BassaBids *Hearts* Cheap People Very Muchie

Alright, let’s give this ReviewMe thing another go. Many of you said that the last review was a touch (or a lot) on the lengthy side, so John and I have decided to cut the word count on this entry by about 33%. I appreciate any constructive criticism and invite you to take a gander at my blog and leave a comment or three there too.

Today, we’re taking a look at BassaBids.com, which takes the idea behind online auctions (like eBay) and turns it on its head. Instead of rewarding the product to the highest bidder, the winner of the auction is the person who has the lowest unique bid. They want to give people “access to goods very cheaply.”

The Lowest Unique Bid

It’s not a completely original idea, because I’m sure I’ve heard about this somewhere before. I think there was someone that was selling their Sony PlayStation 3 this way. That was a one-time deal, though, while BassaBids.com appears to be here to stay. Where else can you get your hands on a brand-new second-generation iPod Shuffle for just 11 cents? Still don’t get it? I’ll let the BassaBid crew explain:

The “lowest unique bidder” is the person who has bid the lowest amount that no other person has bid. When two people place the same bid, that number is no longer unique. When a person has a unique bid but there are others that are lower, then it’s not the lowest. To win any of BassaBids online auctions, you must be the one with the lowest AND unique bid at the auction end – the “lowest unique bid”.

BassaBids.com

At this time, they only have one live auction — an iPod Shuffle — so in some ways, BassaBids.com draws some similarities to Woot.com. In the future, I’m sure that they will have multiple auctions going on at the same time. After all, they’re still in beta, so there are surely kinks to iron out before they’re ready to the do the full launch.

What’s In It For Them?

One of my first reactions to BassaBids was how do the developers — a couple of “die-hard online auction participants” — make money on this site? If they’re going around shipping iPod shuffles to people for 11 cents, they’ve got to be losing out, right? Something must be seriously wrong with the business model. Or so I thought.

When I went to check out the How It Works page, I saw this:

For the auctions that are not free you must pay to participate. Each bid costs , with no minimum amount to purchase.

Notice how there’s a pretty important piece of information missing from that sentence? It seems that when they get themselves out of beta, users will have to pay a fee to participate in a number of auctions. I’m just pulling these numbers out of thin air, but say, for example, that each time you bid, it costs you a quarter. If there are 1000 bids on that particular item, then BassaBids has received $250 in revenue. A clip-tastic 1GB iPod Shuffle sells for $79. That’s a profit of $170 (before shipping costs and so forth).

For hardcore auctioners, maybe BassaBids will offer monthly or annual memberships that provide unlimited bids. They’d make even more money if they can convince companies like Apple to provide their products for free or in exchange for some advertising space.

Clean, But Somewhat Bare

In this era of Web 2.0 and all that, more people are starting to value white space. We’re tired of cluttered websites that are impossibly difficult to navigate. Luckily, BassaBids does not fall into this terrible pit. In keeping with the user-friendliness, they have selected blue as the predominant color for the site (just as John did for this blog). Getting around the site is pretty easy.

BassaBids

Personally, I think that they should have dedicated the front page to a basic introduction and a rudimentary “how it works” explanation, at least until the site (and its concept) becomes better known. As it stands now, you see the available auctions in the marketplace and who the past winners were. The problem with this is that they only have one active auction right now, teasing us with bigger ticket items like a MacBook Pro and a MINI Cooper S Convertible. You’ll also notice that those auctions tell us how many bids they have remaining, with larger numbers allotted for pricier items. This is further evidence of my initial suspicion: BassaBids gets paid per bid.

Something else I’d like to note is that the “bid” page is about as empty as it gets. There’s a text entry box where you put your bid, a button to confirm it… and basically nothing else. I don’t want flashy graphics, but it could stand to get jazzed up just a touch.

Great for Penny Pinchers

I’m cheap. I’ve never denied that. With BassaBids, I have the opportunity to nab products for well below their MSRP. They even reward me for being cheap, shipping the item to the person with the lowest (unique) bid.

In terms of things I’d like to see improved: The “Join” link wasn’t featured nearly as prominently as it could have been on the front page. As an upstart operation looking to grow, I would think that they would be working harder to recruit new members. Also, the main links in the top toolbar are simple text links that look kind of cheap next to the more professional buttons that surround it. Otherwise, I’m pretty pleased with it, but I’ll withhold any sort of final conclusion until BassaBids gets out of beta. After all, it’s hard to rate when you only have one item available.


45 thoughts on “BassaBids *Hearts* Cheap People Very Muchie”

  1. I preferred the longer reviews… 😉

    1. Ryan says:

      This review is still very long! lol

      1. TheAnand says:

        but the use of bold text helped a lot. . .but then the product was pretty good enough to forgive that…

      2. Kalle says:

        Have to agree with that 😎

  2. Chris says:

    “Where else can you get your hands on a brand-new second-generation iPod Shuffle for just 11 cents?”

    11 pence 😉 That’s like 22 cents 😛

    1. Leftblank says:

      I’d still be glad to know a store that offers iPod Shuffles for $0.22 😉

  3. TheAnand says:

    This is short and to the point. . ..but my feedback now is: make it more interesting to read, initially the reading experience was gr8 in the first paragraph, but later it became more business like, less fun to read. . .throw in some fun in between, that makes John’s post . . .well. . .Evil! :mrgreen: 😉

  4. MrBiggs says:

    John Chow is EVIL 👿

    The images keep me interested…the size is good as i need this much information to understand the product maybe could have chopped off the Clean but somewhat bare section..

    Mr. Biggs is wannabe EVIL 👿 😀

  5. Debbie says:

    I’m really not seeing how the Bassabids thing is going to work long-term. If you’re cheap, who wants to pay a fee to maybe win an item? Do that enough times and it really adds up. Plus they’d better get a lot of people playing or they’re going to lose some serious money. Unless they’re making it up with another revenue source.

    1. TheAnand says:

      True, here we have a tv show that does exactly this, people bid through SMS and stuff. . .but I never bothered. . .imagine a Nokia N Series in 0.0019874 cents! Its too good to be true. . .

    2. Allen.H says:

      True, products like these always lose from their value when they are charged for.

      Allen.H

    3. I believe that when people come to compare with the benefits VS cost over time, it may not be worth the effort.
      Look at this. You have to pay for membership, to bid for an item which has an uncertainty of getting it in turn. It is an innovative way of auction, but as a buyer, I am only interested in getting what I am getting if I am paying for it. No less.
      Does it shows – Money isn’t ‘everything’?

  6. bryce says:

    Yeah, these kinda things are popular with shonky mobile operators in Aus. They let you bid and keep sending you messages which cost $2 to receive.

    1. Allen.H says:

      Hmmm, I wonder what BassaBids have to say about that.

      Allen.H

  7. Gary says:

    I think John has realized the power of the guest blogger. Starting with Matt last week and now Michael. Is this going to be a trend now, so now the guest appearances will be by John himself?????? inquiring minds would like to know 🙂

  8. bryan glanz says:

    Bassabids…..Not even the first or the best to use this way of auctioning. Can’t really turn anything on its head when it isnt even the pioneer…. I would like to see something different and actually unique for the auction marketplace.

  9. bryan glanz says:

    which even in the about us page….they declare they were not the first but saying they are the best is far cry….hopefully they’re more legit than past products

  10. Kalle says:

    Seems like a nice site. As you said it isn’t a unique idea but I am sure that site will succeed anyways, it just needs the right promotion (and a blogpost in this blog might be the right thing).

  11. Brendan says:

    When people purchase a sponsored post do they purchase a post written by John Chow or just a post written on Johnchow.com by anyone? Do your advertisers have any problems with other people writing their sponsored posts?

    1. Allen.H says:

      I don’t think Kwan was a less better reviewer than Chow as writer, as a brand – people will have to get used to his postings from to time, and will learn to love them too.

      Allen.H

      1. Michael Kwan says:

        Thanks for the kind words Allen. I can perfectly understand why some people would be unhappy about seeing me (or anyone else for that matter) post an entry on John’s blog, because, well, it’s John’s blog and not mine.

        1. Your review was good Michael. I think people are ultimately more interested in the audience they get on JC rather than it being his personal words.

          1. HMTKSteve says:

            I disagree, I come here for John’s views (and bad grammar).

        2. Brendan says:

          Im not at all saying the review was bad or that I dont enjoy reading your stuff. I think the stuff ive read of yours is good. So dont take that the wrong way. It was just pure curiosity taking over.

          1. Michael Kwan says:

            Oh, I understood that. I think it would have been different if this blog had a different name and now “John Chow dot Com”, because people assume that John will be the one and only writer here… and he has been, up until recently. I’m sure that John will continue to be the primary contributor, only drawing on me, Matt, or whoever when he wants a change of pace (or some time to kill baby pandas).

    2. Most of the time, it will be written by John himself I suppose. Lest the site or blog for review is too tough a nut to crack.

      For me, it is okay for someone else assigned by John, so long as the article portrays my site in the right tone. Definitely it is best to get the right person the do the right job.

  12. Gdog says:

    For some reason, I had no interest in this review–I just scrolled to the comments. I think I prefer John’s writing style better, IMHO. 🙂

  13. Ajith says:

    And this gives the answer to wher the other review me reviews are. Right…

  14. Kyle says:

    That looks like one of the dumbest auction concept sites I have seen. If anything you could end up losing money just trying to “win” the item. It’s almost a gambling site, not an auction site.

  15. Jeff says:

    That is a great idea… I’m blown away actually. The bid fee of 25 cent’s isn’t too bad at all.

  16. Allen.H says:

    I’d wait to see until they open more auctions and start actually charging people to bid, then we can talk about saving money on items.

    Allen.H

  17. Mark Johnson says:

    Not sure whether I like the idea of the auction and yes they do need better instructions as it is confusing as it is. I am not sure how much it would catch on and how many people will end up bidding on it because they don’t really understand how it works. Auction sites are dangerous as it is always compared to ebay in some shape or form. I have seen many good auction sites come and go because of it.

    I have mixed feelings with the review. To me, I think you guys should go “back to basics” and write a review straight to the point — how it works, positives, negatives, final thoughts. 1-2-3-4 sections… simple and to the point! With this review, there seems to be a lot of mixed mashed unnecessary padding with sections that had both positives/ negatives in it — separating it out would make it an easier read. To me, I think the whole objective shouldn’t be to fulfill a certain number of words but write relevant content instead according to a guideline. It just looked like you were trying to reach a certain number of words as best as you can without any review guidelines and structure. From a reader standpoint, if I look at a review of a product or site, I want to able to immediately pick out the good and bad points about the site clearly — the review had me going back and forth throughout.

    Also, I think writing a review on a blog should be a little different than writing it on a non-blog site e.g. like TTZ. I think John, you are trying to ask someone to write a review in the same style you write on TTZ (a 5-6 pages review) which shouldn’t be the case. Blogs tend to be a little more informal and I believe the majority of people reading it have shorter attention spans, tend to want a quick(er) read than a full detailed long winded one.

    Hope you are not offended by my criticism. It’s just MHO.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Thanks for the feedback. No, I’m not offended at all. I’m always looking for creative criticism that can help improve my writing! 🙂

      1. TheAnand says:

        thats’ the spirit! visited your bolg yest. its a great blog. . .and all the best in your goal of reaching the mogul status. . .and the proof of john chows evilness is simply superb..btw is it right to write about your boss like that? 😛

        http://btr.michaelkwan.com/2007/02/24/proof-that-john-chow-is-the-root-of-all-evil.aspx

        1. All in the name of fun, I suppose. Who in the world would do that in reality? I would get ‘killed’! Zeegh! I knew it..

        2. Michael Kwan says:

          I have no boss! :mrgreen:

          This will probably come out sounding like I’m confirming the comment whore status that I’ve achieved these past couple of months (that was a horribly phrased sentence and I apologize), but…. I have many clients and John is just one of them. 🙂

        3. haha.. and now we have the truth! 🙄

  18. Gary Lee says:

    I know there was something like this a few years ago. It had the same premise where the lowest unique bid won. Can anybody help me out here? I remember GREEN as a very prominent color. Argh . . my memory is going with my age!

  19. Nomar says:

    wow, great service, I am going to try to get some 😀

  20. It is a VERY unique idea of selling things, but how visible is this? or should i say how many things will sell?

    So it will boil to the dollars and cents, taking bidding to a different level. Any right-minded person will bid from the lowest cent upwards, wouldn’t they? Say 1 cent, then 2, 3, 4 and so on.

  21. bassabids says:

    Thanks for the review it was very good and we (seriously) appreciate the constructive criticism.

    Just to put the record straight, we will be charging for bids on auctions either at the end of this month or early next month.

    As for the weekly free auction of the Ipod, we have no plans on stopping that as it is a great marketing tool and allows people to understand the concept without spending anything.

  22. Wasn’t there an actual auction site similar but for regular merchandise just like this idea? It’s an interesting idea, but not sure how long it’ll go.

    1. totally agree- cool in theory

  23. Roosh says:

    The stick figure drawings sold it for me

  24. Stuart says:

    Personally, I’d rather use a site that if I was in auction for, I’d pay for it. Not some crappy site I’m not guaranteed to win

Comments are closed.