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The most common type of auction — surplus auction or otherwise — is known as a ‘traditional’ or sometimes called an ‘English’ auction. The traditional, or English auction, is what most people tend to think of when they hear the word ‘auction’. Practically everyone is familiar with this style of auction — in a traditional auction, the auction for an item begins at a low price and bidders consecutively bid each other up, raising the bid with each call. The auction ends when nobody is willing to enter a bid higher than the last bid given, and the person who bid that last bid wins the item that’s up for grabs.
A somewhat new and, as of yet, still fairly uncommon, but rapidly growing in popularity, auction type is the ‘unique bid auction.’ Most people are still quite unfamiliar with unique bid auctions. In fact, if you were to ask the average person what a unique bid auction is, it’s very likely they’d have no idea — it’s very likely they’d never have even heard the term before.
Regardless or this, the unique bid auction format, over the last little while, has been gaining in popularity among auctioneers — especially, it seems, when it comes to online electronic auction services.
The goal of bidding in a unique bid auction is to make your bid unique among all the bids placed by all bidders, and have your entirely unique bid also be the lowest of all unique bids placed. So, for example, let’s say an item is up for auction and there are a total of eleven bidders bidding on the available item. All bidders enter their bid, and when all bidders have entered a bid, and the bids are revealed, it turns out that:
- 2 people bid $1.00
- 3 people bid $2.00
- 2 people bid $3.00
- 1 person bid $4.00
- 2 people bid $5.00
- 1 person bid $6.00
In the example above, two people entered a unique bid — a bid amount that nobody else entered. But, in a unique bid auction the winner is the person who placed the lowest unique bid. So, in this case, the person who entered a bid of $4.00 won the item.
As mentioned earlier, unique bid auctions are still quite rare at live auctions, but they’ve been gaining in popularity with online auction sites. The unique bid auction format is still quite new, however, and, as such, many people are still quite unfamiliar with it. And, in order to be consistently successful when taking part in unique bid auctions, a solid bidding strategy can be of tremendous advantage — perhaps being more important than in any other style of auction. Obviously, this can be problematic for the great many people unfamiliar with unique bid auctions. If you’re not familiar with the unique bid auction format, you’re not going to be familiar with effective unique bid auction strategy.
So, here are just a few unique bid auction strategy tips you can use to help improve your results when taking part in a unique bid auction:
Unique Bid Auction Strategy Tip #1
Keep in mind that you’re not really bidding in relation to the retail, or any other, price of the item. — at least not to nearly the degree you would be in other auction methods. This is one of the aspects so unique to the unique bid auction format. You’re really just bidding against the other participant’s bids. At least, that should be the primary focus of your unique bid auction strategy. All you want to get is the lowest bid placed that is also a unique bid. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter that you may be bidding on an item that has a regular retail value of, say, $1,000.00. If you bid just $2.00 for the item and it turns out that nobody else bid $2.00, and nobody else entered a lower unique bid, you win the auction.
If you think about this a bit you should be able to see how strategy becomes important in a unique bid auction. If you’re bidding, say, on that $1,000.00 item, you can enter a bid for $1.00 and maybe win the item at an incredible bargain, right? Well… probably not. Why? Because everybody else can do the same which will render your bid not unique and the one guy that bid, let’s say, $100.00 will actually win the auction — as long as his bid was the lowest unique bid entered. And, everybody wants to get the auction at the lowest possible price, right? So, what is the low bid you should enter on that auction? $2.00? $3.00? Other people, also trying to get the lowest bid can also enter such ridiculously low amounts for that $1,000.00 item. So, the lower the bid, the more likely there are to be others who also bid that amount, and thus, the less likely you are to post a unique bid and win the auction at that price. Remember, in order to win your bid must be the lowest bid that is also unique — an amount that nobody else has bid. So, the higher you bid, the more likely it is your bid will be unique, but the higher the likelihood that your bid wont be the lowest unique bid. So, it’s all about pinpointing that perfect range — low enough that you maximize your chances of getting the low bid, but not so low that you minimize your chances of getting a unique bid.
It’s very important to keep in mind, however, that even though I said earlier that you’re not really bidding in relation to the retail price of the item on auction, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be cognizant of the item’s worth. It’s still quite important that you know the item you’re bidding on, and know its value. Without knowing the item’s worth it will be easy for you to overbid for the item.
The attraction behind such unique bid auctions is the possibility of actually acquiring highly valuable items for exceedingly little money — like, say, a brand new $1,500.00 TV for perhaps just a few dollars. If you overbid for an item, it entirely defeats the purpose of bidding in unique bid auctions.
Unique Bid Auction Strategy Tip #2
Do not hesitate with your bid. People that are used to bidding in traditional auctions are used to waiting until the auction is nearing the final bid before bidding. This can be a useful strategy in a traditional auction, but it’s of no benefit in a unique bid auction, and can actually diminish your chances of winning the auction.
The reason for this is because it is fairly common in a unique bid auction that nobody actually ends up entering an entirely unique bid — every amount bid was actually entered by at least two or more people. When this happens, it is standard practice in a unique bid auction to give the auction to the person who entered the lowest bid, that had the fewest amount of bids at that price, and was also the person who entered that bid first among all bidders who bid that particular amount. So, try to get your bid in at the earliest possible time.
Unique Bid Auction Strategy Tip #3
Make multiple bids. Virtually all online unique bid auction sites use a system allowing a single person to enter multiple bids on a single auction. One strategy sometimes employed is for a bidder to always enter something very close to the lowest possible bid amount, plus a bid or two, in intervals, in their calculated highest win-probability range. This is referred to as entering a ‘bid spread.’
Online penny auctions are quickly becoming one of the hottest trends on the word wide web. The recent surge in popularity of these penny auction sites, such as Quibids (probably the largest and most popular) is due mainly to the fact that the most successful of bidders are quite often able to walk away with superb products at well over 90% off of the regular retail prices for exactly the same items. If you can imagine being able to acquire a brand new, name brand, large-screen LCD television for less than $100.00, then you can image why these online penny auction websites are becoming so popular.
Many people, however, are not taking advantage of online penny auctions, and it seems the main reason for this is because they feel that such sites are much akin to gambling — it’s all just luck. And, if your lick isn’t in — as is likely to be the case more often than not; just like with most forms of gambling — you’re not likely to get the spectacular deals you’ve heard of people getting. In other words: They’ve heard of people being able to grab such fantastic bargains, but they’ve heard of people winning the lottery too. While both do happen, both are not likely to happen to them. And so, they never participate.
The fortunate thing is that while online penny auctions do contain an element of chance, it’s not all just blind luck. An astute bidder who simply puts into practice a few effective penny auction strategy tips can seriously tip the odds in their favor. A smart bidder can win the sorts of amazing deals that are sometimes won at these online penny auctions — and, they can win them on a fairly regular basis. You just need to know the mechanics of the penny auction system, how it functions, and keep in mind the following penny auction strategy tips.
Penny Auction Strategy Tips #1 – Product Valuation
The very first thing that you should always consider before deciding to begin bidding on an item is the true value of the item up for grabs. You need to take account of what the shipping and handling fees for the item will be if you successfully manage to place the high bid on the product. Secondly, you must inform yourself as to the true regular retail price for the item. If you were to purchase this item through a regular retail channel, what is the absolute minimum you’d be able to purchase it for? And, lastly, are there any other associated fees or costs which will be incurred in settling your bid should you be the winning bidder? These added costs can be things like Paypal fees which will need to be paid to Paypal for processing payment.
If you take accurate account of each of these things, you will effectively establish the accurate and true product valuation. The true value of the product will be its cheapest regular retail purchase price, minus any shipping and handling fees, and minus any associated costs for purchasing the item. When you have this information you should use it to figure out your maximum bid for the item. Knowing the item’s true valuation, and setting and knowing a reasonable maximum bid based on that valuation is extremely important. If you don’t do it, you can easily end up paying more for the item than it’s actually worth — even if the final and winning bid you placed on the item, at first glace, appears to be somewhat of a bargain price.
Penny Auction Strategy Tips #2 – Item Popularity
Most online penny auction websites will allow a visitor to view a history of auctions — what items sold and how much any particular item sold for. One of the very wisest penny auction strategy tips is to steer away from items that are very popular on the penny auction website you’re using. Popular items have more bidders — that means more people driving up the final price. By targeting penny auctions that are less popular you’ll encounter less competition on your auctions, and drastically increase the chances that you’ll be able to place a winning bid at a much lower price with greater savings on the item’s true valuation.
Penny Auction Strategy Tips #3 – When to Place Your Bids
If it’s at all possible, via the features of the penny auction website you’re using, carefully study the times of day that appear to be most popular for people placing bids. When is the penny auctions website more busy and when is it less busy? Hunt for the items you’re interested in bidding on and try to see if the same items are being offered at different times during the day — often they are. If an item you wish to bid on is being offered at two or more different times, skip the auction that’s taking place during the more busy times and wait for the auction that’s coming up at the less busy time. As with penny auction strategy tip #2, you will experience less competition this way. You’ll have a greater chance of being the winning bidder and the auction will be more likely to conclude at a much lower price.
Penny Auction Strategy Tips #4 – Take Advantage of Automated bidding
A number of penny auction websites now include an automated bidding feature that will allow you to bid on certain items automatically — without you even needing to be there. This sort of feature can be used to great advantage. You can find the times of day when the penny auction website sees the absolute least amount of traffic and use the automated bidding feature to bid on an auction while you’re sleeping, are without internet access, or otherwise can’t bid yourself. Follow the penny auction strategy tips, tip#1 to figure out the item’s true valuation and calculate your maximum bid from that. Enter your maximum bid into the automatic bidding feature and let it go to work. When you wake up in the morning you could discover that you’ve managed to snag the item at a truly incredible discount. What a great surprise to wake up to!
Penny Auction Strategy Tips #5 – Make Use of Third Party Software
Since the process used in online penny auctions is entirely automated and run by a computer — it’s not like more traditional auction sites like eBay, for instance, where each individual auction is being run by a real person — there is able to be developed computer software programs that can give the user a real advantage over their competing bidders.
Such computer software programs, like Bid-Ninja, for example, will extensively track the bidding history that has taken place on the penny auctions website, tabulate the data, and calculate which auctions will give you the highest chance of placing the winning bid at the lowest price. Using such systems can give you an extreme advantage over other bidders and drastically increase your odds of walking away with the successful bid at the greatest savings.
Have you had a big score on a penny auction? Or, do you have your own penny auction strategy tips that work well for you? We’d love it if you’d post a comment below and share it with the other readers of this site! What are your thoughts on these penny auction sites in general?