Going, Going, but Not Yet Gone!

(25 June 2008) The waters were tested cautiously. Very cautiously.  With good reason: the quarter of a million strong bidorbuy community can be very vocal when “the guys up there” introduce something they do not like on their online marketplace.

Therefore, when bidorbuy decided in June to change the way the buyers bid, it first limited the change to one day of the week only (Tuesday), and only for exclusive products by specially sourced sellers. Instead of finishing at a pre-set time (3:00 PM), as was the custom, the Tuesday auction was programmed to extend for five minutes every time anyone placed a bid within the last five minutes. Basically, the Tuesday online auction became similar to a real life auction, where bidding does not stop at a specific, prearranged time, but instead goes on for as long as there are bidders willing to fight it out among themselves. In online terms, it means that the auto-extended auction is over when no bids are placed within the final five minutes of the auction.

It was a risky move, because many of bidorbuy’s buyers have the strategy of bidding for the desired item in the very last minute of auction time. However, when the avalanche of angry phone calls and all-uppercase emails failed to materialise, bidorbuy got bolder and spread the auto-extension function to include the popular Crazy Wednesday auctions, which start from R1 and have no reserve.

That was when a steady stream of praise started flowing in. The sellers were thrilled with the change – but then, they would be, since it was to their advantage, giving them a chance to sell their merchandise at a higher price in the extra time. Perhaps more importantly, the buyers were not adverse either, perhaps realising the inherent fairness of this function.

“The main motivation behind the introduction of the auto-extension is to avoid load spikes the site receives at auction closing time”, explains bidorbuy’s director Andy Higgins. “Since so many buyers bid in the last minute, it can happen that a bid fails to register, especially if a user is bidding via a slow, dial-up connection. With the new system, we feel that we have somewhat levelled the playing field and given all the participants equal chances. The positive response from the bidorbuy community has encouraged us to look at the possibility of spreading the auto-extend function over other auctioning slots too.”

About bidorbuy

bidorbuy is South Africa's largest online marketplace. Established in 1999, the company has created a safe and convenient way for people to buy and sell goods online. As a virtual trading place that brings buyers and sellers together and allows them to buy and sell virtually anything at a fixed price or in an exciting auction format, bidorbuy has created a thriving online marketplace.