Bidcactus overtook Swoopo in unique visitors in July according to data collected by Compete.com. This is surprising news to the penny auction universe where Swoopo has long been seen as the industry leader, both in the US and Europe and is the oldest penny auction website, having launched four years ago in Europe and one year ago next month in the US.
Bidcactus, a Connecticut based company, launched on April 23 of this year and has experienced phenomenal growth. The company reached 693,013 unique visitors in July, to Swoopo’s 578,712, despite being in operation for less than five months and launching with only 36 users on its first day. Swoopo's growth in terms of unique visitors for July was 13.34%, BidCactus’s was 275.38%.
Penny Auction Insider spoke with Bidcactus Director Marjorie Almansi earlier today to discuss her company’s breakout success in a marketplace than has become crowded with competitors, knockoffs and scams.
“We’re growing in leaps and bounds,” she said. “We have great customer service; we’re the only [penny auction] site that offers 24/7 customer support and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. phone support.” Almansi also credited ... player referrals, satisfied users who become repeat players, a strong engineering team and successful online marketing strategy that targets Google and Yahoo as key components to her company’s success. “We’ve surpassed every monthly goal we’ve ever set,” she added.
However, Bidcactus also appears to have spent slightly more than Swoopo on keyword advertising in July, an advertising method popular with penny auctions that drives significant traffic but can also be expensive. According to data collected by Spyfu.com, Bidcactus is spending between $991 and $7,370 on keyword advertising per day, while for Swoopo the number was between $725 and $6,530.
In turning to questions about the state of the penny auction universe, Almansi said she is concerned about rumors of fraudulent practices at some penny auction sites. “Unfortunately many people who are getting into [the penny auction business] are questionable. With box software you can get [a site up] for next to nothing. There are a lot of new sites out there and I don’t know what is going on behind the scenes,” she said. Almansi said she would be happy to lead the push to develop an audit panel that examines penny auction sites and certifies them as being legitimate. She also said she would welcome auditors to inspect her company and hopes others would be willing to do the same. “I’d be happy to carry the torch,” she said.
Almansi is optimistic about the future of Bidcactus and the penny auction industry as a whole. “There are very few people who know about us or who use penny auctions, but I think this could be a whole new way for the masses to shop,” she said. Amazon.com and Ebay, the two preeminent ecommerce storefronts on the internet each get about 70 million unique visitors per month, or about 14 times the number of visitors Swoopo and Bidcactus receive.
Bidcactus is currently running about 150 auctions per day and will soon expand operations to offer bidding around the clock.
Correction: An earlier version of this article quoted the advertising expenditures of Swoopo and Bidcactus in dollars per month, the figures given were actually for dollars per day. Thanks to Weronika Cybulska over at BidRodeo for pointing this out.