My experiment is complete. My initial 100-bid purchase plus all of the shipping / handling charges totaled $83. I won three $25 and one $50 gift cards for a total of $125 in value. So I came out $42 ahead. I have already received two of the gift cards so I'm sure I will receive the others as well. From what I can see, there are no bots, shills, etc. The bidding seems very human-like with both reckless and careful bidding practices.
The business model is brilliant and the company can profit handsomely without resorting to illegal practices. As long as the company stays honest, and delivers the products they sell, they are really not doing anything wrong other than preying on credulous people. The only thing which may be skirting the line of legality is the advertising (i.e. "$700 Ipad sold for $1.35!"). Although this is technically true there may be some aggressive Attorneys General that may not like it since it is not representative of the results of most users.
The auction process seems very fair with a lot of competition on higher value auctions. To those who think that someone who bids more than the item value at $0.60/bid is crazy, remember that after many auctions, someone may have built up hundreds of free or low cost bids so their cost per bid may be much less than yours.
The process is explained fully in the help and FAQs if they are read in full. It is easy to overlook the little sections about "real bids" being used first, voucher bids having no "buy-it-now" value, how the bid-o-matic works, the additional charges, and so on; but it is all spelled out there in surprisingly easy to understand language.
The website actually seems very well thought out and advanced. I have not had any persistent clock problems, just a few minor glitches and skipping but to be expected with the high traffic the site receives. Every bid that I place went through as expected.
A few things irritate me about the experience - the excessive handling fees on voucher auctions, the "real bids" being used first, the worthless search box, and the high shipping fees (although anyone who ever paid $10 for shipping on Ebay when the item came with $1 in postage had the same experience). But several things worked well including the watch list and real-time bid count. Some little things like the free bids when earning badges were nice. The sheer number of auctions works in the bidder's favor as well since it can prevent reckless bidding due to the fear of missing out...there will always be another similar auction very soon.
Overall I had a positive experience but I will issue this warning: Pardon the CAPS but I need to stress this point - DO NOT BID ON ANY HIGH-VALUE ITEMS. YOU WILL NOT WIN! You will end up coming to Sitejabber and complaining about cheats, bots, shills, scams, etc. when in reality you were bidding against hundreds of other people trying to win the same item. Remember that after you and twenty others may have spent thousands of bids in total on one item, and you think many are all but out of bids, a new group of people may come and start a fresh bidding war on that item. Since there is no time limit on any auction, this can go on indefinitely, especially for high-value items.
So your chance of winning a high-value item is virtually nil. Conversely, by using some logic and intuition it is quite feasible to win a large number of lower priced items (generally $25 - $50 gift cards) and come out ahead. I would advise you to bid on items that come with free bids so as to refresh your bid inventory at no cost. Occasionally you may want to bid on voucher auctions but remember that you will be paying real cash in the final auction price plus handling fees to win something that may not have any real value in the end.
Finally, you should probably only bid on items that you need or gift cards for stores that you regularly shop in. There is no point in winning an AMC gift card if you never go to the movies. Also the $10 cards probably are not a good deal as after factoring in the auction price, the cost of the bids, and the shipping / handling charges it is difficult to come out that much ahead. Figure on using 50-75 bids to win a $25-$50 gift card auction. Counting the beginner auction, the voucher wins, and the bids that came attached to won auctions, my average cost per bid was about 20 cents so winning the gift card should cost between $10-$15 so overall you have a reasonable chance of coming out ahead.
The concept repeated on this site repetitively is that you should wait to the last second to bid. This is a holdover from EBay in which the last and highest bidder before the clock runs out is the winner. On Quibids, bidding at 1 second left or at 9 seconds left does absolutely the same thing; the clock gets reset to 10, 15, or 20 seconds and the last bidder is the winner. I found it best to bid immediately after I was outbid. I ended up in the same place as the high bidder, and it showed my aggressiveness to other bidders and may have contributed to my relative success in the auctions I participated in. I participated in 6 auctions ($25-$50 value) and won five so maybe the strategy works.
Remember – You are not bidding in an auction. You are buying tokens @ $0.60 each to play in a game of chance and skill with prizes for the winner and nothing for the losers. It is possible to increase your chance of winning by using strategy, but at the end of the day it is like Blackjack in which a skilled player can increase his overall winning percentage but not eliminate the role of chance or just a plain old bad hand.
I cannot repeat this enough - DO NOT BID ON ANY HIGH-VALUE ITEMS. YOU WILL NOT WIN! Stick to the lower value items.
I hope this review is helpful to all those currently using or considering using Quibids. I welcome any comments or questions.