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Here’s what he had to say:

Penny Auction List: How did you first hear about penny auctions?
Tom:
I believe it was an email from BidCactus advertising their site right around the first of this year. I followed the link to see what it was all about. I was fascinated.

Penny Auction List: What was your initial impression of penny auctions?
Tom:
My first thoughts were all about the financial concept that the site owner came up with. I kept doing the math over and over again calculating how much money BidCactus was making on these auctions. At $0.75 per bid times the number of bids being placed on each item, it seemed that they were able to generate alot of income from this penny auction concept. So my first impression was more from a business perspective, and as an entrepreneur, I was focused on the income level available.

Those thoughts then came around to see how certain bidders could also save alot of money. Again, I was impressed by the individuals who invested what I considered a ton of money, in making a name for themselves. They had learned this system, and were now able to take advantage of a well earned reputation. Again, the creativity of of individuals in our land to learn how to work within the system, and be prosperous.

So, first thoughts were strictly financial and from both perspectives, the site owner and the bidder.

Penny Auction List: Did you make any mistakes as a new bidder that you would encourage others to avoid?
Tom: Yes! I jumped in too soon. I had watched enough to know that I needed to stay away from certain bidders, but I had not researched as much as I do now, especially on that site. They offer plenty of information for new bidders to do their homework before they start bidding. A couple of months after I started, I began keeping record of their winners so that I could find out who won bid-packs. I would stay away from anyone who had won a bid-pack. I also calculated the best times to bid and then only bid during those hours. But I did not do that right away and paid for it.

Penny Auction List: What are your favorite sites to bid on and why?
Tom:
That’s a tough question because I play on a number of sites and for different reasons. In alphabetical order, I like Bidash, although I have been away from there for awhile. Alan Poole is one of the very best customer service people in the business. Shipping has always been excellent. Because I like gift cards, the things they offer suit my desires very well. I also like Bidcity. I like the fact that they start their auctions earlier in the day. Their autonomous bidding is a little different, but the shipping is top notch. I just received my latest win from them yesterday and it took less than a week to get here! Bidpigs is one of the most trusted sites in this industry and again very fast shipping. I also play on Dibzees who has very quick shipping and this just came to me, I don’t think I have ever spoken to anyone there. Probably because there has never been a problem. I also play on Bidfather, Igothischeap, Halfbackbids, Midpenny, Outbidders, Pennyauctionca, Pennyprizes, Simplebids, Skoreit, and Yuzzit. I still need to get to Sewbids as I won some bids there last month.

Penny Auction List: What do you do with the items that you win?
Tom:
I bid mostly on giftcards. I use them to get things I need like gasoline and all our household things at Walmart. At times I given some to my adult children. There are also times when I have traded them and have sold them. I even found that my car mechanic will take certain ones as payment for the work he does on my old beater!

Penny Auction List: Is there anything else you would like to share with the bidding community?
Tom:
Go slow. Do your homework and try to leave your emotions at the login screen. I would recommend that you start with sites that offer you free bids or that give you the opportunity to win free bids through contests. Use those free bids to “learn the ropes.” Get involved in beta-testing (You’ll find these opportunities on the forums). They are an excellent way to become familiar with a particular site as well as with bidding in general.

Also, become a member of the penny auction forums. Ask questions and read what others are saying. There are some wonderful sites out there. But there are also places where you will get burned.

Lastly, keep good records. There is a form that is available for free that will help you keep track of your expenses and winnings. It has been one of the most helpful tools I have found. It is at Pennyburners.com. Because of that record-keeping, I can tell you that since April of this year (after I got the form) I have spent about $1,600 (I am obviously rounding off but I could tell you exactly if I were not so lazy) in penny auctions. With that investment I have won over $4,200 of products, mostly giftcards. Lastly, tell others about this industry. In order for penny auctions to continue, they will need more players. You and I can tell others about them.

The Penny Auction List would like to thank Tom for graciously donating his time for this interview.