Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Updated: Swoopo Auctions Mini Cooper

Update 8:08 pm EST:

We are watching this Swoopo auction for the Mini Cooper very carefully, as I am sure Swoopo executives are, and wanted to let everyone know what the magic number is. Assuming everyone paid full price for their bids and Swoopo paid full price for the car, the selling price of the car needs to be $4091 for Swoopo to break even. If 24% of users are bidding with FreeBids or bids subsidized through winning bidpacks, etc., the car needs to sell for $5168. Anything over that is pure profit for the company, and we do expect the car to go for well over $5168. However, this auction for the Mini Cooper introduces one dynamic not seen in auctions for less expensive products: the winner needs to be able to pay for the item. Most Americans do not buy new cars in cash, instead they finance or lease and most often trade in an old car. I speculate that most people bidding on Swoopo don't have $24,550 to buy a car with, or even $20,000 or $15,000, this will limit the number of people who are competing for the car. Of course, the winner could borrow money from the in-laws, but that complicates things.

My prediction is that this is going to be be a wildly successful auction for Swoopo and also that someone is going to get a great deal on the car - not a $1.24 great deal like at Rocky Bid - more like an $18,000 good deal.

End of update, original post follows

Today Swoopo put a red Mini Cooper convertible up for auction. The auction lasts 24 hours and each bid raises the auction price by 12 cents. As of 4:46 EST the price was $6.60. This is the first time Swoopo has offered such an expensive item, valued at $24,550, and the second time (to our knowledge) a penny auction site has auctioned a car. The first was Rocky Bid which sold a Honda Insight for $1.24 back in June. Rocky Bid lost some serious money on their auction, but tried to use the event to generate strong PR for the site. How Swoopo's Mini Cooper auction goes is anyone's guess, but they have much stronger site traffic than Rocky Bid did in June - that site said there were just two bidders when the Honda Insight auction closed for $1.24.

We will watch this auction closely and update the blog accordingly.

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