BBC Video on Penny Auctions & Gambling

The BBC interviewed Nigel Whiteoak of penny auction site Swoopo:

Watch the video

Also  check out this article from the BBC “Penny Web Auctions Under Scrutiny.”

Tony Northcott of the Trading Standards Institute believes some people may spend more than they realise on bids.

“My concern about these online penny auction sites is that people will bid for goods and not realise at the end of the day they may spend quite a large amount of money,” he said.

The Gambling Commission said it could not comment on individual sites and was not convinced that penny auctions amounted to gambling.

However, it added that it would keep a close eye on developments in this area.

Are penny auctions gambling?

–verb (used without object)
1. to play at any game of chance for money or other stakes.
2. to stake or risk money, or anything of value, on the outcome of something involving chance: to gamble on a toss of the dice.

Many say that they are gambling since you are spending money to chance an outcome, others say they are not they are only a game of skill and thought out strategy. Over in the U.K. the gambling commission has not likened them to gambling. It’s up for debate. Penny auctions are similar to gambling since you can spend money on a penny auction and not get anything, it really is all left up to chance since you never know when a bidder you are bidding against will decide/run out of bids/have computer problems, etc. You also never know when or if a new bidder with hundreds of bids will jump in and bid against you after you have already spent quite a bit of money. It can be a fun game to play, but it can also wreck your day.

For consumer protection these penny auction sites  do need to be under close watch.

They need to be as transparent as possible.

Some Tips:

  1. Look for auctions that are just starting, not yet publicized on a broad scale, etc. on these you may have a better chance at winning.
  2. Know how much you are ok with losing if you end up losing all of your money and get nothing.
  3. Look to sites that offer second chance items for the non-winning bidder with the most bids placed.  They do this at YottaBid.
  4. Look at joining seat penny auctions where you pay a fixed price and get unlimited bids such as Jungle Cents and DFWBID, but keep in mind that you may also need to pay the final auction price in addition to shipping if you win.
  5. Read Penny Auction Watch & Join the forums! Talk about your experiences with penny auction sites, and if you’d like: share your tips, tricks and other suggestions.

Take the Poll.

As always your questions/comments are appreciated!

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3 comments… add one
  • Nadir June 29, 2009, 10:25 pm

    Slight correction, shipping is included in large items like the car, and its free within the US for all the other items.

    Why risk another bidder coming in, when you know exactly how many people you will bid against on Jungle Cents, and the only thing keeping you from not winning an auction is your willing-ness to click and have unlimited free bids. And the final auction price goes to a charity of your choice 100%!

    Great job on pennyauctionwatch, we love it, just hoping for some more feedback.

    Jungle Cents Founder

  • auctionwatcher July 1, 2009, 5:47 pm

    Thanks Nadir! 🙂 Sounds like a great idea.


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