Based in Pontiac, the nation’s newest penny auction site is BidDogz.com, with the slogan “Where Bidding Doesn’t Bite.” Founder Michael Falk, a marketing and promotions veteran, conceived the idea in 2010 after speaking with customers of other sites. Using that insight, and his long career in contest-based promotions, he set out to create a website combining the best of online shopping and real-life auctions with the excitement of online gaming, all while defying the common perception that penny auctions are not “real.”
“I’m from Michigan and I know there are a lot of people in this state who could use a win,” Falk said. “We designed BidDogz with the guarantee that someone will win every BidDogz auction. Our customers compete for prizes against other real people, never against automated bidders like those employed by other penny auction sites.”
New users receive 10 free bids, known on the site as “bidz,” just for completing the free registration process. The site requires no commitment from its users and offers opportunities to win items at prices that can be up to 95 percent less than retail. Users can start bidding and winning by visiting http://www.biddogz.com from their computers or mobile phones.
“With BidDogz, we’re using what we’ve learned from customers to approach the penny auction model differently than any other company,” said Falk, a resident of Troy, Mich. “Everything is real on the site. The prizes are housed in a real warehouse and competing bidders are real people sitting at real computers or on real smart phones that enjoy competing with others for real savings.”
All merchandise available for auction is new. Users will find deals on name brand electronics, sporting goods, housewares, the latest personal technology and gift cards.
Items slated to appear in auctions on the site in just the first week of operation include: Oakley sunglasses, Harman Kardon iPod sound docks, Sony digital cameras, Flip HD camcorders, Toshiba LCD TVs, Prada handbags, Garmin GPS devices, DeWalt cordless tools, Keurig gourmet coffee brewers, Breville panini presses, Nike golf bags and Apple iPods.
The BidDogz process is simple. Timed auctions begin with a bid of just one cent, with no reserve. Each subsequent bid then raises the auction price a penny. A winner is declared when the timer expires. Winners pay the final auction price and a small shipping fee via credit card through the safe and secure BidDogz payment interface. “Bidz” can be purchased in quantities of 25 to 500.
BidDogz customers can be rewarded for playing, even without winning an auction through the site’s BidDogz Rewardz Program and its BidDogz Bonuses feature. BidDogz Rewardz allows users to collect points when bids are placed, then redeem those points for merchandise. BidDogz Bonuses are merchandise prizes granted to players just for participating on the site. BidDogz also features “Puppy Auctions” that help new online auction players learn the functionality of the page in a lower pressure setting.
Falk believes BidDogz is the only penny auction company based in Michigan. All prizes are stored in a 28,000-square-foot warehouse in Pontiac. The company employs 17 Michigan residents and plans to increase that number as the business grows.
Falk is the founder of Marketing Strategies Group Inc., which for more than 25 years has run incentive and other marketing-based promotions for clients across the country. BidDogz is operated by Howling Dog Enterprizes LLC in Pontiac.