If The Business Model Works, Clone It

The single most visited webpage on this blog is my article about “One Day Sale” Websites.

It gets 700 unique visitors a day (growing by 5% every week) and is #2 on Google.co.nz for the search for “one day deal“.

Why is the webpage so popular? For 3 reasons:

  1. Because people are getting tired of the market leader: 1-day.co.nz and are looking for alternatives
  2. Because my webpage lists all the alternatives
  3. Because the 1 day deal business model works so well, so clones are popping up all the time to try and cash-in, so the list of alternatives grows every month

I have just been exposed to what I believe will be the next business model to be cloned. It’s called “BidRivals“.

A $2800 digital camera sells for $331.85

Here’s how Bid Rivals works:

  • It costs $1 to place a bid. The price increases by 2c each time someone bids
  • If no-one else makes a bid within 14 seconds, the auction is over. If someone does make a bid the auction extends for another 14 seconds
  • If a $2000 digital camera sells for $300, BidRivals gets $15,000 for the bids ($300 / 0.02 x $1), and $300 for the camera!!
    • I just watched this happen. Screenshot on right
  • And the lucky last bidder gets a $2000 camera for $300 (+ $1 for every bid they placed)

Bid Rivals only loses money if the item sells for less than 1/50th of it’s RRP.

In this example, the $2800 camera would have to sell for $56 ($2800 / 50) for Bid Rivals to break even.

There are 3 barriers to this business model going mainstream and being cloned extensively:

  1. It hasn’t got a name.
  2. It is difficult to explain how it works.
  3. People who try it and burn through $20 making 20 bids and get nothing to show for it, will leave and never come back

Have you tried it? Did you snag a bargain?

Let us know in the comments below.

25 Replies to “If The Business Model Works, Clone It”

  1. bidrivals is impossible to win, I bought over 1000 dollars in bids and won nothing. this is a real rip of and the owners should be shot because this is just really cheating people of there money. I herd of a guy that actually did win, but he had to spend 5 hrs straight looking at the bid and its impossible to win now because there is jsut to many people looking at the same item for sale.

    Its like lotto now if you win, So i suggest forget it and if you want a bargain use ebay.

  2. Wow “honest man”, thanks for sharing your story, that is terrible.

    I’ve heard that this type of “auction” is classed as borderline-gambling so it probably won’t be cloned in New Zealand. But BidRivals.com/nz gets away with it because they are based overseas.

  3. Yo my man, it is a very clever and decieving system, here ( in ireland) your bid costs 0.50 cents and the bid increases by 0.01 cent.
    So the impression is the item is cheap but the scam part is when yoiu have bid for an item with a lot of bids you are then forced to follow it through or loose all your money.
    For items like the Samsung LCD TV and Cannon cameras the bids got over 100,00 Euro and the winner usually has bid between 400 and 600 times, ( unless he/she is very lucky.
    The callculation for 100.00 Euro means that Bidrivals have sold the item for 5,000 whopping Euro and ripped a load of people off as they are forced to follow the bidding as the logic is if I keep going then I might win but if I stop I loose everything
    What a scam !!!

  4. I reckon auction sites like this should be banned. I’ve only just discovered bidrivals (I’m usually very good at not seeing advertisements but for some reason it caught my eye on pricespy so I investigated, expecting to see something similar to trademe and zillion). Once I figured out how it worked I decided it’s definitely a scam, even if they aren’t actually breaking the law. They must be RAKING it in.

  5. Sheldon, I reported it to Consumer and Fair Go. I considered going to the Commerce Commission too but thought I’d better read their “what we don’t do” file first and one of the items was “scams”. Frankly, I think a scam posing as a “business model” should come under their jurisdiction but I haven’t been very impressed with other dealings I’ve had with them so I gave them a miss.

  6. This type of website sucks, there is one very similar that does fuel vouchers, its a NZ site I think and gives out Caltex cash cards, cant remember what its called, but exactly the same principle.

    1. Sounds like you’re describing MintShot.co.nz? A friend of mine wasted hours doing their auctions and got very little for her time (but she was only spending points that she earned watching ads so no harm done).

    1. So did you sit there for hours Sooli and burn through a heap of cash until you developed your strategy? Would you like to share your strategy with us?

  7. I did have some success (and so did others I know!) with MintShot when it first launched – scored a heap of goodies. But the sites popularity was fairly low then, and haven’t bothered with it since.

  8. I have to admit I’m curious about Sooli’s strategy, though I have no intention of putting it, or any other strategy for that matter, to the test; I do like to be able to pay off my credit card as soon as it’s due. But I have been watching (on and off) an auction that ran for over 36 hours. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to sit in front of a computer for 36 hours, never mind being able to. You’d have to have no family for a start! 🙂

    1. Yeah you’d be like “sorry kids, daddy is busy, go to the neighbours and ask them for food” or “hey kids ring up daddy’s work for me please, tell them I’m sick and can’t come into work for a few days”

  9. Of course I won’t tell you my strategy :p but here an another strategy I saw online.

    You have 2 accounts (you and your friend). You set 2 bidagents and do a fight betweens us … Then when there is only your both bidagent… cut one … and wait, if you are lucky, you’ll win.

    Also, If you play, you should have funds for purchasing the item (then your bids will not be lost for nothing) keep that in mind. don’t play for a $1300 item with only $50 !

    I have an another strategy… but there is no miracle … with $10 you can’t win unless you are lucky.

  10. In my case four dogs, a husband and an elderly sister-in-law (she’s 88 this year) would have to go without food and put up with a dirty house. (Oh, don’t tempt me!)

  11. So far I have won 1 item for a lot less than retail, but then I have bid on several other items without success and by the time I add the value of those bids in I probably am about square. I did have one other item that I wanted and I placed lots of bid on it, but I still didn’t win, so I ended up paying the difference with the buy it now – so it wasn’t too bad. Probably cost me 10% more than going to officeworks. Both items arrived within the week, so was happy about that. I’m still not 100% convinced that all their bidders are legit and I definitely don’t think that they do too much checking to make sure that the same bidders are restricted to 5 or 6 items.
    I think you either have to be lucky or else the only way that you can’t lose is that you only bid on an item you want. That way if you don’t win it by bidding, you can at least use the buy it now feature and pay RRP. Probably a bit more than in the shops, but at least there is the chance you can come out with a bargain if you win it by bidding.

    1. Thanks for telling us your experience, Roger. I would suggest before people bid they should look at the the BidRivals buy price and ask themselves are they prepared to pay that for it if they don’t win the auction. Pricespy is a good place to look for the best price in computer-related stuff, including cameras. Otherwise try priceme.

  12. I’ve just heard about another variation that is sure to become popular in New Zealand: “Lowest Unique Bid“. In a nutshell, you pay $10 to participate in the auction, you choose a price you are willing to pay for an item (eg a house) and if your bid is unique and the lowest, you win.

    The secret is that the true winner is the owner of the website. Earning $10 per bidder can pay for the value of the item 10 fold!

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