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Biggest Rip-Off on the Internet

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  • User profile image
    sysrpl

    If you thought the Video Professor hidden charge of $399 for one video DVD was a rip off, well step aside. I believe I just found the biggest Internet scam off all time, Penny Auction sites.

    I am a bit surprised I hadn't seen or read about them before, but the penny auction site quibids.com has been doing some a guerrilla marketing lately. My 74 year old mother read some news about the site and recommended it to to me on Sunday. I decided to check it out and found one of the biggest scams I've ever had the displeasure of knowing about.

    Here is how quibids.com and many other penny auction sites work. Quibids offers up some seemingly incredible deals. A new iPad for $252.31, or a new Macbook Pro for $196.36. Seems like some good deals right? Sure, until you consider you have to bid on the Macbook to get it for that price. Oh and you can only bid in 1¢ intervals. Oh and for the privilege to bid to that 1¢ it'll cost you 60¢, which you have to buy in lots of 45, 100, 400, or 800. In other words, when Quibids sells an iPad for $252.31, they received 25231 * 60¢ +$252.31 + $15.99 shipping, or $15406.90.

    So...

    One iPad earned Quibids $15406.90


    And that assumes the iPad even sold to a human being. What you say? Yes, it's highly possible that in addition to ripping people off by selling a $15406.90 iPad, Quibids also awards winning bids to fictitious auction accounts (their auction bots), thereby allowing them to double their money by reselling an item a second or even third time. See also, shill bidding. Whose to say penny auction sites even stock a full inventory? They may just as well award every other auction to made up accounts. In other words, sites like Quibids are completely unregulated.

    A quick google search for Quibids paints a rosey picture. It would seem that anytime anyone has anything negative to say about the site anywhere online, a happy Quibids customer or one of their employees pops in from nowhere to balance out any negative comments. But if you check, you'll find Quibids and their sister sites reuse the same photos for winner testimonials, but the same photos are attached to different people names and locations.

    Google for Quibids and Swoopo (a sister site), and you'll see a whole bunch of job listings ads. People are begging developers to write them a clone of quibids or swoopo, typically offering $1000. LOL

    Have any of you heard of Quibids or Swoopo before reading this post? The fact that these sites make money tells me the world is full of stupid people.

     

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    LOL....

     

    reminds me of a lot of classic sayings about this kind of thing....

     

    One born every minute.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    Just wanted to point out that it's 60 cents per bid, not per penny of final value.

     

    From their site:

    Each bid costs just $0.60. Bids are available in Bid Packs of 45, 75, 300, 600 and 800 bids. These bids are pre-paid and placed in your Bids Account. Each time you place a bid, your Bids Account is deducted one bid. Once a bid is placed the auction price will go up in increments of 1,2,5,10,15, or 20 cents.

     

    Let's say you spend 30 bids trying to win a $30 valued product, but you don't win. Your 30 bids are worth $18 (30 x $0.60), so if you choose to use the "Buy It Now', you will pay $12 plus shipping for the product.

  • User profile image
    sysrpl

    spivonious said:

    Just wanted to point out that it's 60 cents per bid, not per penny of final value.

     

    From their site:

    *snip*

    Spivonious, you are right. It costs $0.60 per bid. The price starts at zero. Each bid increases the price by one penny. When the auction is about to end, each new bid adds 15-20 more seconds to the auction time. As such, the final sale price of $252.31 was the result of a collective 25,231 bids. Those 25,231 bids plus other costs earn the site $15,406.90.

     

    Sure, an idividual isn't going to spend that amount all by himself, but in total everyone does. Their auctions are basically like throwing money into a slot machine. But these sites call their transactions auctions. They are in the wild online world and operate without any regulation.

     

    Even if you believe they aren't using shill bots or employ people who bid for the site, their numbers show they are operating at a win/loss ratio 100X greater than any casino game in the world. And who is to say  they even let someone win each time? Since no user information is visible to people on the site, they could just as well award the winning bids to themselves (shills), and collect all of the fees without selling anything. To you the user it would just seem like luckyguy17 won the auction, but in reality luckyguy17 is a fake account created by their site. The potential for fraudulent activity is huge.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    More prevalent and potentially more dangerous are the PC cleanup scams. They run ads on TV ad nauseum, and I can easily see people getting suckered in. Every few months they change their name and commercials. I've never been to any of the websites, but I assume that they rebrand their website, shoot new commercials, and move on to escape scrutiny.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    sysrpl said:
    spivonious said:
    *snip*

    Spivonious, you are right. It costs $0.60 per bid. The price starts at zero. Each bid increases the price by one penny. When the auction is about to end, each new bid adds 15-20 more seconds to the auction time. As such, the final sale price of $252.31 was the result of a collective 25,231 bids. Those 25,231 bids plus other costs earn the site $15,406.90.

     

    Sure, an idividual isn't going to spend that amount all by himself, but in total everyone does. Their auctions are basically like throwing money into a slot machine. But these sites call their transactions auctions. They are in the wild online world and operate without any regulation.

     

    Even if you believe they aren't using shill bots or employ people who bid for the site, their numbers show they are operating at a win/loss ratio 100X greater than any casino game in the world. And who is to say  they even let someone win each time? Since no user information is visible to people on the site, they could just as well award the winning bids to themselves (shills), and collect all of the fees without selling anything. To you the user it would just seem like luckyguy17 won the auction, but in reality luckyguy17 is a fake account created by their site. The potential for fraudulent activity is huge.

    Definitely. Your first post made it seem like one user would spend $15k for a $250 item. The potential for shill bids is definitely there, but it's up to the user to keep bidding, so it's no more dangerous than manually bidding.

     

    Unfortunately there's no law against making money off of idiots.

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    spivonious said:
    sysrpl said:
    *snip*

    Definitely. Your first post made it seem like one user would spend $15k for a $250 item. The potential for shill bids is definitely there, but it's up to the user to keep bidding, so it's no more dangerous than manually bidding.

     

    Unfortunately there's no law against making money off of idiots.

    actually it's called "Natural Selection"

    .....  got to go get my old R.A.H. Books - he had great quotes for this stuff...

     

    Caveat emptor !

     

  • User profile image
    A4me

    Hi all.  I'm Jill and work for QuiBids.  I'm going to be one of the "employees popping in out of nowhere..."  Smiley  I wanted to shed a little light on the subject of our business model.  First, most, if not all penny auctions, are a 'pay to play model'.  Further, all penny auctions are going to differ in what features they offer on their sites.  As for QuiBids, we offer the Buy It Now feature on every auction we have.  This feature allows users who may not win the auction, to pay for the product at its retail value, minus the cost of bids they spent in that auction.  


    So, although you are correct there were 25,231 bids placed (in that example), stating it makes us $15,406.90 is incorrect. The Buy It Now is typically taken advantage of by the largest bidders who have the most at stake.  The bids placed by those who end up using the Buy It Now feature are not then part of what the site makes at all.  Those bids are bidder dollars used to buy the product instead rather than money for the site.  This helps to determine what the site actually makes.  Plus, there was no allowance made for voucher or free bids (that people get for free from us from various promotions).  Not every product is in a 1-cent auction; we have 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20-cent auctions.

    Lastly, we do not have any bots or shills as it is against our company policy.  I hope this clarifies some things.  Thanks all!

  • User profile image
    Maddus Mattus

    A4me said:

    Hi all.  I'm Jill and work for QuiBids.  I'm going to be one of the "employees popping in out of nowhere..."  Smiley  I wanted to shed a little light on the subject of our business model.  First, most, if not all penny auctions, are a 'pay to play model'.  Further, all penny auctions are going to differ in what features they offer on their sites.  As for QuiBids, we offer the Buy It Now feature on every auction we have.  This feature allows users who may not win the auction, to pay for the product at its retail value, minus the cost of bids they spent in that auction.  


    So, although you are correct there were 25,231 bids placed (in that example), stating it makes us $15,406.90 is incorrect. The Buy It Now is typically taken advantage of by the largest bidders who have the most at stake.  The bids placed by those who end up using the Buy It Now feature are not then part of what the site makes at all.  Those bids are bidder dollars used to buy the product instead rather than money for the site.  This helps to determine what the site actually makes.  Plus, there was no allowance made for voucher or free bids (that people get for free from us from various promotions).  Not every product is in a 1-cent auction; we have 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20-cent auctions.

    Lastly, we do not have any bots or shills as it is against our company policy.  I hope this clarifies some things.  Thanks all!

    You just proved sysrpl's point.

     

    Thank you for that.

     

     

  • User profile image
    sysrpl

    A4me said:

    Hi all.  I'm Jill and work for QuiBids.  I'm going to be one of the "employees popping in out of nowhere..."  Smiley  I wanted to shed a little light on the subject of our business model.  First, most, if not all penny auctions, are a 'pay to play model'.  Further, all penny auctions are going to differ in what features they offer on their sites.  As for QuiBids, we offer the Buy It Now feature on every auction we have.  This feature allows users who may not win the auction, to pay for the product at its retail value, minus the cost of bids they spent in that auction.  


    So, although you are correct there were 25,231 bids placed (in that example), stating it makes us $15,406.90 is incorrect. The Buy It Now is typically taken advantage of by the largest bidders who have the most at stake.  The bids placed by those who end up using the Buy It Now feature are not then part of what the site makes at all.  Those bids are bidder dollars used to buy the product instead rather than money for the site.  This helps to determine what the site actually makes.  Plus, there was no allowance made for voucher or free bids (that people get for free from us from various promotions).  Not every product is in a 1-cent auction; we have 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20-cent auctions.

    Lastly, we do not have any bots or shills as it is against our company policy.  I hope this clarifies some things.  Thanks all!

    Thank you Jill for popping in from out of nowhere. I notice your channel9 account is brand new. I find it interesting how so many QuiBids employees  feel the desire to respond to every online critcism of QuiBids.

     

    A question: How many people does QuiBids employ to scrub through google results for new mentions of QuiBids?

     

    Additionally, your post was filled with many obvious red herrings.

     

    You claim that QuiBids offers 2¢, 5¢, and 10¢ auctions. The items I listed, and a clear majority by far of your auctions are 1¢. There are very few auctions above 2¢.

     

    The buy it now feature you mention is another red herring. Your buy it now actually raises the price to full retail, and is almost never used. It's a ploy designed just so your site can claim you maintain some level of fairness, when in reality, if people wanted to pay full price they'd buy a macbook through apple.com.

     

    And finally the voucher option you mention is the biggest rip off yet. If you look at your site a large number of the items up for auctions are bid vouchers. People pay $11.81 for a 50 bid voucher, but then your site earns 1180* 60¢ or $708.00 on what is actually a $30.00 bid card. Oh, and to add insult to inury, you tack on a $1.00 transaction fee.

     

    Jill, QuiBids employs people like you to troll the Internet Jill. The company your work for is dishonest. Do you expect when you randomly pop into online forums, people will believe whatever you claim? Should anyone believe you're not a shill, and that QuiBids doesn't use shill bots? Everything you say comes from a single purpose  ... to earn your salary at QuiBids by helping QuiBids make more money.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    I'm just baffled with how many suckers there are in the world.

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    figuerres said:
    spivonious said:
    *snip*

    actually it's called "Natural Selection"

    .....  got to go get my old R.A.H. Books - he had great quotes for this stuff...

     

    Caveat emptor !

     

    May I suggest: "it's immoral to let a sucker keep his money" ?

     

     

  • User profile image
    David7738

    Blue Ink said:
    figuerres said:
    *snip*

    May I suggest: "it's immoral to let a sucker keep his money" ?

     

     

    Was R.A.H - Robert A. Heinleim and are you referring to the Lazurus Long Series? As P.T. Barnum is alledged to say "there is a sucker born every minute"

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    David7738 said:
    Blue Ink said:
    *snip*

    Was R.A.H - Robert A. Heinleim and are you referring to the Lazurus Long Series? As P.T. Barnum is alledged to say "there is a sucker born every minute"

    I'm not sure... it's one of my favorite Heinlein's quotes, but I lost track of where I got it from. Instinctively I would have guessed "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", but on second thought you may well be right.

     

  • User profile image
    JCGiessen

    Definitely. Your first post made it seem like one user would spend $15k for a $250 item. The potential for shill bids is definitely there, but it's up to the user to keep bidding, so it's no more dangerous than manually bidding.

     

    Unfortunately there's no law against making money off of idiots.

     

    I've observed many auctions for electronics go for more than what you would pay at a local electronics store.  On this subject, I would never pay .60 per bid--but I've visited the site and many do..

  • User profile image
    eddwo

    Jeff Atwood covered these a while back Profitable Until Deemed Illeagal 

    Guess that hasn't stopped anyone trying.

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