I'm in the throes of making a decision about a new secondary computer. It's clear my current used ThinkPad is dying. I'm deciding between another used, but newer-model ThinkPad from Craigslist (there are many available at good prices) and a new netbook, such as the Lenovo IdeaPad. Each has its pros and cons, but the smaller, lighter-weight netbook is currently in the lead.
While looking around online, I came across someone raving about buying brand-new netbooks for $10 on something called Swoopo. Perhaps I'm the last known person to hear of this site, but I clicked... and was amazed. From Swoopo, typos and all:
Swoopo - the next generation of online auctions
Founded in Germany in 2005, Swoopo is one of the world.s most innovative auction sites. Based on a unique software solution and business model, the company sells premium products like: computers, cameras, game consoles and even cars, at very low prices. Swoopo auctions over 10,000 products per month and has more than 2,500,000 registered customers.
Here is how it works: our online customers buy “bids” in advance. They cost $0.65 each and are sold in packs of 40, 70, 120, 300 or 800. Bidders have the choice of placing single bids, or, using an electronic bid assistant called the .BidButler.. Alternatively, customers can bid via the phone.
Every bid placed, increases the price of the product by 12c and the auction countdown by up to 20 seconds. To help keep track of the money spent on bidding, each auction displays the amount spent on bids by the customer and how much the bidder would save overall, if they won the auction at that moment.
The ‘last bidder standing’ when the countdown reaches zero, wins the auction - usually at a very low price; winners save, on average, 65% when compared to the recommended retail price.
In December 2007, Swoopo was successfully launched in the UK, followed by Spain in May 2008 and the US and Austria in September 2008. Swoopo has launched Canada in June 2009, more countries are going to be added in the future.
If you scroll through a list of ended auctions, you'll see things like "Toshiba 46" 1080p HD LCD TV" having sold for $15.62, an "Apple LED iMac MB953LL/A 27-Inch Desktop" for $6.89 and a "HP Pavilion dm3-1020CA 13.3-inch Notebook" for $15.95. All new, factory sealed.
This is very intriguing, although I'm not completely sure I understand it yet. There are several HP Pavilion notebooks, which seem nice and lightweight. Should I do it? It seems pretty low risk, but perhaps there is a catch I'm not getting.
[I've posted a bunch of links in comments. The catch, it seems, is the money you spend on bids for auctions you don't win - which is not refunded.]