A few days ago we came across BidNuke.com, they appear to be a new penny auction site, the domain was purchased just on 4/22/11.
According to BidNuke’s About Us page they are “America’s #1 Penny Auction Website”
Welcome to BidNuke.com! Founded in 2011, we have quickly gained much attention for our quality service and low-prices. Not only are we America’s #1 Penny Auction Website, but we also have the best support in the game! Feel free to contact us with any questions and our dedicated support team will be happy to get back to you!”-Source: BidNuke.com About Page
However, it’s of our opinion that BidNuke is puffing, but that’s not all we believe they’re doing…
“puffing n. the exaggeration of the good points of a product, a business, real property, and the prospects for future rise in value, profits and growth.”
BidNuke.com is tastefully designed and has a nice user interface; however, do they really think we’d believe they’re “America’s #1 Penny Auction Website?”
BidNuke has an abnormally high number of users bidding up very high amounts, unusual for a new site, in our opinion.
Plus, for a brand new penny auction site, they sure have an abnormally high number of high-ticket, sought after items, many of which all happen to be ending at the very same time.
BidNuke holds a meager Alexa ranking of 1,407,204. Which means, according to Alexa they may not have very much traffic, at least in our opinion. At least not enough to be running as many auctions and maintaining as many bidders as there appear to be bidding on their site.
Here’s the line-up of items that were actively ending when watching their auctions on June 11th:
As is illustrated above, BidNuke states that they’ve “quickly gained much attention,” for their “quality service and low prices,” Low prices? They seem to be taking in tons of bids on these items, the current end prices are as follows:
- Motorola Xoom Android: $127.70 = 12,770 bids
- Samsung LN40C630 40-Inch TV: $548.18 = 54,818 bids
- $25 Subway card: $8.89 = 889 bids
- $50 Target Gift Card: $11.66 = 1,166 bids
- 80 BidNuke.com Bids: $15.05 = 1,505 bids
- Apple iPod Touch 32 GB: $32.71 = 3,271
- Key West Margaritaville Blender: $47.29 = 4,729
- Nintendo Wii Console: $61.75 = 6,175 Sony Cybershot Camera: $68.42 Apple iPad 2: $97.53 TomTom: $101.18, and an xBox Slim $61.81 – (as of around 7 pm CST 6/10).
Current items ending right now, at 12:43 am CST 6/15/11 (Do you notice the same item assortment?):
- Samsung 40-inch TV – 91,151 bids
- TomTom 7,517
- Motorola Xoom 10,612 Apple MacBook: 10,056, $50 Target gift card: 932, Key West Margaritaville Blender 1,527, $50 Amazon.com card: just ended, 3,282, Nintendo Wii Console Black 7,806 Apple iPad 2 – 12,783, 80 BidNuke.com bids
- $25 Subway gift card, Sony Cyber-Shot, iPod Touch 32GB and an Xbox Slim, ending soon.
All of these items appear to have had a beginning price of 0 and increase in price by $0.01 increments with each bid placed.
The Penny Auction Software That BidNuke is Running on Appears to Be the PhpPennyAuction Script
The PhpPennyAuction.com script has been known in the past to be sold with the bot functionality, click Penny Auction Scripts for Sale with Fake Shill Bidding Bots & Requesting an Explanation, for instance – Note the same icons used and the bidding area:
Notice the similarities in both interfaces? The top screenshot image is of the PhpPennyAuction.com script seller’s Demo Site, the below is of BidNuke.com:
The bidding behaviors on BidNuke definitely, in our opinion, seem to be similar to those in bidding bot scripts (translation: fake, computerized bidders).
We tested the bot functionality of the phppennyauction script when we were running our test site Shillo.com on the phpPa script (We bought the phppennyauction script because we knew it had bots to show consumers what they were like. Shillo is now down at the moment thanks to the shady script reseller and an individual who didn’t like that we were exposing the shenanigans going on in penny auctions. click here to learn about Shillo and the PhpPennyAuction script, for a better understanding of bots.)
After a bit more searching – We’re even more leary…
Did you know that there are people online, who – for as little as $5, willmake video “testimonials” for businesses looking to promote their products or services?
Take a look, for instance, at the following individuals who do just that and advertise this service on a site called Fiverr.com:
“sanpan: I will create a 30 second or less product testimonial, review or mini commercial for your business, company or website for $5:
- “I will create a custom 30 second or less testimonial, mini commercial or review to advertise your website, product or business. I will either work from a loose script sent by you, or I can ad-lib. The videos are done on a Mac and delivered in Quick Time Player format. **No adult content, profanity or porn please**
- -To see more: http://www.youtube.com/user/sanpan228?feature=mhum“
e_m_a: “I will record a video testimonial or review for your product for $5. I will record a video giving a testimonial about how great your product, service, website, etc. is. I have modeling and acting experience so it will be realistic and my eyes will be looking directly at the camera, NOT a script! Please keep it under 1 minute (approximately 180 words), appropriate, and profanity-free. The video file will be sent in .wmv format unless requested otherwise. Thanks!”
weirton: “I will deliver to you the BEST Video testimonial you have ever received for your business, website, company, blog, product, brand, service, invention, idea or anything with a Money Back Guarantee for $5”
So perhaps you’re asking, “Does it matter, aren’t these testimonials just like hiring a commercial actor, for say, a TV commercial?”
The key word here is ‘testimonial.’
testimonial –n .
“A formal statement of truth or fact”
Definition of testimonial advertising: “Promotional method in which one or more testimonials from satisfied customers are used.”
These Internet actors are selling fake testimonials.
Let’s say the fake testimonial is a video has a person who claims to have just spent just under 20 bids to win an iPad on the penny auction site when in actuality they didn’t, perhaps they’d never even seen a penny auction site until the less-than-honest penny auction site owner approached them with $5. Will an unsuspecting bidder know that the testimonial was a sham? Probably not.
Well, this is exactly what we allegedly think the operators of BidNuke.com did. They’re passing off what we believe to be fake testimonials as real bidder testimonials both on YouTube and their homepage.
Not only do the bidders, in our opinion, seem very bot-like, the video testimonials shown on BidNuke.com don’t seem real.
On the very bottom of BidNuke.com’s Terms & Conditions page the following name and address is displayed:
“Any notice to us will be effective when delivered to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy to our outside counsel: Nate Brown, PO Box 2954 Blue Jay, CA. or such replacement addresses as we may later provide on the Website.”
A Google search for Nate Brown, PO Box 2954 Blue Jay, CA brings up a whois record for the domain BidDuty.info – BidDuty.info is a redirect to an affiliate link that brings us to BidCactus.com. What’s important to note, in our opinion, is the jknate at gmail.com e-mail address.
Even more interesting to note is what we find on Google when we search “jknate.” In particular, the Google entry for
jknate’s Public Profile Page on Fiverr
jknate. Not Rated Yet. Joined 25 days ago. • last activity: 4 days ago. recent · Gifts · Graphics · Video · Social Marketing · Travel · Writing · Postcards …
fiverr.com/users/jknate – Cached
Remember the above ads we found on fiverr from Internet actors? Well, jknate commented on all of the above testimonial actors pages thanking them for the service.
jknate 4 days ago: “Thanks, good job!”
See the BidNuke.com “testimonial” YouTube video on the bottom of their page, “BidNuke.com – Winners Like You!”:
Remember, jknate commented on Fiverr actor sanpan’s Fiverr.com gig page thanking her for the “Awesome job! Best testimonial I’ve ever had done! A++”? Sanpan is the actor pictured in BidNuke.com’s homepage “testimonial” video and YouTube channel:
“Hey guys, it’s Ellen from Michigan here and I just won this iPad for under $20 bucks on BidNuke.com. It was quick, easy and a lot of fun! I only had to place [thinking…] 12 bids I think it was and I won it. This is the second item that I’ve won. First amazing thing that I won was a brand new Xbox 360, which I surprised my husband with on his birthday and the best thing was I scored that for under $100 bucks, just nothing else like this on the web, so get bidding and grab yourself a great deal for yourself at BidNuke.com.”
- Click to Enlarge – SanPan Testimonial Fiverr
BidNuke has 4 likes on Facebook, but 422 followers on Twitter.
BidNuke BidNuke.com Just got a huge order of various awesome items to put up for bidding!! 28 Apr
Speaking of Twitter….
We went back to Google and found another very interesting gig that jknate purchased and commented on, by julia666: “I will get over 400 followers to your Twitter account for $5”
It appears that since most of this info was found prior to this article being finalized, we see that jknate is an active member of Fiverr now- see non-cached comment: http://fiverr.com/users/julia666/gigs/get-over-400-followers-to-your-twitter-account?ref=glst-g-thmb .
jknate’s comment: “A+ – Great job! Even added an extra 70 on top of the 400 I ordered!
Like I said above, BidNuke has 422 followers on Twitter, but only 4 likes on Facebook. Yet they’ve had 550 ended penny auctions?
Back to the discussion on penny auction bidding bots…
If a site appears to be using bidding bots, wouldn’t a consumer notice this and not waste any money there?”
Perhaps you want to ask us why we care so much about informing you about a site that may be using fake bidder bots. Maybe you’re wondering who would actually buy bids and try bidding on a site that would, to you, appear to be obviously using these computerized bidders.
I’ll tell you why, unsuspecting bidders who have never seen a penny auction site – most may not even know it’s called a penny auction – once they come across one are totally in awe.
Consumers new to penny auctions might resemble this:
Or even this:
They’re amazed and want to hurry and get in on the auction action before the hot items such as iPads, TVs, gift cards have ended. After all, with mere seconds left on the clock, the bidder has the impression that they’ll miss out on great deals if they don’t act fast.
This bidder quickly joins the site and maybe purchases a bid pack, $200, $35, $17, try it and find that they don’t win, they may just move on and chalk it up to inexperience or not really understanding what it was they just spent their time doing.
Now imagine there is not just one bidder who is falling for it, but dozens, maybe even hundreds! All together that simple $17 can amass to become thousands of dollars to the shady penny auction site operator, who guess what, maybe never even shipped one item. Don’t believe me? Take a look at how we allegedly found a penny auction site owner admit to doing just that, ok, he said he shipped 1 iPod, but come on!
By the way, that unsuspecting user was once me.
Enough is Enough and before we know it, Enough will be TOO much.
Discuss this and more! Click to join our free penny auction forum now.
Photo Credits – Creative Commons: Shock & Awe Some rights reserved by TrevinC
Shock & Awe, male: Some rights reserved by The Opus
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Tim June 15, 2011, 1:49 pm
Great work Amanda. Your investigations do so much to help the penny auction community.
Amanda June 15, 2011, 3:46 pm
Thank you Tim! I appreciate your comments.
BPD June 16, 2011, 12:12 pm
Very nice piece of investigative work, Amanda! Just goes to show that the ne’er-do-wells are never quite as smart as they think they are.
Keep up the great work!
Jez September 6, 2011, 8:20 am
Another fake website making it harder for newbies to trust penny auctions 🙁
I want to know how these two sites are linked: http://www.quibids.com
Why do they share the same users names?
jay September 20, 2011, 5:14 pm
You should try investigating “oneway auctions.com”. It would be nice to find out how many people actually got the items they won. I personally won 19 items and have received 2 of them. The items were won over 60 days ago. Have not gotten an email responce back from them nor have i had anyone respond to a phone call. When i went back to check my history of what i had won, it was erased; no history!!! Coinccidence or Rippoff? Let me know how that works out!!!!!