. For example, while the entire industry is paranoid about bidders colluding, PennyGrab goes out of their way to encourage bidders to communicate with each other. They thus have a much more loyal bidding base and people appreciate these gestures. Also, PennyGrab has been innovating quite a lot in the sphere like group grabs and rapid fire bids. All these add to the excitement for the bidders. Of late, PennyGrab is trying to have games on the site and reward the players with bids. Isn't that cool?

Join PennyGrab today and get 5 free bids when you join to get started. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Limboauction Review: An Exciting New Penny Auction

This Limboauction review covers the basic working and concept of the site and what I think about this penny auction which has quite a new and innovative model.

Limboauction is not a typical penny auction (like Quibids) and in fact belongs to a class of penny auctions that are becoming popular by the day - timerless penny auctions. These penny auctions do away with the timer completely. However, Limboauction isn't even a regular timerless penny auction (which is usually a reserve price auction, i.e. a price is set and hidden for each item) which makes it all the more exciting.

How Does Limboauction Work?
The Limboauction works is that in any given auction, the price keeps dropping from a high value, which is near the retail price of the item. At any given point in the auction, any bidder can place a bid and immediately in the item. That's it. It is simple and elegant. Let us take a deeper look.

Consider the auction shown below. The retail price of the product is $50. The auction starts at $45, which is already a discount of $5, which is great. However, this isn't all. When the auction begins, the cost of the item keeps dropping. This means from $45, it goes to $43 and then to $40, then to $35 and so on.




The bidders are all watching this, and they can jump in at any time they want. Once they bid on a product, they win it at the price that is currently being shown.

More about how Limboauction Works
Here are some more characteristics which are interesting and good to know to the bidders -

  • There is a limit on how many bidders can participate in an auction. This is good for the bidders because as the site grows in popularity, you don't want hundreds of bidders on a single auction. For example, at Quibids, a typical auction typical attracts several hundreds of bidders over the life of the auction. Here, you are limited to a given number. Currently, it appears that there are 6 bidders at most for an auction. For obvious reasons, a minimum of two bidders are required for any auction. 
  • You pay for every auction you enter. The losers 'subsidize' the winner's earnings, but you can use clever strategies and outsmart your competition. 
  • The auction time isn't ridiculous. If you look at traditional penny auctions, some auctions can go on for over 24 hours! Here, every auction will end in a few minutes, and this keeps the excitement level high - the whole purpose of penny auctions in the first place. 
  • Being an early adopter on this site seems to be highly beneficial, before bidders can come up with competitive strategies that will eat into the overall profit that bidders derive from the auctions. 
My thoughts on Limboauction
I personally like the concept of Limboauction and see a good potential for growth. From a bidders point of view, I think joining in early is a good idea before the site becomes more popular with different bidders. 

Devise your Limboauction strategies with care. Obviously you want to win the auction but you also want to make sure you get a good discount on the product. Don't swing to either extreme, which is another way of saying don't be too greedy. 

As with any penny auction, I would advise you to bid only on items that you really need. If you live in a small town in Idaho where the nearest Starbucks is 5 miles away where you have never been and don't understand what the hype is all about, ask yourself if you really want to bid on a Starbucks gift voucher. Perhaps, you should wait for a Lowe's gift card which might make more sense. Think of what auctions are worth the money you invest in the initial fees to 'join' the auction. 

Check out Limboauction today and don't forget to share your thoughts about it. 

Is Quibids about Luck?

Is Quibids all about luck? Are penny auctions all about luck? These are some natural questions to ask that probably every bidder has asked himself at one point or another. Sure, you can greatly increase your winning chances by following penny auction strategies, but what's the role of luck?

Irrespective of how many penny auctions you have won and how expert a penny auction bidder you are, there is no denying that luck does play a part in any penny auction win. This is mainly because winning at Quibids or any penny auction depends not just on your actions but that of others as well. And you cannot, obviously, control how other bidders behave. Any penny auction involves the interaction of hundreds of bidders in most cases, and it is a very difficult dynamic to predict. So yes, there is an element of luck. Of course, you can increase your chances of being "lucky" or just follow some strategies.


The thing to remember is that the most common winning method on penny auctions is through the Volunteer's Dilemma. This single phenomenon is probably responsible for more than 50% of all wins on penny auctions and this is no exaggeration. The problem with volunteer's dilemma is that it depends on the actions of a group of people who are not under your control. I discuss methods to improve your winning chances but that's all they can do.

So yes, any penny auction will have an element of chance. Perhaps you can come on top if you follow all my penny auction strategies on a huge scale, like hundreds of auctions. That is usually not how bidders operate. This is why I am a strong advocate of bidding only on items that you want, and using the Buy Now feature of Quibids.

Just to illustrate, I am taking an auction of the new iPad, which is available on Quibids now (this is actually a welcome change because I remember when the iPad-2 came out, Quibids took an agonizingly long time to have it up in the auctions and all around, plenty of penny auctions were already promoting themselves with the coveted piece of electronics). These two auctions ended on the same day, so it is all the more impressive. Look at them both and tell me what you think -

and
See the difference? It is HUGE! The first auction ended at $199.18 and the second at $4.83. In the first, bidders collectively spent a total of a whopping $11,950.80 and in the second, bidders collectively spent a total of only $289.80. The difference couldn't be starker. Do you still think there is no luck involved in Quibids or no luck involved in penny auctions?

What do you think about the role of luck and strategy in Quibids and penny auctions? Share your thoughts

Friday, April 13, 2012

Types of Penny Auctions

What are the different types of penny auctions? This might sound like a surprising question to a few bidders because when we say penny auctions, they assume the typical penny auction with a timer that goes to zero and increments each time a bid is placed. However, this is not the only type of penny auction in play today. In fact, another term for penny auctions is 'entertainment auctions' as was popularized by Quibids, the largest penny auction in the world. Once the entertainment part is present in the name, you know why they are popular and why that they serve the dual purpose of discounted shopping and entertainment.

All these classes of penny auctions fall under the ambit of 'pay-per-bid' auctions. As the name suggests, these auctions work off of paying per bid placed. This is true of all penny auctions, the traditional penny auctions and the newer versions and variations on it.

Let me broadly classify penny auctions in two different types, timer auctions and timerless auctions. Note that even under a given category, there could be several variations and different sites use different kinds of innovation for this model.



Timer Penny Auctions
These are the more traditional penny auctions that bidders have known. The most famous site in this category is Quibids, which is the biggest penny auction operating in North America. If you want to know more about this category, read how timer penny auctions work. In a nutshell, timer penny auctions work as follows -
1. You pay for a bid pack, which entitles you to place a certain number of bids that you purchased.
2. You select an auction and place a bid. There is a timer. The timer is reset each time a bid is placed by you or your competitors.
3. The auction is won when the timer becomes 00:00:00. The last bidder is the winner.
4. Item cost is increment in small quantities, almost always a cent, whenever a bid is placed. You don't pick a price to bid on.

Timerless Penny Auctions
Timerless penny auctions are actually becoming quite popular of late and more and more bidders are looking towards this model instead of timer penny auctions. There are many different models here and no universal rule. Well, the only rule is that there is no timer. The model is still pay per bid but the bidding goes on without a timer.

In the UK, there were many 'contests' for the lowest unique bid auction model - as the name suggests, you can bid any amount you want and the lowest unique bid wins. This is an interesting concept but definitely in the realm of gambling. This is a no-no at least for US based penny auctions.

However, there are other types of auctions, most notably, 'reserve bid auctions' in which there is a reserve bid that is hidden from the users. Bidders then start bidding and the person who uncovers this bid wins the auction. There could be some goodies on the way towards the final bidding just so everyone wins something instead of the winner-takes all model of most penny auctions. Currently, the most popular penny auction in this category is PennyGrab which has a really loyal bidding base, which is quite rare for any penny auction.

More and more bidders are preferring this auction model because they don't like the timer and possible shill bidding. There are many new innovations in this sphere, and I see a few new sites coming up as well with similar concepts. This could be a legitimate alternative to traditional penny auctions, but there is yet to emerge a contender as strong as Quibids.

Please don't forget to vote for which kind of penny auction you like the most - find the poll to the right hand side of this page. I would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences on both these auction models

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

PennyGrab Free to Bid Auctions

PennyGrab always manages to come up with some great promotions. You can check out the latest PennyGrab promo codes which are fun because you get free bids. Now, PennyGrab has come up with another exciting auction, which is free to bid! This means you don't spend your bids when you participate in the auction, just the final auction ending price. Since this is usually lower than the retail price, there is no way you are going to lose, so there is no excuse for not being part of this.

PennyGrab announced that it is going to have 10 free to bid auctions and they begin today at 7pm EST. The only catch is that you should purchase a bid pack in the last 1 week, which is a fair bargain.

Check out the free to bid PennyGrab auctions.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Quibids Can Lose Money Too: Quibids Losses

Penny auction bidders usually think that the sites make a killing with all their bids. Although that is true in many cases, it isn't in others. There is a huge risk involved from the website by hosting penny auctions. After all, theoretically, they can lose almost all the money they paid for the product, although it is rare.

It is not just the new penny auctions that lose money on auctions. Even established penny auctions like Quibids can sometimes lose money on certain auctions. This is becoming increasingly the case as people seem to be saturated bidding on penny auctions and the industry as a whole has slowed down. This means, more and more individual auctions on Quibids might actually lose money for the company. On the whole, averaged out, Quibids probably still makes a killing, but it is interesting to note how the site can lose money too.

The big-ticket items that retail for excess of $2000 or so are the ones that are usually risky for a site like Quibids, although they can also be highly lucrative. Remember how they sold a car and make a cool 30 grand profit? Most of the times, in featured auctions of the week, Quibids prefers Apple products. However, of late, Quibids has been more adventurous and this is good for the bidders. By providing niche products, there will not be as many people interested in the product and there will be reduced competition. Of course any reduced competition is bad for Quibids.

Here is a recent auction.
This product is valued at $2076 by Quibids. Let us say this is actually the case and consider this for our example. Now, looking at the final price, we know that 1339 bids were placed in all. This means the total revenue for Quibids for this auction was 1339 X $0.60 = $803.40. The total loss therefore was $1272.60. This could actually be an underestimate of the loss because a lot of the bids could be virtual. However, overall, it seems that Quibids makes more money on virtual bid vouchers than real bids, so I wouldn't consider that too much.

This example is just to show that there are auctions where Quibids loses too. It is a risky game, after all. For all the new penny auctions out there - remember that the going can be tough at times. If the industry leader Quibids has trouble finding enough bidders, chances are, you might too. Be prepared for losses irrespective of how large your bidding base is. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

True Auction Style Penny Auction

A new Penny Auction, nebids is in pre-launch. This penny auction aims to be a true auction style penny auction in that it has not just buyers (bidders) but also sellers. This means it is going to really be an eBay styled penny auction where sellers will set up their products to be bid on penny auction style and buyers will bid on the products they want, penny auction style.

This concept isn't entirely new. Several large penny auctions had tried it in the past (not Quibids though as far as I know) including BidRivals. However, the program didn't get a very good response for a variety of reasons (e.g. read the SuperBidRivals review from an actual user of the program when it was active). There are plenty of details that need to be sorted out for such an ambitious program to work. I am sure the founders are thinking about those though.

There are several challenges that will need to be addressed. For instance, you want a good mix of buyers and sellers on your site for the model to work. Also, it is important for a critical mass of bidders to form for the idea to be profitable, more than regular penny auctions will need. Until then, the site will need heavy promotions and hope to attract both bidders and sellers.

The site is being started by Larry, Scott and Marcus from Florida. All of them have previous entrepreneurial experience but not in penny auctions. I hope they understand the challenges of the industry and are ready. The regular features hold, e.g. providing a robust feedback system so that sellers will have an incentive to be honest instead of cheating (again, need a critical mass). nebids also has dispute resolution in place, as it should, especially when it is starting out. After all, it isn't eBay!

A good point that Larry raised was that since this is going to be different in being a marketplace of both buyers and sellers, the problem of shill bidding is eliminated. This should provide a good level of trust and honesty that new penny auctions find hard to attract.

The launch is still far away, about a couple of months ago for beta. It would be interesting if the trio can pull this off and be successful in the saturated and competitive world of penny auctions. They have a nebids blog that you can check out for updates.

There are also some giveaways for interested bidders. During the giveaway they have 2 grand prizes, 1 new iPad and 1 $500 Amazon gift card. They will also be holding dummy auctions where people can win $5 and $10 gift cards as well as equivalent value bids. There's multiple ways to gain entry into the contest, by entering their email address on the landing page, by liking our facebook page, etc.

It will be an interesting endeavor to follow. With their previous entrepreneurial experience, hopefully, they can build something great. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

HappyBidDay Starter Auctions Still a Steal

HappyBidDay starter auctions are a wonderful place to win products almost guaranteed. Here is the latest starter auction at HBD - ended at 1 cent! (auctions start $1.00, not $0.00). If you are new to HappyBidDay, there is still time to win these starter auctions with almost no risk at all. Also, for a limited time if you use the coupon code HAPPY, you can get 20% off bid packs.

All you need to do is buy one bid pack, and wait for a starter auction. Remember to bid first on a starter auction because if you win other items, you will not be eligible for starter auctions. Once you win the starter auctions, concentrate on other auctions. Another thing to remember is gift cards are easier at this site than electronics, so look for gift cards that are bundled together with bids. 

Are Penny Auctions Dying?

Penny auctions have had an incredible run in the last few years. Is this craze coming to an end? What's the future of the penny auction industry?

This is a tough question to answer, because the future of an entire industry is highly dependent on a number of factors that are hard to predict. However, the current trends clearly point where the future is headed - downwards.

I am talking about a number of trends in the industry. Having studied penny auctions for several years now, I have seen their boom and subsequent decline. There was a time when there was a new penny auction coming up every day. You could also see highly niche penny auctions coming up. A number of businesses jumped on this bandwagon because they found the idea interesting.

Reasons for the proliferation of Penny Auctions
There are several reasons why I think penny auctions became so popular in the US and Europe that you had new penny auctions coming up all the time. Here are some of them -

  • They were already becoming popular. People like to find the next "trend" and jump on it. Unfortunately, penny auctions are a serious business to run and many didn't realize it. They should have done their homework better. However, the reason that the trend was upward was a major reason why many other businesses wanted to get a piece of the pie. 
  • Penny auctions are easy to set up. This is very true. There are standard scripts available that can set up a penny auction site overnight. Of course you should modify the script at least a little to make your site unique but it was easy. I think a business could hire one person to take care of the technology side of setting up a website. It was easy. 
  • Penny auctions are cheap to set up. Initially. Unfortunately, they do require a lot of work and money in the long run to be successful. However, the initial set up part is pretty cheap. Sites just but a domain name, buy some hosting and scripts. All of these can be gotten under $200/year, which is not much at all. 
  • Businesses saw potential. This is why they became popular in the first place. You could see penny auction advertisements all over the internet. I have seen Quibids advertisements in the most reputable newspapers online. You'd be surprised. 
  • There was money to be made. If websites could cross over a threshold of bidders, they could make a good profit. 
After this 'honeymoon' phase came the reality - most penny auctions couldn't make a profit. Penny auctions need a huge initial investment and also need a tipping point of user base to make them profitable. This is the main reason why niche penny auctions never really took off. You have to attract enough people in a very specific niche. This was possible with a few penny auctions that dealt with precious metals, when the gold bug mania was at its peak with gold touching $2000/ounce and doomsday conspiracies were the rage after the recession. Apart from this, I cannot think of any niche penny auction category that did well. 

Many penny auctions were poorly capitalized. They didn't have the money for advertisements, bid discounts, promotions, initial losses, etc. This is all the more reason why I appreciate Quibids. This penny auction has stuck through thick and thin and done a wonderful job of persevering. It is still going strong today. It is by far the largest penny auction. 

Now, most penny auctions see reduced traffic. Bidders are not coming by the droves as they used to. There have been many accusations, and many penny auction owners were dishonest, using bots and other manipulations to make money. This gave a bad reputation to the whole industry. Not a good thing for a new industry at all. You can see the general traffic to all penny auction blogs is also on the decline. People are just not that interested anymore. 

How can Penny Auctions Grow

I think the idea of penny auctions is quite saturated here in the US and also in most of Europe. All the advertisements have lost their appeal and new bidders are hard to come by. However, this is not the whole world. There are many more countries, especially the developing world. Countries like India have lax laws and many penny auctions are now targeting India. I think it is much harder to set up a shop in China, so India was the next target. There were penny auctions famous in South Africa. I am not sure how those are doing though. However, penny auctions need to look for new markets to survive. 

What are your thoughts and experiences in this regard?

Quibids Mystery Auctions

Quibids mystery auctions are a surprise! Well, Quibids is not known for these mystery auctions but some other penny auctions sure do this. That being said, Quibids is the largest penny auction site out there, and it is always good to see some innovation and excitement from this industry leader. So what has Quibids done of late? Well, it is starting the Quibids mystery auctions. What are those? It's a mystery!

Well, the official blog post tells us little. All it says is that you'll see in April, so bidders should look forward to something fun then. There are 9 mystery auctions being run by Quibids.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

KingOfHowTo on a Vendetta Against Penny Auctions

KingOfHowTo wants to proclaim every penny auction is a scam. And they want to do that not one article at a time, but write an individual "spun" article each time. This of course is an easy way to gather publicity while misleading consumers and readers.

The reason this is misleading is because it doesn't answer the more fundamental questions that a penny auction review should answer. Do they use shill bidding? Do they lie? Do they use fake testimonials? What are the features they have? etc.

Here are few of the articles, all with the same theme - BBB says they are scams. This is poor quality of reporting on an important issue. Worse, Google News indexes the site, so people looking for genuine information on penny auctions are misled into the site.

http://kingofhowto.com/Shopping/pennygrab-scam-penny-auction-536.html
http://kingofhowto.com/Shopping/kudubids-scam-penny-auctions-463.html
http://kingofhowto.com/Shopping/bidhere-scam-penny-auctions-832.html

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

YouNeverLose Review


YouNeverLose Review: YouNeverLose is a penny auction site with a twist - instead of purchasing bids, you purchase gift cards at their retail value, gather points and use those points as bids to win additional products.

Minimizing Risk
I have always advocated that you should look for strategies that minimize your risk. This is why I like it when penny auctions have a Buy Now feature, which allows bidders to cash out their bids to buy the product at full retail (whether this price is inflated is another discussion; it happens, but not always, e..g gift cards have a known retail value that cannot be manipulated). This is why penny auctions like Quibids do well. And they can argue their case in front of any litigation: after all, you decided not to buy the item at retail and lost out.

YouNeverLose also does this in its own way. Essentially, it says, buy at full retail from us, and we will give you a chance to win something else. There is no catch - for example, you buy a $10 Amazon gift card and use the free credits to bid on another gift card, and hopefully win it. This of course minimizes your risk - if you fail to win anything with your free credits, you still have the initial gift card you bought - you come out even.

How YouNeverLose makes money
This is actually an important question to ask for any penny auction. After all, no one wants to operate at a loss. The thing with YouNeverLose is that it asks you to buy gift cards at full retail. However, the 'fair market value' of gift cards is almost always less than their face value. There are several websites out there that sell gift cards for less than their face value. It is not uncommon to see $25 gift cards being sold for $23. It isn't much, but it is something. In addition, I suspect YouNeverLose gets better deals directly from the companies (after all, a huge chunk of gift cards are never used, so companies are usually happy to negotiate gift card deals).

How you should use YouNeverLose
Like everything else, you should use this penny auction with care if you want to come on top in the long run. Look for gift cards that make sense to you. Don't buy something just because you want to. Instead, look for gift cards that you will definitely use in the next week or month. Don't stock up too much (you end up not using them!) Instead, define your needs, see how much money you need to spend and where, and then buy gift cards appropriately. Use the credits to bid on auctions.

Have you used YouNeverLose? Do you have anything to add to this YouNeverLose review? Drop a line!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Penny Auctions in India

Penny auctions in India are relatively new. However, the concept of penny auctions has been around for a long time now. It is no surprise that it started in Europe, spread and became popular in the US and is now looking for other markets like India. India has the third largest internet population in the world, and has relatively few restrictions, so expanding there would be easy. The hard part of course would be to get the critical mass going.

Penny auctions in India seem to follow the unique bid concept rather than traditional timer penny auctions. The sites that I found for penny auctions in India seem to have the lowest unique bid and highest unique bid. I got this information off of Adwords - the sites that are advertising through Google. There could be others that I am unaware of.

Lowest unique bid: http://almostfree.in/
Highest unique bid: https://www.bidstall.com/index.php

However, in addition to the maximum number of bids, they also seem to have a timer, just to make sure that the auctions don't go on forever. This is a good idea provided there is a critical mass.

Lowest/highest unique bid auctions might be akin to gambling, at least in the US. This is one reason why we don't find many penny auctions with this model in the US. However, wither more relaxed rules in India, coupled with the fact that they are new and hence will probably not be regulated too soon, it is a nice strategy to explore for the penny auctions.

Do you know of any other Indian penny auctions? Are you from India and participate in penny auctions? What do you think about them? Do share your thoughts!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

15 PennyGrab Free Bids/Credits

Get 15 PennyGrab free bids or credits as they are called on the site. PennyGrab always has exciting offers for penny auction bidders. You get bonus codes through emails that you can redeem when you buy bid packs within the month (which is fair enough, don't you think?) Now, PennyGrab has come up with another exciting way to get 15 free credits. Read the blog post. Basically, all you need to do is send your pic along with a testimonial to PennyGrab. The pic of course being you with your winnings.

This is a common strategy followed by a lot of penny auctions, including the largest ones like Quibids. It is also a simple win-win situation. The more people who submit their testimonials, the better people will trust the site. The bidders in return get free bids to their favorite penny auction sites. In fact, if it were up to me, I would sweeten the deal a little more and have at least 30 or so free bids, considering how PennyGrab frequently gives away free bids in any case. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

HappyBidDay Bonus Codes

HappyBidDay is having a promotion for extra bids which is really good if you want to stock up on some bids. Here are the codes: DOUBLE100, DOUBLE200, DOUBLE500. As the coupon codes suggest, you can double your bids when you buy these bid packs. This is only valid till the end of the month, so you should act soon if you want to bid here.
Before bidding, remember to read my post on Almost Guaranteed Wins on HBD

Quibids Vacation Package Win

The Quibids featured auction of the week was a Disney Vacation package for 4, priced at $4,000. Congratulations to the winner thomasflick!

The winner didn't seem to have put in too many bids. As you can see above, it is just 52 bids! So he spent $31.20 on the bids and won a vacation package worth $4,000. Not bad at all.

The winning strategy again seemed to have been a classic Volunteer's Dilemma for Quibids using the Bid-o-matic. Using bid-o-matic, you can see many more cases of the volunteer's dilemma in many auctions. You should therefore also know how to bid against bid-o=matic.


Just for fun, let us calculate the maximum profit for Quibids in this auction. Of course, you never know because a number of bidders use virtual bids. That being said, in my mind, there shouldn't be a great difference between the two because it isn't like voucher bids are free - you still play and win those through your real bids in most cases. Of course we are also assuming that no one exercised their Buy-Now option which is going to be rare in this kind of an auction in any case.

No. of bids placed = 15,594
Cost per bid = $0.60
Total revenue = 15,594 X 0.60 = $9,356.40
Cost of vacation package = $4000 (could be less for Quibids and most likely will be).
Profit = $5,356.40
That's not bad for a single auction.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

400,000 page views Penny Auctions Blog!

Just wanted to share with everyone, that through your support, this blog today has reached over 400,000 page views since its inception. It has always been a pleasure helping people win on penny auctions. If there are things that you want to read about, you can always shoot me a mail. Also, to get latest penny auction strategies, coupons, etc. you can always subscribe to my mailing list for free. It's 100% secure and spam-free.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What's up with 24hBids?

This is from yesterday. 24hBids announced they are closing down. Here is the mail that members received:

Hello 24hBidders,
I am very sad to say that we lost our investors at 3 PM EST today and this will force us to close down.
We ask everyone top lease use the bids that you have remaining in your account before 11 PM EST on December 23rd.
I apologize and am very sad to share this information with you all, and if you have any questions please email me (it may take me 24 hours to respond as I have a lot of work to do due to this unfortunate news.

Sincerely,
John
www.24hbids.com
That wasn't too much of a surprise all by itself. Not every penny auction becomes Quibids. However, within an hour, the mail changed and members got another mail:
Hello 24hBidders,
I´m sorry about the last email.
24hBids is not closing, but instead I am qutting my job of running it.
The investors will continue running the site as they wish.
I am leaving the office now and will not have access to my email account any more.
I will be on thebidlounge soon and make a post in the forum.

Sincerely,
John
www.24hbids.com
That was odd. Doesn't help with the confidence of the bidders and members. This is either a great time to bid there or a very terrible one. They are having a promotion this Thursday to Sunday for discounted bids, if anyone is interested. I suppose it is to stem the exodus of members scared of the previous mails.

What are your thoughts? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who is the QuiBids Girl in QuiBids Advertisements?

The Quibids girl unmasked! She became famous because that was the first time people heard of Quibids. Unfortunately, the original advertisement of Quibids was removed from Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pn046Ms5uXs)
However, if you are wondering who that Quibids girl was, it's D'Arcy Kate Fellona. She's a model and actress, in case you are wondering!



This is because people seem to be curious about this, especially because the ad has been removed and I cannot even find it online anymore!

New QuiBids Advertising Girl

Since I wrote this post, there has been a new QuiBids Advertising girl! She replaced the original model above, D'Arcy Kate Fellona. The new model is Kari Klinkenborg. She's a model too (of course!) and has featured in several photo-shoots and even movies. Here's her IMDb profile, for instance. She's also available on Model Mayhem for work, if you want to hire her for your own projects (profile since removed).