Penny auction sites can be confusing, but they feature some of the best deals to be had anywhere in the online marketplace. For those not familiar, penny auctions are auctions where you buy bid “packages” costing around 20 cents per bid. When you find an item you want to bid on, like a set of speakers or an iPad, you place one-cent bids every 10 seconds and the clock resets – and, like with any auction, when the bids are done, the final bidder brings home the auction.
When you factor in the costs of the bid, the item’s winner usually gets a good deal, but for those who didn’t win, they’ve just spent a lot of money on bids with nothing to show for it. Luckily, there’s an option to buy the item for the retail cost, and you are returned the bids you’ve just placed to be used in further auctions. So if you were prepared to buy the item anyway, it’s a no-risk deal to try to bid on it for less.
There have been several penny auction sites that have sprung up on the internet in the last ten or fifteen years, but the one that has risen to the top of the market is DealDash. The granddaddy of the penny auction sites has survived through their commitment to an honest and transparent auction process and a turbo-charged customer service center ready to answer any questions their customers have 24/7. Their integrity has led to an A rating with Better Business Bureau. So if you want to give penny auctions a shot, this is the place to do it.
If you want to develop a winning strategy, the best advice is to watch a few auctions go down before you dive in. See how the process plays out and take note of what the winner does to secure the bargain.
Most likely, the winner did NOT use a “brute force” approach to winning – jumping on every new bid with a bid of their own. This seems like the most logical approach, but it almost never works the way you want it to. The strategy for experienced auction buyers to counter this is to simply let the aggressive bidder spend their entire account balance – then swoop in at the end with the victory. So, even though you may want to scare off the other bidders with your determination, this strategy is usually not the best for penny auctions.
Once you’ve watched a few and decided on an item you want to go for, check out the bid histories of the competition. You can learn a lot about their habits and tendencies – do they use BidBuddy to place their bids? Are they casual bidders? Check out the auctions to see if they have won a lot of items recently? Just like you’d scout an opposing sports team for their players strengths and weaknesses, do some scouting of your bidding competitors. If you really want that Macbook, this homework will pay off.
When you do identify someone placing bids with the BidBuddy, your best bet is to wait them out. They’ve set an amount of bids they’re willing to commit to the auction. But don’t waste your own bids to see where they’ll land if you don’t have to. Of course, be sure and never bid on an item that you could buy at retail for less.
The key perspective to have here is, you’re COMPETING with other bidders. That’s what makes these kinds of auctions fun – they’re quite literally a game that you have to prepare for and strategize to win. Watch the behavior of the other bidders – are they switching to automated bids? Are they bidding less and less often? Are they losing their spirit? If so, this item is getting closer to being yours, if you maintain your own determination.
When you’re first starting out, go for items that are relatively low cost. You’re probably not going to win the big ticket items when you’re still learning, as those will be swooped up by the more experienced Dashers. See what it feels like to win a small digital clock or a nice jacket and notice what strategies you used to ward off the other bidders. In time, you’ll be ready to apply those strategies to the bigger arenas of laptops and even cars.
But, to reiterate the key point here – know your competition! If they’re bidding on a bunch of items at once, but then suddenly they’re down to one or two, they’re losing steam, and most likely losing bids in their account. They’re probably not going to be there at the end to compete with you, so don’t worry about outbidding them. Focus on the bidders who are manually placing their bids, who’ve put in the time over the course of hours, or sometimes even days for the bigger bargains.
Remember – there’s a reason why so many people have moved to doing the vast majority of their shopping on DealDash. When you get your skills down, the bargains are certainly there to be had.
If you’re new to DealDash, they’ve got a promotion where you can get 100 free bids with your first bid pack purchase. Use the promo code “FREEBIDS” when you register. You can also choose to return your first bid pack for a full refund if you decide the site is not for you.
Good luck, and happy bargain hunting!