GamesBeat

Outbid mixes gamification and social networks with real-time online auctions

Online auctions often lack the thrill and challenge of battling against other bidders in an auction house setting. Outbid is a new service blending the tension of real-world bidding with social and gaming flourishes.

Rather than waiting days at a time for auctions to end, Outbid is live and commentated on by an auctioneer. It blends the competitive real-time action of a penny auction with a more social environment complete with an animated bid tracker and chat room.

“Outbid can be used by anyone who wants to hold auctions that are fun, engaging, and highly interactive,” said Dan Granger, chief executive of Outbid. “From individual sellers to offline auctioneers who want to recreate the excitement of the auction room online, Outbid transforms online auctions into thrilling social events.”

The main idea behind Outbid is dispersing with the layers of anonymity many services have in favor of a more transparent and social atmosphere. When bidding on items on eBay, you cannot see who is competing against you. In Outbid, you are directly bidding against clearly identified people. Each time someone bids a continuous countdown clock resets. The larger the bid, the more time is thrown back up. Participants who make consistent offers also have the chance of using a monster bid which is much higher than the typical $1-2 recommended increase.

Outbid rewards users who bid often and successful auctioneers and keeps track of their stats. Auctions are often fast-paced and won based not only on how high an offer is, but how expertly a user implements their monster bids.

Outbid is run by a nine-person team in Oakland Calif. It’s funded by NASDAQ-quoted Copart, the company which owns the patented VB2 online auction technology and founded by Copart’s CEO Jay Adair. His goal is to create a “virtual lemonade stand”so people could safely sell things they make to friends and family. “Online auctions bear little resemblance to traditional auctions,” said Adair.

Live auctions generate more than $300 billion a year and outsell their online alternatives by a ratio of 9 to 1. Outbid hopes to bridge the gap between the off and online auction worlds while instilling a fun and interactive social component. “Outbid brings the best of both worlds together and infuses a heightened social experience into the auction industry,” said Adair.


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