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?


  1. Really interesting industry. It seems some get a deal while many get stiffed. How does a business model like that work? At Ultimate Cool Games we have our players compete for prizes in games. Maybe we should be called entertainment game playing :)

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