Anyone use penny auctions?

Astroboy907

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 6, 2012
1,387
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Spaceball One
Well, I really want a new MBP, and plan on trying to pick up one after the refresh. I have been recommended more than a few times to try penny auction sites (QuiBids is one example).

So:

Has anyone here used a penny auction site? I know the basics of not to spend too much on bids, etc. But just wondering if anyone here has successfully used a site to get a MBP, and if so, for what price total and on what site??

I know these site could very well be scams, but my idea is to get $100 and try it out. If I lose/get scammed, its not a total loss.
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,961
120
Not sure what your question is. Yes they are real, but the key is you end up spending 100's of dollars in bids to HOPEFULLY be the winning bid. Only the "lucky" win, but then again I see them like going to the Casino, no one talks about how much money they lost just the big "jackpot" they won. I tried one out one time using the free $10 in bids they give you and blew thru the 10 bucks in a matter of minutes and just never went back.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,802
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Boston
Well, I really want a new MBP, and plan on trying to pick up one after the refresh. I have been recommended more than a few times to try penny auction sites (QuiBids is one example).
I don't want to say its a scam but its a setup that has the odds stacked up again you.

My wife got sucked into this for a while. You purchase bids and then use those bids to buy stuff well under retail price. The problem is that you have to keep bidding which means you have to keep purchasing more bids. The livelier the auction the more bids you'll burn through.

I only see one person making money on this - the owner of Quibids.
 

danny_w

macrumors 601
Mar 8, 2005
4,380
179
Austin, TX
I used Zbiddy just because they tricked me into buying a bid pack (dumb me!) and no matter what I did they would not refund my money (although they did finally make some concessions so it didn't hurt quite as bad). The only thing I have one so far is an Ihop $25 gift card for about $15, but I see so many items going for what must be more than retail after people pay for their bids. Plus bidding is infuriating because the time keeps jumping between 0 and 15 seconds (every time somebody bids it goes up to maybe 15 seconds), so that you never have any real idea of when the bidding might really end. I would never use one of these sites of my own choosing.
 

Astroboy907

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 6, 2012
1,387
13
Spaceball One
I don't want to say its a scam but its a setup that has the odds stacked up again you.

My wife got sucked into this for a while. You purchase bids and then use those bids to buy stuff well under retail price. The problem is that you have to keep bidding which means you have to keep purchasing more bids. The livelier the auction the more bids you'll burn through.

I only see one person making money on this - the owner of Quibids.
I mean, it seems possible if you wait for the auction to slow down a LOT, compared to those people that just bid over and over and over. I think it is *possible*, but you are going to have to play it very casual and not get sucked in..
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
The problem that if you want to wait and see how the auctions go, you really can't be playing casually. There's too many people already sucked in. I'll say that its nearly impossible to just wait and swoop in. I'm thinking that too many people are waiting for the very thing and start bidding as the time draws close.
 

Astroboy907

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 6, 2012
1,387
13
Spaceball One
You know the saying, "If it's too good too be true...?"

Yeah. That.
Not really. It seems like a pretty good profit margin for the auctioneers.

E.g A macbook pro costs, say, $2500 retail.

They *say* it sells for say, $50.

At .01 bid increases, and 60c to buy a bid, thats 5,000 bids. And at 60c a bid, the auctioneers get $3000, plus the $50.

Multiply this by hundreds of items, there you go. Very profitable for the auctioneers.

----------

The problem that if you want to wait and see how the auctions go, you really can't be playing casually. There's too many people already sucked in. I'll say that its nearly impossible to just wait and swoop in. I'm thinking that too many people are waiting for the very thing and start bidding as the time draws close.
Yes. Well, I might or might not try it. To me, if I try it I will set aside $100 and make sure I have friends who will keep me from being sucked in :D
 

danny_w

macrumors 601
Mar 8, 2005
4,380
179
Austin, TX
Not really. It seems like a pretty good profit margin for the auctioneers.

E.g A macbook pro costs, say, $2500 retail.

They *say* it sells for say, $50.

At .01 bid increases, and 60c to buy a bid, thats 5,000 bids. And at 60c a bid, the auctioneers get $3000, plus the $50.

Multiply this by hundreds of items, there you go. Very profitable for the auctioneers.
It's usually much more profit for the auctioneers than that. If you look on Zbiddy most items sell for close to the retail price (or at least much more than your $50/$2500 ratio). A few may go that cheap, but most go for more like 50%-80% of list. Now calculate the profit on that!
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,961
120
These websites aren't scams, they just play to people's emotions expecting you to get all caught up in the moment and not realize how much money you dropped bidding (or that whole, I've already spent X, I can't stop now and get nothing for it!).
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,052
159
Canada, eh?
These websites aren't scams, they just play to people's emotions expecting you to get all caught up in the moment and not realize how much money you dropped bidding (or that whole, I've already spent X, I can't stop now and get nothing for it!).
I see it like those carnival games where you pay $10 for 3 balls and you just know that you'll be able to put the ball into the jug. In all the excitement you keep buying more balls since you know you'll be able to win. At the end of the day you walk off triumphant but not realizing that you've spent $50 trying to win that teddy bear.
 

NorEaster

macrumors regular
Feb 14, 2012
239
23
To the poster who said "if it's too good to be true..." and implying that these penny auction sites are a scam, note that they are not. I've used QuiBids and I've won a few items (gift cards, household / kitchen electrics). So yes, it's possible to win and yes, they really do send you the items. However, penny auctions are more like games of chance than auctions. You can very easily spend quite a bit of money on bids. I urge you to sit in on a few auctions and "pretend bid" so you can see how it works. Go to an auction for a hot item (like a MBP) and watch the auction for 30-60 mins. Note the number of bids that will be posted (and the number of bids by user). You'll see that many users will post 10's if not 100's of bids...and you'll be competing against them if you wish to participate. So you'll quickly realize that it will not be easy to win an auction. You'll also quickly find out that in order to win a hot item, you may need to devote hours (easily 4+) watching an item's auction if you are serious about winning it.

Good luck.
 

old-wiz

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2008
8,315
225
West Suburban Boston Ma
And no on seems to be able to verify that you actually get what you "win". And suppose you buy a "new" MBP for $ 29.95, then find out from the Apple site that the machine, while "new" was purchased over a year ago and thus has no warranty at all, even if never opened. Why take a chance? and what if it breaks? doesn't show up? there's no real customer service or anything.
 

roland.g

macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
6,737
1,847
Those sites aren't scams, they are specially crafted auction management sites. They have been specially crafted and manage to make tons of money on auctions. Like someone said, who knows how old the product will be, I've read that it takes a month or more to get the item, and they make you buy tons of bids. But the worst is that as time winds down you will either be usurped in the last second by a phantom bidder, or if you try to win at the last second, your bid won't go through. They make 2-3 times the product cost and probably buy outdated clearance items anyway.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,998
3,944
Well, I really want a new MBP, and plan on trying to pick up one after the refresh. I have been recommended more than a few times to try penny auction sites (QuiBids is one example).

I know these site could very well be scams, but my idea is to get $100 and try it out. If I lose/get scammed, its not a total loss.
It's not "very well could be scams", they _are_ scams. Just do the maths: Look at any sale. Say a MBP is sold for $30. That means there were 3,000 bids. That means the bidders paid a total of $3,000 for a laptop worth $1,199. But most MBPs are sold for more.

You'd have to be a complete and utter fool to give these people your money.


I mean, it seems possible if you wait for the auction to slow down a LOT, compared to those people that just bid over and over and over. I think it is *possible*, but you are going to have to play it very casual and not get sucked in..
On every poker table there is a sucker. If you can't spot the sucker, then the sucker is you :)
 

jwjsr

macrumors 6502
Mar 15, 2012
335
0
Fairhope, Alabama
I don't want to say its a scam but its a setup that has the odds stacked up again you.

My wife got sucked into this for a while. You purchase bids and then use those bids to buy stuff well under retail price. The problem is that you have to keep bidding which means you have to keep purchasing more bids. The livelier the auction the more bids you'll burn through.

I only see one person making money on this - the owner of Quibids.
I got tricked, but got all my money back by refusing to accept heir offers of restaurant.com etc. I had to be really persistent though. A google search before i called for a refund clued me into how to go about getting 100% refund.
 

Neokiller309

macrumors member
Nov 15, 2011
32
11
Well, I really want a new MBP, and plan on trying to pick up one after the refresh. I have been recommended more than a few times to try penny auction sites (QuiBids is one example).

So:

Has anyone here used a penny auction site? I know the basics of not to spend too much on bids, etc. But just wondering if anyone here has successfully used a site to get a MBP, and if so, for what price total and on what site??

I know these site could very well be scams, but my idea is to get $100 and try it out. If I lose/get scammed, its not a total loss.
Quibids and the like do not completely describe how it works in the main advertisements.

You have to buy "Bids" When I checked it out, Each bid cost $0.80, and you would have to use one every time you wanted to raise the price of an item by a penny. So every time you raise it by a penny, You spend 80 cents.

With this formula if an item sells for 10$ then they have 1,000 bids on it, Which means they actually got 800$ for it.
 

firedept

macrumors 603
Jul 8, 2011
5,751
639
Somewhere!
You might have a better chance at a casino. Risky sites to get involved with. Most items will sell for well above retail from what I can tell. Never used one of the sites so I could also be wrong about that. Save your $100 and look for a good retail deal.
 

mcotter

macrumors newbie
Jul 18, 2013
7
0
I played with QuiBids once and it's legit but they definitely game the system to encourage more bids and therefore generate more money for them. E.g. You can't control when exactly your bid is placed and each time a bid is made it adds time back on the clock.

From what I've seen it absolutely possible to win an item but only if you are realistic and expect to spend roughly 60-75% of the normal retail cost to win it. Don't expect to win a rMBP for $5.

Once the auction ends they give you an option to buy the item at the "buy now" price and apply the money you've already spent on bids toward that price. So if it's an item you're already planning on buying and the "buy now" price is close to the normal retail price then it might be worth a shot to see if you can score a deal.

That being said, I won't be giving QuiBids another try anytime soon.
 

barrk

macrumors member
Aug 22, 2012
58
0
I have heard that:
1. Every time someone bids, if the timer is under 30 seconds, the timer goes back the 30 seconds
2. The auction site itself also bids (and cheats) so they don't have to send anyone the item.
 

handlemyhansen

macrumors member
Jul 1, 2013
41
0
Quibids is legit and not trying to necessarily cheat. I dabbled with it when it first went online. Here is my honest opinion you can get a great deals and save a few hundred on a laptop if you are the lucky one that wins but at the same time can lose just as much if you don't win.

Its a pretty simple smart business strategy for them because while it may look like a penny bid to you it costs you a lot more then a penny for that bid so in the end they sell high demand products like imac for 4 times what its worth
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,998
3,944
Quibids is legit and not trying to necessarily cheat. I dabbled with it when it first went online. Here is my honest opinion you can get a great deals and save a few hundred on a laptop if you are the lucky one that wins but at the same time can lose just as much if you don't win.

Its a pretty simple smart business strategy for them because while it may look like a penny bid to you it costs you a lot more then a penny for that bid so in the end they sell high demand products like imac for 4 times what its worth
Amazing how defenders of these scams are popping up. If that is really your honest opinion, then you are not fit for working in any business. Here's a much much better strategy for getting a £1000 Mac if you only have £30: Go to a game casino and go to the roulette tables. Put your £30 on a single number. There's a 1-in-37 chance that you win, so you'll have £1080 for a nice Mac. There's a 36-in-37 chance that you lose. Tough. Whatever happens, you leave.

It's a simple maths principle: You can go to these sites, watch an auction, and calculate how much money they get. On the other hand, you don't even know if the "winner" is real or an employee of the company. So if they make £4000 for a £1000 Mac, then by spending £30 your chance is only about 1 in 133 to get the price. Compare how much money goes in, how much value goes out. At a roulette table, 97.3% of the bets are paid out. With these scams, 25% is paid out.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,802
33,762
Boston
Quibids is legit and not trying to necessarily cheat. I dabbled with it when it first went online. Here is my honest opinion you can get a great deals and save a few hundred on a laptop if you are the lucky one that wins but at the same time can lose just as much if you don't win.

Its a pretty simple smart business strategy for them because while it may look like a penny bid to you it costs you a lot more then a penny for that bid so in the end they sell high demand products like imac for 4 times what its worth
Like gambling the rules favor the house, while there may be a few winners here or there, the vast majority of these types of auction result in no savings. There's a reason why so many companies are jumping into this business model, they make money and you don't - just like casinos
 

Astroboy907

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 6, 2012
1,387
13
Spaceball One
Amazing how defenders of these scams are popping up. If that is really your honest opinion, then you are not fit for working in any business. Here's a much much better strategy for getting a £1000 Mac if you only have £30: Go to a game casino and go to the roulette tables. Put your £30 on a single number. There's a 1-in-37 chance that you win, so you'll have £1080 for a nice Mac. There's a 36-in-37 chance that you lose. Tough. Whatever happens, you leave.

It's a simple maths principle: You can go to these sites, watch an auction, and calculate how much money they get. On the other hand, you don't even know if the "winner" is real or an employee of the company. So if they make £4000 for a £1000 Mac, then by spending £30 your chance is only about 1 in 133 to get the price. Compare how much money goes in, how much value goes out. At a roulette table, 97.3% of the bets are paid out. With these scams, 25% is paid out.
VEGAS BABY! ... lol jk

----------

Like gambling the rules favor the house, while there may be a few winners here or there, the vast majority of these types of auction result in no savings. There's a reason why so many companies are jumping into this business model, they make money and you don't - just like casinos
Makes sense. i just think it would be a fun experiment one day!
 

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors 601
Mar 7, 2007
4,780
1,540
Midwest America.
Quibids is legit and not trying to necessarily cheat. I dabbled with it when it first went online. Here is my honest opinion you can get a great deals and save a few hundred on a laptop if you are the lucky one that wins but at the same time can lose just as much if you don't win.

Its a pretty simple smart business strategy for them because while it may look like a penny bid to you it costs you a lot more then a penny for that bid so in the end they sell high demand products like imac for 4 times what its worth
So you pay for every bid?

That's about what I thought.

I don't get into bidding for stuff when the deck is stacked against me.

I once got a motorcycle at a bank auction, and found out after I bid against one persistent ass, that he actually worked for the bank! I commented at that, and was pointed to a line in the bidding instructions that said that a 'representative of the bank 'may' bid on any, or all items'.

I felt like a fool...

The motorcycle was a Kawasaki 2-stroke that had an oil injection pump that worked inconsistently, and I took to running with a lean premix ratio. Eventually, the engine seized and it was parted out.

And I learned a valuable lesson... Don't trust banks... Ever...

Oh, crap. I reinvigorated an old thread. Sorry. Should have looked at it more thoroughly...

ZOMBIE ALERT!!!
 
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