Penny auction MainBids.com displays 11,600 ended auctions, and 9 items are actively being bid on with countdowns nearing zero, 5 more are queued to end within the next 20 minutes. The items that are currently ending are not cheap either, take a look :
- Sharp LC40LE600E LED (http://www.mainbids.com/auctions/view/12555)
- Apple MacBook Pro (http://www.mainbids.com/auctions/view/12553)
- Apple 30″ Wide Cinema (http://www.mainbids.com/auctions/view/12540)
- Apple iMac 27 Intel Co. (http://www.mainbids.com/auctions/view/12526)
- Apple iPod Nano 5G 16G… (http://www.mainbids.com/auctions/view/12554)
We went to see who owned the domain and found out they have domain privacy, so this information is hidden. MainBids, in their About Us page tells us they are based out of Portugal, “MainBids has an efficient, entrepreneurial organisation geared towards giving our members optimal customer service,” but that is all they say about themselves. There’s no name, no address. Another discrepancy, their meta keywords include multiple trademarks including eBay, BidRivals and Swoopo (TM infringement).
What’s even more interesting is that MainBids has a “Fair Auction Guarantee,” in this guarantee they state, “All bids placed come from our customers: MainBids do not have a system that automatically generates bids in our auctions. Nor are our employees or family members of our employees allowed to place bids in our auctions. MainBids guarantee that all bids are placed by actual customers.”
Also, in their terms & conditions: “No bots, scripts, or any kind of software is used to control users & auctions.”
MainBids has 23 people that like their Facebook page, and only just over 1,100 est. daily pageviews according to WebsiteOutlook, yet based on the large volume of users bidding it would seem that this number is low.
We’d like to hope that their guarantee is true, but it just seems as if they could be using an automated means to drive up the prices (shill bidding) by use of fake admin bidders aka bots. We already know that the script they’re using has been known to offer this “reserve” feature and the bidding patterns seem odd, at times, multiple items are being bid on at tandem.
See an example of the hidden reserve capability in this script, by means of bots (Auto Bidders), from the admin console of the PHPPennyAuction/Penny auction clone demo:
Auto Bidders are fake users (shill bidders):
The usernames are also questionable.
For instance, acidr4in is currently bidding against rad4u2, in other auctions JizzMaster, daffynsky, poopsock, supervan, voidcode, emorej, smayb, f2000, lolek44, cubano, feras, dogging, aristeas, fminmexico, nycks1, kgabria, underdarkness, redbaron, Halogen, sosueme, ommakk, nagyaj, misterf, nycks1, msas, pol, Giet, Napalm, TrinityTrip and dozens more are bidding. Chircopstefan, pokolgeplc007, budiyalrohit, and mmmmtung are all bidding on the 27″ iMac (wow how do they remember how to spell their usernames?). Watching the auctions from the homepage it was hard to record the names quick enough as it seemed as if these bidders were bidding like they all had an unlimited amount of bids,
A user in our forum posted, “I’ve found this site www.mainbids.com and stuff goes pretty cheap, until I start bidding – then prices goes way up!”
Take a look and tell us what you think.
Have you bid on MainBids? What have your experiences been?
Please join our forum and discuss penny auctions with us!
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