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HappyBidDay Review – Smaller site with Great auctions
HappyBidDay.com is slightly different in that they actually offer two types of auctions: penny auctions and “Happy Auctions.” The Happy auction feature is a unique way that users can use their free bids obtained either by referring friends or their sign-up bonus, and can bid on the same high quality items as the penny auctions, for which users are required to purchase bid packages. With bid prices varying between $.50 and $.80, HappyBidDay.com is actually one of the more expensive penny auction sites for users who purchase in lower quantities. For those who are reading this review with the intent of researching and learning about penny auctions, the bare essential facts are that penny auction sites are a “pay per bid” operation that uses high volume purchasing discounts in conjunction with their revenue from bids to provide consumers with extremely low prices. Advertising and member registration and bidding fees provide the revenue stream necessary for sites like HappyBidDay.com to buy large quantity, wholesale priced inventory for sale at a discount price.
Cons and Controversies
HappyBidDay.com is, as are all penny auction sites, at the centre of controversy in regards to their methods of operation and business model. The penny auction niche is under constant fire, although HappyBidDay.com has been very successful in helping to circumvent such concerns by offering the “Happy Auction” feature. Higher than market bid prices in lower denominations and a somewhat clunky/crowded homepage are the main detractions against HappyBidDay.com.
I found HappyBidDay.com to navigate a bit more like a pop-up ad then a legitimate site, and although there are no functionality concerns with the site operation, the presentation is a bit too commercial, and lacks the refinement of a mainstream site like eBay. The extremely low prices advertised as somewhat taken away from, given the sites lack of professionalism when it comes to presentation, and those who are new to the idea of penny auctions would probably dismiss HappyBidDay.com at a first glance due to the appearance of the site itself. A cluttered front page and the colour scheme make the page look like a discount flyer, and made me second-guess whether or not I had come to the correct site.
The “Help/FAQ” section of the site looks as though it was written in a rush, and while it does actually answer user questions, the full page of text doesn’t give off a professional vibe, nor is it easy to navigate. In a niche market where reliability and trustworthiness are in question, HappyBidDay.com hasn’t gone above and beyond (or even close) to creating the impression of a legitimate company. The site design and help features are so bare bones, I found myself questioning the legitimacy of the site…HappyBidDay.com does not forward the impression that they are interested in presenting themselves as professional and reliable.
I will confess to not registering for HappyBidDay.com and, aside from the reasons above, one of the single biggest reasons was that the variety of items they showed on the front page was minimal. With only 12 items displayed, and no option to see more items before registering, I wasn’t in the mood to register with the site in order to see what they offered. The lack of variety displayed to non-members makes the site a bit unwelcoming to new users, and a more extended free preview would add to the site’s initial appeal. HappyBidDay.com also had fewer auctions than some of its rivals, which in my estimation makes odds of winning items decrease due to increased competition on fewer items; the prices I saw on the front page confirmed that users are indeed paying more for items here than on other sites such as BidRivals.com. The higher price also means more bids, which passes on a higher cost to the user…a dynamic which detracts from the appeal of using penny auction sites.
Products and Pros
The standard fare of electronics are available on HappyBidDay.com, but they also offer some interesting products like bed/bath products and tools/hardware. HappyBidDay.com also had good variety of giftcards, but they were not available in the quantity required to really get rock-bottom prices. On the plus side, customer service was efficient and friendly and the bidding process is fairly simple.
The email I received in response, from a person rather than an auto-reply, was one of the quickest I’ve ever received. Literally within 10 minutes, I had received a personalized response to my inquiry and was thanked for my interest in HappyBidDay.com. While the question was fairly routine, I was impressed that I was answered quickly and courteously, rather than referred to the “Help” section.
HappyBidDay.com sets itself apart slightly by offering free bids as sign-up and referral rewards, and offers “Happy Auctions” where these free bids can be placed. This is a bit of a double edged sword, as the price increment on these auctions is $.35, and I can understand that some users would resent not being allowed to use their bids in the penny auctions. The operation does seem a bit “nickel and dime” but we must remember that we’re dealing with penny auctions here, the goal of which is to provide discounts to a single client while maximizing revenue for the company. If you can live with bidding in $.35 increments for free on products worth hundreds of dollars, then the limitation won’t bother you much.
I wasn’t really impressed with HappyBidDay.com, and despite knowing what I was getting into with penny auction sites, I found myself underwhelmed and even slightly confused by the sites clunky navigation and lack of options. The Happy auctions may be an effective hook for some users, but the appearance of the site will probably have most users who stumble across HappyBidDay.com dismissing them as a pop-up ad or scam. A design overhaul is needed, and HappyBidDay.com will have to up their inventory and options if they are to compete with the plethora of other penny auction sites.