Saturday, January 11, 2014

Six Biggest Mistakes Newbies Make

This photo, taken by Ryan K. Harvey, shows some of the more than 200 auctions I won on my first year. As a Newbie I won many products I wanted for gifts, but did not really need. Now I bid more selectively only for items I need.

I am a long-time shopper on which I still believe is the best penny-auction site available online. Regardless, I have been watching many Newbies (new shoppers to the site) make some huge mistakes.

When I was a Newbie, I made some of these mistakes, too. I could have saved a lot of bids and money, however, if I knew then what I know now.

Educated customers who know how to get the most out of the shopping experience are more likely to be happy customers ... and happy customers are much more likely to continue to shop on the DealDash site for a long time to come.

So let me help you to become a happy customer by telling you how to avoid making those six mistakes. I will also explain why I think they are the biggest mistakes that Newbies make.

1. Choosing intimidating screen names and leaving threatening messages in your bio

Many Newbies think it is a good idea to choose a screen name that will intimidate or scare other shoppers from competing in the same auctions. In this way, they hope they will win more auctions.
This is a bad idea.

For example, I recently saw a new screen name called MillionsFBids, which just made me laugh because nobody shopping on the site will have millions of bids. DealDash does not even sell a bid package that large.

Experienced customers can identify a "faker" in a heartbeat and will not be intimidated or scared away by anyone based on a screen name or threatening messages left in bios. Using such tactics could backfire by making someone more determined than ever to simply prove you wrong, resulting in more competition, not less.

Experienced customers soon know what kind of bidder you are based on your bidding habits and strategies. Therefore, choosing a cute or funny screen name might be a much better idea.

2. Bidding before reading, watching and learning how the site works

DealDash is not eBay and does not work like eBay.  Newbies should read, watch and learn how the shopping site works before they start bidding. Plenty of helpful information is available on the website, as well as on blogs like this.

To avoid making some of the most common bidding mistakes, Newbies should take the time to do a little research and read how to play smart.  Why?  Isn't it always better to learn from other people's mistakes instead of your own?

Football players train before they play. Doctors go to medical school to study and learn before they operate. That makes sense, doesn't it?  Then why do Newbies assume they can just start bidding successfully without doing any homework first?

If you are a Newbie and still have questions, all you have to do is contact a DealDash customer service employee. They are always very helpful and happy to answer any questions you might have.

3. Not using BidBuddy, the automated bidder

  This is probably the most common and worst mistake Newbies often make. As soon as they go to the home page of and see the many wonderful auction items available, they get so excited that they just go crazy and start placing single bids right then and there.

This is a huge mistake because Newbies waste a lot of bids and money by bidding from the home page and they also irritate the heck out of experienced bidders. For one thing, when they cut the clock and don't allow it to go down to one second, they cheat other bidders out of earning more free bids (see the green line at the bottom right hand of your screen).

As soon as experienced customers see other shoppers place bids every other one, they immediately know they are Newbies who do not know what they are doing. Only Newbies place bids every other one because they are bidding from the home page and cannot see what's happening behind the scenes. They do not yet know that BidBuddy, the automated bidder, even exists.

To see BidBuddy Newbies must first double click on the auction item they want  to bid on. By double clicking on the auction item,  a new window opens up and that is where BidBuddy is located.

Experienced bidders place their bids into BidBuddy and allow the automated bidder to place their bids for them. Why?  Because BidBuddy will save your bids and will not use them until they are needed -- when the clock gets down to the last second.

Because Newbies place bids from the home page and never allow the clock to go down to the last second, they do not even know that other bidders are there. Experienced bidders could place 25 bids into BidBuddy and they might not even be used until the Newbies run out of bids and the clock is finally allowed to go down to the last second.

In other words, Newbies could waste hundreds of bids, bidding away from the home page and never win. Finally, when they run out of bids and the clock goes down to the last second, the bids remaining in BidBuddy then start getting used. If five bidders placed bids into BidBuddy, the automated bidder will take turns placing those bids. If four of those bidders placed 50 bids or less and one person placed 51 bids into BidBuddy, the one with the 51 bids will get the last bid and become the winner ... unless a Newbie accidentally places another bid from the home page at the right time.

4.  Bidding in too many auctions at the same time

  Bidding in too many auctions at the same time might be a bad idea.You could have a better chance to win an auction item if you bid on fewer items at the same time and place more bids on the auction item or items you most want to win. Then, if you do not win those items and you do a BIN (Buy-It-Now), you will get all of your bids back free.

If you bid on too many items at the same time, you might not be able to afford to do a BIN on all of those items and then you will lose bids and have to buy more bid packages more often. It would most likely be a better strategy to focus on only a few auctions at once and wait until later to try to win all of the auction products you want. DealDash will usually offer the same products many times so you will have plenty of other chances to bid on all of the items you want. You do not need to win them all today.

5. Over bidding the value of  the auction product 

  Before Newbies start bidding, they should always look at the retail value of the auction item and do the math to ensure they do not over-bid. For example: If you are bidding on a $25 gift card, you need to figure out how many bids you could place to win the card and still get a good deal.

Let us assume you bought all your bids on sale for 15 cents each. If you take 15 cents x 6, you would get 90 cents. If you are willing to spend as much as 90 cents on the dollar to win a $25 gift card, you might place 150 bids on the $25 gift card. That means you will have spent $22.50 on the bids you used. If that auction closes for $3.50 you have spent $25 for a $25 gift card and then you would only break even.

If the closing cost is more than $3.50 you would be better off doing a BIN (Buy-It-Now) and getting all of your bids back free. Then you could use those same bids to bid on another gift card that you might be able to win for fewer bids.

Newbies who are determined to win an auction no matter what, no matter how many bids it takes, usually end up only hurting themselves. I have seen some bidders use more than 300 bids to win a $25 gift card, which makes no sense at all.  That means, they are paying the price of two cards or more for a chance to win only one. Not only that, but Newbies who overbid the value of the auction often drive the closing cost up so high that nobody gets a good deal.

Some people say they "never quit" and that is ridiculous.  What happens if  NeverStops bids with NeverQuits? Somebody must stop sometime  All intelligent and experienced bidders know that it is often to their financial advantage to quit -- to just stop bidding and do a BIN.  Nobody can win all auctions. Even the most experienced and successful bidders will sometimes lose, but smart bidders end up winning more than losing simply by knowing when to continue bidding and when it makes more sense to quit.

6. Not making a budget -- Not setting financial limits and sticking with them

It is definitely easy for Newbies to get carried away and start bidding on everything they see, even products they would not normally buy, want or use. It is important to stop and think about what you are bidding on. Ask yourself if this item is something you really want, need and can afford.

When I was a Newbie and won nice items for myself, like a digital bathroom scale and food scale, some of my TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) friends wanted me to win those same items for them, too.  Because I am such a giving, generous person, I started to over-extend my budget, and I had to wake up and stop doing that.

At first, I was winning so many good deals that I wasn't keeping track of how much money I was spending, but luckily, I set some financial limits for myself before I ruined my budget. Some other shoppers who allow themselves to become too addicted to the site might not be so lucky.

That is why it is extremely important to make a budget and set reasonable financial limits for yourself ahead of time, and then stick with those limits. For example, if you usually spend $300 per month in a shopping mall, then you might be able to afford to spend $300 per month shopping on instead. 

Nobody should ever bid so much that they get into a terrible financial situation. Nobody wants you to do that -- not even DealDash. They are good people -- a super-fantastic team of professionals -- and I feel certain they would be the first ones to tell you to set a reasonable budget and only shop for the items that you intend to buy, anyway, and can afford to buy, if you do not win.

I sometimes see single parents or retirees shopping on who say they are on a tight budget and decided to go on the site to get some good deals. If that is the case, if you are on a really tight budget and are having a difficult time providing food and clothes for your children, this might not be the best place for you to shop.

Yes, I won many great deals on and you could get some great deals, too,  but this site is more appropriate for people who can afford to buy the items they are shopping for -- win or lose. is a really fun place to shop, but it might not be fun if you over-spend your budget. It is the responsibility of each member of the site to know what you can and cannot afford. Therefore, it is a good idea to figure out your financial limits ahead of time, make a budget and devise a plan to stick with it.

Happy shopping everyone!

Visit me here: Barbara Sellers


  1. Good article, all newbees should read it.

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