How to Make $10,501 Off a Single iPad

I have to say, I’m smitten with BigDeal.com (and similar site QuiBids.com). I haven’t even placed a bid there yet, and yet I’m entranced by the homepage, the concept, the copy, everything. And I’m a little jealous I didn’t think of it.

BigDeal is an auction site along the same lines of the controversial Swoopo.com. Each item has a clock that counts down to zero, and each item starts off at a price of $0.01. If the clock gets down to zero, the last bidder wins the item at the final price, which is often really, really low. But if someone bids before the clock hits zero, the clock jumps back up to 30 seconds, the price of the item increases by $0.01, and and the timer starts to count down again.

So every item is a ticking timebomb. Here’s the catch: Each bid costs you money (about $0.75). So you might end up spending a few dollars on an item you may not even win. That’s how BigDeal makes it’s money–if it sells you a $899 iPad for $150, that means that it’s collected about 15,000 bids on that item, so the site made $11,250 – $899 + 150, or $10, 501 on one iPad!

It seems a little bit like a scam, but I think it’s brilliant. Each losing bidder has a small sense of loss, but the site manages that by allowing you to use your winning bids towards the retail price of the item. So if you know for sure that you want an iPad, rather than buying an iPad, just go to BigDeal and try to win it on the cheap. If you don’t, just use your spent bid tokens to buy it outright.

The other extremely clever thing that BigDeals does is that it has auctions (as seen below) for its own currency. How brilliant is that? It has created value where there was none before.

I haven’t tried to bid on this site, and I probably won’t for a while. But I’ll sure be checking out the homepage every now and then to see what I’m missing. If you decide you’re up for the challenge, use this link to sign up so that I get some bonus bid tokens and so do you (this will only kick in if you actually purchase bid tokens).