So why do penny auction sites give away free bids? Well, someday, I’ll have to conduct an interview with a site owner and ask. Until then, I’d like to tell you what I think they should be used for.
First, is to test the functionality of the site. Pernny auction sites have timers that differ. Some have slight delays before your bid registers. On other sites the timers actually move up or down depending on the quantity of letters in a bidders name. Still another site has a timer that, when you click on it at 1 second left, it actually looks like the auction is over, only to have it continue. There are some sites where the auction does not end at 1 second. After you see “1” there is a GOING ONCE and then a GOING TWICE. People who have not done their homework will always bid at the 1 or 2 second mark and waste allot of bids while others watch and wait. (By the way, every site I know of makes it very clear that if you wait until that last second to bid, there is no guarantee that your bid will register. So don’t go whining to a site saying that amcoffee does it and expect to get your bids back if you lose the auction). When a site gives you free bids, use them to try their timers out.
The second thing to do with free bids is try your best to win an auction. Study the site thoroughly. Know the bidders you’re up against. Determine the best time to bid. Watch a site over the course of a week or so BEFORE you bid on it. Check out the closed auction tab to see if there are certain items that go cheaper. Do your research so that you can win an auction. Too many times I hear people say; “Well they were just free bids so it really doesn’t matter if I win or not.” If all you want to learn with the free bids is how a site works, then your right. But you should be striving to learn more and you need to win an auction to learn some important things about a site. Namely, do they ship promptly? Do they do what their terms and conditions say they will do as far as shipping out new items? Do they honor the things they declare they will do?
Folks, listen carefully… NO ONE ever gets a second chance to make a first impression! By winning an auction and receiving it promptly, you will get the assurance that you are dealing with a site that has taken their responsibility of fulfilling orders seriously. I hope that these things work out this way and I trust you do too. Those free bids are the means by which you are able to win great prizes and begin new relationships with real people! That first impression speaks volumes and frankly, do not the emotions of winning something get in the way when a site fails to follow through. BUYER BEWARE when that happens. I am not saying that you throw that site out as scam site if they fail to deliver on time. I am saying that you keep in the recesses of your mind what transpired and be very careful should you decide to buy bids. That brings me to the last purpose for free bids. To avoid losing money.
When I have been able to use my free bids to win an auction, I NEVER, did you read that, I NEVER buy bids until that item is in my possession. We can discuss your strategy if you want, but when I read of my peers who have lost hundreds or thousands of dollars to sites closing their doors, I’ve got to raise the question… “What made you jump in with such an investment in the first place?” I have seldom made purchases greater than the value of the items I have received. Here’s what I do… a true story, in fact two stories.
I received free bids and won two $25 giftcards on the 10th of March. I paid $4.52 for the cost of those two auctions including shipping. Then I waited for the cards to arrive. On the 19th of March, I won another giftcard and contacted the site to let them know that I was not comfortable paying for this third auction when I had yet to receive the items I already won. The site owner agreed, researched the problem with shipping and told me that they used my street address instead of my PO Box when they shipped the first giftcard. I was told a new card would go out and I received it within about another week. ONLY THEN did I go back and pay for that third item which brought my total out of pocket expenses at this site to $6.97 of which I was holding a $25 giftcard. I refused to purchase any bids until I got the other two cards. Guess what? Those cards never showed up and that site is now closed. Net result? I am up $18.03. What do I read on the forums? I read of my fellow bidders who are out hundreds of dollars. Why? Maybe because they did not use their free bids to learn and respond to what they learned. (you’d have to ask them to know for sure)
There is another site right now that owes me $125 in giftcards. They are talked about on the forums as being slow to ship, some are questioning their legitimacy, many are fearful of getting their wins at all. What’s my take? I have spent a total of $103.56 on this site and have received $100 in giftcards. If they do go under, I am out $3.56. If not, I’m up $121.44. I will not spend one more penny until one of those $25 giftcards comes in. I can afford to lose $3.56 but I will not risk losing more.
Free bids are extremely valuable. You can protect yourself from allot of financial difficulties with them. You can also learn with them, win great things with them and create new relationships with them. Use them wisely!
After posting this article, I got to thinking about my use of the word “NEVER” back in the fifth paragraph so I did some research and discovered that in July of last year I won a giftcard and purchased a bidpack the same day. So I need to retract the word NEVER. But let me add this… it happened at a site that closed (BittyBidz) and I NEVER got the giftcard I won with the free bids! My conclusion is that I will NEVER do that again.