Penny auctions for those of you who aren’t familiar with them are online auctions which increment by one penny each bid. Obviously there is more to it than this or every auction could go on endlessly, so here is the catch.
When you bid on a penny auction you first have to buy the bids you will use, these “bids” typically cost between 50 and 75 cents each. Every time you place a new bid the counter will increase a little bit. The counter increase promotes more bidders at the last minute and gives people a guaranteed opportunity to “get the last word in”.
Penny auctions: losing your shirt,
As you can see bidding on these auctions could cost you a lot more than the value of the item up for auction in a relatively small amount of time. For some this may be a new creative outlet for a gambling addiction and for others it may be an opportunity to get a great deal.
Penny auctions: Patience,
I personally am of the latter, recently I decided to test out one of these services and the anxiety poured out of me like a sports star rushing to the finish line as I bid like mad on the item I wanted. Eventually the competition ran out of bids, but I decided this probably wasn’t the best approach, purchased some more bids and tried again. At this point I was trying the “patience is a virtue” approach.
Sitting and watching the counter I noted that many people where bidding on the item I wanted without seeming to have any kind of strategy at all. It was as if they didn’t intend to win anything just to place all their bids and hope for the best.
Penny auctions: Gambling addiction?
This kind of bidding could be more akin to the slot machines in a casino where you pull the lever and hope for the best. Seldom does this actually earn you anything of real value. Upon realizing this inspiration I continued to watch and as the counter got down to the last seconds I placed my bid. The counter then jumped up to 9 seconds again and someone else bid against me.
Waiting for the counter to reach the absolute last second again I noticed someone else bidding still. I decided to simply keep a close watch while these other bidders dueled it out. Eventually that absolute last second came up again and I placed several more bids with only one competitor.
Penny auctions: My victory,
With my last bids I secured the item. All in all I walked away with $100 in gift cards for JCpenny and the Outback Steakhouse. However, I do feel bad for those who had spent the hundreds of bids prior to me and walked away with nothing.
While I walked away a winner, the only real winner was the penny auction itself who had made over 400 bids, which roughly equals $240. The penny auction site still charged me a $1.99 processing fee and a $3 shipping fee on top of my final bid and all the money they had acquired from the accumulated bids.
While my experience was a good one this time it is likely my one and only experience with Bidcactus.com as the results of my researched proved to be very misfortunate indeed. However, I have recently come upon another penny auction site where (If you are willing to pay full price) you will never lose a single dollar and still get the enjoyment of a competitive shopping experience. This penny auction is called Quibids.com.
Penny auctions: Quibids.com
At Quibids every bid you make costs 60 cents, but also accumulates towards the full retail value of the product you bid on. If you lose the auction you may still choose to purchase the item at full retail and place your purchased bids against the full value. This kind of system lets everyone come away happy and without having blown their whole check on nothing. I hope you enjoyed reading my review of these two sites and I hope you will consider Quibids for your future gift shopping endeavors.