Today, I was emailed a comment apparently from someone at Swipebids.com. When I came to the blog to respond to the comment, I couldn't find it. However, since it was emailed to me, I'll copy and paste it in here.
Good Afternoon George,My goodness. Where to begin? First, my name is Mark, it is not George. That leads me to question whether Jennifer meant to post her comment on another blog, hit mine by mistake, and after realizing her error, came back and deleted it.
My name is Jennifer, Head of Customer Service for Swipebids. I assure
you our website is not a scam and is entirely legit, please visit the
information below for confirmation.
page where your credit card information is inputted into our system
, has 4 locations where we notify customers of our
$159 Membership fee. Provided in the link below, you will see 1 right above where your information is inputted, 2 are off to the left and the last is right above the "Start Bidding" button, which will finalize your registration.
We show on our website quite a few pages of past winners, included we
show the price it was sold at, retail price and you can even confirm the
tracking numbers by clicking on the number itself. We have also given
away numerous cars to bidders within the United States and Australia
which can be verified at the link below
We also sponsor numerous children through World Vision, the link below
will take you to the site where we describe how it all works and how we
started by sponsoring 100 children and we continue to add 1 more each
day in our effort to make a positive change.
If you have any other questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Customer Service
Our Winners: http://www.swipebids.com/all_
Our World Vision Charity: http://www.swipebids.com/
Our Customer Service Page: http://www.swipebids.com/
Next, she defends the prominent placement of the $159 charge. I never said they were hiding it. My previous post mentions it clearly, in fact. It was right there on the home page. Let me be clear: Swipebids.com is not hiding the fact that you will have to give them $159 before you can bid. They're just hoping you'll do it anyway.
After that, we see a declaration that people win these auctions. That is correct. Someone does win every auction. However, that does not change my opinion that they are a scam. Your odds of winning reduce dramatically as more people buy bids on the site, while the site operator's profits go up sharply. It's a lottery. Yes, someone wins every item. But hundreds more don't. They spend $159, they don't get any of the shiny items advertised, and they're presented with a consolation price that is worth less than a coffee at Starbucks.
Jennifer, if you want to dispute that, please give me just one piece of information. On average, how many LOSING bidders are there for each item? I'm guessing you'll tell me that information is confidential.
And finally, there's the tug at charity. Don't misunderstand me, I support anything that will feed hungry children. I give money to charity frequently, and if this company actually does give money to World Vision, they have my appreciation for that. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with how they acquired the money. It's just a cheap play for our emotions, and it comes across looking weak.
These penny auction sites are not illegal. I am not suggesting they are breaking the law in any way. They are, however, a lottery, a form of gambling, and in my opinion, a scam. They scam you because they do not disclose exactly how these "auctions" work, and they do not warn you that your odds of winning an item are actually quite low. At least in Vegas, you know the house wins 90% of the time.
I did get a bit of email asking for specific details on how these sites function. I'm going to link you to a terrific bit of reporting from Wired.com, where they explain it plainly and reveal just what a sucker bet these penny auction sites are. They've done a better job at it than I could have, and they deserve the link. Wired.com "Penny Auctions Bet on Chump Change."
As for Jennifer from Swipebids.com, please do not hesitate to respond in a comment. I promise you that I will not delete it, nor edit it in any way. You can speak your piece. The facts are on my side in this discussion.