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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.’