The Bidding Game

As a frequenter of traditional auctions I initially found it difficult to imagine online auctions could hold the same appeal. I derive immense pleasure from browsing through musty old warehouses littered with boxes of bric-a-brac and second-hand furniture. Watching an auctioneer positioned behind a podium, shouting out bids, and plucking the bidding codes from the marauding pack of people who follow each lot, waiting for their chance at a bargain, is a sight to behold. And the excitement of bidding, which happens at a frenetic pace, or just observing the action, is quite exhilarating.

According to a recent report released by International Data Corporation (IDC), online auctions solve many of the limitations endemic to traditional auctions, such as confined geographic scope, minimal product variety, hefty transaction costs, and inadequate background information for bidders during the event. Not only are auctions ideally suited for the Internet, but companies are realising that auctions are good for e-commerce as well, often driving brand awareness and user retention.

Until this year, most of the auction sites available online had been based overseas, predominantly in the US. And while this had not deterred avid online bidders, the rise of local sites (locally produced or local versions of overseas varieties) has made online auctions more accessible for the wider population. Not only is the tyranny of distance greatly reduced, meaning that larger goods can be shipped for a lesser cost, it also means that converting the cost of your bid is no longer required. In the heat of the bidding you don't want to find that you have overbid, due to a discrepancy in your conversion rate.

First, check out these tips and guidelinesGetting startedLet the bidding beginPayment and deliveryTips for smart biddingPlaying it safeAuction sitesSold! To the party in the blue browser!

And that's all there is to it. Now you just sit back and wait for your bargain item to arrive. A final word of warning: online auctions can be extremely addictive. Once you get caught up in the bidding process, it's easy to spend more money than you intended. Nevertheless, careful and persistent bargain hunters are rewarded. Keep your wits about you, and you can find some amazing deals.

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Amanda Conroy

PC World
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