We’ve checked out a lot of penny auction sites over the last couple of years.
Some of them are still out there , while many others like BidRail, Swoopo and SwipeBids are long gone.
With all of that experience, we can pretty easily spot not only the sites we like, but the ones we think have staying power. And one of our current favorites is Swoggi.
How Swoggi Works
Like most of the competition, Swoggi is a modern penny auction site. You start by buying credits in order to bid on the items that are up for purchase (and coupon codes are available for visitors who are new to the site). Each one of those credits can be used to bid on an item.
There is a set amount of time for each auction, and whenever someone places a new bid, the item’s price goes up by one penny. When the auction is about to end, every new bid extends the bidding time by an extra 15 seconds – so the end of a battle is always nerve-wracking and exciting. If your high bid lasts for 15 seconds without someone jumping in, the item is yours.
And as with all good penny auction sites, if you do win an item it’s usually at a fraction of the regular retail price. iPads for £40, MacBook Pros for £75, Sony flat screen TVs for £90? That’s not only possible, it’s common at Swoggi. All it takes is some credits, some patience, and some understanding of the way penny auctions work. We’ve found that this is not only a great site for veterans, it’s one of the best sites for those relatively new to penny auctions.
Swoggi – The Pros
1. Size – One of the first things you notice when you arrive at Swoggi’s easy-to-navigate site is that there are fewer auctions going on than at most of the other penny auctions you may have visited. With just ten to fifty auctions in progress at any one time at Swoggi, there’s a lot less to keep track of and sift through, and we like that a lot. It allows us to focus on the one or two items we’re really interested in without being distracted by hundreds of other auctions for things like perfume and gift cards (which can be useful as discussed in our penny auction gift card page, which often seem to be up for bid on the “big name” sites just for the sake of volume.
2. Premium/Bonus Credits – At most penny auction sites, your credits go away when you bid with them. If you don’t win an item, the credits you’ve spent are just money down the drain. At Swoggi, though, they have an innovative premium/bonus structure so that you never lose your credits even when you lose out in the bidding. Here’s how it works: if you don’t win an auction, the credits you’ve used become “premium credits” and stay in your account. As soon as you buy a new batch of regular credits, your premium credits become “bonus credits” – and you can use those bonus credits to bid on items all over again.
3. Limits On Winning – Swoggi only allows people to win eight auctions within a month. This means that the experts who’ve perfected their bidding strategy can’t dominate the site, as often happens elsewhere. It gives everyone a chance to bid and win, making Swoggi a friendly and inviting penny auction home for those new to the excitement.
4. The BidRobot – This is perfect for that item you really, really want. Since auctions usually run for hours, it’s usually impossible to cancel your plans and just sit by your computer for the entire time. The BidRobot is an ingenious feature which lets you decide the price you’re willing to pay for an item and how many bids you’re willing to use. You can then make dinner, go out to the movies, watch TV or go to bed – the BidRobot will just watch things for you, and when the auction is about to end it will start using your bids to try to win the merchandise for you. It never spends more than you’ve told it to spend, but it gives you a much better chance of winning an auction than if you’re just hoping to be at your computer when the bidding is almost over.
5. Free Auctions – Another big plus for Swoggi is their free auctions, available only to VIP members (and you automatically become a VIP member when you buy at least 100 credits at one time). You don’t have to spend any credits at all in free auctions; you simply pay the final price and the shipping.
6. Delivery and Guarantees – There have been been issues in the past at some penny auction sites when it comes to delivery. However, Swoggi is just a middleman in the auction process, so when you win the bidding there’s no concern about delivery whatsoever. Product fulfillment is done by their trusted partners like Amazon and the Apple Store. Swoggi also has an easy-to-use process for refunds on products that you’ve bought, whether it’s right after the auction or after you’ve received your merchandise.
7. Prices – We’ve already touched on some of the amazing final prices we’ve seen for quality products, but the discounts available at Swoggi are some of the best of any penny auction site – as much as 80 or 90% off retail for premium, brand-name electronics and other high-end merchandise.
Swoggi – The Cons
We haven’t found many, but there are a few aspects of the Swoggi site that some might not be to your liking.
1. Size – We’ve mentioned that we really like the smaller number of items up for bid at any one time, but you might feel that “monster” auction sites are more to your liking. It’s very debatable whether this is actually a downside however due to the fact that there is less bidders bidding against you.
2. The BidRobot – Until you get the hang of penny auction sites, it can be frustrating to bid against the Robots set by others. However, “sniping” (last-minute bidding) happens at all auction sites and not just Swoggi, so once you’ve gained experience and honed your bidding strategy, we feel you’ll view the Robot as a positive rather than a negative.
We found Swoggi to be one of the most user-friendly and least intimidating penny auction sites online, and believe it offers a better chance of placing a winning bid than most of the others we’ve tried.