Many of you who are members of, Penny Auction Watch℠ are seasoned penny auction pros. This article is not for you. This is for the beginner. It is for people like me. A few months ago, I had no idea that penny auction websites existed. If I made the mistake of clicking on a Quibids ad on MSNBC, I quickly closed it. “IPads for $2.75, impossible,” I’d tell myself.
But like many new participants, I saw an ad for Beezid on television. This was back in December of 2010. I had not started my Christmas shopping, so the timing was perfect. I signed up, purchased bids, and without understanding the format, the bidding tool, or really, any part of the auction process at all, I went straight for the toy that was on the top of my shopping list: the xBox with Kinect.
Predictably, I met with instant, complete failure. Like many new penny auction participants, I made a number of mistakes. A number of these mistakes are avoidable, and had I not been so eager to hit the bid button, and spent some time studying up and contemplating basic strategy before getting started, I would have saved money at the outset.
I now do almost all of my shopping through Beezid, and along the way, more experienced participants (through the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/thebeezid) have provided a lot of very helpful tips and suggestions. This article is my attempt to put in one place a list of basic pointers and suggestions that I believe would have been helpful to me before I sat down for the first time and wildly threw around my bids. It is focused on Beezid, because that is the site that I started on, and after experimenting with other traditional penny auction sites, it is the one that I prefer because of their bidding tools and their exceptional customer service.
I. Reality Check.
Penny auctions should be fun. It is called “entertainment shopping” after all. The websites cater to shoppers from all different backgrounds, and it is up to the participant to set his or her own limits and stick to them. It is important to treat money spent purchasing bids as money already spent. If you find that you are spending more than you would as compared to your “non-entertainment” shopping budget, you need to give yourself a reality check. Most importantly, if you are not having fun, you should not be participating.
My core premise is the complete newbie should start small, and should start out on auctions that are the easiest to win. There are two reasons for this. One, a Beezid auction is far more complicated than it appears at first, and there is a lot going on that is not immediately apparent. A new user may not see the significance of who is bidding, and when (at the top of the timer, at the middle, at the bottom), who has a sniper set, and so forth, and as a consequence place bids in a higher-value auction that have no chance whatsoever of either winning the auction or contributing to a win.
Two, it is far better to try Beezid (or any site) in the lower value auctions, where the competition is a lot easier and the cost of participating a lot less, to make sure that you like it. Beezid has a win limit policy (discussed below at more length) that discourages the more experienced users from participating in too many lower value auctions. This increases the chances for the new user to be the high bidder. In addition, the process of going through the complete process provides the foundation for the skills you will need to compete in the higher value auctions: auction selection, deciding when to enter with your first bid, learning how to use the sniper and auto bid function effectively, winning, and then claiming your item.
If you do not like it, after making a modest investment and competing in the easier auctions, then you can quickly determine that penny auctions (or Beezid) is not for you.