28th February Update
This blog post became a lot more popular than I had expected. It has been getting a lot of comments and people have been sending me emails with their experience with penny auctions. There is no way that I can say that Biddu.net is a 100% safe and legit just as I can’t say they are not legit.
Since so many of the people visiting this post seem to have a problem with Biddu I started doing some research on good alternatives over the last couple of days and found another penny auction site called BidRivals.com. What makes me prefer this site over any other penny auction site out there is their “buy it now” function where the value of all the bids placed will be deducted from the price of the item you are buying should you not win the auction.
For a someone like Alexia, who left a comment in this post about having lost €250 bidding on an item this would have meant that she would have had €250 discount on the item she was bidding at if she would have done the bidding over at BidRivals instead.
With a buy it now function like that it really doesn’t matter if Biddu.net are legit or not because I would pick BidRivals over their penny auctions all day long since you aren’t really risking any of your money when you know that 100% of the value of your bids are counting towards a discount on the item you are bidding for.
Earlier today a friend told me about a website called Biddu.net. Since I am an Internet geek I can’t help but to check out a website whenever I hear a URL mentioned so I decided to head over to Biddu to check it out. When I arrived on the site I quickly realised that is was one of the hundreds (or maybe thousands) of bidding sites out there (also referred to as penny auction sites).
Even though I have seen this type of site before I have never really done any research on them. When I visited the Biddu.net website something triggered the Internet geek within me and I decided to do some actual digging to find out more about the site.
Reasons Why I Don’t Trust Biddu.net
Even though Biddu might be a totally legit website that is not using bots to make “shill bids” or other rouge techniques I have still found a couple of things that make me not want to deposit money on their site.
The Use of a .net Domain
This is just my personal opinion but I can’t see why any serious business would use a .net domain these days. I understand that the name “Biddu” might have been the best name that the people behind the site managed to come up with. I also understand that the .com domain was already registered when they decided to launch their site. After some quick research I have found that the domain Biddu.com was registered back in 2000 while Biddu.net was registered in 2010. If I was behind Biddu I would either go ahead and offer the owner of Biddu.com a pile of cash to buy his domain name or I would go back to the drawing board and come up with a new name for my business. Going ahead with the .net domain is telling me that they are not planning to be in the business for the long run as it’s a lot harder to brand your business as a .net rather than a .com.
It’s a Relatively New Site in the Niche
Penny auction sites have been around since 2005 when Telebid launched their website, it was later re-branded as Swoopo.com and they filed for bankruptcy in March 2011.
Biddu.net launched their operations in 2011 according to the about us page on their site. When reading through the Biddu.net about us page I came across a pretty interesting snippet of text that made me want to research them a bit further;
„Biddu“ is a cent auction platform on which you can snap up new bargains every day. Our products come at a fraction of the retail price. The platform opened in 2011 and is breaking visitor records almost on a daily basis; we are now one of Europe and North America’s most popular cent auctions.
When first reading this snippet of text I wasn’t really surprised. It’s not really uncommon these days that a business launched in 2011 goes on to dominate certain markets within a year. What is very surprising though is that a website that claim to be one of the largest ones in its niche in both Europe and North America is hardly ever discussed online. When searching in Google for terms like “Biddu.net” and “Biddu.net scam” I only came across one site on the entire Internet where this website was being discussed, and that was on a German version of Yahoo Answers. Now there is just no way, whatsoever, on this planet, that a website that claim to be one of the market leaders is never once being discussed online in terms of being legit, customer friendly and so on. If this site really had the amounts of clients that they say they have then the search results should be flooded with results when you search for things like “Biddu.net“, “Biddu.net Review“, “Is Biddu.net a scam?” and so on. The fact that they are nowhere to be found in a Google search is raising all kinds of warning flags.
The Alexa Rank
When looking up Biddu.net on the traffic ranking website Alexa.com you will find that Biddu.net has a traffic rank of 217.167. This means that according to Alexa there are 217.166 websites on the Internet that are receiving more traffic than Biddu.net. Just to have something to compare to I also looked up penny auction site BidRivals.com on Alexa and it turns out their traffic rank is 26.399, now that’s surprising considering Biddu.net were supposed to be one of the largest bidding sites in both Europe and the US.
Who Is Outbidding Me Then?
Before I write this next part of my Biddu.net review I should say that I have no proof that these people are running a shady business and I don’t really have any reason to think they are using “shill bids” on their site to keep the auctions going.
With so many different bidding sites out there it’s obvious that there are going to be a few bad apples. I am not saying that Biddu is one of them, I’m just saying that it is possible. Getting a penny auction site going from scratch is almost impossible without doing some kind of cheating. The website PennyAuctionWatch.com recently uncovered a cheating scandal where the bidding site 7Bidz.com where using a bunch of people from India to create fake bids for them to keep the auctions going.
If Biddu.net was to be a scam site cheating its customers this would most definitely be the way they are doing it.
Biddu.net may or may not be a scam and there is no real way of knowing for sure since there are absolutely no reviews or statements from users available on the Internet. Since there are so many options when it comes to penny auction sites I don’t see any reason why you should be signing up with one that doesn’t have any reputation. In many cases I would rather sign up with a site that have a couple of bad reviews rather than none at all. The bad reviews are at least showing that there are actual people visiting the site.
After I finished writing this article I felt a bit guilty about criticising a website without trying it out myself. So I decided to give Biddu a go and bought a couple of bids. I started out by bidding on a Samsung Galaxy S2 to test the waters without any luck. What struck me as odd right from the start was the amounts that these products end up going for. The Samsung Galaxy that I was bidding on ended up going for close to €100. The reason I find this odd is because similar products almost never go for over $30 on BidRivals.com which is a similar website. In order for an auction to reach the €100 limit there need to be 10.000 bids which holds a total value of €2800 (€0.28*10.000). Another reason why it doesn’t make sense that the auctions reach these kind of amounts is that it just doesn’t make fiscal sense to sit and bid up to the €100 regions when the value of the product is only €429.
Since the really valuable auctions seemed impossible to win I decided to try bidding on an Amazon Kindle instead as I had seen those go for between €3 and €5 all day long. I started bidding when the auction reached about €4 since the previous auctions had told me that this one would soon come to an end. Unlike the other Amazon Kindle auctions earlier in the day this one just kept getting new bidders all the time. I decided I was just going to keep blasting bids on this auction to see how far it was going to go once I knew for a fact that at least one of the bidders (me) was a real person. About 180 bids later I was the winner of the Amazon Kindle auction and I got it for €11.03, that’s about three times as much as any other Kindle had gone for during the entire day.
Obviously none of this is proof of Biddu.net using “shill bidders” to keep the auctions going but the whole experience left me with a lot of doubts.
I will make sure to update this post once I have received my Amazon Kindle to let you all know how long it takes to get the stuff delivered once you have won an auction at Biddu.net.