Thursday, May 30, 2013

Auction Timers & Automated Bidders


Most penny-auction shopping sites open each auction for competitive bidding during the last 30 seconds on the clock.

Although they vary greatly in pace, most penny auction sites operate on similar timing systems.

Every time a bid is placed, the clock will go back 8, 10, 15, 16, 20 or 30 seconds, depending on the site, giving other bidders a chance to place another bid.  The bidder placing the last bid wins the auction.


Bots are pretty much a made-up term used by new, inexperienced bidders who do NOT yet know how to play or understand how the penny-auction site works.

When new bidders lose an auction, they want to blame something or someone, so they suspect and accuse the penny-auction site of using "bots" to drive prices up and/or outbid them, which is seldom (if ever) the truth.

While some penny-auction sites are a lot easier to win great bargains on than others, most of them are perfectly legitimate businesses and are overseen by auditors to make sure everything is done on the up and up.

Automated Bidders

What most new customers call "bots" are actually automated bidders that are perfectly legitimate. Most penny-auction sites have them available but new bidders have not yet learned how they work or know how to use them.

The reason most new bidders do not use the automated bidders is because they often do not even know they exist. Why? Because new customers often start bidding from the home page and they cannot see the automated bidders from the home page.

To find the automated bidders and see what is happening (behind the scene), customers must first double click on the auction item they want to bid on and then a new window will open up. That is where the automated bidder will be located, along with a lot of other information, such as a bigger and better description of the auction product.

Automated bidders are not only legitimate, but they can work to the customers advantage. It you learn how to use the automated bidders, it should help you win more auctions. Most experienced bidders use the
automated bidders. Why? Because the automated bids will usually over-ride the single bids when it comes to beating the clock at the last second, and some (not all) auto bidders save customers from wasting bids. How?

If I put 100 bids into the DealDash automated BidBuddy, my 100 bids are safe there and will NOT be used unless the clock runs down to the last few seconds or zero. Other, single bidders, who are bidding from the home page, will not even know my bids are there. If new bidders play like they do on eBay and try to beat the clock, they will never allow the clock to get down to the last few seconds. These new bidders might use a couple hundred bids by cutting the clock and never allowing the clock to get down to the last few seconds or zero until they run out of bids. That is when my bids, waiting safely in the automated bidder, will suddenly kick in. If there are five bidders with bids in the automated bidder, the bids will be placed in turn until the bidder with the most bids gets the last bid. Single bidders will only be wasting their bids and will not be able to win as long as other bidders have bids waiting in the automated bidder. Sometimes these new, naive bidders will get angry, but whose fault is it that these new bidders did not take the time to read how the system works.  Plenty of information is available all over the internet and from penny-auction support
team members.

Whether or not the automated bidder helps customers save bids or waste even more bids, however, pretty much depends on how the automated bidder works.

Let us compare how the timing and automated bidders work on four of the penny-auction sites I studied.


The DealDash automated bidder, called BidBuddy, allows bidders to place as many bids as they choose. Customers can add more bids or cancel bids with just a click of the button at any time during the auction. This is the most user-friendly autobidder I have found on any penny-auction site.

Clock/pace/timers -- DealDash used to open auctions for bidding the last 30 seconds. When an auction first opened, it was on a 30-second clock. As the auction progressed, it went down to a 20-second clock, and after it had been running a long time, it went down to a 10-second clock. 

Customers who started bidding at the early part of auctions got more time on the clock as the highest bidders (if other bidders do not cut the clock). That meant they earned free bids more quickly because the more time customers get on the clock as the highest bidder, the more free bids they earn (see green line at the bottom right side of the screen).

Recently, DealDash has speeded up its auctions by starting and using only a 10-second clock. Former eBay players apparently love it because now they completely ignore the clock and seldom allow the clock to run at all. I do not like this because now it takes even longer to get any time on the clock to earn and collect my FREE bids. At times, while I attempted to place bids into the BidBuddy, the clock was running so fast and the bidders were cutting the clock so much, I did not even get time to place my bids before the auction was suddenly over. I aso do not like the 10-second clock auctions because now when I place my bids into the automated Bidder, Bid Buddy, my bids are used up a lot more quickly. One thing I liked about the 30-second clock is that it made my bids last longer. That meant I could place my bids and then go wash dishes, do my housework, mow the law, go shopping or take a nap and come back later to find out if I won. With the 10-second clock, I cannot do that. To win an auction now, it pretty much keeps me glued to my computer. To adjust to these new "fast auctions," I will have to completely change the way I bid and how often I bid. I would have to clear time on my schedule when I could remain at my computer to do nothing but bid. Instead of bidding on DealDash daily, I would probably go to once a week to a designated time slot. Otherwise, I would lose too many bids and too much money. The "fast auctions"pretty much requires me to remain stuck at my computer. I would like to see an option of choosing to bid on slow or fast auctions because fast auctions is not for everyone.

Automated bidder --Yes, customers always have the option of placing as many bids as they like in the automated bidder. Customers can also easily add bids into the automated bidder at any time during the bidding if they see that the bids are low and they might need to add more bids to win.  Customers can easily cancel bids at any time during the bidding process as well. If I see a power bidder join the auction and I happen to know that power bidder will stay to the bitter end, I might choose to pull out of that auction and save my bids for another auction later on when I might have a better chance to win for less money. DealDash makes it very easy to add or cancel bids with just a click of a button. The DealDash automated bidder, called BidBuddy, gives customers the most flexibility and is the easiest, most user-friendly one to use.


Beezid has two automated bidders. The main one is called Autobeezid, which customers must use before they are allowed to use the "Sniper" bidder. In this auction, customers are allowed to place a maximum of 25 bids (designated in red) in this auction, plus a maximum of 10 "Sniper" bids (designated in red, one time only). The amount of bids allowed changes, depending on the value of the auction item up for bid. 

Clock/pace/timers --Offers various times and speeds. It has an 8-second timer and 16-second timer. Turbo auctions are very fast-paced. Express auctions, on a 16-second timer, are fast, but not as fast as Turbo auctions. Other auctions are at a slower, more regular pace.

Automated bidder --Yes, BeeZid has two different automated bidders -- a regular one and one called a "Sniper" bidder, and customers are held to various limits of bids they can place in each, depending on the value of the auction item. To get authorization to use the "Sniper" automated bidder, customers are required to first place bids into the regular automated bidder. Customers are given a maximum number of bids they are allowed to place in each.  If they can place 25 bids into the regular bidder, and the bids run out, they can place another 25 bids into that bidder. In this auction, customers can place a maximum of 10 bids in the "Snipper" automated bidder, and they are allowed to use the "Sniper" only once per auction. What is the purpose of this bidder?  If a customer places 25 bids in the regular bidder, designated to kick in at $4 and run to $5 (it must be a minimum of $1 difference), but the auction starts to close at $2 then the "Snipper" bid could pop in and SAVE the bidder from losing the auction.

I tried this system and hated it because other bidders have "Snipper" bids, too, so I saw it as pretty much a big waste of bids -- a faster way to lose more bids. New users have trouble enough figuring out how to use one automated bidder and having a second one just confuses customers even more.


The BidCactus automated bidder, AutoBidder, allows customers to put any number of bids into the little white box above. It also allows bidders to slide the second scale as to when they want their bids to be used. To conserve (save) bids from being used too quickly, it is always best to place bids in the last few seconds.This AutoBidder has no easy way to add more bids or cancel bids, but I think it is good that customers can see this "gear" icon on the homepage.

Clock/pace/timers --Offers extra fast (short clock) auctions called "Quickfires" based on a 10-second clock, and slower (regular) auctions based on a 20-second clock. Some of these auctions do not allow bidders to use an automated bidder.

Automated bidder -- Yes, BidCactus has an automated bidder that runs on a 10- to 20-second bidder. It is the only automated bidder I found that shows up on the site's home page, before customers double-click on the auction item.  It is designated with a "gear" icon. If the "gear" icon is turning (running), it means it is being used. In fact, when I was first started exploring penny-auction sites, it was on this site (when I saw the gear moving) that I first discovered there was such a thing as automated bidders and then I started looking for them on all the other sites.The good thing about the BidCactus automated bidder is that it not only allows customers to choose how many bids are placed, but it also allows them to decide when (at what point in the bidding and at what point on the second clock) that they want their bids to kick in and start being use second timer allows customers to move it up or down to where they want it. I usually set it on the last 3 seconds. The bad thing is that customers cannot use the automated bidder in all auctions because it is not available for all auctions.


The ZBiddy automated bidder, called EZ-Buddy, allows customers to place and keep a maximum of 25 bids in its automated bidder a one time. As the automated bidder uses the bids, customers can continue to add bids as long as they never go over the maximum of 25. This means customers must keep track of how many bids were already used.
If you click on the blue arrow, next to "Bid randomly," you can see another option that says, "Bid in the last 10 seconds." Smart bidders will select that hidden option (before hitting the "Activate" button) because they will use fewer bids. If the current bid is at 33 cents, the bidder must start the bid from 34 cents or higher. Bidders can see if other bidders are placing single bids or have placed bids in BidBuddy. If four different bidders have bids in BidBuddy, assuming they each put 25 bids in, it would be a waste of bids to start bidding before $1. Smart bidders do the math.

Clock/pace/timers --Operates on a 15-second timer. Every time a bid is placed, the clock goes back to 15 seconds. When it gets to zero, the last bidder wins. Because most of the bidders on this site never allow the 15-second clock to get anywhere near zero, the ZBiddy auctions appear to be fairly fast-paced.

Automated bidder --Yes, ZBiddy has an automated timer, but customers are limited to placing a maximum of 25 bids in it at a time. That only gives a bidder enough time to go to the bathroom or grab a sandwich to eat before they must rush back to their computer to add more bids. Customers are never allowed to place more than 25 bids at a time. The best thing about this auto bidder is that it allows customers to choose if they want their bids to kick in between the last 10 to 15 seconds or in the last 5 seconds. That choice is somewhat hidden and most bidders might never know they have this option. To find the option, customers must click on an arrow before the choice will become visible. Customers who choose the last 5 seconds will use fewer bids. Another good thing about this auto bidder is that customers can designate at what point in the auction they want their bids to kick in.  Customers could designate 10 bids to be used between $3 to $4, another 10 bids to be used between $5 to $8 and maybe another 5 bids to be used between $10 to $11 ... or they could designate all 25 bids to be used between $1 to $5 and then come back much later and seeing the auction still running, designate another 25 bids to be used between $19 and $26.  Being restricted to only placing a maximum of 25 bids in the automated bidder at one time, however, is very restrictive and pretty much keeps the bidders glued to their computer to win an auction. Although it is possible to cancel bids after you place them into the automated bidder, it takes too much time because you have to go into your customer account to do it.

Best Timer/Pace System

It is impossible to determine which penny-auction site has the best timer/pace system. Why:? Because that depends entirely on personal preference. There is no good or bad here. Some bidders might prefer auctions that start and end like a speeding bullet, while others prefer a much slower pace. 

Best Automated Bidder

Drum roll please ... In my opinion, has by far the best automated bidder.

Why? It is very easy to use, easy to add or cancel bids, and it allows me to place any number of bids I want into the system, so I am completely in control of when and how I use my bids and I am not stuck at my computer. 

If I win before I use all the bids I placed, the remaining bids automatically go back into my account. Bottom line:  BidBuddy is the most user-friendly automated bidder I found.

The DealDash automated bidder allows me to place my bids and then go about my busy life and get things done. By allowing the automated bidder to place my bids for me, I can then leave my computer and do my dishes, mow my lawn, go grocery shopping or even go to bed and get a decent night's sleep.

Later, I can check back with DealDash and see if I won. I admit I do win more auctions when I can stay at my computer and closely monitor what's happening, however, it is not always possible for me to remain stuck at my computer.

Therefore, I love the freedom that the DealDash auto bidder gives me. DealDash respects the fact that I have another life, other than just sitting at my computer watching auctions. DealDash definitelly has the best automated bidder for busy people like me. Thank you DealDash!

In my next blog, I will discusss what I see as the best and worst aspects, from a customer's point of view,of each of these four penny-auction sites. What would make me want to come back and use the site and what would make me leave and never return to use the site again.

Visit me here: Barbara Sellers

1 comment:

  1. BidPanther also has an autobidder for DealDash