Not all auction sites are the same. Some are barely even auction sites.
The granddaddy of them all, eBay, marked its 28th year last month – already old enough to be a CEO. The ‘worldwide flea market’ was millions of people’s first internet experience, and e-commerce still drives a huge chunk of online traffic.
But the rush of bidding against real people for hard-to-believe bargains has become almost a relic, with 80% of eBay purchases being ‘Buy-it-now’ items.
It’s a lot less fun when you just pay to “win”.
However, the joy of the auction game remains strong in some corners of the internet. By far the most popular of these auction sites is DealDash, founded in 2009 and operating under the popular ‘penny-auction’ model, whereby you purchase bid packages and bid up items in one cent increments until your strategy, patience, and persistence pays off.
This is what we want from auction sites – VICTORY.
So if you still feel the lure of bidding and besting others to find some bargains, here are some tips to make your auction dreams come true on DealDash.
KNOW WHEN TO BID
DealDash is the best reviewed general auction site behind eBay for one main reason – it’s legions of loyal Dashers who’ve learned how to win consistent deals there. They’ve done that by following some simple rules for success on the site. One of the most important ones is knowing the best times to bid.
Most people shop on the weekends, so it’s wise to bid on items during the middle of the week, say Tuesday through Thursday, to have less competition. For lower-priced items, auctions can be over in an hour or two, and you can see from the site’s list of winners which days are offering the best bargains. But be aware that for higher-priced items, like those over $2000 or so, the bidding can go on for days.
The old lesson applies here: when you’re trying to beat the crowd, avoid them. That lesson applied to DealDash is: when you’re looking to win, what you bid on is usually less important than when you bid.
KNOW YOUR RULES
What makes DealDash and other auction sites fun is that they feel like a game. There are strategies involved, rules to learn, rules to manipulate. You discover what works best for you, cut down on the anxiety and enjoy the perks of good planning.
When you’re starting out, the best strategy to maximize the value of your bids is to bid only on items that you would be willing, and able, to purchase at retail value. Those big-ticket items are not a great place to cut your teeth – they’re usually won by more experienced Dashers.
But the Rule to know here – if you do end up losing an auction, you can purchase the item at retail value, and the company will return your bids to you. You can re-use them on other auctions, and not feel such regret over bidding and losing. Bids cost between 12 and 60 cents a pop, depending on the package you buy. (If you just want to test it out, the company will refund your first package purchase if you decide it’s not for you.) It’s nice to know that there’s a surefire way not to lose the value of the bids.
As you go, you’ll develop your own personal set of rules, and soon you’ll be able to compete with the old-timers for those iPads.
KNOW THE TOOLS
DealDash knows you want to compete at the highest level, and to help you get there, they’ve developed a set of tools to separate the wheat from the chaff.
For lower-priced items, the BidBuddy is a great automated tool for setting your bid limit and bidding it out for you, until hopefully you wind up winning. There’s also an ‘Alert me’ option for pinging you when an item you want is up for auction.
TRUST THE PROCESS
There’ve been many other penny auction sites that have popped up in the years since DealDash began, but virtually all others have folded. They survived because they knew that putting ‘bidding fee’ auctions online would bring extra scrutiny and suspicion, so they’d need to have extra integrity, extra honesty, and triple the customer service of other retail businesses.
When entering an auction, you’ll never know when it will end, but that is part of the fun. It’s what makes it a game. When you see it as a skill that’s worth investing time in, and that rewards your efforts, you’ll be better able to handle some of the adversity that comes with losing a few auctions you really wanted. This will also help you manage your emotions more effectively – because egos definitely become a factor when it comes to winning auctions. Stick with your plan and your process, lean on your tracking tools, and if you lose one, know there’ll be another day.
And if you win one – sit back and celebrate that hard-earned victory while watching the fireworks go off!