Posted by: tally on Sep 17, 2010
An iPad for R200? Looks too good to be true. You'd better believe it!
A friend pointed me towards a seemingly remarkable site called Smokoo.co.za. You may have heard of it. I know Twar wrote about Bidchaser recently ( Bidchaser - feels like legal gambling), which works on the same system.
Before my eyes, I saw iPads, cameras, laptops - a geeky girl's harem - being auctioned off for pocket change.
I went to the "about us", I went to the "facts and fiction", I even went to the "contact us" page. It all looked legit. But it couldn't be. All the journalistic instinct I have been cultivating for the past five years screamed that there was something wrong. I just wasn't sure what.
And then somehow I ended up on the User Guide where it explained that each bid was worth R5, would put up the price by as little as R0.01 and extend the time by 10 seconds.
So let's look at what this means. I want an iPod and it's R4 currently, so I bid which costs me R5. Alas! Someone else now has time to bid and does so. I bid again, and this puts my spend up to R10. Plus the R4.02. Plus the R200 shipping (yes, always look at the shipping costs when buying online!). Fine. I could stop. But oh, what's R20 for an iPod? I might as well keep going...
But say, after spending R50 or so, I give up. Good for me. I wasted money. It wasn't really gambling technically according to the law but still, I knew I might not win. No harm, no fowl.
Smokoo on the other hand is making a small fortune - much more than the cost of an iPod - because every time the price for the item goes up by 1c, they make R5.01.
RustyPrincess over on the myBroadband forums gives a breakdown of the bid for an iPad:
Off the website:
Current Price: R209.57(R104 785 made by smokoo)
Last bidder: Mojo88 Bid cost: 1.00 credits
Winner savings: Retail Price: R11,000.00 Current Price: -R209.57 2919 bids: -R14,595.00 This is the number of bids the winner bid - so he spent almost 15k on an Ipad, and then still has to pay R600 to ship it
Savings: R-3,804.57 Shipping Cost: R600.00
But wait, there's more
Here's where things really get interesting. Smokoo offers an "AutoBidder", so you can step away from the action to go to the loo or get some sleep. You can set the maximum and minimum you're able to bid, which is great. You won't end up spending R15k unless you give it permission...
But if you don't use the AutoBidder, you stand no chance of winning, as every time you bid, someone's AutoBidder will place a bid. And if you do use the AutoBidder? Two AutoBidders will keep at it until the one runs out of funds. And after you've spent R14 000 in R5s on something, don't you think you may just up that number of funds?
Technically not a scam
There's nothing happening on Smokoo that you are not told about or perfectly aware of. And technically it's not gambling (which is illigal in South Africa), it's bidding, isn't it?
I can't say I wasn't tempted, as I saw the seconds counting down on that R4 iPod... but then guess what? The seconds reached 0 and someone bid! And then there was another 10 seconds...
And so it goes.
Once again, if something appears to be too good to be true, no doubt about it... it is.