Saturday, November 29, 2014

QuiBids Advertorials: Is QuiBids Still Using Them?

When QuiBids started way back in 2009, it was still a niche site in a niche but exploding market of penny auctions. It did remarkably well during a time when much of the competition folded shop (or were outright scams) over the long term, but every business has a way to get its name out there during the initial days. Sometimes, these methods are not the most 'white hat' and the CEO of QuiBids, Matt Beckham is all too familiar with such tactics.

Rise of the QuiBids Advertorials

QuiBids has used the advertorial model very effectively, especially during the initial days. An advertorial is a very frowned-upon tactic where an article appears like a news article, but is just an advertisement really. The advertorial links back to a site's landing page, where it is meant to convert visitors into customers. The advertorial itself is linked from various places online, from buying up Adwords ads to other pay per click advertising. The advertorial gives an air of legitimacy that doesn't actually exist, which is why it is considered quite shady. The advertorial-aggregating website doesn't do any editorial work, obviously, but will instead publish anything and everything that would pay money.

There was quite a controversy several years ago around QuiBids advertorials. QuiBids CEO Matt Beckham had a history in this field, even before he founded QuiBids. And it was controversial. Here's an old QuiBids advertorial:

Current Status

It appears that QuiBids hasn't stopped the practice of advertorials even now. Today, it seems like it's easier than ever to insert these ads, especially in the 'Around the Web' type of articles that you often see at the end of another article that you're reading online.

In this case, I saw a QuiBids advertorial linked to from 24/7 Wall Street, a financial news site. This was the ad unit:

and here's the screenshot for the full page:

The ad read:
"Discount Site" Sells Apple Products For $20-$35

That does sound like a penny auction site. When I visited the site, it was an advertorial for QuiBids, titled: How To Pay Just Pennies For Brand New Products. The site links to a QuiBids landing page for Black Friday.

QuiBids is a big and mature company today, and has distinguished itself very well from most other penny auction sites, even popularizing its category as 'Entertainment Auctions', to distance itself from the 'penny auction' label. However, such advertorials don't always speak too highly of the business and the site. I think it should stop this form of advertising. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

QuiBids Expanding Into Women's Fashion?

As penny auctions fall out of favor, more or less, with consumers (yes, the industry is not even close to its peak in 2010-2011 where a new site opened up every day in all kinds of niches, without regard to potential profitability), QuiBids is one of the oldest and most trusted sites still standing and going strong. However, it knows that it isn't going to see an expanding industry anytime soon, so it makes sense that QuiBids is trying to diversify. And it is doing it well.

Recently, QuiBids started featuring more items in women's fashion world. This is significant for a few reasons -

  • Women's fashion items have a very high margin. This means the mark-up for Buy Now is significant. On an average, therefore, it is easier for QuiBids to break even and make a profit off these items. I can guarantee their profit margins on this category are significantly higher than say electronics. 
  • QuiBids seems to be forming strategic partnerships. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they are actually getting paid for the publicity or able to get really nice deals on the items themselves. Mind you, these aren't world renowned fashion brands but the ones I'd classify more as "upcoming". The exposure these brands get from tens of thousands of QuiBids shoppers is significant - they don't (yet) have much clout. 
  • For the future, the fashion industry seems like a nice category to expand business in. It attracts a different set of users, who might be obsessed with a deal (if you don't believe me, check out a sample sale event in New York and you'll know what I am talking about!) in the fashion industry. They could then become regulars. 

QuiBids is slowly moving away from the traditional penny auction model and towards more lucrative eCommerce type business. Time will tell how they succeed.