Penny Auction Review: Puppids

puppidsAre you a big fan of penny auctions? Keen to try out a new site? Just a newbie ready to tentatively test the waters? Who/what is Puppids.com? You achieve all that in more while reading this review. Just in case, we’ll start by going over just what the heck is an online penny auction. If you happen to be a veteran online penny auctioneer, you can head directly to the Puppids.com review at the bottom of the page.

What’s the difference between a penny auction and a regular auction?

One of the biggest differences between a penny auction and a regular auction is that when you place a bid on a penny auction site, you must pay that money which you bid. In other words, you spend money, no matter if you win or lose the auction. To avoid bidder furor with those who lose, the majority of penny auction sites provide a “Buy It Now” option, which allow losing bidders to use the cost of the losing bids for purchasing the product at retail price.

Another detail that differs between an online penny auction and traditional auctions is that each time there is a new bid, the time is reset (not back to full-time, but still a significant percentage of the remaining time), which can cause auctions to last up to a week. This bring us to the most common customer complaint: the auctions simply last too long and no one can be at their computer 24/7 for several days.

Finally, the detail that separates an online penny auction from a traditional auction the most: the role and responsibility of the website itself. At a traditional auction website, the company managing the site holds the position of a middleman between the seller and the bidders. With this role, the company’s responsibility is to make sure that both both buyer and seller do not break the agreement made between the two parties; namely, payment and delivery of the product. Yet many online penny auction sites are run by a company that is both the mediator and vendor, and this runs the risk of making the auctions seem shady and less enjoyable for the bidders.

Why Are Penny Auctions So Questionable?

Penny auctions are targets of heavy criticism, due to the fact that there is no true mediator between the vendor and buyer. Critiques of these sites point out that since participants/bidders are required to pay, no matter the result, in fact they are paying to simply participate, which at first glance would appear to be the same as a gambling website.

This argument has attracted much controversy, since since website that partake in gambling activities but have the proper license to be legal. The problem that pops up (in the U.S., at least) is that at the time, online gambling is illegal.

In addition, the bargain that these websites offer with their ‘Buy It Now’ button is not the great deal that it’s cracked up to be. In reality, the prices for the items on the website are actually higher than what you might find on another website that is a traditional vendor. So in reality, you haven’t saved anything.

To top it off, since penny auction websites are not official retailers, you are essentially buying the product from a third party and the warranty that accompanies the product that you have won/purchased is…..drum roll, please…..invalid! So if the item arrives in less than pristine condition or breaks down, you’re up the creek without a paddle warranty.

What’s more, there is no level of trust between the bidders and vender (website); none whatsoever. Since the website owners act as both vendor AND middleman, they have no reason to ensure that the auction ends in a prompt manner for the bidders; this would cause them to make LESS money. The result is that many bidders and critics of these website accuse the website of using ‘bidding bots’ to

Due to the fact that the the website serves as both seller and mediator, it is in their favor that the auctions continue for as long a time as possible; this has led to many accusations of the use of bidding bots (automatic bidders controlled by the site whose function is to reset/ extend the bidding time) or the occasional ‘server malfunction’, that causes an auction to be extended for several more day or sometimes even reset to full-time, without canceling the bids.

A key point to highlight is that since the middleman is the vendors themselves, even though you are invited to issue a complaint, the reality is that any such complaint would be in vain- the mediators being the vendors themselves, have no incentive to change the conditions of the website; especially if doing so would reduce their earnings.

Puppids: Thumbs-up or thumbs-down?

Well, honestly speaking, a big yellow (if not red) flag popped up in our heads when we did a Google search and found that another site offered a secondary IP address or a VPN ‘so you can access Puppids.com if it’s blocked by your ‘school, employer or government’. Which leads us to the question- why is this particular service offered for this penny auction site and not the others that we researched? More importantly, would a site with ethics allow you to access their site in such a manner? Yep- definitely a yellow flag, no matter you thoughts on individual freedoms and convenience.

One thing that is disturbing about the industry in general is that there are so few quality ‘watch-dog’ sites that provide up-to-date reviews on the ever-growing penny auction industry and the plethora of sites popping up everywhere; but hey- that’s why we’re writing this review now- to add another objective source to cite in your search for quality penny auction sites.

This site launched in early 2013, and offered quite a few nice ‘freebies’ during the ‘beta-testing’:

‘FREE, CONTINUOUS AND UNLIMITED BIDS, PAYING ONLY THE AUCTION PRICE until we officially launch our site. You will receive 10,000 bids (which will be renewed if you happen to use all of them). Currently, the plan is to launch in the early part of March, and under no circumstances will the launch be prior to March 1, 2013.’

Quite a nice campaign to stir up interest and put your site on the penny auction map, and after one year up and running, they claim to have ‘earned a solid reputation for honesty and integrity along with the fastest shipping in the industry, as well as top-notch customer service.’

The starting bid is at 50¢. There are also a variety of auction types to choose from:

reserve auction: this means that the amount that you bid has to meet the given minimum price.

mystery price auction: they do not state the minimum price (and you don’t know if your low bid(s) will disqualify you or not)

level auction: this type of auction is only available to bidders who have yet to reach a certain number of wins.

rookie auction: You can only enter this kind of option if you have yet to win.

limited auction: Doesn’t subtract from your monthly limit (50 wins per every 30 days)

x-price auction: Ah, the every-intriguing ‘x-factor’ : with each bid, the price drops 10¢, and no one knows knows what the current bid is except for the current bidder. This type of auction ends if this bidder chooses to purchase the item at this price.

Like most penny auction sites, Puppids.com also provides a buy now option, in which the bidder can use their submitted bids towards the advertised price to purchase the item directly.

Finally, users can win points when they win or purchase an item. These points may be used to purchase a special item advertised on the site.

Pros

t-upThere are quite a few positive comments worth mentioning about this site. The range of the items available for auction is not shabby at all, and the site has some great high-in-demand items. The various auction types make for a sweet change of pace and definitely add more fun and excitement to the process. What’s more, bids on Puppids.com won’t burn a hole in your pocket (if you are responsible). For example, on other penny auction sites, each bid may be up to $1.

Another interesting detail to note: they offer a money-back guarantee, including shipping (rare in this biz) if you aren’t satisfied with the product. Sounds super-duper great, until you read the part about the fact that the item must be returned unused. Since it’s not exactly a ‘pro’, we’ll label that under the ‘neutral’ column.

Cons

t-downAt the moment there are a few nice items on the block at the site right now (LCD TVs, smart phones and PlayStation 4), yet the rest of the current prizes are simply gift cards- in other words, the site’s range of items doesn’t yet match their range of auction types.

Conclusion

Participating in penny auctions at Puppids.com can be a fun way to pass the time, with the excitement of a possible jackpot added in. It’s always nice to have the possibility to win big-name items at great prices; the trick, like all penny auction sites, is to remember the fact that it’s about enjoying oneself, that it’s important to be a responsible bidder (Puppids.com does limit monthly bids) and that in reality, you can find these items on other sites (like Amazon) at a much lower price AND with the warranty intact.