What You Should Know About Online Auction Sites

Posted on April 28, 2012

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All online auction sites are generally the same. They have the same concept where you must pay a small fee to place a bid and if you are the winner, you are required to pay up. Each bidding fee costs roughly 60 cents to 1 dollar even to just place a bid. If you place ten bids at 60 cents each, you can do the math to see how much you are paying.

Some auction sites have their own features. Some items are exclusive to first time bidders only. For some hot products, each bidder can own win one of them. For example, if a bidder already won an iPad, they cannot go bid on another iPad.

There have been some concerns to are these sites really legit or are they just scams? We’ve all came across one of these advertisements that show expensive electronics and jewellery sold at discount prices. Then a message saying that the item could’ve been won by you only if you were a member and made a bid. Is there any truth in this message? Yes, it is possible to win in an auction, but nobody said it was easy.

There are some potential problems with auction sites. The biggest one is anonymity. You don’t know who is on the other end placing bids against yours. Are they real, or are they just a piece of software raising the price by the smallest increment possible and displaying a random name as the bidder? Also, is it not strange that bids are placed at the last second only? I have been watching a couple of auction sites and new bids only stroll in when there is one second left.

To be honest, online auction sites are not the best place to be placing bids. However, if necessary, then it would probably be a good idea to do a bit of research. Here are a few tips:

1. YouTube first!

YouTube is full of home made videos. Do a quick search for unboxing videos of products won on the auction site you are planning on bidding on. If there aren’t any videos, then it is probably your auction site isn’t really shipping out the items.

2. Browse historical winners

Some auction sites like to brag a bit by listing their previous winners and the item they have won to show that it is possible to win items at low prices. There are two things to look out for when browsing the previous winners. The first thing to look for is the price vs product. I have seen a winner of a set of chairs paying more for it than a winner of an iPad and a laptop. If the bid for an item does not seem logical, it could be because the site has tinkered with the prices. The other thing to look for is discrepancies. Bidrodeo is an online auction site that is no longer operating. However, while it was operating, I got a chance to see its site. They went a step further and allowed others to see the bidder’s profile. I clicked on a random profile and saw their historical wins. What surprised me was seeing six iPads, three laptops, and several other items I do not remember. Who uses six iPads? I’m pretty sure that most of us is comfortable with just having one or two, but six? This is possible, but very unlikely.

3. Read Reviews

There are many reviews floating over the internet. You can search and find them by doing a quick Google search. Make sure the reviews are specific and they actually contain details to the site itself. There are many sites out there that will pay those interested in earning some extra cash to write a fake review. Since these people haven’t used the sites, they can’t be as specific as someone who did use the site.

4. Ending Auctions

When you visit your auction site, chances are you will see several products that have 10 seconds or so left. Spend a little while and watch them. Some poorly designed scam auction sites will have auctions that continue on forever. If the auction just doesn’t seem to end and there are just random bidders bidding, then it would be an indication that the auction site is probably just hunting for your bidding fee.

5. Rankings

Look at the Alexa rank and Page Rank. When a site generates a lot of traffic and has repeated visits, it tends to have a high Alexa rank and Page Rank. Based on this, you can get an overview of how popular the site is. If the Alexa rank is in the millions, then it is best to avoid. Basically, the lower the Alexa number is, the better as it is ranked higher compared to other sites.

Hope this helps

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Posted in: General, Internet