IShop4Cheap is an online penny auction website that sells a variety of premium electronics for up to 99% off retail. Please see my article Penny Auctions: Are They Legit? if you are unfamilar with how penny auctions operate. This article is reserved for instructing readers on specific bidding strategies needed for IShop4Cheap.
IShop4Cheap now offers three auctions formats: Penny, Nailbiter, and Free. Free auctions cost zero bids, and require no strategy therefore I will only review the standard auction format as well as Penny and Nailbiter. Penny auctions increase the price of the product by 1 cent at a time (as opposed to 10 cents) while Nailbiters prohibit the use of users setting up an autobidder. Bids cost roughly 60 cents each depending on how many you purchase at a time. I highly recommend purchasing at least 100 bids if you want a chance to win any of the high quality products.
We will get into that later.
If you want to increase your odds of winning, STAY AWAY from the penny auctions. On the surface they look great as the product sells for cheaper, however we are going to place bid spreads covering the average price of products. With a penny auction the window is much smaller because 100 bids covers $1 (aka 100 pennies). If 100 bids are dedicated to a standard auction (increments of 10 cents) then you are covered for $10 instead of $1.
Nailbiter auctions are great if you have the time to sit by the computer for extended periods of time. Users cannot set up automated bidders (Bid Buddies) on these. With each bid the timer increases by 20 seconds. So if you have several hours set aside, feel free to take advantage of these. Many users will grow impatient after an hour and give up, giving you a leg up on the competition.
Winning the Auctions
Now that we have gotten the basics out of the way let’s get into a more specific, mathematical strategy for winning auctions.
First off, if you intend to go into IShop4Cheap with 10 bids and win, walk away now. While possible, this is also wishful thinking. Here is why. Let’s assume you want to win a $400 Playstation 3. This item will likely sell somewhere between $20 and $100. That is an $80 spread. $80 is equivalent to 800 bids. Therefore you have to hope that with your 10 bids you can hit the sweet spot where it sells. There is approximately a 1% chance of winning an item like this with 10 bids. You MUST understand your probability of winning when playing and make sure you truly want the item.
So how can we increase our probability of winning? Well first off, you should gain an understanding of the product’s average selling price. Check the winners page to get an idea of what things sell for. Let’s get back to the $400 Playstation 3. You have figured out that this item sells from between $20 and $100. Now we must calculate if covering this spread is cheaper than the product itself. As mentioned earlier $80 is equal to 800 bids. You must also factor in that you will only need to use half of this amount to cover the spread, because competitors will be placing bids as well. So you now need 400 bids to cover this spread. 400 bids is equivalent to $205 if you purchase your bids in bulk (HIGHLY recommended). Now let’s say there is a good deal of competition and the PS3 sells on the high end and you had to spend almost all your bids getting it. It sells for $100, you spent $200 on bids, and shipping is $25, for a total of $325. This is still less than the retail price of $400.
Using 400 bids can be time consuming so I suggest setting up a Bid Buddy. When users see you outbidding them every time they bid, you are marking your territory and letting them know that they do not stand a chance at winning. More often then not, most users will back down after using roughly 30 bids.
Winning on IShop4Cheap is a mathematical game. If you decide that you really want to go all out and win an item simply follow the directions listed above to increase your odds. Calculate the spread, purchase enough bids to cover this spread, and use the Bid Buddy function to intimidate users. I cannot guarantee you will always win but hopefully my “strategy guide” will steer you on the right path. Good luck.
- Do not go for an item unless you really want it. If you plan to only use 20 bids on a variety of items then you may never win. Your wallet will be smaller and you will have nothing to show for it.
- Purchase bids in bulk to save money
- Come up with an intimidating usersname suggesting that you have many bids.
- Stay away from penny auctions
- Study user tendencies before bidding