What’s the BigDeal?

A Dell notebook computer regularly priced at $730 sells for $48.01. A Kindle 3 with Wi-Fi, normally a $140 purchase, sells for $10.91. A Playstation 3 bundle priced at $400 is bought for only $5.74. No, this is not the black market selling stolen goods, these are brand new products sold and shipped to your home through the website BigDeal.com.

            How are BigDeal and retailers accomplishing such staggering discounts while remaining profitable? The same way casinos are able to provide eye-popping jackpots without going out of business. The name of the game is numbers, and BigDeal knows how to keep them in its favor. BigDeal may appear similar at first to other online auction websites, but for one important difference. Unlike EBay or other auction sites, placing a bid on BigDeal is not free. On BigDeal, users must purchase bids for 75 cents a piece. To the average consumer this may seem mundane in comparison to the substantial discount they hope to receive when bidding on a product. However, here is where BigDeal keeps the odds in their favor: each bid only raises the price of the item a single penny, and adds thirty additional seconds to the auction clock. Other bidders then have the short opportunity to cast additional bids. This system translates into BigDeal receiving $75 dollars in bids, whereas the price of the item auction would only raise a single dollar. Unlike other online auctions, being outbid means BigDeal users must bid again or lose all of the money spent previously placing bids. In every auction, there is only one winner however, therefore the discounted price for the item (and the profit for BigDeal) comes from the net loss of the several other bidders. Many of the higher end items up for auction, such as laptop computers, Kindles, and other fairly expensive items often generate hundreds of bids, as is shown through the various statistics BigDeal provides for each of the auctions. Luckily for bidders, BigDeal does offer a “Buy it Now” feature, which subtracts the cost of your used bids from the normal retail price of an item. This is useful for those that really want an item, are willing to pay full retail value, but want to try their luck for a potential discount.

The lucky winners of BigDeal auctions can walk away with items discounted 98 percent off retail value, as is shown by the numerous advertisements highlighting the website. What isn’t strewn across the homepage of BigDeal however, is the money lost by bidders who failed to place the last bid, despite sinking numerous bids into an auction. Therefore, it’s important that bidders do a bit of research before bidding on the website. BigDeal provides various statistics on previous auctions that include the total time of an auction, the total number of bids, the winning price, and the percent off retail value. Using these tools, and being fully aware of how the bidding system works, a bidder is more likely to snag that item they really want, while using the least amount of costly bids. If an item you are certain you wish to purchase is being auctioned, trying your luck with BigDeal can possibly gain you a substantial discount. In the worst case scenario you can use the “Buy It Now” feature and pay the same amount you would have otherwise spent in a retail store.

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