The use of bidding bots should (if they are not already) be illegal. The use of them to bid against people (swindling) is totally unethical.
We posted this photo back in August (thanks Duncan!). It’s an appropriate reminder to all penny auction, (pay-per-bid, bid-fee, entertainment shopping, reverse auctions, unique bid auctions, reveal/Dutch auctions) that are blatantly ripping people off with shill bidding tactics, including BUT not limited to automated bot bidding scripts.
Take a look at this comment from a prospective penny auction business owner:
Bid Bots Legal?
“There are several available scripts online for penny auctions which have bid bots built into the system. One such script is one created by a company called Telebid scripts. Here’s the thing: With bid bots, in a way, the auctions are manipulated. The auction is set to bring in a certain income, and it will continue running – with the system bidding itself till the right amount of bids come in. Once it reaches that amount, it goes back to normal and anyone can win. The thing about penny bids though, is that they are charged for the bid (about $1.00) even if they don’t win. Is it legal to use the bid bot systems that are built into these programs? Does it depend on where we are based out of? Can I “officially” run the program out of a different location (say, Europe) so I can benefit from their laws? How would I go about doing that (would I need to reincorporate?)?”
And our response:
As the editor of the Internet penny auction watchdog blog & community, Penny Auction Watch, I will tell you that bidding bots are illegal, unethical and just flat-out wrong.
Ask yourself this: How would you feel if you were a paying customer, thinking you had a fair chance of actually getting the item you are bidding on & at a significant discount, but instead automated bot bidders, shill bidders, are bidding against you to increase their profit margins?
With that said, if we find that a penny auction site is using bots & other unethical business practices we will help expose them.
Last I checked, auction fraud accounts for nearly half of online fraud reports to the FTC.
I’ve presented numerous cases with proof of penny auctions shill bidding and also never shipping any items, this is frowned upon highly and you may be surprised to know that there are many penny auctions/bid-fee auctions out there running bot scripts and the site owners, as well as the developers will be prosecuted in due time.
Now to the legit, honest, AWESOME penny auction sites out there:
Thank Â you for your support, Â transparency, honesty, hard work, shill-free auctions and exemplary customer service.
To Our Readers:
A HUGE thank you to our many readers for the words of encouragement, support and taking the time to share honest experiences with pay-per-bid auctions over these last six months. Thank you, without you none of this would be possible.
Please join the Penny Auction Watch forum if you are a bidder looking for honest, legit entertainment shopping auctions and to help us point out the scam penny auctions that have bot, shill bidders.
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dzignr_tastz December 2, 2009, 3:48 pm
And THAT, my friends and fellow community members, sounds like a bonafide warning to me if I ever heard one! WELL said…
That being noted – to my dismay, I have ended up on both ends of this spectrum in my short time in the community, so let me take a moment to also say to those legitimate Penny Auction sites (and you know who the select few of you are)… keep up the good work. While you can't please everyone all the time, ethics and good customer service speak for themselves, and rest assured your shady competitors will soon face the music if Penny Auction Watch has anything to do with it.
Mickey December 10, 2009, 2:37 pm
Just wondering where did you get the LEGAL information that auction bots are illegal(you should cite any legal information).
If this is legal information from the author – I would like to know where they got their law degree – Because giving legal advice with out one is ILLEGAL.
Emma April 19, 2010, 2:55 am
Our penny auction site doesn't use autobots or shill bidders. It is difficult to convince people of this, as there are always people willing to spend high amounts of money on bids who appear to be shill bidders when watched by other bidders.
We have introduced bidding limits to help prevent this kind of 'bullying' behaviour, does anyone have any other suggestions to increase transparency about the bidding process?
firstname.lastname@example.org April 19, 2010, 4:53 am
Our penny auction site doesn’t use autobots or shill bidders. It is difficult to convince people of this, as there are always people willing to spend high amounts of money on bids who appear to be shill bidders when watched by other bidders.
We have introduced bidding limits to help prevent this kind of ‘bullying’ behaviour, does anyone have any other suggestions to increase transparency about the bidding process?