AnniesBid: Charity Penny Auction Site
AnniesBid is a different kind of penny auction website, and it that has been around for two years. They claim that they not only focus on protecting their customers from fraud and abuse but they also let customers generate social impact while having an entertaining shopping experience. Meaning, although this website does make a profit, they also claim to send a very significant portion of the bid prices to charities related to social and community issues such as education, health, poverty and more. Their goal is to have more than 50% of the profit of every auction donated this way (which means that may not be the percentage being donated at this time).
They also claim that what sets them apart is that their auctions close all the time, even after seconds, while other penny auction sites have auctions that go on for days or weeks.
Their interest in protecting their customers includes discouraging predatory behaviors and unfair bidding practices, and they make sure that your privacy and financial information is completely protected. One of the fair bidding practices is their “win limits” system which prevents any one user from winning too many auctions is a designated time period (two items in a 24-hour period or four items in a seven day period).
The website is comprehensive, informative and has a nice design. There are several very complete tutorials on how things work, a frequently asked questions page, a support page, a mission page, and you can search for items to bid on according to category.
AnniesBid has a very wide range of items and products available, which are neatly organized into categories, including: toys, electronics, home goods, bid packages, gift cards, recreation, office, bags and purses, jewelry and accessories and even “ladies luxury escape”. The Auction tab lets you browse and bid on auctions by category. You can see items that are currently on auction, as well as items that have already been sold and for how much. This is all very useful information, and helps customers make informed auction and bid decisions.
The frequently asked questions page on AnniesBid is very useful and covers issues such as how to win more auctions, troubles logging in, shipping costs (usually only a few dollars), the cost of bids and when they expire, whether products are new or not (they are brand new), what happens when an auction is over, if there is a limit to how many auctions one can win or bid on, how auction time is measured, problems with timers, how the company ensures fairness, what to do if you receive a defective or damaged item, the return and refund policies, the exchange policy, any many other questions. Basically, a very comprehensive list of questions and answers to cover pretty much any doubt customers may have.
How does it work?
In addition to the very comprehensive questions and answer section, AnniesBid also has very comprehensive instructions on how the bidding and auction system works. In fact, they have a “101” course and then after that a “201” course. They go into detail on how to register, how to get started, what is means to win an auction, how the buy it now feature works and much more.
The guide to getting started and how the website works goes step by step in great detail so that anyone can figure out how to use bids. For first time users, you just need to register and then choose an introductory discounted bidding package. Apparently most auction prices start at a penny, and for every bid another 20 seconds is added to the clock to allow for more bids. If you are the last bidder when the clock runs out, you win the auction. When you claim your item and pay you will see that part of the proceeds will be donated to charity.
The website has a helpful diagram to help you understand all of the features of bidding and how it works (where to click on the item images and why). You can see a photo of the item, a countdown clock notifying you of how much time you have left to place your bid, the retail price of the item, the current highest bid, and the price you can pay if you just want to skip bidding and buy the item immediately. There is a large button to “bid now” on each image, making it easy to get right to bidding.
On AnniesBid, every time you wine an auction, part of the proceeds will go to charity. Also, you (or anyone registered on the website) have the right to suggest causes to receive contributions. Then the website choses a group of causes from the suggestions to appear on a monthly ballot, which members can then vote on through the Cause Voting application on Facebook.
Every bid placed is transparent so you know exactly how much is going to a charity with each click of the mouse and with each bid you make. You can even see how much you’ve donated in the “My Account” section. You can also track how much money is actually raised by everyone bidding for our charities by checking our “Featured Causes” page.
To se the charities AnniesBid works with, go to the Causes tab. However, in the tab it appears there is currently only one cause, which is Operation Homefront (a program to support the families of deployed service members). So, it looks like the website still needs to build its base of charity organizations to contribute to.
AnniesBid is a comprehensive and informative penny auction website with a variety of products available for bidding. Plus you can feel good about winning auctions knowing that part of what you pay will go to charity (even if it is only one charity at a time and you can’t pick it). Also, there are many items to bid on at fantastic savings. All in all, a recommended penny auction website.