YooBeeDoo the World’s First Bid-Block Penny Auction Opens

YooBeeDoo Penny Auction UK

YooBeeDoo.co.uk has just launched today, we had the privilege of testing it out just a few days ago and let us tell you, it’s a brand new penny auction format that we’ve never seen before. We spoke with David of YooBeeDoo during testing last week on Skype, and he told us that one of the things that bothered him with the penny auction model is that there is no real restraint on how much money sites can make, and bidders can spend, on a single item, he feels this is unfair to bidders. He spent the last few months working on his new penny auction model with keeping in mind how he could make a transparent, fair experience for bidders. As a result, we now have now seen the world’s first (to our knowledge) Bid-Block auction. It’s so unique that YooBeeDoo has patents pending.

Take a look at how YooBeeDoo’s auctions work:

YooBeeDoo has a unique bid-erasing system

Notice how YooBeeDoo’s auctions don’t have the “bid” button that we’re used to seeing in penny auctions, instead they have bid buttons with a certain dollar amount, these are called Bid-Blocks.

The object to winning is to have your name on the highest Bid-Block when the auction counter ends, or when no more bids can be placed. Yes, YooBeeDoo’s auctions, unlike traditional penny auctions, can only take in a limited amount of bids.

Because YooBeeDoo auctions have a limited number of available bids, the site only ever can make a specified profit (if all bids are placed) per auction.

As you can see in the auction for the Nintendo Dsi, a limited number of bids can be placed before a user wins. At first it may look a little daunting, but it’s pretty simple. Each time a user places a bid (clicks on a Bid-Block) a Bid-Block on top (regardless of whether or not someone already holds that spot) gets erased (canceled out). For instance, let’s say a user places a bid (clicks the Bid-Block button) on £5.00, this will be the very first spot that gets erased  when a bid is placed anywhere. Then, if a  bidder places another bid the next spot £4.99 would be canceled out then it goes down the line until the highest bid is left and the bidder with that bid wins (meaning no more spots) or the timer has gone to 0 and holds the highest Bid-Block.

Users can use this to their advantage by placing lower bids than a competitor because this erases their higher bids. A user can still win an auction even if they cannot place the highest bid, all they have to do is erase the bids higher than theirs by placing more bids.

The Bid-Blocks change color when bids are placed and when spots are no longer available. Your Bid-Block would be purple, competitor’s would be gray.

How much do bids cost?

Bids are purchased in packages, but the bid cost varies per auction item. For instance, on £0.10 auctions all bids placed will cost £0.10, these are lower priced items such as DVDs, on the DSi bids cost £1.00 each, and on the 20 credits auction £0.50, make sure you take a look at the top right of each auction as it will show you how much the bids cost per item.

Other features:

YooBeeDoo has a few other bidding features too that we think are pretty neat, for instance, there are buttons on the top right corner such as the button with the R, this stands for rapid mode, YooBeeDoo has made it so when users place bids they have to double click (this ensures against them clicking bids accidentally), by clicking on R users can turn this off so they can place bids with a single click. There’s also a magnifying glass, when this is on hovering over a Bid-Block will show who placed a bid there. They also show how much money you have spent and what your highest bid is in this section.

Only Open to the United Kingdom

For the time being YooBeeDoo is only open to UK bidders.

Opening Promotions: YooBeeDoo is running an opening promotion with free bid credits to the first 25 registered users. And 2 free credits: When all users use using code ca6c during registration.

Let us know what your thoughts are and please, if you try it, let us know what your experiences have been! Join our penny auction forum to learn more about penny auctions!

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9 comments… add one
  • Wise_Old_Guy August 7, 2010, 10:52 pm

    When the site is your own, it’s fun to be unique but from a user point of view the erasing auction format is helping the admin to select any bidder as a winner by erasing any bid. So how is this transparent?

    May be I am too stupid for this but where is the skill? It’s a lottery so you do not even know which bid is going to erase your own bid?

    So to summarize, I am the admin and I see someone winning and I do not want to give the item, I will place a bid right when timer is about to become 0 and will erase winner's bid.

    I am not saying the owner will be doing all this but I am saying he has the capability to do this because of the auction model.

  • David Mack August 9, 2010, 1:15 am

    ** Disclosure, I am involved with YooBeeDoo **

    Hi Wise_Old_Guy,

    Thanks for your reply. I help run the site so let me run through your comments and see where I can offer some guidance and insight.

    Firstly, we absolutely never shill bid in any way whatsoever, it is completely against our ethos and goes against the reason we set up the site. Take a read of our ‘about us’ section for more general background on what got us started. I recognise you’re not accusing us of doing so but just wanted to make this clear from the outset. 🙂

    Regarding the transparency…

    When we designed YooBeeDoo, we wanted a system where all of the possible bids that could be placed on an auction were visible right from the start so that people could see ‘the whole playing field’. It was one of a few areas that we felt we could improve upon from other types of auctions such as penny auctions or lowest unique bid auctions where there is no practical restraint on the number of bids that can be placed and no real way of being able to estimate how long an auction might last (with the associated collective user spend increasing all the time). By limiting and displaying all the available bids from the start, we feel we have created a more open/transparent auction system that significantly benefits our bidders. All of the bidders names are displayed.

    With regards to erasing bids…

    With a penny auction, an admin can effectively ‘erase’ another bidder by placing a bid themselves so other formats offer no greater inherent protection than ours. However IF we placed bids, and I cannot stress enough that we DO NOT, it would reset the timer, just like a penny auction, and we’d actually be decreasing the number of bids that could be placed on the auction (limited Bid-Blocks Means limited available bids) and thus decrease the profit we might make.

    “You don’t even know which bid is going to erase your own bid”

    Take a look at our video ‘How it works’, I’m not sure you’ve fully understood the erasing system. The erasing is done in a linear and completely predictable way and this allows for some distinct strategies to be employed. 1 bid placed (anywhere) = 1 more erased from the TOP in order. To help bidders see where the latest bid has been placed, it temporarily flashes yellow. We recognise that, at first glance, YooBeeDoo can appear more complex than it actually is, but after either having a go on our 10p auctions, or just watching a few, you’ll get the hang of it. I expect that as the user base grows, you’ll start to see some cool strategies and judgements.

    Last paragraph “…because of the auction mode”

    This is incorrect. Our auction model does not give us any greater inherent ability to alter the outcome than any other auction system. We never shill bid and with time and user oversight, this will be clear. I’ll ask our winners to pop along here to vouch for us, but can’t guarantee they will do so.

    If you need any more info, please get in touch. We have worked solidly for over 18 months to deliver a system that is fair to bidders and clearly I’d like the opportunity to show that to you.

    If you’d like a personal explanation of how our auctions work, I’d be more than happy to either call you or you can call me and I’ll run through it with you.



  • Fang August 12, 2010, 11:14 am

    Hi Wise_old _guy

    Not meaning to be rude but did you actually play the game before you made your assessment? In my few nights of playing it is quite easy to see who has erased your bid and to develop stategies against opponents. I do think there is a game to be played in this format and this does differ from penny auction sites. I find myself watching and enjoying an auction without actually bidding. As for the "admin" erasing the bids I suppose that is possible but I am one of those people that believe they did actually land a man on the moon and that not everything is a conspiracy!

  • James August 28, 2010, 8:09 am

    When will this be available to US bidders? The US market is huge!

    • Amanda August 29, 2010, 5:28 am

      Yeah, it is pretty neat isn't it?

  • David Mack August 29, 2010, 10:57 am

    Hi James,
    David here from YooBeeDoo. Thanks for the question. We’re really keen to roll YooBeeDoo out to the US as soon as possible. The response to the new auction model has been fantastic in the UK and it will be exciting to get the US on board too. We’ve started the process of bringing YooBeeDoo to the US already (I have a conference call in about 5 mins!) – I can’t promise any dates yet but as soon as we have some news, we’ll let PAW know immediately…so stay tuned here.


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