What in the world is a “low bid auction"!?
This usually is the first question most people ask when they first encounter the concept of the low bid auction. The idea of winning with the lowest bid is counter-intuitive to our usual way of thinking, and our way of living in this highly competitive, “me first" world.
We are trained from childhood to think that winning means having the highest tally, the greatest total score, that we must best the competition to succeed. The concept of the low bid auction turns this standard on its head. To succeed at a low bid auction your offer must be the lowest amount tendered.
The second question generally asked is, “Ok, I will just bid a penny: Do I win?" The answer of course is, possibly. Low bid auctions have one caveat attached: to win, your low bid must also be unique. Meaning that if you and I both bid a penny, we cancel each other out.
I have found sites from Europe to the United States offering up this sort of game. Prizes run from gift cards to Sony Play Stations™ and HD televisions, to vacations, cars, and even houses, all for only a fraction of their list cost. They usually go for a small percentage of the list cost.
Though sharing the same basic premise of the lowest unique bid, every site puts its own twist on the game. Some games limit the number of bids in an auction, while others do not; Some limit the number of bids per person per day, and some even donate your winning bid to charity. Most bids are placed via a web browser interface, though a few can even take bids via text messages.
Correspondingly the costs to play vary from site to site . One site I know of, charges a monthly subscription fee, which actually makes it one of the least expensive games on a per bid basis. Others charge on a per bid basis with the cost of a single bid ranging from as little as fifty cents per bid to as much as three British pounds.
Playing these games can be a lot of fun, but can also be highly addictive. I would not recommend this to a person with addictive behavior tendencies. If that is not you, give it a try; you might just find a treasure waiting at the end of the day. As in all things monetary “Caveat emptor" or in, this case, let the bidder beware.
Clyde Annach is the operator of the Web Log The Low Bid Auction News