Sunday, March 21, 2010

A risky proposition

Not all the email I get is about Nigerian royalty who need my help getting money out of the country or miracle cures for psychosomatic diseases. Because of this blog, a lot of my email is from marketing people flogging various penny-auction sites. I do what I can to cover these sites though I don't get to many of them, partly because I'm busy with other thing but mostly because I'm lazy as hell.

The latest was from Baffol. Baffol is a pretty drab-looking site (which can be a relief after some of the ridiculously tarted sites I've seen) but has two features of interest:
  1. Each purchase of tokens also results in a credit against their "online store".
  2. They haven't opened yet.
The first isn't really that interesting. The online store isn't open yet and the odds that you'll want any item they happen to have at the offered price (even after the credit) aren't good. Plus, when you bid, you might competing against other people who may be better motivated (because they do want something from the store).

The reason the second thing interests me is that every penny-auction site loses money when it starts. When the store opens tomorrow, there's going to be almost nobody there. If you bid, you're likely to win.

Of course, these Baffol people have zero track record. They could fold in a week, taking your money (and your credit-card number) with them. But you might pick up a Kindle for next to nothing.


  1. This sounds like a great idea! i've since checked this site out and it looks awesome. The fact that you don't lose your money, is win win for us as consumers.

  2. I also checked out Baffol and it is great. The store has lots of good stuff and the auction is fun. It is a game where you can't lose.

  3. Hey, very interesting post, I am one of those marketing guys (unfortunately :), I have a client called Sensible Development who develop auction and penny auction sites, I would like your opinion on what makes useful content in this industry and will email you accordingly, would really appreciate your thoughts, thanks