I noticed a Google Adsense advertisement for Quibids on my blog a couple days ago and it piqued my interest. The description of the service on the company’s site appealed to my inner bargain-hunter and risk-taker. I Googled the service to read reviews, of course, and came back with mixed results…so I thought I would add my thoughts on the site.
First and foremost, if you’re considering using the site, you need to understand what it is…and what it is not. Quibids bills itself as “Shopping Redefined”. That’s not really accurate and I think they should consider rethinking the tagline… but it did help keep me engaged. Regardless, Quibids is NOT shopping. Some describe the service as “gambling” . It is gambling in the sense that a raffle is gambling…which is partially what it is. Quibids is a cross between eBay and a church raffle. I’ll have to explain.
To participate, you have to sign for a certain number of “bids”…think of them as raffle tickets. You can then use your bids/raffle tickets one any number of around 1,000 auctions at any given time. However, instead of your “raffle ticket” having a 1 in however-many-tickets-they-sold chance of winning the prize…it is used as a bid in an auction…and therefore, you only have the opportunity to win if no one outbids you.
Auctions are penny auctions. They start at $0.01 and increase either by one (usually) or sometimes two cents per bid. You bid against any number of others who are monitoring and participating in the auction. Some auctions are over immediately and you win for 1 penny. Most do not go that way. Auctions for items can go on for a VERY long time…because every time someone places a bid, everyone else gets the opportunity to increase their bid one cent more — think of it as the barker at the end of an auction saying “Going Once…Going Twice…” This is a MAJOR difference from what you may be used to on eBay…which sets an end of auction time that is final.
Let me give you an example: Today, a Canon Rebel XS 10.1 MP Digital SLR Camera sold for an ending bid of $69.41. Some guy with the screen name BigDinCT won. A Canon Digital Camera worth $540 for $69 sounds like a steal, right? But here’s the real picture! BigDinCT actually spent $523.40 PLUS vouchers for another 172 bids (theoretically worth ANOTHER $103.20) . Here’s how. Since the camera sold for $69.41 in a penny auction, there were 6,941 bids placed (each for one cent incrementally more than the last) for this one item. Think about that a second…QuiBids charges $0.60/bid and, collectively, bidders placed 6,941 bids netting Quibids $4,164.60 for a $540 camera. This is one helluva business model! Wouldn’t we all want those returns? After winning the auction, BigDinCT paid the $69.41 winning bid + $9.99 for shipping + $444 for the 740 “real bids”…i.e. bids he actually purchased from Quibids. This DOES NOT include the other 172 “voucher bids” that he spent some number of ”real bids” to win so he could use them in this auction. Follow me? At the end of the day… he could have bought it retail for less and without spending hours on-line hitting the bid button. But there’s definitely some enjoyment in winning a competition.
Now this auction is NOT representative of all of them…and I chose it because I was one of the many people that chipped in 60 cents+ for it and it was the first auction I pulled up on my watchlist. Any way….the only deal on this thing was for Quibids. But here’s the real kicker….after having spent $523.40+, BigDinCT could have lost to me (or any other bidder) by just ONE CENT! If that had happened….let’s suppose that I bid $69.42 and for some reason BigDinCT nor any one else countered. Maybe he looked away for just a second…or had to run to the rest room….or fell asleep. I would have won the auction and paid only $69.41 + $9.99 shipping + the number of bids I placed X $0.60…theoretically as little as $80.00! Now THAT would have been a deal…but poor old BigD wasn’t going to stop until he got it…no matter what. So, to make this work for you, you better understand FULLY how it works. By the way…bidders are offered the option of “Buy it now”. If BigD had understood the option…and just how many times he had clicked “Bid”…he could have exercised his right to buy the camera immediately for it’s full value. He would have gotten credit for the value of the bids he had spent in the auction up to that point and just paid the shipping. In this case, he would have been better off. But honestly, most auctions I’ve seen have been good bargains for the person that ended up winning. It’s the other bidders who get the bad end of the stick.
This is how Quibids works:
- You sign up for the service by paying $48.
- You receive in return a “BidPack” that includes 80 bids (that’s 60 cents per bid) that you can now use to bid for merchandise that you’re interested in. What you DO NOT get is any guarantee that you will actually “win” merchandise. Think of this as the ante for a poker game…or the price of the raffle ticket that gives you the chance to win a 2011 Camero.
- You search the site’s live auctions from these categories
(Quibids doesn’t give you examples of the merchandise available so I have included examples of specific products and the total number of auctions for each category as of RIGHT NOW as I am writing this blog) :
- Bags & Purses
- 6 auctions: Belkin Hideaway Laptop Case, multiple Metal Mulisha Prima Donna Purses
- Cell Phones & Telephones
- 14 auctions: Belkin Sport Armband for iPhone, multiple Plantronics Bluetooth Headset, multiple V-Tech 3 Handset Cordless Phone Set, Otterbox iPhone Case, Panasonic Digital Phone System + 15 Bids
- Gift Cards
- 238 auctions: $10-200 at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Target, Overstock.com, Staples, Sonic, Subway, Dillards, Applebee’s, CVS, AMC Movies, Land’s End, Famous Footwear, JCPenney, American Airlines, BedandBreakfast.com, Marriott, Chili’s, Maggiano’s, Old Chicago, Outback Steakhouse, Rock Bottom Restaurant, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Borders, Bass Pro Shops, On The Border, iTunes…
- Home & Garden
- 95 acutions: Cuisanart Duet Blender & Food Processor, Dirt Devil Extreme Quick Vacuum, iPobot Roomba 550 Vacuum, Midland 7 Channel Alert Radio, Monster Trucks Wood 4-Wheel Dolly, Bodum Bean Tea Press, Mr. Coffee 12-cup Coffee Maker, Cuisinart Round Waffle Maker + 10 Bids, Bodum Presso Storage Jar Gift Set, Bodum Chambord Cast Iron Wok, Vornado Personal Heater, Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Coffeemaker, Pyrex Accents 4-Piece Bakeware Set, Kalorik Candy Apple Coffee Maker, Waterford Carleton Flatware Set… you get the idea
- iPod, MP3 and Audio
- 48 auctions: multiple Apple iPod Touch 32 GB, Sony Clip-on Lightweight Headphones, multiple Apple iPod Nano 16 GB. Altec Lansing Wireless Speaker System, Sony Computer Speakers + 5 Bids, iHome Rotating Alarm Clock for iPod, Panasonic iPod Speaker Dock, Beats by Dr. Dre In-Ear Headphones, Monster Microphone Headphone Adapter, Bose Companion II Speaker System, Samsung DVD Home Theater, etc. Apple iPads are under Lifestyle.
- Jewelry & Watches
- 1 auction: Sabona Lady Executive Pink Ribbon Bracelet
- 36 auctions: multiple Excalibur Tabletop Foosball, multiple WowWee Alive Baby Animal, multiple Excalibur RC Sky Wings Fighter, Vtech Tote and Go Laptop, multiple Jakks Pacific Spynet Ink Pen, multiple Brew It Yourself Rootbeer Kit, Learn-to-Play Piano, multiple Stomp Rocket Junior Glow Kit
- 2 auctions: Apple MacBook Air 11.6″ Laptop, Apple MacBook Pro 13.3″ Laptop. I have also seen HP, Toshiba, and Acer. Apple iPads are under Lifestyle.
- 104 auctions: multiple Apple iPad 16 GB WiFi (some with 3G), Ab Dolly, Waterpick Ultra Dental Water Jet, Autographed Peyton Manning Jersey with Display, Dragon DX-J Snow Goggle, Foo Illegal Golf Balls + 5 Bids. Midland 2 Radios with Drop-In Charger, Otterbox iPad Defender Case, Nike All Weather Golf Gloves, Bushnell 16x40mm Zoom Binoculars, Adams Idea a70s Steel Golf Iron Set, Cleveland CG15 Black Pearl Golf Wedge. Spy Willshire Sunglasses, Sorry Revenge Game, Bushnell BackTrack Point-3, Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses, Leatherman Style Multi-tool Keychain, Rawlings Basketball, Panasonic Beard & Hair Trimmer, Banagrams Game, Excalibur Handhelf Einstein Sodoku….and the list goes on.
- Limit Busters
- 2 auctions: Limit Busters allow you to circumvent some of the limits imposed on the number of auctions you can win. For example, you can not win more than 3 auctions in a 24 hour period…however, that’s actually the one limit you can not “bust”. You can bust the limit on no more than 8 auction wins in 28 days.
- PCs & Accessories
- 42 auctions: Apple iMac 21.5″ Desktop, IOGear USB 2.1 Bluetooth Micro Adapter, Road Mice Chevy Camero Wireless Mouse, Targus Presenter and Laser Pointer, Memorex 4GB Mini TravelDrive, HP Officejet 7500A e All-in-one Printer, SeaGate 320 GB External Hard Drive, SanDisk 16GB Ultra Backup USB Flash, APC 8 Outlet Surge Protector, Microsoft Arc Mouse, Sony 4GB Flash Drive + 5 Bids, Canon PIXMA Inkjet Photo Printer, HP Officejet Wireless Printer + 10 Bids, Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router, HP Pro 8500A Plus Printer…
- Photography & Camcorders
- 28 auctions: multiple Canon EOS Digital Rebel T21 18MP + Lens, Olympus FE-47 14 MP Digital Camera, Sony Cyber-Shot 9.1MP Digital Camera, Toshiba Camileo Full-HD Camcorder, Canon SD 14.1 MP Digital Camera, Bell & Howell S7 12.2 MP Digital Camera, Sandisk 16 GB Memory Card, Olympus Digital Voice Recorder, Canon PowerShot 12.1 MP Digital Camera, Zeikos Mini Digital Keychain Camera, Nikon D3000 10.2 MP SLR Camera, Canon EOS 7D 18MP Digital SLR w/lens…
- Travel & Navigation
- 11 auctions: Whistler Radar/Laser Detector, Wagan Visor-Mounted Heater/Defroster, LG Blu-ray Disc Player (travel?), Royal Caribbean 6 Day Cruise to Bermuda, Bushnell GPS Backtrack Digital Compass, multiple Taylor Digital Luggage Scale, multiple Cobra Performance Radar Laser Detector
- TV & Video
- 20 auctions: Toshiba 46″ 1080p LED HDTV, Panasonic 58″ VIERA HDTV. LG 32″ 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV, multiple Manhattan HCMI Cable Sets, Samsung 3D Ready Blu-ray Player, Samsung 65″ HDTV. Monster HDMI Cable Bundles. LG Blu-Ray Player w/250 GB Hard Drive, Samsung 50″ 3D 1080p HDTV with 3D Kit, others
- Video Games & Consoles
- 19 auctions: Sony PlayStation 3 160 GB, multiple Xbox 360250GB Kinect Bundle, PS3 Wireless DualShock Controller, Sony PSP Go, Super Mario Bros (Wii), Halo Reach, Nintendo Wii Console Bundle, NCAA Football 11, Mario Kart Kit with Wii Wheel, Nintendo DSi Console, Call of Duty: Black Ops + 10 Bids, Nintendo Wii Dual Charge Station, others
- Vouchers (for more BidPacks)
- 396 auctions: BidPacks of 15 to 250 Bids to be used in other auctions
- After identifying auctions that are in progress in which you have interest, you can then use your bids at any time to join an auction. What you don’t know is how many times you’re going to have to bid to win the item or what the final winning bid price will be. Honestly, the final price usually doesn’t matter much….it’s all about the amount you invest in bidding.
- If you win, you pay the winning bid amount, shipping and handling (reasonable amounts that I haven’t seen exceed $29.99 for a really large flat panel TV), plus the amount you spent on your bids. The amount of shipping is listed for each item so it’s not a surprise.
Ok. So would I recommend it?
I started an account…and here are the results:
- I paid $48 for my opening 80 bids.
- Within the first hour or so at 1:32 PM I had won a $50 Gift Card to Staples. The winning bid was $0.44. I paid that + $2.40 for the 4 bids it took me to win + $1.99 for shipping and handling for an all in cost of $4.83…netting me a gain of $45.17 on this auction…and basically getting back my initial $48 investment. Fun!
- At 4:09 PM, I hit gold again! I won a Microsoft Arc Wireless Keyboard (that I’m typing this blog entry with right now) with a retail value of $55. I won it in just 3 bids at $0.11…so I paid $0.11 + $1.80 (3X 60cent for bids) + $5.99 for shipping for a total of $7.90. I netted $47 in this auction. I’m awesome!
- At 4:24….I win AGAIN! This time it’s for a Targus Presenter and Laser Pointer Wireless Remote that retails for $25.40. I won in ONE bid (which cost me $0.60) for a winning bid amount of 36 cents. Shipping and handling of $4,99 brought my total to $5.95 for a net gain of $19.50. Damn I’m good at this!
- Quibids’ daily limit of no more than 3 wins per 24 hour period kicked in, stopping the fun for the day.
- I’m hooked.
- Almost exactly 24 hours after my first win (I told you I was hooked), I started bidding again. Since I had been so successful, I decided to go for some of the more valuable items. Specifially, I bid on a Apple MacBook Pro, an Apple Desktop and a Samsung flat screen TV.
- I quickly used up my bids and turned my attention to auctions for vouchers to replenish my stash.
- This time I won an auction for a 100 Bids Voucher in just one bid — costing me $0.60 + $2.00 “processing”.
- After quickly using up those 100 bids and being unable to win another auction for more vouchers, I plunked down $27 for 45 more bids.
- Then $45 for 75 more bids.
- Then $45 for 75 MORE…. all with no wins.
- When I finally ran out and decided I had spent enough on this exercise, I had invested $180.96 for which I had $130 worth of stuff.
So will I do it again? Quite possibly. It’s very addictive and lot’s of fun when you win. If you approach the auctions with some strategy instead of blind machine gun style bidding, you can get some GREAT deals. However, winning one of the big ones is TOUGH. If you’re disciplined enough and happy enough picking up a few smaller items for a good deal…then have at it. You may see me there too.