Basically, it is an auction site that you have to pre-buy bids for at the reate of 60 cents a bid, for which there is no bulk discount. Each bid increases the price of the auction from 2 to 24 cents depending on how the auction is structured.
Here’s some examples of a very nice little camera, a Nikon D90:
2c Auction that ended at $40.46 — a quick little math (final cost divided by the price per bid minus 1) will show us that 2,022 bids were placed. At a cost of 60 cents a bid, Swoopo made $1,213.20 from the bids alone, however they also get paid for what the auction ends at and a nominal fee for shipping and handling, disclosed at the bottom of the page as $12.90.
The other thing you can see on this page is what it cost the winner $357 for 595 bids + $40.46 for the final price. They also display how much they saved and what the percent was, so this particular user, Swtkava27, saved 65% off the total cost of this lovely piece of equipment.
2c Auction that ended at $115.24 — mathing will show us that 5,761 bids were placed. At a cost of 60 cents a bid, Swoopo made $3,456.60 from the bids, which they could quite easily use to purchase a couple more of these fancy cameras. This particular winner, Toertchen, got an even better deal, saving 85% off the cost, paying only $51.60 for the bids and $115.24 for the camera.
Let’s look at one more, this time a 6c Auction that ended at $85.38 -the math says that 1,422 bids were placed. At a cost of 60 cents a bid, Swoopo made $853.20 from the bids, not enough to purchase another camera, so on this particular auction they didn’t make enough to cover their costs.
Little bit of warning, as others have pointed out, this site is like Retail Crack. The timer increases every time a bid is placed, which means that sniping works a bit differently.
Also, if you mouse over the timer on a live auction, you will see a message that says “10 second countdown starts at xxx”. For the 2 cent Nikon D90 auctions it is supposed to occur at $82.20, for the 6 second ones at $246.60.
This is a lie.
This is something that I found out from personal experience and frankly that pissed me off a bit as I had planned a bidding strategy around it. Alas, just something that was a bit upsetting about it all.
Verdict: Not for the faint of heart or easily addicted.