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Home » web news

April Fools: Is Swoopo Full of Something Stinky Like Poopo?

Submitted by admin on Wednesday, 1 April 2009 24 Comments

I was first introduced to Swoopo by a freelancer friend of mine telling me he wanted to bid on building a Swoopo clone on VOIS.

After admitting I never heard of it before, and upon first glance I thought it was one of the smartest innovations that has come across my desk for some time.  It was so interesting to me, that I looked a little deeper into the numbers.  That is where it starts getting a bit confusing.  Looking to omnipotent Google for answers it became immediately evident that people thought Swoopo wasn’t kosher, as was apparent by what was under the company listing on Goole…. “Swoopo Scam.” I found a dozen pages of listings that had Swoopo and Scam, but before I go any further I need you to know what Swoopo does. This is straight from their site.

“What is Swoopo?

Swoopo – the next generation of online auctions

Founded in Germany in 2005, Swoopo is one of the world’s most innovative auction sites. Based on a unique software solution and business model, the company sells premium products like: computers, cameras, game consoles and even cars, at very low prices. Swoopo auctions over 10,000 products per month and has more than 1,200,000 registered customers.

Here is how it works: our online customers buy “bids” in advance. They cost $0.75 each and are sold in packs of 30, 50, 100, 300 or 700. Bidders have the choice of placing single bids, or, using an electronic bid assistant called the “BidButler”. Alternatively, customers can bid via the phone.
Every bid placed, increases the price of the product by 15c and the auction countdown by up to 20 seconds. To help keep track of the money spent on bidding, each auction displays the amount spent on bids by the customer and how much the bidder would save overall, if they won the auction at that moment.
The ‘last bidder standing’ when the countdown reaches zero, wins the auction – usually at a very low price; winners save, on average, 65% when compared to the recommended retail price.
In December 2007, Swoopo was successfully launched in the UK, followed by Spain in May 2008 and the US and Austria in September 2008.”

They state they have 1.2 million customers and have over 10,000 auctions perimages month.  From looking at the site, and having the numbers they tell us, we are left with no other option but to start thinking like Ricky Ricardo and consider that they got some splaining to do.

The items go up in $.01-$.15 increments and when you see a Sony VAIO 16” selling regularly for $975.00 and you could bid for this item under $500.00 for $.75 per bid. Quick math tells you in a penny auction that Swoopo has the potential to make a up to $.75 per bid, for 50,000 bids. That brings the total amount to Swoopo to $37,500!  Not bad return on investment for a $1,000 laptop.  Not to mention you have to still pay the folks at Swoopo $500 plus S&H.

Could be a good deal if you win an auction and saved ½ off for your purchase.  But at $.75 a bid, you are basically buying lottery tickets and we all know there are serious rules and regulations that go along with having lotteries.  These bid costs  go down when you take into account that Swoopo auctions off there own bid vouchers at a discount. The more credits you buy the bigger the discount.  But are they a discount if you’re paying for every bid, and you do not know who or what you are bidding against?  Here is where I get very lost.  Let’s say it is all true, and everything we see is clear with no person, program or bot gaming the system.  How do you get around some very simple questions?

*Why is your Alexa.com 3 month average only 8,651 in the world?

*Why does it say the average person only views 4.38 pages?
To go to the site is page view #1.  To click on an Item of interest is page view #2.  To do anything else, like buy credits, click help, register, browse, or basically do anything else is page view #3? Then what happens, they all leave? What about the millions of bids?  They say in their own words 10,000 products have been offered.  They sell for average of $30.00 and up.  Quick math tells me that the numbers seem skeptical to say the least. This site should have more page views, based on the amount of products and bids that are currently being placed on the site.  To compare apples to apples, Ebay has an average of 14.7 page views per visit.  The Swoopo numbers should by reason dwarf this Ebay number.  This statement is based on the amount of bids that each product listed gets, and going up at a average of a few pennies at a time.

I then discovered you can use a bid butler.  Yes, an automated robot or software program known as a bot.  Swoopo provides this butler / bot for you to keep on spending your credits.  How does anyone know we are bidding against a real person, a bid butler, or a house account?  Simply, you don’t!  Swoopo has the technology, that’s obvious because we know they have the bid butler.

Now, I am not saying that they are jacking or gaming the bids, but if someone was doing shady things how would their users ever know?  Where is the transparency? Is this company audited? Is there some forum where I can contact other members and witness who won instead of seeing it was Salvy, skullpoint, and my favorite name of all was Obama.  I would like to congratulate Mr. Obama on his bid and possibly shoot the breeze on my advice on how to fix all that is broken.  He really should not be on Swoopo during this very difficult time, or is he?

In the end, they do call themselves an Entertainment Shopping site, what exactly does that mean?  Heck, is spending a couple of bucks for the dream of owning that video game, or flat screen TV worth it?  The answer is still out there.  Now, if it is all on the up and up, these guys are killing it like nobody’s business.  The problem is it is nobody’s business until we get some more clarity and transparency.

1It reminds me when Moli.com was supposed to be the hottest new Social Commerce site and had been on the Alexa.com movers and shakers list.  The site became a huge mover and was getting tons of press.  Moli was ranked among the most visited sites in the world and then in 3rd quarter of 2008 the web traffic just fell off from top 500 in the world to a N/A ranking over 100,000 in the world.  What happened?  People in the industry speculated to us that they simply stopped buying the traffic.  Whatever the real story is still a guess, but when it seemed way too good to be true it most likely was false.  That is at least what the traffic graph tells us.  Looks like to Moli pool sprung a leak and we still need to know if Swoopo is a pool that leaks or just another site that could be a cesspool.  Please let me know your comments because I do think done right Swoopo could be one of the brightest ideas I have seen in some time.

2

swoopo.com

bidding history on swoopo


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  • conzone

    Swoopo is a pretty genius idea imo as far as a business model. Get people to pay for every bid, continually increasing auction times with each bid as well the shear competitive nature of people in general really helps drive their revenues.

    At the end of the day the reality is if your bidding early on your wasting your money, the final person that wins an auction general does get a really amazing deal (pending how many bids they had to put in). The best way to use Swoopo imo is by looking at the trending of where specific products you may be interested in generally cap off at and end and to make sure you don't start bidding until an auction is around that mean point so you have minimal investment.

    The whole notion of having to pay to bid on something that you may not win I would have to agree is absurd, Swoopo though is not a scam the fact that they captured an audience of tens of thousands of people that are wiling to waste money in this fashion and apparently don't mind spending $10, $20, $50+ on their site buying top auction spot more power to them. They are very clear at how their site works so if people are willing to follow their model good for them.

    Also, as far as site traffic and page views are counted I'm not sure how this is tracked specifically to “pages” though one big thing to note with Swoopo is that they are using a lot of the “web 2.0″ technologies and do a lot of processing with asynchronous requests in the browser. What does this mean? It means a lot of their site functions such as when new bids are made by others and your screen is updated with the new high bidder and amount, when new products show up on the homepage and when you place your own bid after being logged in are being handled in a way that doesn't require the actual web page to fully refresh or count as a page view. This results in users staying on a single page even though there are many things happening that in the past would have required dozens of “page views”. It's very likely that because of the way their application is engineered that “page” views are not an accurate measurement of site traffic in comparison to sites like ebay who do not use these types of technology and requires their users to actually see many pages to get the same effect.

  • http://www.pricedrip.com Shamoon

    I've been following the press on Swoopo and seeing a lot of negativity lately. Personally, I feel that some of the negative press is unfounded because Swoopo makes VERY clear how they operate. For those people that say that they got “ripped off”, I find that nearly impossible to believe because they knew what they were getting into.

    We've created a concept that we feel addresses all of the concerns people do have with Swoopo, however. http://www.pricedrip.com – I encourage everyone to take a look and let us know what you think.

    Cheers,
    Shamoon

  • http://www.freelancerant.com Johnny Spence

    You know it does seem like a novel idea, but it really does reek of scam. I just don't buy into those countdown timers on the home page either. I'm sure someone comes away with a steal on a new ipod while another gets royally screwed not winning it.

  • Sunnymary

    Johnny, according to your logic, lotteries and raffles are also a scam because someone wins with one ticket while everyone else loses their dollar they invested. Hell, you can even apply the stock market to that with people investing a ton of money only to find out they got nothing in return.

    Besides, Swoopo isn't gambling. It's all about strategy. I won a Nintendo DS a few days ago for $30 by investing only 1 bid. I also won a Nintendo DS game a while back for 75 cents, and it came via mail a week later.
    I won these items because I'm not an idiot. I backtracked weeks worth of past auctions from Swoopo and used statistics to figure out whens the best time to bid; and the bidding behaviors of other people. One technique I found that 20% of Nintendo DS
    auctions ended under $25 because the bidder used a BidButler during the early morning. Another technique was after a BidButler was eliminated, a dozen amount of people put in a bid within the last 2 seconds. All these people revert the clock to 15 seconds remaining and pretty much all of them go on a mini-guilt trip on how they wasted their bid because 11 other people would've bidded for them instead. Funnily enough, those people won't bid during these last 15 seconds because they all believe someone else will bid for them. I used this technique to win my Nintendo DS.

    Swoopo is all about investing wisely with your bids. I did lose a few auctions, but I only needed to pay with 1 bidpack (30 for $22.50) to win those two items. The only people you'll see complaining about Swoopo are the ones who constantly click the Bid button, thinking they'll magically win as if their bids were raffles.

    (Note: Your article is a little incorrect. On paragraph 5, you state that you get more bids if you spend more money. This is untrue, each bid still costs 75 cents whether you buy 300 or 30.)

  • Jon

    I'm curious how many swoopo users have ever won anything (?) On the few auctions I have been on I see what looks to be 2 experienced bidders bidding against each other at .75 cents a bid for propably a good 200 bids so far starting at .75 cents per bid when the product “last sold for 255.00″. It feels a bit like Hal 9000 on the other end of these bids so far….just sayin'.

  • Jon

    Oh and Shamoon and SunnyMary ( aka Hal9000 )….we know who you are… ;)

  • rmedoc

    I bid on a Nintendo DSi Lite about 2 weeks ago. It cost me $1.50 to bid (2 bids), and I won the thing for $12.72+ shipping, which came to $28.95 total to my door. It got here in 3 days.

    I managed to win a Nikon D5000 camera for $145 instead of $849 retail as well yesterday. I did place a few more bids on that one, but I still saved over $700 bucks.

    You just have to do some research, know about what things are going to go for, and then get lucky.

    Yes, people do go crazy on the site, but, I found that bidding late at night when fewer people are on is the key.

  • donald

    i used to be skeptical of a company that could sell a laptop for £15. However, having analized the principles swoopo use i came to the conclusion that at increments of $0.5 per bid they make a profit even at such a low price, so that should be all right I suppose.
    actually i even came across the resembling site, that is likely to be younger than swoopo. As far as guessed that is why their price for a bid is even lower – just $0.05.
    Has anybody participated in auctions on luckberry.com?
    i’d like to know whether everything is ok with them?

  • donald

    i used to be skeptical of a company that could sell a laptop for £15. However, having analized the principles swoopo use i came to the conclusion that at increments of $0.5 per bid they make a profit even at such a low price, so that should be all right I suppose.
    actually i even came across the resembling site, that is likely to be younger than swoopo. As far as guessed that is why their price for a bid is even lower – just $0.05.
    Has anybody participated in auctions on luckberry.com?
    i’d like to know whether everything is ok with them?

  • donalddak

    i used to be skeptical of a company that could sell a laptop for £15. However, having analized the principles swoopo use i came to the conclusion that at increments of $0.5 per bid they make a profit even at such a low price, so that should be all right I suppose.
    actually i even came across the resembling site, that is likely to be younger than swoopo. As far as guessed that is why their price for a bid is even lower – just $0.05.
    Has anybody participated in auctions on luckberry.com?
    i’d like to know whether everything is ok with them?

  • http://www.gobid.com/ Steam

    I agree with Shamoon, the people that gave the negative comments regarding the site really didn't read how their bids really work. Purely an ingenious idea if i may say so, with the right amount of luck and perhaps playing it right you might end up owning one of the products up for bid for a cheap price.

  • geniusss

    I agree with donalddak!!
    Why to bid on Swoopo? There are other websites where you can much better deals because there are not many people bidding.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cameron-Barr/693295572 Cameron Barr

    Good Read…

  • MKilcoin

    There is a direct correlation between number of users and how difficult/expensive it is to win items. The best idea is to check out newer sites. I stumbled across one (http://www.bidfire.com) and after watching the same few people win every time, I took a shot at a wii game and won for under $3.00. I was still skeptical but 3 days later the game arrived (via amazon.com) and it was brand new. I'd say shop around and you can really get some great deals.

  • xiigodiix

    its called a auction people there can only be one winner per item if you bid on something then it dont gurantee you will win anything so stop complaing that you suck at bidding its your fault that your to stupid to win a simple auction i ben on swoopo and won a 52 in tv for $100 total thats wit bids included.

  • xiigodiix

    its called a auction people there can only be one winner per item if you bid on something then it dont gurantee you will win anything so stop complaing that you suck at bidding its your fault that your to stupid to win a simple auction i ben on swoopo and won a 52 in tv for $100 total thats wit bids included.

  • dariuszczyszczon

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  • dariuszczyszczon

    I seen the site and you can win as long as your smart about it http://www.comfortinn.com/hotel-fort_collins-colorado-... Dariusz

  • http://www.scommerce.com/bigdeal-swoopo-without-the-losers/ BigDeal – Swoopo Without the Losers | The Social Commerce Social Sourcing Space

    [...] on April Fool’s Day, we talked about Swoopo and their “entertainment shopping” site.¬† I was pretty critical because, well, the [...]

  • nnnate

    Swoopo is almost like gambling if you don't know exactly what you are doing. Check out http://www.swoopahead.com to get ahead of the game for free. We offer swoopo statistics for free to everyone.

  • http://www.dealbid.org dealbid

    I've come across this new penny auction site that has great customer support and offers free overnight shipping. The site is http://www.dealbid.org and had many items from iPods, iPads, TV's, Speakers, Gift Cards and more. Check it out

  • Dariuszczyszczon

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  • http://twitter.com/PennyBurners PennyBurners

    Swoopo has filed for insolvency in Germany. Read about it here: http://www.pennyburners.com/swoopo/swoopo-gone-who-will-fill-the-gap

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