Interview with Penny Auction

Have you tried the new penny auction site We recently interviewed Bob with to find out more about how this month old penny auction site came about, unique features and more!

Penny Auction Watch: What got you interested in the entertainment shopping industry?

Bid-Bob: My wife was looking for a cheap iPad for our son last Christmas.  She found a Penny Auction site through a couple of Google Searches, and decided to give it a try.  One day she left for the grocery store and asked me to keep bidding on the iPad auction she was following.  The rest is history.  I enjoyed the pace, the unique format, the competitive aspects of the auction, and the ability to win great products for a very low price.  After using the Penny Auction site on my own for a couple of weeks, it was still a lot of fun but I started thinking about some things I would change if I had my own site.  I talked to a couple of businessmen in North Carolina about my ideas, and two of them joined me in financing  We all love Penny Auctions, and we created to provide more opportunities to win (outside of winning the auction), to provide a ‘Primetime’ format for our auctions, to reward our customers with bonus prizes during lengthy auctions, and to develop an automated charitable giving program that donates 5% of our Gross Profit (min. $5) from each and every auction.  The auction winner chooses from a list of charities we support, and we direct the donation accordingly.  This industry is fun and exciting, but there is no reason not to reward loyal bidders and various charities throughout the process.

Penny Auction Watch: How long has your site been open?

Bid-Bob: launched on May 5th, 2011 with a 2 week promotion period where users could purchase bids at a reduced price.  Our first night of auctions was May 19th, 2011 and we are currently running 20-40 items every other night.  We would like to figure out how to best present our products, bonus prizes, auction times, etc. before expanding our auction schedule.  Not to mention we ship all items within 24-48 hours of a completed auction so we’re keeping busy between auction nights.

Penny Auction Watch: What kind of items do you offer/ have lined up?  Do your auctions run on a schedule?

Bid-Bob: We feature the iPad2, which is one product we stocked up on before launching the website.  All iPad2’s you see on our site are already in stock.  We run various electronics items and Gift Card Auctions as well, but we hang our hat on offering the iPad2 and mailing it to the winner within 24-48 hours of the completed auction.  We do have variety in our gift cards and I think that keeps things fresh and exciting.  So far we have run Gift Cards from various retailers including, Best Buy, WalMart, Target, Old Navy,  Pottery Barn, Banana Republic, The Home Depot, Victoria’s Secret, Trader Joe’s, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Shell just to name a few.  We also run Restaurant Gift Cards including Applebee’s, Cracker Barrel, Outback Steakhouse, and Chili’s.

Our Live Auctions occur every other night, and always start at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Penny Auction Watch: What are the timer increments between bids/does this vary by auction?

Bid-Bob: It varies by auction, but 95% of our auctions have 10 or 15 second timer resets after bids are placed.  We don’t add time to the auction, the timer always resets to 10 or 15 seconds.

Penny Auction Watch: How much do your bids cost?

Bid-Bob: We have a tiered pricing model that allows users to purchase bids at $.50 per bid up to $.75 per bid depending on which Bid Pack they want to purchase.  The more you spend on Bid Packs, the lower your cost per bid.

Penny Auction Watch: What are your shipping costs? How long does it usually take for users to receive their items?

Bid-Bob: Shipping Costs vary depending on the item and where it will be shipped.  Most of our Shipping Costs are between $4 and $13.  The TV’s are the only items where costs are much higher for shipping.

We ship all Gift Cards, Products, etc. within 24-48 hours of receiving payment for a completed auction.  I see all sorts of messages on various forums from Penny Auction users who haven’t received their products after 60-90 days, and even users who never receive their items.  We’ve only been running auctions for two weeks, but I know our customers value the quick shipping terms and they know their Penny Auction dollars are spent at a reliable website.

Penny Auction Watch: What states/countries are you open to?

Bid-Bob: Shipments to USA only right now.

Penny Auction Watch: What is your policy for bid refunds?

Bid-Bob: Users have the right to receive a brand new product that meets your expectations. If you receive an item won through our auction process that does not meet your expectations, you may send it back to us within 14 days of receiving the product. Your purchase price, shipping cost, and bid costs for the product will be refunded. The product must be returned in its original packaging. Returns will not be accepted once a product is opened or removed from its original packaging.

Penny Auction Watch: Are there any win limits, limits /household?

Bid-Bob: Our General Win Limits Are:

2 Items per Day, and 15 Per Month.  Bid Pack Auctions do Count toward the Limits

For Items with a Retail Value over $500:

1 item per Day, and 2 per Month

Only one user account per household and/or IP address is permitted

All decisions we make are in the best interests of our entire user base.  Our Win Limits are pretty effective right now, and we will make changes accordingly down the road if we identify other opportunities to provide a fair and enjoyable auction experience.

Penny Auction Watch: Is there a story behind your name/theme?

Bid-Bob: When I first started thinking about starting my own Penny Auction Website, I joked to my wife and my family that I would call it  Since they keep any ego I might have in check on a daily basis, I figured that would be an easy way for them to poke fun at me for a couple of months.  When I sat down with my partners to officially discuss our Auction Name and URL, I offered 5-10 options and we started discussing them.  After about 10 minutes one of my partners said:

‘I don’t care what we name this auction site, I’m still going to call it’

At that point I realized we probably had a catchy name despite the obvious reference to me.  I will assure you that my CFO and COO have a ton of influence on our policies, procedures, and every major decision we make.  This is not a one man show by any means.

Penny Auction Watch: Thanks Bob! Is there anything else you’d like to tell Penny Auction Watch readers about your penny auction?

Bib-Bob: I always tell people that we will not claim to have the ‘Best Auction Site’ out there.  I feel like that is a subjective decision that should be made by each Penny Auction user and participant.  One of my frustrations in trying to pick a Penny Auction site to use a few months ago was that many claimed to have the ‘Best Customer Service’, the ‘Most Honest and Caring Staff’, the ‘Best Auction Environment’, etc.  It was impossible to quantify whether those claims were true, and those claims should be made by the site users once they have a chance to experience the website instead of the site owners.  We decided to promote 3 TANGIBLE features of that are unmatched in our industry:

1) Bonus Prizes included in over 50% of our Auctions at  As the auction price rises we build in prizes for people who place the most bids without winning the auction, users who finish 2nd or 3rd, prizes attached to placing the bid at a particular price point, and even bonus prizes for the auction winner.  Each auction that has Bonus Prizes is clearly marked with a Green Border on our home page.

2) ‘Primetime’ Auction Format.  We pack 20-45 items into a 2-3 hour timeframe starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.  We do not want to space those items over a 24 hour period because that would compromise the fun and excitement of entertainment shopping where multiple products are available and bids are flying all over the site.  It’s the experience as much as the opportunity to win great products at a very low price.

3) Automated Charitable Giving Program.  At the end of every auction, we will donate 5% of the Gross Profit (Bid Revenue Minus Item Cost, Minimum $5 Donation) to one of 7 charities we support and partner with at  The auction winner gets to choose the charity that receives the donation from their particular auction.  We have Charities in our local area of Winston-Salem, NC that will benefit from our auction website.  Our national charity partners include Susan G. Komen for the Cure, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Autism Speaks.Org, and the CJ Foundation for SIDS.

Come join us at  Your Penny Auction dollars will be well spent, and you can support an important charity with every auction win.

Bid-Bob is currently running a 3-for-2sday promotion, buy 2 bid packs get the 3rd free – the offer ends tonight at Midnight EST

Have you bid on Click here to join our forum and post about your experiences!

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