If you’ve decided to try out penny auction websites, where you can bid on and win merchandise for a fraction of their retail value, then you are probably overwhelmed by the options of sites out there. Plus, if you’ve read any of the complaints or accusations of scams out there, then you’re probably worried about making the wrong choice and finding yourself in a bad situation. Here are some tips to help you find a penny auction site that is legitimate and right for you.
There are also sites you can check such as http://www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/ that rate different penny auction sites so you can find out in advance whether a site is worth giving a shot.
Do your research
First of all, before you’re able to make a decision, you’re going to need to do your research about penny auction sites. For example, you should read online forum discussions and blog articles (including the comments section) to see what other users are saying about the different penny auction sites out there. Getting feedback from other users about which sites are good and which ones aren’t is a great way to start dwindling down your options. The idea is that by reading what other people have to say you can narrow down your options by at least deciding which sites you definitely don’t want to try, and which ones you do.
However, beware of fake positive reviews by people that have been paid by their penny auction website to improve their reputation (you should be able to tell which are false by the unnaturally and overly positive tone; it will sounds like a salesperson usually). You should also be aware that many penny auction sites slander their competition online in order to improve their own position, so you also need to keep this in mind. Just do your research, and analyze all the information you found to make an educated guess about which sites may be worth trying and which may not be.
Cost per bid and site traffic
Something to look into that probably varies from site to site is the cost per bid, and also how much traffic the site receives on a daily basis, and per item auctioned (it may be hard to win if you are competing against lots of other bidders). As a general rule, paying more than $1 is too much, and less than $.50 is low enough to be questionable. Also, check out the bid packages to make sure you like the options they have and that you get a good deal for buying bids in bulk.
As a general rule in terms of competition and website traffic (another important aspect of selecting a penny auction website to keep in mind), more than 10 people bidding on the same item is too much competition. Any number of bidders below 4 is a much better situation. If you have too much competition, even if it seems like a good and reputable site, it may be too difficult to win to make it worth your time (and money).
Items available for auction
Also, take into account your product interests because not all penny auction sites are created equal in this respect. Some specialize in electronics or gift cards, while others have mainly jewelry and products for the home. Make sure you’re signing up for a site that actually has merchandise that you’re interested in. This information will help you decide if it’s the right site for you.
Fair bidding practices
Finally, make sure you pick a site that takes into account fair bidding practices, such as limiting the number of times someone can win during a certain period of time. If you’re just starting out, you don’t want to sign up for a site where the best bidders can constantly beat you. Some sites even offer the opportunity for rookies to bid only against each other, making the playing field even fairer.
Make sure the penny auction site you are going to use is transparent about their costs, fees and any other information they you may need to participate. To be sure, read the terms and conditions, the section on how it works, and any other information provided on the site. A comprehensive website that has all the information you need clearly explained and easily accessed is a good sign. You are looking for a penny auction site where you can access very complete tutorials on how things work, a frequently asked questions page, a support page, and any information on signup fees, annual fees, minimum bidding amounts, maximum prize amounts, refunds, etc.
The site should also explain what happens if you win an auction (when you’ll be contacted and how, when the item will be delivered and how much delivery fees are, etc.). Some sites, for example, charge an auction fee while most don’t. Some charge higher shipping rates than others, and so on. Make sure you are aware of all of the costs and fees associated with the site before you make a decision to start bidding.
Any penny auction site that tries to help you win is also probably a good choice. So, if there is a strategies, tips or hints page on the website that has clear instructions that make sense (not bidding immediately, staying away from auctions with too many people, bidding during off-peak hours, checking out the winners page to see the history of auctions for the types of items that interest you, etc.).
If the site you want to try offers a free trial or free bids to sign up, go for it. That way you can try participating in auctions without having to put up and of your own money at first. However, again, make sure you read the fine print carefully because there have been complaints of penny auction sites automatically charging a sign-up fee or for more bids when theirs ran out.
Choosing a penny auction site can be a complicated task, but you’ll be glad you did; by doing your research and thoroughly checking out the site, you’ll avoid losing money or time, and you’ll most likely have a good experience.