It is with great sadness that I report The Auction Squirrel shuttered its doors today. The penny auction site auctioned 516 items and lasted just shy of one month, it opened on Sept. 23rd. I initially mocked The Squirrel, saying it was foolish to open a new penny auction site without having a "special sauce" when there were nearly 100 other sites competing in this market. However, as time went by I was impressed by The Squirrels apparent honesty and dedication to being an upstanding business. There were a few times when it seemed like The Squirrel was a few small tweaks away from bumping up against the break-even point, however after one month of losses, the site has decided to throw in the towel.
I applaud their honesty and want to point out that, as Obama would say, this is a teachable moment. If The Squirrel couldn't make it what does that say about a lot of similar penny auction sites out there? Are they legitimate, are they shilling, do they intend to ship your products? Anyone can open a website and anyone can cheat you. It has become very difficult to make it in this business and I suspect that a lot of people who would open a site in this environment have the intention of cheating you, or even if they set out with good intentions would turn to fraudulent practices after the losses start to mount. This is a strong argument in favor of only shopping at the most established and trustworthy penny auction sites.