Going, going, gone.

I have to admit that when I heard about the auction site, QuiBids, I was skeptical. Could you really bid on desirable but pricey items and walk away with them for a few dollars if not less? Best thing to do? Have a look-see and check it out. It’s not eBay, in terms of how auctions work. The coolest and hardest part is that the auction can go on for a long time, especially if bids are only in increments of 1 cent. So, when you see that an auction has 20 seconds to run and you think it’s a good time to plump up a bid, the clock gets reset to 20 seconds, and this goes on for a while as new bids are made. Who will blink first? Is it like chicken? You watch and wait, and think just one second to go, push the button. Reset for 20 seconds. The process–or game–restarts. But, apparently low bids can win great stuff, like an iPad or an iBook. But are the winners real or is there some scam with fake bids being controlled by robots? I was less inclined to think so when one of my fellow church committee members walked into this week’s meeting clutching the iPad she had won for under $2. She thought that the person against whom she was bidding might have fallen asleep. Good for her.

You have to watch the auctions carefully and it’s not so easy to figure out the best times to bid and win with low offers. The range of winning prices is really wide, though.

But, the really interesting part of the auction to me is the business model. Each bid costs 60 cents. So, for an item valued at $700, if punters place about 1150 bids, the value of the item has nearly been covered. Now, for the auction site, that is great. For any bidder, it may not be bad. If you’ve made 100 bids ($60) and won then it’s still a great saving. If you’ve only made under 10 bids ($6) it’s a greater bargain. But, QuiBids is winning, winning, winning. I have to give kudos to the people who dreamt up this idea. I’m sure it will pull in more people as it’s a play on the gambling addiction, and the “just one more try” approach, especially after the penultimate bid turns out to be a loser.

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About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
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