New Site is Penny Auction Meets Minesweeper

penny-auctions-squaremarketA few years back the first penny auction to be launched that used a grid-like bidding format was YooBeeDoo and users could click on “bid blocks” to  win. At first glance we thought that, a brand new UK was similar, but it’s totally different.

SquareMarket’s Sam, who tells us he’s an Oxford graduate, has spent the past month building the innovative marketplace auction site tells us:

“Basically, it offers the same buzz as a penny auction site, allowing shoppers to walk off with products for negligible prices, but it does it in a way where the odds are always fair. Take a look, It allows anyone to sell anything regardless of value, like Rolex watches etc.
here is some more detail on how it works:

  • Products are made up of a grid
  • One of the elements in the grid is the winning element
  • Shoppers compete in the real time to click on the correct element
  • As soon as you click on the correct element you win the product
  • The price it costs to click on a single element is always changing with respect to the odds of winning
  • This is simply calculated as the rrp of the product divided by the number of squares left
  • So when there are 400 squares left, you have a 1 in 400 chance of winning, you pay 1 400th the rrp.
  • When there are 399 squares left, you have a one in 399 chance of winning, you pay 399th the rrp.

So really, SquareMarket isn’t like a penny auction in the traditional sense at all, users can only win if they click on the correct square in the grid. Minesweeper meets penny auction? Sure seems like it.

penny auction squaremarket

Do you think that there is any chance involved in this game style penny auction site, or does it cross the line into illegal online gaming here in the US?

One Penny Auction Watch member thinks so,

“Very cool, but seems 100% chance based which would make it a risky offering in the US as it would probably qualify as online gambling.” Another member tells us, “his concept seems very cool and looks like a great first pass at a potentially successful business. The only thing, as AnniesBid mentioned above, given that this format is solely a “chance-based” system, it would be labelled as gambling.

One thing I don’t see the customers liking all that much would be that if the auction just so happens to go down to the last 4 squares or less, the customer would end up paying A LOT on a highend item (iPad) if they lost. For example, if the item is worth $600, and they click on one of the 5 last squares, they have to pay 600/5 = 120. And if it’s not the correct square, you’re out that money? This is how I am understanding it, so I apologize if I have got this all screwed up.”

SquareMarket founders state that they’ve set out to launch the “world’s first fair penny auction site.” What do you think of SquareMarket? Is it fair, or even worth it?

As Sam told us, bid “square” costs per item vary with some costing $0.10 and others $1.56 per square click. Multiple squares can be selected all at once, but you must have already purchased the credits to be able to “bid.”

What do you think of SquareMarket? Would you bid? Discuss this with us and all other penny auctions in our forum!  

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1 comment… add one
  • Anthony April 2, 2012, 3:06 am

    this seems like a interesting concept, a refreshing approach to merchandising the bidding process for sure.

    But there’s something that makes me wonder, even more then the US legislation of such a model (you could always add something as a “buy now” option if things get hotter then you want them to be and negotiate fair gains and loses for all)…

    who sets the winning block? Is it calculated randomly? is it put manually? dose the administrator have any way of modifying the winning block before or even during the auction?

    This might seem a bit paranoid and I honestly wish them all the best with this game-like approach just something that cough my attention…


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