Penny auction sites: The variety hour show

auctionsSome experienced participants in penny auction sites claim to have gotten bored of doing the same thing over and over. It is for this reason that many bidding sites have introduced alternatives in the form of different auction types. Since penny auction sites were created to satisfy two of modern man’s greatest needs: shopping and entertainment, it is imperative that the fun factor be kept. Here are some of the most widely sought-after auction types available online:

Live Auctions

The most popular online auctions are based on this model. That is, multiple bidders placing their bids on items simultaneously to the rhythm of the tick-tock of a countdown clock. Players taking place in these auctions may bid on one or several items at the same time. The winner is usually the last player to have placed the highest bid by the time the clock goes down to zero. In this type of auctions, participants are shown items online that start off at $0, every time a user places a bid, the price goes up by $0.01. At the same time, the countdown clock is automatically reset for another 10 to 20 seconds. This is done in order to give possible competitors the chance to place new bids. This procedure is meant to replace flesh and bones auctioneers that would shout: Going once, going twice, gone! Winners are duly noted of their condition and requested to complete the process by paying the final price. This payment is usually carried out with the same systems used for registration: major credit cards, pay pal or other electronic means.

Advantages: These are the most entertaining kinds of auctions and adrenaline seems to be the name of the game. In fact, popular, hot sites are not for the faint-hearted at all. Generally speaking, these types of auctions provide great opportunities to get massive discounts on high-end electronics, for instance.

Downsides: The greatest disadvantage is that sometimes items may turn out to be more expensive than if you bought them at retail price. If the auction carries on for too long: which is known to happen often, then auctioned goods end up being way overpriced. Also, long-running auctions can make you waste a lot of time. Last but not least, live auctions have earned a lot of notoriety thanks to automated bidding. Many penny auction sites offer an automatic bidding feature which was designed to help users keep on bidding when they something else to do. However, it was later made public that this automated bidding resource was used by some of the sites themselves in order to raise the price of items. Bordering on scam, this practice is known as shill bidding and is one of the main reasons many bidders have quit online bidding altogether.

Free Promotional Auctions

There is a wide scope of promotional bidding going on for beginners. Reserved only for newcomers, these free auctions offer participants a unique chance of taking place in online auctions without having to purchase any initial bids. There are other alternatives, though. In some of these first-time promotional packages, bidders are granted a certain percentage of free bids together with the bids they purchase upon registration. For example, you purchase an $80 pack, but get twice as many bids. In addition, even when participants are required to purchase bids upon registration, they don’t lose any of these initial bids for over a fixed period of time. There are some penny auction sites that feature a guaranteed win for first timers on the page.

Advantages: The benefits of promotional bidding are too obvious to discuss any further: risk-free bidding: all the benefits without any of the inconveniences.
Downsides: Once the benefits of being a newbie are over, reality sinks in. Many angry reviewers claim to have been enticed to register by the apparent advantages shown during the free-trial period. After that, item prices seem to soar while chances of winning thin. Likewise, bids get lost in long struggles over products that end up in the hands of more experienced players.

Fixed Auctions

These types of auctions come in two presentations: fixed time or fixed price. In the first case, bidders are given a time limit, regardless countdown clock resets. Auctions under this format end much faster than most traditional live auctions and consequently, offer participants the chance of getting better deals. The second kind, fixed price auctions, works on a price-set basis. That is, items cannot go over this fixed amount. There are variations depending on each website, but the most popular formats are:

a) Participants bid on the item as they normally do, but the auction ends automatically when set price is reached and the last bidder to have placed the bid nearest to the fixed price is the lucky winner.
b) Other bidding sites offer alternatives which include fixed price listing styles. In these cases, items are reserved for the “buy now” alternative and would not be eligible for regular auctions.

50% Bid Back Auctions

Other promotional offers contemplate special fixed percentages of bids given back to non-winners. That is, if you take part in one of these auctions and fail to win, you are given back 50% of the bids you spent during the bidding process. Those bids are returned to your bids account for you to use in another auction. The obvious advantage is that you reduce the amount of money lost.

Unique Lowest Bids

This type of auction is not often found. There are nonetheless, a few sites that have implemented this alternative as a means to offer diversity. Through this method, participants place their lowest possible bids, sometimes fractions of cents. This is mainly because in unique lowest bids auctions, it is the bidder who managed to place the lowest bid the one who wins.

Pros: Prices are kept at bay and smart bidding is an asset.
Cons: If the auction is not run on a fixed time basis, the bidding may take a while.

These creative variations of the more traditional auctions format have been introduced as a means to revitalize the falling market of penny auction sites.